It’s time for the Fun Kids Science Weekly, the weekly podcast that opens your minds to the most amazing things in the universe!
The Urban Birder David Lindo joins us this week to chat all about the secret world of birds, and we learn the difference between a dove and a pigeon! (You’ll never guess!)
In Science In The News we find out about how we could be growing meat in space and why?!
We answer your questions, this week we found out why whales blow up when they pass away on the beach?
We also catch up with Professor Hallux and Nurse Nanobot in their Map of Medicine, this week its on how different people talk, and in our new Deep Space High Series we learn all about the structure of our earth!
Here’s the episode below:
Dan: Hello. Welcome along to the smartest show in the solar system. This is the Fun Kids Science Weekly. My name is Dan. Welcome along. Thank you for being there. If you are looking for half an hour or so to speak, need you all around the universe to learn all the science secrets lurking nearby. Well you’ve stumbled across the right podcast, let me tell you, this week we’ll chat to a brilliant brainy bird watcher about how you can spot incredible beasts in the sky from your own back garden.
David Lindo: So the rock dove is the actual ancestor of the street pigeon. Which brings about the question, what’s the difference between a pigeon and a Dove? I saw that on your lips.
Dan: Also, we’ll take a trip to Deep Space High to look at what the Earth is made of.
Sam: So this handful of sand has made up the same Lego blocks as on Mercury and Venus?
Professor Pulsar: That’s right. And Mars, too.
Dan: And I’ve got your questions this week. They are on whales and computer code. That’s all on the way. Stay there. A brilliant Fun Kids Science Weekly is coming to you.
Science in the News: Growing Meat in Space, The Large Hadron Collider is BACK & Protesting Dumping Poo in Rivers
Dan: Let’s kick things off with your science in the news. An experiment has just ended on the International Space Station to find out if you can grow meat in space. Now, this is important because if humans are to live on other planets, we need to find food to keep us going. And they took some cells from a creature up to the ISS. They fed them things that they would need to grow in a lab, amino acids and some carbohydrates. And then food is made. Now, they tried out last week in space and it worked. So let’s see what happened.
Also, the Large Hadron Collider. It’s been switched back on. It’s a huge particle accelerator. It’s like a big donut and it throws tiny particles, tiny little things at each other over and over again to try and make them collide to make huge scientific discoveries. Now it’s been updated, it’s been turned off for a while, and now it can spot things moving 30 million times a second. And experts are using this to hope to find a fifth force. Now, we know four forces, gravity, electromagnetism and two nuclear ones that control the world. But experts think that by running tests, they can find a mystery fifth force.
And finally, thousands of people have been protesting across rivers through the UK to stop water companies dumping sewage in them. Sounds kind of gross, doesn’t it? Organised by the charity Surfers Against Sewage who have been on this show. They want to stop water that has nature living in it, water that creatures rely on, being used as a place where some companies put poo. And they’ve been protesting that this week.
Let’s catch up with one of our favourite geniuses on the show. Now it’s Professor Hallux. He’s back with his map of medicine. It’s the series where he takes a look inside your body with his mate and his good pal and his sidekick, Nurse Nanobot, and they have a look at why you feel sick and who can make you feel better. Now, this week it’s all about talking. Have you ever wondered why some people talk and speak differently from each other? Now, Professor Hallux, this time out, he’s having a look into the different reasons why people can have trouble speaking
Professor Hallux’s Map of Medicine – Episode 13: Speech & Speech Therapists
Nurse: Professor, I’m having a spot of tr-tr-trouble.
Professor Hallux: Hang on, hold up. Just saving my changes to my map of medicine. Just fitting the surgeon in next to the radiologist. Ta-da.
Nurse: Never mind that my voice has gone ugly and it’s flipping annoying.
Professor Hallux: It’s okay, I’m here. Didn’t quite catch what you said there. Your voice is sounding pretty strange, like you’ve got a stammer. Let me try a bit of oil on your speech circuit.
Nurse: I’m oily enough, thanks. This is really mean.
Professor Hallux: Now hang on. This might work.
Nurse: Ouch! Oh, actually, I think that’s helped there. Thanks, Prof.
