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Play now 28 mins


28 minutes
First broadcast:
Friday 06 August 2010

Monitoring whale song in Gulf of Mexico
Claims by the US government that three-quarters of the oil spilt in the Gulf of Mexico has been cleaned up, dissolved or dissipated is concerning scientists who have not yet begun to measure the environmental impact. Researchers have laid out a strip of sound recorders in the region to listen to whales and dolphins to find out how they are coping.

Deep ocean oil and gas plumes
The oil and gases forming 'plumes' deep underwater in the Gulf of Mexico are being analysed to see how they are behaving and what the impact of microbial degradation may be.

Gas hydrates as alternative source of fuel
Gas hydrates are microscopic crystalline 'cages' of water molecules holding gas molecules. They are very abundant in deep, cold water, such as the bottom of the ocean. They are also present in Lake Baikal in Russia – a unique, huge, deep, cold lake. Scientists think that these special compounds could be an abundant source of natural gas, such as methane, for the future. So they are exploring in Baikal to see just how useful they may be.

Moments of Genius – first systematic review of medical literature by Ben Goldacre
5000 academic medical journals are produced every month, and there are around 15 million medical research papers already out there. Which can make it confusing to weigh up medical evidence, and decide what is relevant and what is not. Individual clinical trials have been around for centuries, but the idea of a systematic review of all the available evidence is remarkably new, says the author of the book and newspaper column, Bad Science, Ben Goldacre.

Will NASA's Mars Rovers wake up form hibernation?
Their mission started in 2004, and was supposed to last just 3 months. But despite being many millions of kilometres from home the Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity have still been working. That is more than 6 years!! But the proud scientists in charge of these resilient probes are having to steel themselves for the possibility that Spirit might not phone home again.

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