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A couple of weeks ago I mentioned a National Science Week event called Hypothesis that’s coming up on at BMW Edge Theatre on Friday 14 August. At the time I promised more details. Well, here you go. Filled with physical feats, Teacup Tumble will perform their acrobatic show, ‘Its Science not Circus’. Join Simon Pampena as he tried to save the world in his hilarious show ‘Supa Mega Maths Battle for Planet Earth’ .

Inspired by the microscopic world, Scale Free Network will bring the very small to life using art – check out the hidden secrets of the Yarra River and take a close look at the beautiful detail of a butterfly tongue. I’ll be your chaperone at 'Speed Meet a Geek' where you will have the chance meet some of Melbourne’s most charming and gregarious scientists.

More . . .

Never Forget a Face

Scientists from the University of Washington have a warning for you: if you’ve ever upset a crow, watch out. There’s every chance that the crow will be out for revenge when next you cross paths, although a Dick Cheney mask might help.   More . . .

It's That Time Again

National Science Week is fast approaching and as usual there is heaps happening. In no particular order, NASA astronaut Megan McArthur will be in town to discuss life in space. Lawrence Krauss will be illuminating the physics of Star Trek and Canadian paleontologist Scott Sampson will take us to Dinosaur Island. At Melbourne’s famous Queen Victoria Market we’ll catch up with The Cheeseman and enjoy some sugary science at Suga. I’ll be joined by Adrian Richardson to learn how to cook the perfect steak.

I’m also especially looking forward to Hypothesis at Federation Square. This is an event like no other. With comedy, music, circus performers, 3D projections, wine science and – of course – great cutting edge research and innovation. Watch this space for more details.

You can check out Dr Karl's science week promo at www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1kyk-NUGkQ

Do you hear what I see?

Despite a previous entry, I’m not obsessed with the human sense of hearing. However, I did come across some interesting research that (eventually) lead to this story, which I shared with listeners of ‘Einstein-a-go-go’ w couple of weeks ago.Photo by Rob Parkin

The phrase “echolocation” was first coined in 1944 by Donald Griffin (Harvard University), while he was investigating the navigational behaviour of bats. Of course bats are not the only animals to use this technique. Toothed whales (such as dolphins, porpoises, orcas and sperm whales) also use echolocation, as some birds, shrews and tenrecs. Some of the sounds are at frequencies that are audible to humans and some are not, but that’s ok – they’re not usually talking to us. More . . .

So, a scientist walks into a bar . . .

I notice that researchers in Italy have published further evidence that humans show a preference for information that comes in through their right ear over that which arrives via their left. In principle this asymmetry is quite well known, and I seem to recall that this preference is not exclusive to humans. Image by adselwood This time, however, Dr. Luca Tommasi and Daniele Marzoli from the University "Gabriele d'Annunzio" took a somewhat novel approach.

While most previous studies have been based on laboratory settings, Tommasi and Marzoli took their studies to street, or rather to the nightclub. They were specifically examining if hearing through either ear is preferred for processing verbal information. What better place to test this in the “real world” than in the noisy world of the nightclub, and it’s great to think that they had a chance to have a bit of fun on the job. More . . .