Professor Hallux: All part of the service. Funnily enough, I’m just looking at speech and language therapists in my Map of Medicine and a stammer is something they help with. Not robots though, and certainly not using hammers.
Nurse: I should hope not. I’ve got loads of information on stammering too. Would you like to hear it? Now I can get the words out.
Professor Hallux: Great idea.
Nurse: Stammering, or stuttering, is a pretty common thing for kids to have. It just means you can find it hard to say words or sentences, maybe repeating sounds or syllables without meaning to – a bit like I just did. It can be a bit embarrassing. And the worst thing is that being embarrassed can make the stammer worse. It might make you feel better to know that stacks of famous people have stammers, from pop stars to prime ministers.
That’s a pop star called Gareth Gates. He has a stammer, but it hasn’t stopped him. Kids, robots and even adults can have stammers. Sometimes this is because something has happened to their brains, like a head injury or an illness like a stroke. Other times it is just something that they’ve always had and there just isn’t a known cause for it.
Professor Hallux: Fortunately, there are some clever people who can help those who have trouble talking and they’re called speech and language therapists. Let’s find out more in the Map of Medicine
Fortunately, there are some clever people who can help those who have trouble talking and they’re called speech and language therapists. Let’s find out more in the Map of Medicine. So speech and language therapists, the clue is in the name. Their job is to first of all find out why you’re having trouble talking so they can find the right way to help you. They help with many types of communication problems, and because your mouth, tongue and throat are also used in swallowing food, they can help if people have swallowing problems too.
Anyway, sometimes they’ll start by having a look in your mouth. Hello, your mouth is probably not that big. You’d need a very big toothbrush, wouldn’t you? This is just to see if there is a problem with your mouth or throat. Imagine if you had no teeth at all. That would make it very difficult to talk, although you’d think they’d spot that one pretty quickly. But it might be something smaller, like a tongue tie where your tongue can’t move as freely as it should or something to do with the shape of your palate. That’s the top of your mouth.
Did you hear that? Are you sure? Let’s just check.
Nurse: Oi! Turn that thing down.
Professor Hallux: Pardon me. Nothing wrong with your hearing, nurse. Hearing tests are another sort of test that’s important when trying to work out why talking is difficult. Hearing is connected to speaking because if you can’t hear very well, it’s harder to learn words because you can’t hear them in the first place. But let’s assume everything is where it should be and your hearing is fine.
Another thing they’ll want to know is if you can concentrate on things like reading or playing. If you get distracted. Hang on. Did I leave my trousers on the line last night? Sorry. Where was I? As I said, if you get distracted easily. Hello. Hi, mum.
Nurse: Professor! Concentrate!
Professor Hallux: Sorry, mum. Got to go. Sorry. Got distracted there. Some people get way more distracted than others and that can affect how many words they learn. This can hold up speaking and reading too. Concentration is all to do with your brain. So how your brain makes sense of things is important too. All things the therapists will be investigating.
Nurse: Wow. There are loads of reasons why people find it hard to talk. So what sort of things can a therapist do to help, Professor?
Professor Hallux: Well, it does depend, but here’s a clue.
She sells. She shells. Oh, I nearly got it.
They might give you a tongue twister to practise. Your mouth is full of muscles and the more exercise they get by making weird and wacky sounds, the more sounds they can help you make. Sometimes slowing things down can help too.
Oh, that’s lovely and relaxing. If you’ve got a stammer, taking your time to answer and using tricks to stay relaxed can help you communicate more easily. Oh, I could just have a little snooze. Got any disgusting details for us today, nurse? We’ve just got time before I nod off.
Nurse: We all know spitting is a very bad habit, but saliva that’s the stuff that makes your spit is very important. Did you know if you had no spit, It would be almost impossible to talk. That’s a good reason to keep your spit safely inside your mouth.
Professor Hallux: So say it. Don’t spray it. That’s enough spit and polish. We’ll see you next time for more adventures on our Map of Medicine.
Answering Your Questions: Why do Whales Sometimes Explode After They’ve Died? & Why do Computers Turn Words into Binary Code?
