Pie Cubed Podcast 24/04/2013 – Measles, Mars and Austerity

[audio http://piecubed.jellycast.com/files/audio/Pie%20Cubed%2024%3A04%3A2013.m4a] This week on the Pie Cubed Podcast we talk about the current rise in Measles cases and the media responsibility in promoting bad science, colonisation of new planets, the harshness of Venus’ atmosphere, CISPA, dark matter, austerity and much more…. Subscribe on iTunes or Subscribe to podcast feed Wringing a wet towel in space:

Do lobsters hold the keys to immortality?

It is inevitable that at some point you will die. We all will. The price we have to pay for being alive is death. It’s a certainty, like taxes. At some point our organs will stop working efficiently and we will go back to how we were before we were born. However, the humble lobster does not have this problem.

Balanced on a Blade of Grass – The World’s Lightest Material

A research team led by Professor Gao Chao of the Department of Polymer Science of China’s Zhejiang University in Hangzhou used a freeze-drying technique to create an aerogel – a “carbon sponge” – from a mix of graphene and carbon nanotubes. It is the world’s lightest material and it  can be balanced on a blade of grass. It weighs just 0.16 kilograms per metre cubed. For comparison, a metre cubed of water weighs 1000 kg and a metre cubed of styrofoam weighs 75 kg. It is also less dense than air (less mass per volume). A metre cubed of air …

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Vaccines and Autism: Scientific Mis-Reporting in the Media

Repeat after me: Vaccines. Do. Not. Cause. Autism. It all started in the late nineties, when a doctor, Andrew Wakefield, published a paper in the Lancet linking the MMR vaccine (measles, mumps and rubella) to autism. In fact, the study did not make this claim at all, the link was announced at a press conference by Wakefield himself. If you know anything about how science works (with peer-reviews publications), you would know that a press conference is NOT the way to announce results, unless of course you want media attention (see the wikipedia article on ‘science by press conference‘). The media, …

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Does a photon perceive time? and 4 more facts about time perception

How ancient are the ancient egyptians? Were woolly mammoths around when the pyramids were built? If the whole of time was compressed into a day, how many minutes would dinosaurs have been alive? Does a photon perceive time? Ancient Egyptians To us, the Romans and the ancient Egyptians are all quite old. However, Cleopatra, who lived at the time of Julius Caesar, is closer to us (and the moon landings!) in time than she was to when Egyptians started building pyramids. To the Romans, ancient Egypt was as ancient as the Romans are to us today.

Pie Cubed Podcast 17/04/2013 – Digital Afterlife

This week on the Pie Cubed podcast we talk about what happens to your data after you die, the increasing role of technology in ‘smart’ cities, how to hack an aeroplane and if Moore’s law is still valid. Subscribe on iTunes or Subscribe to podcast feed

The coldest place in the universe is on… earth

The Boomerang Nebula is located approximately 5000 light years from earth. It was formed by the outflow of gas from the core of a star. This gas is flowing at incredible speeds, up to 500 thousand kilometres per hour (300,000 miles/hr). As gas expands, it cools down, which has caused the nebula to be the coldest point of the universe that we have ever measured, with a temperature of just 1 Kelvin (−272.15 °C; −457.87 °F ), very close to absolute zero. The average temperature of the universe is 2.73 K, as measured using the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation. (Read our …

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Friday’s Interesting Facts #2

In this regular Friday post, we list some interesting facts that do not necessarily deserve their own post, enjoy. The colossal squid is the largest known invertebrate, it’s estimated that it can reach 12-14 metres in length. It also possesses the largest eyes in the animal kingdom. Its brain is torus shaped (like a donut) and the oesophagus runs through the middle of it. Which means that if the colossal squid eats something too large it will suffer massive brain damage.