Saturday, 16 August 2008

Fuzzy and the Brewer

What an exciting start to the Australian Science Festival!

This morning Tim visited Tobin Brothers funeral directors for the low down on dying. A morbid subject perhaps, but one which touches us all. And oh, what an irony it is that we merrily watch bodies splattered by bullets on the TV, but hide real death away, pretending it's not real. It's almost like we dare death to come and get us, but can't bear the result.
Broadcast date TBA.

Then we just interviewed Dr Chuck Hahn, master brewer, director Malt Shovel Brewery (makers of the James Squire label). You can hear this broadcast on Fuzzy Logic 31 August, and subsequently downloadable from our Odeo site.

Chuck Hahn and Haydon Shepherd from the Malt Shovel Brewery, with our lad Tim Dawson.

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Friday, 15 August 2008

The tooth about giant extinctions

Did humans wipe out native megafauna? In North America and Australia this has been a contentions issue amongst palaeontologists and indigenous people. One camp say people did the job while the others say it was climatic and environmental factors.

See fellow Fuzzy Caitlin's Cosmos story about new dating for giant kangaroo Protemnodon, showing that it was around when the first people arrived 40,000 to 43,000 years ago.

"..carbon dating the bones as well as pollen samples lodged deep inside the long nose of the Protemnodon skulls.." were used for the dating (I wonder if they suffered hayfever?).

This discovery places both humans and Protemnodon in Tasmania at the same time, so the evidence is circumstantial. In fact I don't imagine that anything like definitive proof is ever possible, trying to establish cause and effect 40,000 years ago. However I have heard of models for North American large mammals, showing that a kill rate of only a couple of percent would be enough to exterminate a species.

Looking forward to more Caitlin Cosmos stories.

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Thursday, 7 August 2008

Water or Coke?

Here's one of those stories doing the email rounds. Sounds very scientific, but is it real? Perhaps someone would like to comment on whether the assertions about water are accurate, but is it backed up by real research?

And the Coke. Is really as bad as that, or is does this story make it worse that it really is? Cleaning dirty chrome sounds pretty serious, but try doing that with the bile that naturally occurs in your stomach, and I'll bet you get the same result. Stomach acid is around PH 2, which is stronger than battery acid, and ought to clean up stains pretty quick. If we're worried about Coke, I'd be thinking more about the caffeine and sugar more than the acid. Just doesn't sound as good.

Tune in this Sunday 10th for lots more Fuzzy excitement. This week, sport and science.
And if you miss the show, you can always go for the podcast.


#1. 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated.
(Likely applies to half the world population)

#2. In 37% of Americans, the thirst mechanism is so weak
that it is mistaken for hunger.

#3. Even MILD dehydration will slow down one's metabolism as 3%.

#4. One glass of water will shut down midnight hunger pangs
for almost 100% of the dieters studied in a University of
Washington study.

#5. Lack of water, the #1 trigger of daytime fatigue.

#6. Preliminary research indicates that 8-10 glasses of water a day could significantly ease back and joint pain for up to 80% of sufferers.

#7. A mere 2% drop in body water can trigger fuzzy short-term memory, trouble with basic math, and difficulty focusing on the computer screen or on a ! printed page.

#8. Drinking 5 glasses of water daily decreases the risk of colon cancer by 45%, plus it can slash the risk of breast cancer by 79%., and one is 50% less likely to develop bladder cancer. Are you drinking the amount of water you should drink every day?

#1. In many states the highway patrol carries two gallons of Coke in the trunk to remove blood from the highway after a car accident.

#2. You can put a T-bone steak in a bowl of Coke and it will be gone in two days.

#3. To clean a toilet: Pour a can of Coca-Cola into the toilet bowl and let the 'real thing' sit for one hour, then flush clean. The citric acid in Coke removes stains from vitreous China .

#4. To remove rust spots from chrome car bumpers: Rub the bumper with a rumpled-up piece of aluminium foil dipped in Coca-Cola.

#5. To clean corrosion from car battery terminals: Pour a can of Coca-Cola over the terminals to bubble away the corrosion.

#6. To loosen a rusted bolt: Apply a cloth soaked in Coca-Cola to the rusted bolt for several minutes.

#7. To bake a moist ham: Empty a can of Coca-Cola into the baking pan, wrap the ham in aluminum foil, and bake. Thirty minutes before ham is finished, remove the foil, allowing the drippings to mix with the Coke for a sumptuous brown gravy.

#8... To remove grease from clothes: Empty a can of Coke into the load of greasy clothes, add detergent, and run through a regular cycle. The Coca-Cola will help loosen grease stains. It will also clean road haze from your windshield.

#1. the active ingredient in Coke is phosphoric acid. It will dissolve a nail in about four days. Phosphoric acid also leaches calcium from bones and is a major contributor to the rising increase of osteoporosis.

#2. To carry Coca-Cola syrup! (the concentrate) the commercial trucks must use a hazardous Material place cards reserved for highly corrosive materials.

#3. The distributors of Coke have been using it to clean engines of the trucks for about 20 years!

Now the question is, would you like a glass of water?
Or Coke?

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Friday, 1 August 2008

Debating Science

With climate change and other complex science issues, I often hear people saying we should have a debate. This makes me slightly uncomfortable because it's one thing to debate policy, but another to debate whether a phenomenon is real. How much should we talk evidence versus our opinions?

Here are two pieces of evidence. One addresses whether the climate is actually warming - why are so many commentators saying climate is not warming? The question of whether it is human caused is difficult, but is not the warming a fairly simple act of measurement, or am I missing something?


The second is a bit more difficult because it is a best estimate, and there are vested interests involved. How much oil is left in the world? How close to Peak Oil are we?


Tune in this 11:30 am Sunday FM 98.3. Eamon are going toe-to-toe, mike-to-mike on spider webs, and the good, the bad, the oily of pollution.

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