Episode #14: Antimatter, cane rats and Mephisto

The fourteenth episode of Consilience is out! You can download the mp3 here (33.1mb) and the file’s page on Archive.org is here.

H. Mephisto, a face only a mother could love.

Teaching Angela to appreciate history

On June 15th 1752 Benjamin Franklin may have conducted his famous kite-in-a-lightning-storm experiment. He suggested using rods made of conducting materials to charge a Layden jar. Having realized this may be dangerous, he likely conducted the experiment with a kite instead. (Michael at one point says 1715, when he meant 1750). The letter is available here and here.

Feedback and Follow ups

Angela mistakenly called a bat a rodent in the last episode, doh! Bats are not rodents, a bat is a mammal in the order chiroptera, rodents are mammals in the order rodentia.


A team of physicists at CERN have created and trapped antihydrogen for 1000 seconds (roughly 15 minutes). This exciting result will allow them to gain new insight into the nature and behavior of antimatter.

CITES has proposed farming bees and cane rats in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in an attempt to curb the bush meat trade. Locals need to hunt wildlife in the DRC in order to survive and, unfortunately, endangered animals such as Gorillas are often killed for their meat.

A team of researchers, led by Elias Siores at the Institute for Materials Research and Innovation at the University of Bolton in the UK, have developed a renewable energy generator that works in all kinds of weather.

School children in KwaZulu-Natal are being offered a cash incentive to stay in school and not get HIV. CAPRISA is offering teenagers up to $400 over a period of 18 months, for achieving good grades and staying HIV-free, in a study to determine whether or not such direct incentives can curb risky sexual behavior.

Feature: Interview

This week we interview Esta van Heerden and Mariana Erasmus, co-authors of the paper entitled “Nematoda from the Terrestrial deep subsurface of South Africa” regarding their groundbreaking discovery of a nematode worm living in the deep subsurface.


Skeptics in the Pub Durban – Thursday 23rd June, 18:00, Pizetta, Davenport Road

Sci-fi Quote

“Scientists believe no experiment is a failure, that even a mistake advances the evolution of understanding.” – Dr Katherine Pulaski, Star Trek: The Next Generation, “Unnatural Selection”. http://www.archive.org/download/ConsilienceEpisode14/Consilience14.mp3

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2 Responses to Episode #14: Antimatter, cane rats and Mephisto

  1. anon says:

    I’m having a bit of trouble with the audio levels of episode 14. When Angela speaks it’s so soft you have to struggle to hear what she’s saying but when Michael or Owen talks or when everyone laughs, it’s so loud it sounds like it’s going to tear my speakers apart. Tried several media players.

    • Hi Anony Mouse… Yeah, sorry. We’re in the process of getting new equipment which will hopefully solve this problem. In the mean time, I’ll try to up the levelling we do on the audio.

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