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Chip and Moo, Discovering Muscles in 2012

Chip and Moo training for Mr NaturalAre you feeling natural? Are you perhaps feeling very natural, but somehow still not satisfied? Are you looking for a greater natural challenge. If this sounds like you, the Mr Natural Body Building Competition might be just what you’re after. If, on the other hand this sounds a like an utter tool-fest that desperately needs to be ridiculed, rest easy. Chip and Moo are back, planning an all-new assault on the Mr Natural 2012 title. The boys were disappointed with their 2010 “Somewhat Commended” award and have redoubled their efforts, including aromatherapy, hypnotherapy and micro-massage. You can read about Chip and Moo's previous efforts at blackforestradio.com and follow their progress at chipandmoo.com - guaranteed to improve your self-esteem.

Time, it is a-changin'

Image by AZRainmanEarly in 2012, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) will meet in Geneva to talk about time. Specifically they will be considering a proposal to change the way we keep time, away from Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and towards the more precise time kept by hundreds of atomic clocks around the world. Why are they considering this? Simply because determining “clock” time by the passing of the sun over any point of the Earth’s surface is inaccurate.

Evolution has tuned us into the rising and setting of the sun and it's tempting to assume that the Earth (and its daily rotation) is constant. It’s not. More . . .

Paper Chase

Image by GiantsFanaticI’ve become more and more disappointed with news media over recent years. I know I’m not alone in this, but a few days ago I asked myself why – what did I really want from the media? I mean it’s very easy to criticise, but could I articulate what the problem is, or – better still – could I offer any solutions. The answer is maybe.

I analysed the morphology of a popular Australian newspaper, which revealed two interesting things. The first was a list of basic newspaper content; the second was a very interesting analysis of the anatomy of the newspaper. Let me explain. More . . .

Think 'til You Drop!

Great Big Science Gig, touring Australia again in AugustMonths ago it occurred to me that I should write a quick post about all the excellent events that are coming up in August, before things get too busy. Unfortunately - perhaps ironically - preparations for all these activities have contributed to a pretty busy couple of months and now things are just about to kick off.

We’re about to head off on this year’s Great Big Science Gig (GBSG) tour, with some new songs and new demos. We’re very happy to back at The Front (Canberra) and at Burnie Civic Centre. This year we’re also performing at The Exford Hotel (Melbourne) the Glasgow Arms Hotel (Sydney) for the first time. GBSG will also appear at 'Ultimo Night of Science', 'Market of the Mind' and 'How Smart Are You'.

Market of the Mind - cerebral, scientific, social and sometimes sillyOn 11 August I will be at QV square in Melbourne, MCing ‘Birdman Sandwich’, part of the ‘Science Sandwich’ program. This will feature successful (and less successful) entrants to the Moomba Birdman Rally and we'll discuss the aeronautics and physics pertinent to jumping off a bridge with a passive, home-made flying suit/system.

I will also be MCing ‘GM Food: A Dinner Discussion, Should GM crops contribute to global food security?’ on 10 August. The issue of food supply and production is a big one, so this should be a absorbing conversation.

Faraday's Candle, touring to Geelong for the first timeI’m also excited that ‘Faraday’s Candle’ will have a short season in Geelong. This time at St Matthew's Church.

Among more than 100 other National Science Week events in Victoria (and more than 750 across Australia) you should also consider 'Living Science at Queen Victoria Market', the 'Raveling the World' exhibition and 'Waiter, Waiter, there's a dye in my soup'. Check out the National Science Week site for more event details and I'll see you there!

Tesla and the Teenage Brain

Nikola Tesla was probably a genius. Even as a youngster he was clever and inventive. He may well have been rather different to modern teenagers, but that does not mean that there is not connection. Tesla was awarded more than 100 patents and is credited with the invention of the first automobile speedometer, fluorescent lighting, alternating current (AC), the radio, the first remote controlled toy (a boat) and wireless electricity (I can’t wait for that to become a household reality – real wireless living). He also invented the rotating magnetic field. This is a magnetic field which changes direction at a constant angular rate.

A rotating magnetic field makes it possible to maintain a homogeneous magnet field. It is based on such a field that MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) machines operate, but it needs to be a really, really strong magnetic field.

This sort of magnetic field is produced and maintained by a superconducting magnet, made up of lots and lots of coiled wire, through which an electric current is passed.

What's all this got to with teenagers? Fair question, keep reading. More . . .