science

Level Up Human S2E12 – Sally Le Page vs James Piercy

Simon and Rach chat to biologist and science YouTuber Sally Le Page and science communicator James Piercy.

We discuss periods, expanding skulls and a rebooted ear.

In the news

Female female aggression in fruit flies: https://bit.ly/LUHfruitflies

The new kilogram: physicsworld.com/a/new-definition-of-the-kilogram-comes-into-force/

Robots powered by the spines of rats: https://bit.ly/LUHRatSpines

The pitches

Sally wants selective ovulation, James wants a skull flap. There’s a suggestion from the audience for One Massive Ear and Simon is borrowing from the opossums which could hold the key to saving snakebite victims.

Mentioned this episode

Dragons’ Den: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006vq92

Lesbian lizard colonies: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Mexico_whiptail

Parthenogenesis: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parthenogenesis

Decompressive craniectomy: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319755

Fontanelle: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fontanelle

Barn owl hearing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8SI73-Ka51E

Opossum’s natural immunity to snake venom: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2015/03/150323-opossums-snakes-snakebites-venom-health-world-science/

Stay In for Towel Day: https://www.savetherhino.org/get-involved/events/stay-in-for-towel-day-2020/

Support us

If you’re enjoying the podcast, you can support us on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/leveluphuman

Leave us an iTunes review: https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/level-up-human/id1096637285

…or join our newsletter: http://www.leveluphuman.com/keep-in-touch

With thanks to the Physiological Society.

5 of the Best: Forensic science and biology podcasts

Over in the Science Podcasts Facebook group, there has been some discussion of the best biology/ forensics podcasts for high school students. Here are five favourites.

1. Test Tube Testimony

Test Tube TestimonyProfessional scientist Michelle Campbell-Firak presents true crime. A super high quality, beautifully narrated podcast which will appeal to fans of Serial.

Michelle tells true crime stories, and explains how forensic science contributed to how the crime was solved.

Instagram: @testtubetestimony, including slides of the research papers used in each episode.

2. This episode of Science Vs

Science vs

Wendy Zukerman presents a critical look at forensic science.

This podcast is funny, without being sweary.

Incorporating TV clips, SFX, ‘hallelujah’ noises, a fun romp through forensic sciences of all kinds.

Learn: what the ‘oldest maggot’ can teach you about how time of death estimates.

3. Off Track

Off TrackOff Track combines the relaxing sounds of nature with awesome stories of wildlife and environmental science, all recorded in the outdoors.

Each episode features beautiful photography of the subject

Presenter Ann Jones grew up in country Victoria in a family of birdwatchers and keen picnickers. She presents Off Track for ABC.

4. Into the Wild

ITW_LogoRyan Dalton is a brilliant comedian and presenter of this wonderful podcast, Into The Wild.

Ryan’s enthusiasm for his subject is infectious, plus Into The Wild has the best intro music of all time.

Ryan’s recent guests include wildlife filmmakers and presenters, explorers, field biologists, broadcasters, authors and national treasures alike. Don’t miss it.

5. Botanical Mystery Tour

BMT-logoBotanical Mystery Tour is a podcast about the real science behind plants in popular culture.

Jasmine Leonas and Erica Masini from the Chicago Botanic Garden interview a scientist, horticulturist, or educator at the Garden who dives into the botany behind our favorite stories.

I LOVE this show. Sadly no longer active, but binge the archive for some wonderful botany and plant stories.

Level Up Human – Steve Backshall vs Kate Storrs

Level Up Human Series 2, Episode 11: Steve Backshall vs Kate Storrs

Level Up Human is a podcast panel show, on a mission to redesign the human body.

Simon and Rach chat to naturalist and broadcaster Steve Backshall and visual perception scientist Kate Storrs.

We discuss enhanced vision, limb regeneration, gecko hands, super kidneys and re-breathing.

Extracts from the episode, edited for readability are available here.

In the news…

Kate is tickled and baffled by a news story about Microsoft. They have patented to generate cryptocurrency by monitoring people’s brain activity.

Steve’s news story is entitled, ‘Venomous Frogs use Heads as Weapons.’

And Rach’s levelled up human is Bertolt Meyer, a DJ, producer and Professor of Organisational Psychology from Technische Universität Chemnitz who has hacked his prosthetic hand to hook it up to his synth.

The Pitches

Steve wants to borrow the abilities of the Iberian sharp-ribbed newt, a type of salamander which can regenerate limbs and organs.

Kate, on the other hands, thinks the human body should be able to see the polarisation of light

From the audience, we have suggestions including souped up kidneys and gecko hands.