Dan: Let’s get to your questions then. If you’ve got anything sciencey that you want answered on this show, you need to leave it for me as a review over on Apple podcasts. It’s really easy to do. Charlie’s managed it. Thank you so much, Charlie. It’s a gruesome one. I warn you about this.
Charlie wants to know why do whales sometimes explode after they’ve died? Have you ever seen this? Sometimes it’s on the tele, on the news. It’s strange and it’s gruesome. Huge whales that have sadly died and they’re lying on a beach, normally, they will sometimes explode with their inside, with guts being thrown everywhere. Now this happens because when a whale’s organs are decomposing, when they’re breaking down, which is what happens when a creature stops living, they make gas. Now they make lots of gas.
The problem is the whale’s skin and blubber is quite thick. It’s quite strong. There’s no way for that gas to leak out. There’s nowhere for it to escape. So more gas is made and then you’ve got more and more gas in a small space, the pressure builds and builds and then it bursts and it explodes. Charlie, thank you for the question.
This one’s from Kio. Quite a complicated one. I’ll do my best. Kio wants to know why do computers turn words into binary code? Have you ever seen binary code? They sometimes use it in Sci-Fi movies to show that something is from the future. They’re long lists of ones and zeros, and that’s all they are. And a different combination of ones and zeros tells a computer and tells machines what they need to do. It’s a language that computers understand. They read those ones and those zeros like we might read words.
Now it’s because the machine in a computer is made of a lot of switches. And for it to do something, it turns those switches on or off. Now in binary code, a zero means the switch is turned off. A one means it’s turned on. So a long code of ones and zeros will tell the computer what needs to be on, what needs to be off, and that will make the computer do something that you want it to do. So that’s what’s happening all the time. Kio, thank you for the question.
If there’s something you would like answered on the Fun Kids Science Weekly next week, look us up on Apple podcasts. There’s a comment box. Leave us review. That’s where you put your comments. Drop your name as well so I can say hello. And five stars will really help me see it. I look forward to seeing yours next week.
Interview with Urban Birdwatcher David Lindo:
Dan: It’s the Fun Kids Science Weekly. Got a very special guest for you right now, someone who wants to help you look into the sky and spot some incredible wildlife that’s up there. It’s the urban birder. David Lindo in the Fun Kids studio with us. David, thank you for being there.
David Lindo: Listen, it’s very kind of you to invite me, and I’m happy to be here. And hello, kids.
Dan: Well, this book is stunning. Shows us so many different birds from all around the world, things that we can see in the sky, things that we might need to go to other countries to see. But what I want to know, first off, something that really grabbed me. How are birds living dinosaurs?
David: Well, that’s interesting. They’ve basically evolved from a line of dinosaurs which were feathered, whilst the dinosaurs were all running around. But it’s interesting to also note that the Tyrannosaurus Rex is thought to have had feathers as well. So I think feathers was a bit of a thing there back then. It wasn’t just the domain of birds, but there were lineage of the dinosaurs that kind of evolved into this sort of gliding, climbing, gliding thing and then they developed into flight over time.
Dan: It’s interesting you talk about feathers. Why are feathers pretty much exclusive to birds? What is it about birds that they need feathers? How does it really help them out?
David: That’s a very interesting question actually, because there’s no sort of simple answer. I can tell you why they need it now because the feathers are lightweight for start and also they are very easy to maintain and they keep the birds warm and they’re waterproof and they help the bird to fly. And don’t forget that flying birds especially are quite light. Their bones are hollow, which doesn’t mean they’re not strong, they’re just hollow to allow them to sort of get more buoyancy. And you don’t want something like scales on you to kind of weigh you down and hairs like we have and your dog or your cat might have don’t cut it when it comes to trying to fly.
So feathers are great because they kind of combine together and they form a surface that can then it’s strong enough to pick up on currents and to use the currents to flap and fly, but also delicate enough and soft enough to be light and easy to care for.
Dan: Now, you’re known as the urban birder. You grew up searching for birds in a city, big built up city, huge buildings everywhere.
David: I still do.
Dan: How was that? What’s it like trying to spot these birds in a big jungle of massive skyscrapers?
