Episode #18: Monkeys on trial, fish tools and ant bullies

The eighteenth episode of Consilience is out! You can download the mp3 here (17.2mb) and the file’s page on Archive.org is here.

Teaching Angela to appreciate history

July 10th, 1925 saw the start of the Scopes trial, which pitted a high school teacher against the wrath of Tennessee creationists.

No monkeys were put on trial during the "Scopes Monkey Trial"

Listener feedback

We received a correction of a few small errors in our discussion of Quantum Theory in Episode 16.


An article published in Astronomy and Astrophysics details the discovery of bleach in space. We discuss the formation of hydrogen peroxide in space and what this means for the existence of water in our solar system.

Researchers at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich have induced defensive mechanisms in a species of acorn-dwelling ants.

Fish are closing the gap! According to a just-published study, fish use tools (or maybe proto-tools depending on your preferred definition “tool”). The set of pictures of the fish doing its thing is here.

Owen delves deep into the murky waters of Autism Western Cape and their recent conference on treating Autistic children with pseudo-medicine instead of giving them the specialized care they deserve. He hasn’t made eye contact since.

Cool Instruments

In the inaugural edition of Cool Instruments we look at the billion pixel telescope to be launched, by the European Space Agency, known as Gaia. This telescope is intended to create a 3-D map of our galaxy, detect gazillions of extra-solar planets and measure 500 000 quasars.

Sci-fi Quote
“Insufficient facts always invite danger.” CMDR Spock, Star Trek (the original series), “Space Seed” http:/

Nearly every Thursday, your hosts are at the O’Hagan’s pub quiz (map), starting at around 8pm.  Please feel free to join us!

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4 Responses to Episode #18: Monkeys on trial, fish tools and ant bullies

  1. Robert says:

    I have a very particular definition of “tool”.

  2. Chris Sham says:

    Just to shame Angela a little: A 16-year old student I tutor missed a few weeks of school (and our extra lessons), so she taught herself the section on redox reactions. And then got 92% for her chem exam. You now have until the end of August to learn this stuff properly (at least well enough that you could give a basic but useful explanation of it) and regain your honour. 🙂

    • Angela says:

      Yeah, I think that if I applied myself I could do it. I did get an A for science in matric (thank goodness for physics!), so I’m not totally dof. I just think that my teenage self was a little too preoccupied with boys and not nearly serious enough about learning. When Owen invents his time machine I’ll go back and smack myself around a little bit.

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