Finally Simon has a suggestion from nature.

Which of our suggestions will make Rachel’s shortlist? Which will win? Listen to find out.

Mentioned this episode

Deep Neural Networks: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deep_learning

Microsoft has filed a patent to mine cryptocurrencies using your brainwaves: https://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/a32318654/microsoft-brainwaves-mine-cryptocurrency

Venomous frogs use heads as weapons: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/280753150_Venomous_Frogs_Use_Heads_as_Weapons

Golden poison frog: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/amphibians/g/golden-poison-frog/

Pig-nosed purple frog: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2ZKePuOrUE

Bertolt Meyer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSKBtEBRWi4

Disabled or superhuman?: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UVZyVz8gBeQ

Axolotyl: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Axolotl

Macrophages: https://www.news-medical.net/life-sciences/Macrophage-Function.aspx

Pluripotent stem cells: https://www.nature.com/subjects/pluripotent-stem-cells

Tissue-specific stem cells: https://www.closerlookatstemcells.org/learn-about-stem-cells/types-of-stem-cells/

Zebrafish can regrow their brains: https://medicalxpress.com/news/2012-11-zebrafish-regrow-brains.html

Planaria worms: https://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/11/science/11obhead.html

Steve bitten by black piranha: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BPO6NwkM7so&list=PLtEFM-nSCj5ilDGnpe8Cf6CLtslFt1aCS

Honey bee waggle dance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LU_KD1enR3Q

Haidinger’s brush: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haidinger%27s_brush

Cuttlefish and high-definition polarisation vision: https://phys.org/news/2012-02-cuttlefish-high-definition-polarization-vision.html

Cuttlefish iridophores and chromataphores: https://www.nature.com/scitable/topicpage/cephalopod-camouflage-cells-and-organs-of-the-144048968/

Mantis shrimp: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mantis_shrimp

Bioinspired camera could help self-driving cars ‘see’ better: https://www.osa.org/en-us/about_osa/newsroom/news_releases/2018/bioinspired_camera_could_help_self-driving_cars_se/

Nautilus: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nautilus

Bear Grylls: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bear_Grylls

The IT Crowd: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0487831/

The Exorcist III: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0099528/

Trainspotting: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0117951/

‘Scuba-diving’ lizard, Anolis aquaticus: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-03/bu-lc032019.php

Steve’s Home Schooling (9.30am, Wednesdays): https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCm-URP49TgSgyIU1rgh2m7A/videos

The Mirror Trap: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-mirror-trap-online-tickets-104125171190

Stay In for Towel Day: https://www.savetherhino.org/get-involved/events/stay-in-for-towel-day-2020/

Support us

If you’re enjoying the podcast, you can support us on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/leveluphuman

Leave us an iTunes review: https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/level-up-human/id1096637285

…or join our newsletter: http://www.leveluphuman.com/keep-in-touch

Follow us

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Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/leveluphuman

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/leveluphuman

Level Up Human: Live at the Barbican

Earlier this year, Simon Watt and I recorded an episode of our podcast, Level Up Human, live at the Barbican in association with The Physiological Society. This episode was recorded with expert guests, marine biologist, writer and documentary maker, Helen Scales and KCL professor of developmental neurobiology, Robert Hindges.

Episode summary

First we look at human enhancements from around the world. Helen brings news of a man with an exo-skeleton allowing him to walk.

Robert tells us about developments in prosthetics which allow users to experience feedback from artificial limbs. And Rach has evidence that thumbs are getting faster.

Next: pitches from our guest experts, the studio audience and Mother Nature herself.

Robert wants a higher flicker frequency in the human eye. Helen suggests we all become extreme free divers with the breath holding abilities of the sperm whale.

The audience want improved cooling systems, reduced urination, lego wrists and multi-sensory anaesthesia. Simon pitches the arsenic resistant qualities of the Mono lake nematodes.

Which will make it onto the shortlist? And which will win? Have a listen to find out.

Mentioned this episode

Robot exo-skeleton: https://www.sciencefocus.com/news/exoskeleton-controlled-by-brain-signals-allows-disabled-man-to-walk/

Prosthetic sensory feedback: https://www.genengnews.com/news/prosthetic-leg-with-neural-sensory-feedback-shows-benefits-for-patients/

Thumbs are getting faster: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2019/oct/02/ready-text-go-typing-speeds-mobiles-rival-keyboard-users

Obama swats fly during CNBC interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rbUH_iVjYw

The marabou stork which urinates on its legs to cool itself down: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_5NCubQutpE

Arsenic resistant mono lake nematodes: https://gizmodo.com/scientists-find-three-sex-arsenic-resistant-nematode-i-1838497056

Support us

If you’re enjoying the podcast, you can support us on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/leveluphuman

Or leave us an iTunes review: https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/level-up-human/id1096637285

Follow us

Twitter: twitter.com/leveluphuman

Facebook: facebook.com/leveluphuman

Instagram: instagram.com/leveluphuman

Level Up Human Series 2 with The Physiological Society

Level Up Human is a comedy science podcast asking a simple question: how would you redesign the human body?