David: Well, it’s actually easier than you might think because birds are everywhere. Step out of your house, look out of your window, just look up and you’ll see birds, because a lot of birds fly, they’ve got wings, they don’t care where they’re flying because the sky’s an arena, it’s an amazing place for birds can inhabit that’s unique everywhere. You can find it everywhere. But yeah, it’s easy because a lot of the places that you would imagine birds to be in the countryside are also actually in cities. Even our buildings, some of our old buildings can, to a bird, seem like a cliff.
So they use some of the things that we do or make as substitutes for their natural habitat. But also we have parks, we have reservoirs and lakes and little woods. All those areas are basically replications of what could be found outside of cities. So for birds, it doesn’t matter. So to find a bird or find birds, you need to look at your landscape, look around you, look at your neighbourhood and try and see it as a bird would. Are there bushes for me to nest and to rest in? Are there places for me to swim if I’m a duck? Look at the world that way and you’ll find birds a lot easier.
Dan: What is it about birds for you? When you started looking into the skies to search for these creatures, there are so many different animals that you could be really fascinated by. You could have got low and looked through the mud at creepy crawlies. You could be a cat, man, a dog lover. What is it about birds that’s really hooked you in?
David: Well, when I was a kid, I was really interested in invertebrates. So in other words, insects, things without backbones, of which there are plenty in your back garden if you got one, or in the park. So I started there, but then I realised that they were being fed on by birds and birds are a bit more obvious to see. And as I said earlier, just look up and you’ll see them.
So they kind of captivated me. And as a kid, I didn’t know what they were. So sparrows were baby birds, starlings were mummy birds, blackbirds were daddy birds. That’s how I started. And then I went to the library and I found a book and I started reading and I realised there’s different types of birds, and that’s when the interest really took off.
Dan: Where is your journey searching for birds taking you? I imagine if you went around the world, you could see some stunning birds.
David: Yeah, well, there’s stunning birds in this country, in Britain, but I’ve been all over the world, I’ve been to every single continent, even Antarctica, and it’s really interesting because there’s birds in the UK that we see, like the Magpie and Robins, and there are similar species or even the same species elsewhere in the world. You can see a Magpie in Britain, but also see it in Japan. It’s the same species. So some birds are found throughout the world, whereas others are only found in certain parts. And then there’s others that are found in really remote jungles or Islands. So it makes it really exciting trying to locate those birds, as well as to see the birds that are common in other areas as well. So it’s never ending.
Dan: Talking about common birds, I wonder if you could help me out. I’ve got a problem with pigeons, in that I’ve been told that a lot of pigeons are actually rock doves. Do you know about this? Does David know about it? Does the bird man know about this? I’m constantly being told, I go, what’s that pigeon doing down there? And then someone will say, oh, that’s a rock Dove and I never know which ones which what to do. Can you clear it up for me? Is it true that the majority of pigeons that I see are actually rock doves?
David: All the pigeons you see practically on the streets will be descendants of the rock Dove. And the rock Dove used to be a bird that was quite common around our coasts, in rocky areas and cliffs and what have you. But the pigeon, after the chicken has been domesticated for a really long time. I mean, 4000 years, maybe longer. And they took birds, the rock doves and they domesticated them and made them into different varieties.
And then I think about maybe 400 years ago, they began to escape and they’ve been in London since then really, and in other spots around the world. So the rock dove is the actual ancestor of the street pigeon. Which brings about the question, what’s the difference between a pigeon and a Dove? Yes, I saw that on your lips…there’s no difference, it’s just the word.
Dan: So if I see a pigeon, I can call it a rock Dove or a pigeon. It doesn’t really matter?
David: It doesn’t matter at all. But people tend to call doves. The birds that are smaller, smaller pigeons or white pigeons are doves and ugly pigeons are pigeons, which I think is very unfair.
Dan: Well, listen, we were talking just a second ago about your beginning searching for birds through the sky, realising that they were eating the invertebrates you’re fascinated with. Any tips for helping out someone listening who maybe wants to get into bird watching, how they can replicate the wild a bird would normally live in, maybe in their back garden? What can they do to give themselves the best chance of attracting some brilliant birds?
