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Science
LEADING EDGE
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Thursday 21:00-21:30
Leading Edge brings you the latest news from the world of science. Geoff Watts celebrates discoveries as soon as they're being talked about - on the internet, in coffee rooms and bars; often before they're published in journals. And he gets to grips with not just the science, but with the controversies and conversation that surround it.
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LISTEN AGAINListen 30 min
Listen to 9 March
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GEOFF WATTS
Geoff Watts
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Thursday 9 March 2006
Non-Toxic Frog
Allobates Zaparo

Frogs save themselves by mimicking the lesser of two evils

Scientists in Austin Texas have discovered a quirk of biology in studying some non-toxic frogs that imitate toxic frogs they share their habitat with. The Allobates zaparo (pictured) has modelled itself on one of two toxic frogs that are smiliar - Epipedobates parvulus and E. bilinguis. Yet you would have thought that, in order to save itself from being eaten by roaming chickens and other birds it would mimic the more poisonous frog for protection. Wrong! It seems it imitates the lesser toxic frog Epipedobates bilinguis. Geoff Watts talks to Catherine Darst about her research that is published in this week's journal Nature.


Virtual Reality
Geoff Watts visits a virtual reality lab in Oxford and talks to Andrew Glennerster about how our brains process information about the world around us. Geoff walks through a series of virtual rooms that each contain a red brick. His task is to decide if the first red brick is smaller or larger than the next. The VR setup is such that you can't see more than one brick at a time so you have to rely on other factors - the size of the room you've just walked into, how big a stride took you into this room, and other motion factors. Will he pass the test and get the right answer? Tune in to find out!


Pain and Mirrors
The Virtual Reality room in Oxford has shown us that our brains can be tricked into receiving bogus information about the world around us. Candy McCabe, a senior lecturer in Rheumatology at Bath University , has discovered that this is quite useful when treating people suffering from phantom limb pain and complex regional pain syndrome. If you sit, with a mirror dividing your body in two, so you can see your good limb in the mirror and your painful limb is hidden behind the mirror; and then wave your good limb around, the image in the mirror will kid your brain into thinking that your painful limb is in good working order - magic!


Science Week Poetry

National Science Week starts on 10 th March and there are many events happening across the country to get people more involved in many forms of science. One such event is the reading of poetry, inspired by science, at Kingston University from 10 th to 18 th March. Vera Rich, one of the authors, will recite some poetry to get us in the mood.

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