#132 Impact of drought; monkeys using sex toys

#132 Impact of drought; monkeys using sex toys

By New Scientist

Droughts in many parts of Europe are the worst in 500 years. Even as temperatures begin to cool and some rain begins to fall, it may be a long time till we’re out of the woods. The team explores the impact the droughts are having on things like food production, energy and transport, and wildlife.

Monkeys use sex toys too - who knew? Long-tailed macaques in a Balinese sanctuary have figured out how to use stone tools to masturbate. The team finds out what’s going on…

Radiation exposure is one of the biggest issues we’re going to face if we want to get people to Mars. The team looks at new research that shows just how extreme the dangers are, and they look at the possible consequences.

Quantum computer experts want to build a brain-like computer out of giant atoms. The team finds out how physicists plan to use laser beams to build an artificial neural network, and hear what Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation has to do with it. 


This week Rowan is delighted to chat with BAFTA-winning sound artist Chris Watson. Chris shares gorgeous soundscapes recorded in three threatened ecosystems, the Vatnajökull Glacier in Iceland, the Namib desert in Africa, and the Long Shore Drift off the coast of East Anglia. The sounds are being used in a collaboration with the Manchester Collective, to bring to life Michael Gordon’s cult work ‘Weather’. Chris was a founder member of legendary Sheffield band Caberet Voltaire, who happen to be the first band Rowan ever saw live. 


BONUS: Stay till the end to hear the sound of saiga antelopes on the steppe grasslands of Kazakhstan, where they have rebounded after being on the brink of extinction.


On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Michael Le Page, Karmela Padavic-Callaghan and Alice Klein. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts.

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