David: Well, if you have a garden, if you’re lucky enough to have a garden, try and ask your parents if you can make a nature reserve in part of it, in part of the garden, a small part doesn’t have to be that big and allow the vegetation there to grow. Don’t cut it. The weeds that you may be told are growing, there are actually not weeds. Nothing is a weed really in that respect. Over time you get lots of insects and butterflies and all sort of sorts of stuff. So it’d be really nice to just watch and see what colonises your little nature reserve.
And over that additional period of time you will get birds coming and they’ll be feeding on the caterpillars and on the worms and what have you. And you can attract birds in there. And also to help bring in more birds is maybe you can possibly set up a feeding station. So again, ask your parents to get you a bird table, maybe hang some nuts from a tree, if you got a tree, and just see what birds come in, there’s plenty of food you can put out there for them. Really nice mixed sort of seeds and peanuts, as well as ,if you can mealworms, which are very good for birds like Robins and blackbirds, who don’t really like climbing on top of feeders to peck at nuts. So you can attract a whole array of different birds.
But be careful, make sure that you try and clean your feeders maybe once a week or once every other week, because if you don’t clean your feeders, it may start spreading disease. And there’s some birds like the chaffinch, which is a beautiful bird. The males are very pinky colour and the females brown. All the green Finch, both of which have really suffered over the last, say, 10/15 years in our gardens because they have caught diseases that have killed them off, basically.
Dan: Now, just looking at this book, The Extraordinary World of Birds, and I’ve said before, I mean, it’s a stunning read. There’s so many different birds that are shown in so many different ways with stunning illustrations. There, there are my words. Just run us through it, David. Run us through what you’ve done here. And the idea to make this really dazzling book.
David: Well, it’s kind of like an encyclopaedia. It starts off by talking about what a bird is, obviously, the fact that they’ve descended from dinosaurs and talks about the parts of a bird and why they have certain types of beaks, for example, and then talks about their behaviour. Why do birds, why are they aggressive towards each other? How do they attract a mate? All that sort of stuff.
And then we look at things like migration and then we look at the different types of habitats that they inhabit, forests, estuaries, cities, even. And then we talk about families of birds, which is really interesting. I find that fascinating how birds have evolved to do different things. And then finally, how we can help birds, how birds relate to us in our lives and how you, no matter how old you are, no matter where you live, you can actually help protect and save the birds on our planet.
Dan: Well, it’s amazing. It’s The Extraordinary World of Birds. Just lastly, David, if birds were Pokemon and if you were travelling all around the world, as you have, looking at birds, what’s the hardest one to find? What’s the one that everyone with the camera that loves birds, the one that they can almost never get, the trickiest bird to get on camera, what would it be?
David: Well, there’ll be several. I think it would be the birds that haven’t been seen for for many, many years. I mean, the one that I’d be looking for if I was out doing that sort of thing, would be a bird called the Eskimo Curlew. The Eskimo Curlew is a shore bird, so it walks around on the mud. It’s got a long, curved bill and it used to live in America or actually North America. And there used to be millions of them, millions. But then us Europeans came over to North America and unfortunately, we shot all, most of them, if not all. And they haven’t been seen since the 60s. But I still believe they’re there somewhere. So I’d love to go and try and find one. That’s my life ambition, actually.
Dan: The Eskimo Curlew. Well, listen, thank you so much for bringing us this book and telling us all about it. David Lindo, thank you for joining us.
Dangerous Dan: The Carolina Reaper
Dan: It’s time for this week’s Dangerous Dan, where we look at the most mean and cruel things in the universe. This week, it’s all about one of the fiercest foods in the world. The Carolina Reaper is the world’s hottest chilli, officially. Now, do you ever have chilli peppers on your pizza or something? Maybe set your tongue on fire a little bit, maybe on a salad? Well, there’s something called the Scoville scale, and it measures the spiciness of food.
Now, a jalapeno pepper, which is something that you might have on a pizza. It measures to about 8,000 units on the Scoville scale. Tabasco sauce that you can get sometimes you might have that. It gets up to about 10,000. The Carolina Reaper. Listen to this. Can reach up to 2.2 million on the Scoville scale. Guinness World Records have officially claimed it as the hottest chilli pepper on the planet. And it looks mean. It’s bright red, quite fat. It’s about the size of your hand. It can be wrinkly, too. It just looks mean. And it’s been made in South Carolina, a state in America.
