Shirtloads of Science

Dr Karl’s a curious optimist – a great combination for a science lover. Join him and his guests for weird facts, amazing conversation and remember, it’s never too late for a happy childhood.
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Dr Karl’s a curious optimist – a great combination for a science lover. Join him and his guests for weird facts, amazing conversation and remember, it’s never too late for a happy childhood.
Apr 15, 2018

Infrared Invisibility from Polar Bears, Secret Elephant Sounds and Tentacle Camouflage.

Apr 8, 2018

Before the Space Race there was a race to find and name new elements. Atom smashers and reactors were the tools to make new super-heavy metals - unknown on earth. Who leaked the announcement of two new radioactive elements on a Children's Quiz show ? Transfermium wars - What were they ? Who died getting Einsteinium ? Chemistry World journalist and author, Kit Chapman, tells Dr Karl about the people behind the unpronounceable names with big atomic numbers at the bottom of the table and the race that is still running. 

Apr 1, 2018

Before the Space Race began there was a chemistry race - the hunt for new elements. The Russians may have organised the periodic table but it was the Americans that began filling in the blanks. These heavy elements could not be found in nature, you had to create them in cyclotrons and reactors. Chemistry World journalist and author, Kit Chapman, tells Dr Karl about the people behind the 20 or so unpronounceable names at the bottom of the table. In this podcast we count up from atomic number 93. Who wrote a personal letter to Stalin urging a soviet atomic program ? What was the Frankenstein-like moment in San Francisco (just before Pearl Harbour) that changed the war? Which superhero prompted the raid on the offices of DC Comics ?

Mar 25, 2018

Lose weight by drinking special Tea - that sounds easy... but is it good ? Dietetics professor Clare Collins, takes Dr Karl through seven Botanical tinctures that make this claim. Snake Oil or Science ?

Mar 18, 2018

The stars at night are only a fraction of what we know should be there. So where are all those missing bits from our universe? This is a lifelong quest for Professor James Green from Colorado University in Boulder. Since his student days, he has been designing payloads for NASA rockets (and the Hubble space telescope) looking at invisible stuff. So how do you see in the cold black soup of space? What is a Sounding Rocket?  Why do Wimps beat Macho's ? These and many more questions are answered in Dr Karl's latest podcast. 

Mar 11, 2018

What would a biohacked future look like ? What would stop Supervillians creating seceret labs ?  Who polices the Cyborgs ? What is the controversial 5th pillar of biohacking ? Doctor Karl and Australia's most famous biohacker discuss.

Mar 4, 2018

Imagine visiting a doctor in the not too distant future. Afterwards she sends off data to a local gene lab to give your body a small upgrade. This is the world of biohacking. A place where biololgy is being controlled and shaped to our will - just like we have mastered computers. This episode bounces from In-Vivo to In-Silico and back again, visits the Last Universal Common Ancestor and involves a real human cyborg. Doctor Karl and Mr Meow Meow (Australia's most famous biohacker) explain this brave new world. Part One of a two part podcast.

Feb 25, 2018

Doctor Alice on Interstellar Chemistry. Doctor Karl answers the vital question "Do Fish Drink?". Dr Almost Jessica on where it is best to listen to podcasts.  A Deep edition. The Shirtloads podcast Team back for 2018.

Feb 18, 2018

Doctor Karl takes the Healthy Eating Quiz followed by a dietary checkup with Professor Claire Collins. Have you tried being Flexetarian ? 24 minutes of simple, healthy, free and inspiring suggestions. For maximum effect take the quiz before the podcast and compare your score with the Doctors.

Feb 11, 2018

From Floppy Hats, to Firebirds, The Dark Knight and the Broken Escalator Phenomenon. Doctor Karl is joined by Alice and Jessica as the explore the science behind three observed phenomena. The fire carrying birds of Northern Australia, the dark orbiter that will not die and why people brace themselves when there is no apparent danger.

Feb 4, 2018

Econobabble is an invented language that deliberately obscures what you think words describe. Words like "unemployment" and "subsidy" are simple at first glance. Wait till you find out what they really mean ! Are you wasting your time looking for certain jobs, investing your savings in the wrong place or voting against you best interests? Are your definitions up to date? 1962, William S. Burroughs suggested that language could be a virus in his book "The Ticket That Exploded". This 30 minute podcast might be the inoculation you've been looking for. 

Note: Statistics and examples are for illustrative purposes only. Some are out of date and possibly wrong. The interview was recorded this in late 2017 before the Queensland state election. 

Jan 28, 2018

August 17 2017 will go down in in Astrophysics history . A LIGO event triggered a 50 telescope 24 hour 360 degree operation which yielded astronomy gold.  Prof Tara Murphy was at ground zero when the results came in but she would have to be patient for the ripples to show up on Australian Radio Telescopes. In the data was the solution to a Cold war mystery. A compelling first hand account of a new frontier of discovery. 

Jan 21, 2018

If every death was a good death, then euthenasia would be widespread. Today most countries ban it. Why? Professor Linda Shields has unearthed some of the reasons and they are within living memory. She is a Professor of Rural Health and has written of an under-reported genocide.  One-third of a million disabled people (adults and children, male and female, physical and intellectual)  were killed during the Nazi regime and the people who did that killing were nurses. Her book is Nurses and Midwives in Nazi Germany: The "Euthanasia Programs. 

