SoT 153: Electric Cats

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Download_greenThe announcement earlier this year that the BICEP2 team had discovered gravitational waves is now mired in controversy. Dr. Alan Duffy joins us to explain why ‘the biggest announcement’ is now probably meaningless.

In 2012, Facebook manipulated the newsfeed of 689,003 users as part of a psychological experiment. The company claims it was able to alter the moods of some users, but the study’s methodology and ethical concerns have drawn widespread criticism.

The electric eel – described by one researchers as “a 6-inch fish attached to a 5-1/2-foot cattle prod” – can deliver a powerful electric shock. Now, a study of its genome reveals this ability has evolved six separate times, in a remarkable example of convergent evolution.

According to the World Health Organisation, the current outbreak of Ebola virus has killed 467, making it the most severe in recorded history.

Italy is about to send its first female astronaut to the International Space Station, and she’ll be taking a special zero-gravity coffee machine with her.

Jo Benhamu is a clinical trials coordinator in radiation oncology.

Dr. Alan Duffy is a theoretical astrophysicist and cosmologist at Swinburne University, investigating how galaxies form, the nature of dark matter and the large scale properties of the Universe. He’s a co-host of Pint in the Sky, a vodcast about astrophysics in a pub. For more of his talks, interviews and writings see his webpage.

Download here. Duration: [0:59:53]