SoT 212: Plants Can Count

Hosts: Ed Brown, Dr. Shayne Joseph, Penny Dumsday, Dr. Kate Naughton.

The seventh period on the periodic table is now complete, after four new elements have been officially verified. Elements with atomic numbers 113, 115, atomic numbers 113, 115, 117 and 118 have been confirmed and will get permanent names soon.

The irukandji jellyfish – actually a number of species of jellyfish – are the most venomous box jellyfish in the world. A leading researcher has now warned that the jellyfish, usually found in the warmer northern waters of Australia, are being found further and further south. He says that as climate change continues to warm the waters, they will become common place on southern Queensland beaches within a decade.

Two leading astronomers have presented evidence that the solar system may have a ninth planet – and it’s definitely not Pluto! Caltech astronomers Mike Brown and Konstatin Batygin believe the planet may be nearly as big as Neptune and never comes closer than 29 billion kilometers to the sun!

We have a lot more respect for Venus flytraps now that we’ve learnt they can count!

KIC 8462852, the strange star with bizarre random dips in brightness that some have suggested could be an alien megastructure just got a little weirder. The most likely explanation was a huge family of comets orbiting the star, but a new study of thousands of observations makes that less likely still.

Kate Naughton is a geneticist and marine biologist.