Now, in a pepper, it’s the capsicum that gives the spice its heat. It’s a compound found in the fruit of a plant. And it’s the part near the seeds. If you eat this, you’ll start to sweat uncontrollably. You’ll start hiccupping. You’ll want to throw your tongue on Antarctica. And that’s what it’s designed to do. It’s almost a defence mechanism. It’s a way for these peppers to defend themselves against predators that might want to eat them. Now, the most amazing part about this pepper, it’s been made it’s been developed by a pepper maker, a pepper grower, a proper pepper person called Ed Curry, who wanted to make something painfully destructive. And he’s managed it with this pepper that measures 2.2 million on the Scoville scale. The Carolina Reaper is going on our Dangerous Dan list.
Deep Space High Earth Watch – Episode 3: MINERAL COMPOSITION
Dan: It’s time to take a trip now to the smartest school in the solar system. We’re headed to Deep Space High to have a lesson with Professor Pulsar. And this is from the Earth Watch series where we’re actually looking back down to our world and finding out what it’s made of. This week, it’s all about the elements and the minerals that make up the Earth.
Sam: Hey, Pulsar, I heard there’s this one planet that’s totally made of diamonds, makes the Earth feel a bit…boring. Maybe it’s just this trip that’s boring.
Professor Pulsar: Hey cheeky! Most planets, even diamond ones, are made from the same stuff you find on Earth. So yet again, Sam, if you want to learn about the universe, the best place to start is with the planet you’re standing on.
Sam: I’m standing on some rocks on a beach. It’s kind of nice, but still not as cool as a diamond planet. That sounds so bling-tastic.
Professor Pulsar: This rock you’re standing on is a mixture of minerals. And minerals are the building blocks of rocks and everything else that makes up a planet.
Sam: Building blocks…like Lego? So different combinations made different types of rocks?
Professor Pulsar: That’s right. But nearly all the minerals that make up the Earth come from just eight elements.
Sam: So elements are the building blocks of the minerals, like different sized Lego bricks.
Professor Pulsar: That’s a good way of looking at it. The four most common elements that make up the minerals in the rocks here on Earth are oxygen, silicon, aluminium and iron – can’t beat a bit of sea air. You see, we think of oxygen as being something in the air we breathe, but it’s under our feet too. Nearly half of all the minerals in the Earth’s crust contain oxides – that’s a form of oxygen.
Sam: Kinds of weird that we’re breathing in the same building blocks you might find in a planet a billion miles away.
Professor Pulsar: Another element you find all over the universe is iron. Like many other planets, it’s what makes up the core at the centre of the Earth. Think about that the next time you shut in your iron garden gate and check out all this sand.
Sam: What sand got to do with planets?
Professor Pulsar: Sand is made of compounds containing Silicon, something that’s very common in the universe. You find Silicon in the Sun and stars and in some asteroids, too. Nearly a quarter of the Earth’s crust is made of Silicon compound. And we know that the planets near our sun have lots of Silicon compounds too.
Sam: So this handful of sand has made up the same Lego blocks as on Mercury and Venus.
Professor Pulsar: That’s right. And Mars too. Planets that are further from the sun tend to have fewer mineral composites in common with planets like Earth, which are nearer, they’re often more gassic, which scientists think happens because gases get blown further by the solar winds. But the building blocks are the same wherever in the universe you are.
Sam: And with building blocks, you can build almost anything, even a diamond planet!
Professor Pulsar: It’s certainly possible…
Dan: And that’s it for this week’s Fun Kids Science Weekly. If there’s something you would like answered on the show next week, you need to leave it as a review over on Apple Podcasts. While you’re there, you can hear some of the brilliant podcasts that we’ve made. There’s some on science, there’s some on history, there’s some on sports there. You can get them also on the Free Fun Kids app, at funkidslive.com and Fun Kids = we are children’s radio station which you can listen to all around the country on your dab digital radio on that free Fun Kids app and at funkidslive.com.Add a comment