Jan 14, 2018

Dietitian, Care Collins gives Dr Karl a full 360 on a diet that is getting researchers pumped up. Imagine a menu that stimulated the blood brain barrier, made you think you were full early and might starve cancer cells. Sounds good but there are dangerous side effects in the long term. Ketogenic is a medical diet, is difficult to stick with and may actually have no long term weight loss benefits.  

Jan 7, 2018

We are what we eat. Organic, low fat, pesticide-free, High Fibre ; Consumers pay extra for foods with health benefits like these. But when food is packaged, how do you know what is really inside ? Welcome to the world of Food Fraud. This Shirtloads podcast stars two British Scientists who have investigated and written about it in their book "Sorting the Beef from the Bull". Bio-Geo-Chemist Richard Evershead and Biologist Nicola Temple expose food criminals with forensic science. (first podcast in 2017)

Dec 31, 2017

Marine biologist, diver and author Dr Helen Scales takes Dr Karl deep beneath the waves to share her passion for the ocean. Helen talks about the secret life of molluscs (shellfish). Hear about ‘clacking’ oysters, the legend of the Golden Fleece (sea silk) and a creature resembling a pinecone crossbred with a slug. There’s maths in the spirals, slave trading in the cowrie and just imagine a Harry Potter golden snitch of the sea… it’s real and plays an incredibly important role.

Dec 24, 2017
Dr Karl and Dr Alice put their heads together to discuss the latest research into hairy leaves and burning plants?  Dr Karl’s amazing fruit and veggie classification system. What do killer kangaroos have to do with sleeping in an unfamiliar bed? And, if you talk to dogs (like Dr Alice does) there’s an experiment you might just want to try.
Listen up as two Doctors tackle these and more. (First Podcast in 2016)
Dec 17, 2017

Dr Michael has found some fascinating new applications and treatments using worms. From gut health, treating Coeliac disease and healing chronic wounds - there's relief to be found in our tubular friends. Join Dr Karl with Dr Michael Smout (from the Australian Institute of Tropical Health & Medicine) at James Cook University. If words like bile, kilodaltons and cysts put you off - stick with this - it's an uplifting tale of research that could make us feel a lot better.

Dec 10, 2017

Dr Karl takes up the challenge of saving the world . Joining him are fellow doctors Derek Muller and Petr Lebedev. All three are in the Science communication business. So how do we convince the world to act on climate change ?

Dec 3, 2017

The people of Madagascar have fascinating stories. Did you know the first settlers came from South East Asia ?  That some of their traditions are almost 2,000 years old ? That 90% of Madagascan flora and fauna are found nowhere else on earth. Dr Karl and local guide Lala Harivelo takes us on a cultural tour of the world's 4th largest island.

Nov 26, 2017

Bill Nye is a household name in the United States. Former Engineer for Boeing, he has a real knack of explaining things. On the panel are Peter Lebedev (investigating how YouTube videos could be made better) and Tom Gordon from Sydney University (resident science communicator at the School of Physics).  Clear and accurate communication is fundamental to Science. In 2017, how do you counter beliefs that are ultimately harmful to others and the world at large ? Fascinating discussion.


Nov 19, 2017

Edwin Hubble is world famous for his discoveries. Henrietta Swan Leavitt is not. Henrietta was on a team that found a way to measure and classify the universe. They were employed as "human computers" (before the machines existed). Dava's book "The Glass Universe" refers to the half million glass slides Henrietta and other women used to document both the northern and southern skies. An inspiring story of collaboration and discovery.

Nov 12, 2017

How do you repel Cyber Espionage ? Architecture says Dr. Barry - The carefully designed structure of things like networks, software and the organisations around them. The latest wave of attacks is Ransom-ware. Dr Karl finds out how to avoid being held hostage. Dr Barry also gives Karl a bunch of tips for keeping your files secure at home and atwork. How often should you update your operating system software? Data backups - how many and where ? Wifi security, Script Kiddies and more. 

Nov 5, 2017
 Jules Faber, Illustrator and Cartoonist, talks with Dr Karl about the creative process using "Karl, The Universe & Everything" as a case study​​.  They talk the science of illustration - and the illustration of science. Why do some images speak louder ? Do cartoonists talk a primal language ? Jules is president of Australian Cartoonists' Association and Karl will also give you a preview of some of the hot stories in his latest book ""Karl, The Universe & Everything". Shameless self publicity ? You be the judge. 
Jules is a prominent Australian book illustrator, but this is his first adventure with Dr. Karl. His passion for science illustration stems from the late 90s when, while studying animation, Jules was leafing through one of Karl's earlier books. Thinking aloud that he could illustrate like the ones inside, and having never considered illustrating books before, this planted a seed. Years later, when asked to illustrate the first of the WeirDo series with Anh Do, Jules recalled that moment. Thus began a bucket-list ambition - to draw for Dr. Karl. The rest, as they say, is scientifically-accurate history. 
Oct 29, 2017

How do stock exchanges, nuclear power plants or the military check their computer security ? They hire penetration testers - Cyber security experts who secretly test both IT and organisational security. Dr Karl gets the low-down from Chris Gatford, director of a company called Hacklabs. You will not believe how some places make it easy to get inside.

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