Antarctic melt; brain enhancing devices, atomic clocks and anti-bat moth sounds


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Melting Antarctic Ice Shelf Nothing can stop the collapse of the Antarctic Western Ice shelf. That’s according to NASA this week. Key glaciers in Antarctica are irreversibly retreating, and according to the scientists studying this region they’ve reached a state of irreversible retreat - the point of no return.

Brain enhancing devices If given the option, would you think faster or increase your attention span? Neuroscientists now say that non-invasive brain stimulation using electrical currents could do just that. The technology is still fairly new but is now being sold by commercial companies often marketed to gamers suggesting that it could increase your attention and make you think faster. But do they actually work? Inside Science sent Melissa Hogenboom to Oxford try one out and to discuss the science behind the hype.

Black holes How big can black holes get? A listener asks and Professor Andy Fabien, Director of the Institute of Astronomy at Cambridge University answers.

Optical and atomic clocks At this week’s ‘Quantum Timing, Navigation and Sensing’ Showcase at the National Physical Laboratory, researchers are working on sensors that allow us to see through walls; super-accurate atomic clocks the size of matchboxes; and GPS trackers that can elude an enemy jamming the signal. We sent Inside Science reporter Tracey Logan to work on her time management.

Bat jamming moth noises and other insects that go bump, chirrup, squeak in the night Inside Science’s resident entomologist, Dr. Tim Cockerill has been exploring a whole soundscape that’s hidden from our limited hearing range. Including, eavesdropping on a secret sonic arms race between echo-locating bats and bat-jamming acoustics created by the genitals of a hawkmoth.

Producer: Fiona Roberts