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Catalyst (New York, N.Y.)
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1.

Battery Powered Homes

There's a power revolution heading for our homes- a device that allows you to take power into your own hands. It's batteries, home batteries, and they've been called the holy grail of renewables- the key to the transition away from fossil fuels. Within five years, over a million Australian homes are expected to have one. So what do you need to know about this disruptive technology- a technology that offers every home the potential for 24 hour renewable power? In this much anticipated Catalyst special, Dr. Jonica Newby gives us the A to Z of home batteries- how they work, why you will want one, how they will change the way we consume electricity, and what they mean for the future of the nation's and the world's power generation.
Online
2016
2.

Oxytocin / Crown of Thorns Starfish

It turns out oxytocin is responsible for a lot more than just love. New science has found that this amazing molecule also influences how sociable each of us is, allowing us to 'tune in' to the social information around us, perceiving it in much higher resolution. Scientists are now applying this new knowledge in the lab, and as reporter Dr. Graham Phillips finds out, they're discovering oxytocin's great potential to treat social disorders, like drug addiction and alcoholism. Also, despite a new, potent injectable to help divers kill record numbers of Crown of Thorns Starfish, the plague continues to eat huge swathes of the Great Barrier Reef down to white skeletons. Reporter Anja Taylor visits some QLD scientists working on creative ways of controlling their numbers, from robot starf [...]
Online
2016
3.

Out of Africa

What can modern medicine learn from the people with the most diverse DNA on the planet? Only by working with the San desert communities in southern Africa can geneticists trace the deepest roots of the human family tree. In a world first, Professor Vanessa Hayes is searching for the origins of modern society- the DNA evidence of when hunter-gatherers became farmers. Mark Horstman joins her on a unique road trip through exotic Namibia, in a quest with far-reaching implications for everyone. As Vanessa reveals the bedrock of human genetic diversity, her work exposes some startling truths about racial inequality in modern medicine.
Online
2016
4.

Science of Sci-Fi Films / Mercury

From Matt Damon's recent hit, The Martian, to Interstellar, Gravity and long-running favorite, Star Trek, Hollywood is obsessed with science fiction. But how accurate is it, in terms of the science? Dr. Graham grabs a bucket of popcorn and sits down with astrophysicist, Dr. Katie Mack and physicist, Professor Lawrence Krauss to review Hollywood's treatment of science. Even the not-so-plausible cartoon series, The Jetsons, gets an affectionate mention. Also, is the level of mercury in the fish we're eating safe for our health? While scientists team up with Mona curators to monitor the effects of mercury contamination in Tassie's picturesque Derwent River, an avid Sydney fisherman has his catch and a strand of his own hair analyzed for mercury levels with surprising results.
Online
2016
5.

Micro-Plastics / Tasmania Tectonics

Although microbeads from rinse off cosmetics have received a lot of attention lately, the tiny plastics most often being found in our seafood is a different kind of synthetic. We look into marine life in the US and Australia, to find out what plastics escape our household drains and what kind of damage they can do. Also, we always thought Tasmania was different, and now geology can explain why. New discoveries from Tasmania's oldest rocks at Rocky Cape reveal that about 1.5 billion years ago Tasmania was not part of Australia, but wedged between two other continents. The geology of north-western Tasmania may have more to do with North America and Antarctica than it does with the rest of the Australian mainland.
Online
2016
6.

When Pain Persists

Back pain, almost all of us has either had it or will experience it in our life time. In fact four million Australians may be suffering from low back pain right now, and for around 40% of people that pain will persist and become chronic with devastating effects. But what if you could end the agony? Catalyst reporter investigates recent advances in science and medical engineering that are transforming our understanding of chronic back pain and opening the door to new treatments in the hope of bringing relief to so many people.
Online
2016
7.

Motorcycle Clothing / Gravitational Waves

The protective gear worn by motorcyclists can be extremely hot and uncomfortable in sweltering Australian conditions. Does heat stress contribute to accidents, and how protective is safety gear anyway? Mark Horstman lays his mind and body on the line as scientists put motorcycle clothing to the test. Also, what did the beginning of time look like - that moment of creation? What are the biggest explosions in the universe like? We've never been able to observe these dramatic cosmic events in the past because they are invisible to all of our telescopes. But now, with the detection of gravitational waves, which Einstein predicted 100 years ago, that's about to change. Gravity waves are very different to light waves or radio waves, which today's telescopes detect: they are ripples in the [...]
Online
2016
8.

Honey Bee Brains and Lavender / Tassie Fires

Lavender is a powerful smell, but could it be even more powerful than we think? New Australian research reveals that not only can the smell of lavender help bees make new memories, but that it can also change their mood, and even change their DNA. Could it do the same for humans? Also, we like to think Tasmania is a refuge from climate change. A cool green island at the bottom of a warming world. But this summer may have seen a tipping point. The unprecedented number and size of fires ignited by dry lightning in Tasmania are no longer "natural" events. Conditions are so dry that the soil itself is burning. Ecosystems normally too wet to burn are going up in smoke. One thousand year old World Heritage forests face irreversible loss. Is this what climate change looks like?
Online
2016
9.

Echolocation / Bionic Bra

Daniel Kish is blind but his ability to "see using sound" is remarkable. His use of echolocation to effortlessly get around using mouth clicks has earned him the nickname "Batman." Now, researchers are getting a clearer picture on the way his brain turns sounds into images and it's redefining our understanding of vision. Also, most bras are designed for aesthetics, to look good. Even a sports bra can be uncomfortable at times. But what if a bra could respond when you need more support, and relax when you don't? A team of Australian scientists has done just that- they are designing a comfortable, high-tech "Bionic Bra" that provides the right amount of breast support, when you need it.
Online
2016
10.

