Tagged: Science

Epigengle all the way...

Santa on a horse

It’s Santa on a… I’m going to guess horse?

Most people these days are familiar with the idea of DNA – our genetic code. The big list inside us that enumerates – to a greater or lesser extent – everything about us. Eye colour. Height. Diseases or conditions we might fall foul of. How many limbs we have. Where our organs go. Naughty or nice. It’s what separates us from bananas, or monkeys, or trees. We pass this DNA down the generations, and this list is not something we can do anything about. The slow march of evolution takes hundreds of generations to make a change. I am stuck with my DNA, and so are you.

Except, what if we could just… ignore parts of this list? Just turn off this bit of DNA, or that bit? And then pass it on to our kids, a change in one generation…

Well, turns out that we can.

Episode 6: How Science Saved Christmas

Jingle bells, science smells, dum dum dum der der… Science and Christmas, natural enemies right? Wrong. There was a time when science saved Christmas. And this is that story. Join Wolf Bilkington and Kipp Faero as they journey across the North Pole, and have a very surprising encounter. Will Santa survive the ordeal? Will the reindeer? Will any of us? You know what to do…

Wolf Bilkington – Brian Macken
Kipp Faero – Sreya Rao
Pecknose – Mary Horan
Santa – Jack Brougham
Scratchfoot – Wendy Bradley

Solvay and the Catastrophe

Solvay Conference 1911

The 1911 Solvay conference attendees.
With an addition by our own Action Dan

1911 was an interesting time to be a physicist. At that time, as best as anyone could figure out, the foundations of our understanding of physics seemed to be cracking. Small, annoying little differences between what classical physics predicted and what actually happened began to get bigger and bigger, and could never be explained away. These little threads were unravelling the whole tapestry of physics that had been built up since Newton.

So maybe interesting isn’t a strong enough word.

Episode 5: Solvay-nt Abuse

In 1911 a crack team of physicists from around the world assembled in the unheard-of town of Brussels in darkest Belgium. This was the first Solvay conference. Among these know-it-alls were little-known scienticians Albert Einstein and Marie Curie (aglow with her success). This much Wikipedia will tell you. But now Action Science Theatre presents the untold story of this great moment in science history. Will Einstein and Curie end up together? Where exactly is everyone supposed to be from? And what is rumbling in that cage? Find out now!

Einstein – Matt Kirk
Marie Curie – Rhona Wells
Irene Curie – Sreya Rao
Robin/Front Desk Lady – Wendy Bradley
Solvay – Dan Bond
Korb – Jack Brougham
Radio Newsreader – Brian Macken

Episode 4a: Science Shoot-off LIVE!

Some people seek truth, some seek justice, others seek the adulation of others to feed their egos. One such person has come to the globally recognised phenomenon of Science Showoff, with a presentation to wow the crowd. But two unknown gun-persons have other ideas. Will he survive? Will the cast remember to speak into the microphone? Will anyone enjoy the experience? There’s only one way to find out!

Recorded live at Science Showoff at the Wilmington Arms, London on the 2nd October 2012.

Presenter – Brian Macken
Red Assassin – Rhona Wells
Blue Assassin – Dan Bond
Sound effects created by random members of the Science Showoff audience

Night of the Living Prions

Train Danger

Image from pulpcovers.com

Proteins are very useful things. They are the little helpers to your body’s Santa Claus. They do pretty much everything that needs doing in your cells. They are great little workers.

Right up until they go wrong.

And the thing is – we have no idea how they could possibly go wrong. How could the little helpers turn against Santa?

Dignified Kings

The answer to the question this magazine asks is: No.

So, the main character in the latest episode was working on a paper arguing that Triceratops was not a real species. This, to be very clear, is something we made up. Triceratops is fine. We can all breathe a sigh of relief, secure in the knowledge that we don’t have to learn a new name to answer that oft-repeated question “Which dinosaur is the best one?”

But another three-horned dinosaur might suffer another extinction, thanks to Triceratops.

Blood simple

You’re squared off against your foe. You’re usually a good shot, but the rain is coming down pretty heavily and besides, you need to do some long division in your head if you’re going to get that bomb defused in time. Not to mention you’re bleeding pretty bad from the gunshot wound your foe gave you moments before.

A shot rings out, and you both fall.

Luckily, you manage to drag yourself to the bomb and type in the code before you pass out from blood loss. You wake up in the hospital and the doc is about to give you a transfusion. You thank your lucky stars for Karl Landsteiner, because without him there was a good chance you wouldn’t survive the procedure.

Pythagoras has a posse

Let’s talk about Pythagoras for a moment, shall we? Everyone learns his theorem in school – the square of the hypotenuse is the sum of the squares of the other two sides. So if you take the length of one side of a right-angled triangle, and square it; then take the length of the next side, and square it; add up those two numbers and it will equal, as if by magic, the length of the hypotenuse (the long side of the triangle), squared.

Pythagorean Thorem

3 squared + 4 squared = 5 squared

It’s a beautiful thing.

And as any pulp novel will tell you, people kill for beautiful things all the time.