My podcast, Level Up Human, is back for a brand new series!

The first series of the podcast was supported by the Wellcome Trust. This time we are working with the Physiological Society. We have a residency at the Barbican in London, and we’ve just launched the first episode of the new series.

Click here to listen

Episode details

Level Up Human is back redesigning the human body! This series we are supported by the Physiological Society. This episode was created with the help of the Society for Endocrinology, a world leading authority on hormones.

This episode was recorded at the Barbican as part of the Life Rewired season. Host Simon Watt and judge Rachel Wheeley are joined by Dr. Miles Levy, consultant endocrinologist and honorary associate professor at University Hospitals of Leicester. And by Dr. Clare Jonas, psychologist and blogger at That Thinking Feeling.

We asked Clare onto the podcast to talk about synaesthesia, a condition in which one sense is perceived as if by one or more additional senses. Clare tells us how she can ‘see’ the calendar, and explains loads more about synaesthesia: what it is, and how it would be great if everyone had it.

Miles is working on ‘liquid biopsies’ which might allow us to detect cancerous tumours via blood test in the future. He has lots to say on the pituitary gland, the ‘conductor of the endocrine-orchestra’ and explains how the condition acromegaly inspired the name of Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland.

If you’d like to see us live, we’re in the middle of a residency at the Barbican in London. Please join us on October 28th and November 7th 2019. You can reserve free tickets at https://www.barbican.org.uk/whats-on/2019/event/level-up-human

Episode summary

The team have brought news stories from the world of science to share before we kick off the pitches. Clare explains why elephants are basically cancer-proof, Miles sings the praises of the pituitary, and Rach has tardigrade news.

Then we hear pitches for how we should redesign the human body from each of the panellists, the studio audience and Mother Nature herself.

Clare would like every human to have synaesthesia and Miles would like to tone down testosterone. The audience want to eat like termites, recognise faces better and have more control of adrenaline. Simon really wants to make humans stripy. Which suggestions will make it onto Rach’s shortlist?

Mentioned this episode

Synaesthesia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synesthesia

Acromegaly: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acromegaly

The Hyrax: does this sound like a video recorder rewinding to you?: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mF3rPvzTPF4

Video recorder, for the under 35s: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Videocassette_recorder

Tardigrades could hold the key to treating life-threatening injuries: https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2019/01/could-an-extremophile-hold-the-secret-to-treatment-of-devastating-injuries/

Pareidolia (recognising faces in inanimate objects): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pareidolia

Prosopagnosia (face blindness): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prosopagnosia

Extracts

“The pituitary gland is the most under-rated gland in the whole body. It is the size of a pea and it’s the conductor of the endocrine-orchestra (thyroid gland, adrenal gland, ovaries, testes, pancreas and all other glands in the body.) It controls every hormone in the body. It’s the most important, yet the most misunderstood and ignored part of the body.” – Miles Levy

“Everyone should have synaesthesia. It’s a completely harmless, possibly even helpful neurological condition where your senses get mixed up. So you might see colours when you’re listening to music, you might taste words, or in my case, you might see the calendar and numbers and letters of the alphabet all laid out in space in front of you which is hugely useful.” – Clare Jonas

“Mums are better. Actually, Grandmothers are better. Grandparents have the knowledge. They remember the last time there was a famine and we had to eat those weird berries. So old people are basically libraries of the past. They are a repository of knowledge that we have to keep.” – Simon Watt

Support us

If you’re enjoying the podcast, you can support us on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/leveluphuman

Or leave us an iTunes review: https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/level-up-human/id1096637285

Follow us

Twitter: twitter.com/leveluphuman

Facebook: facebook.com/leveluphuman

Instagram: instagram.com/leveluphuman

Level Up Human Live at the Barbican

Life rewired

Level Up Human, the podcast that redesigns the human body, is back at the Barbican!

The Barbican’s Life Rewired season considers what it means to be human when technology is changing everything. Is it enhancing our lives, challenging our identities, or both?

Join evolutionary revolutionary Simon Watt, hormone champion Dr. Miles Levy and me to give the body an almighty overhaul in this brand new episode.

Join us!