Antibiotic Resistance

Antibiotics have saved millions of lives, but their misuse and overuse is making them less effective as bacteria develop resistance. Despite scientists' warnings, antibiotic prescriptions in many countries continue to soar and antibiotic use in farming is at record levels. As a result, doctors are now seeing infections they can no longer treat. Are we facing the end of modern medicine? An antibiotic apocalypse that takes medicine back to the Dark Ages? Or will researchers outwit the incredibly clever bacteria and find novel ways to beat resistance? Don't miss this special episode of Catalyst.
Online
2016
11.

Myopia / Eco-Dog

Across the world an extraordinary epidemic of short sightedness is occurring in young children, putting them at risk of severe vision impairment and even blindness in older age. Although the epidemic has been blamed on everything from screen time, to higher education, to genetics, the cause is relatively surprising. As our urban kids spend less time outside, their eyes are growing abnormally from a lack of bright light. In this episode of Catalyst we look into the rise of myopia, and how scientists are finding a way to turn the tide on the epidemic. Also, meet Maya, Australia's first koala scat detection dog who's helping researchers on koala conservation projects. Her job? To sniff out Koala poo. Maya's amazing speed and accuracy enables scientists to better survey koala habitats, h [...]
Online
2016
12.

Exercise and Cancer

By the time you hit midlife, odds are you or someone close to you will be touched by cancer. Cancer remains a potentially lethal lottery and everyone's experience is different. But appropriate exercise under professional supervision-before, during, or after treatment-seems to substantially improve your odds. Catalyst meets a group of cancer patients that is experiencing extraordinary benefits from prescribed targeted exercise programs.
Online
2016
13.

Becoming Superhuman: Part 1

In this 2-part series, biomedical engineer Dr. Jordan Nguyen tries to make a boy's wildest dreams come true with cutting-edge technology. He's promised 13 year-old Riley Saban he will invent a device to help Riley achieve the impossible and even have a super power. Will Riley be able to train his brain to use Jordan's technology? Will Jordan's technological vision become reality? And will Riley get his superpower?
Online
2016
14.

Becoming Superhuman: Part 2

In the second episode of this 2-part series, biomedical engineer Doctor Jordan Nguyen and 13-year-old Riley Saban aren't content to just develop cutting edge technology that gives Riley superhuman powers, they want to know if young Riley can drive a car.
Online
2016
15.

Meditation

Meditation, can it really change you? From infamous criminals, to powerful corporations, to some of the world's most successful athletes, meditation has never been so popular. But can it really make you smarter, happier and healthier? New research shows that it can affect the body as well as the mind, slow down the aging process, and even alter the structure of the brain. Dr. Graham Phillips embarks on an eight week meditation course and undergoes a raft of rigorous brain tests and scans, to find out if the ancient art lives up to the current hype.
Online
2016
16.

Oldest Beer / Unboiling an Egg

It's an extraordinary story of adventure and misadventure, salvage and science as an Australian team of scientific treasure hunters attempt to achieve a world first. Can they revive an extinct brewer's yeast found in a salvaged bottle of shipwreck beer, cultivate it, and use it to brew beer? Also, you can't unboil an egg, right? Wrong! Scientists from Flinders University in SA won an Ig Nobel Prize for successfully unboiling an egg. The technology, called the Vortex Fluidic Device, is now being used in research to make new biodiesels, and for cutting carbon nanotubes that can be used in ever-smaller solar cells.
Online
2016
17.

Live Long, Die Young

By uncovering the genetic secrets of humans and animals that live unusually long lives, scientists are finding extraordinary ways to wind back our cellular clocks. Lab experiments show it's now possible to fight the four major diseases of old age, reverse muscle aging, and rejuvenate egg cells by altering the biological pathways of ageing. Anja Taylor investigates one of these methods achieving extraordinary results in just five days. Could this be the key to a long and healthy life?
Online
2016
18.

Stress and Cancer, Plus Pluto

Can stress accelerate the spread of cancer? Every day in Australia 360 people learn they have cancer. It goes without saying it's a very stressful time. Stress as a cause of cancer has not been convincingly proven but recently researchers have been looking at how stress drives the spread of an existing cancer from the original tumour. They've identified pathways caused by stress that facilitate the spread of breast cancer cells around the body. What's more remarkable, the researchers may have found a way to prevent it. Guest reporter, oncologist Dr. Ranjana Srivastava investigates. The extraordinary secrets of Pluto. Pluto may have been demoted to dwarf planet status, but recent studies reveal it's an extraordinarily exotic world. Its home to the biggest ice cubes in the solar system [...]
Online
2016
19.

Toxic Ticks

Do Australian ticks pose a greater health risk than we thought? For people suffering from Lyme-like disease it's a controversial mystery that science has so far been unable to resolve. For the first time, microbes inside native Aussie ticks are being probed, leading to new discoveries which may reveal the causes of unexplained illnesses in future.
Online
2016
20.

Soundscape and Juno's Mission

The natural world tells unseen stories through sound. All are fascinating but also disturbing. This new science of soundscape ecology is tracking environmental change with small audio recorders and powerful computer processing. Catalyst discovers what we can learn from listening to nature. It's a perilous journey for the NASA spacecraft, Juno. Jupiter has the harshest radiation of any planet in the solar system and the strongest magnetic field. It has storms that rage for centuries and the strongest gravity. The environment is so harsh, Juno's delicate scientific instruments need a special protective titanium vault to shield them. Catalyst goes to Australia's tracking station Tidbinbilla to witness Juno going into orbit around Jupiter and begin its mission. Will it reveal new informa [...]
Online
2016