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Bionic Medicine

Imagine what it'd be like to lose your site or hearing, to live with chronic pain, Parkinson's Disease, or epilepsy. Any of these can make life miserable for those who have them.
What then, of cures? They are complicated, and the result are mixed, but there are treatments available now, or on the horizon. Each involves tapping into the body's nervous system in some way.
This is the mission of Australia's Bionics Institute. Our guest today is a passionate advocate of programs such as the cochlear implant, and the bionic eye. 
These technologies tap into the great depth of talent in Australia. They offer relief to people who otherwise would have none, and they can earn real export dollars for our economy.

Professor Rob Shepherd is Director of the Bionics Institute, and Professor at the University of Melbourne.
Interview by Rod.

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Facing Dementia

Dementia is a difficult disease, especially those affected by it. It's also difficult for researchers trying to find treatments.  Our conversation today ranges over dementia, Huntington's Disease, and the nature of the brain, and consciousness.

Dr Jeff Looi is Associate Professor, and Fiona Wilkes is PhD candidate at the Medical School, ANU.
Interview by Rod.

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We dropped in to the BHP Billiton Science and Engineering Awards, which are Australia's most prestigious prizes to school students for innovative research in scientific and  engineering.

On show was some great talent for projects including three high school finalists. Angela Liao's on Something to chew on: Effects of gum’s flavour on salivary flow rate and pH levels,    Ian Arachi on his project Ultraviolet protection and clothing, and Sanjog Chintalaphani on Performance of commercial photovoltaics in North Canberra.

Jake Coppinger showed off his Swirlesque glove - a new form of human-computer interaction. It recognises natural hand gestures and performs actions, communicating through smartphone apps.

We also caught up with Director of the CSIRO Discovery Centre Chris Kennedy to talk about Science and Engineering Awards, young people doing science, and why it matters.

Interviews by Rod

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Of all human skills, our ability to communicate is one of the most important. Stuttering is a difficult condition for those who suffer from it, but there are ways to treat it.  It's especially important if it can be tackled early, before it becomes esatablished in the adult. Still, there's much that can be done to help adults, as you'll hear.

Our first guest is Professor Mark Onslow, foundation director of the Australian Stuttering Research Centre.

Then we hear from Dr Mark Irwin, who takes us on his personal journey through stuttering. He is actively involved with the stuttering commnuity, and holds positions with a number of ogranisations, including The Australian Speakeasy Association.

Finally, we hear from King George VI, the character famously depicted in the King's Speech.  This audio was extracted from a YouTube video. It's worth watching this to see how he copes.

Professor Onslow has written for our Ask Fuzzy column in Fairfax media. Scan of his other columns are available by emailing AskFuzzy [at] Zoho.com

Interviews by Rod

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Why are many economists world addicted to watching GDP?  It's a simple measure, but a hopelessly flawed indicator of the health of a nation. It tracks a limited number of economic indicator while ignoring important things such as pollution. You wouldn't go to a doctor who only tested your pulse, so why do we believe in GDP?

Australia and other nations, the entire world are a complex brew of environment, economy, and society. Dr Robert Costanza and colleagues have been researching better ways to understand humanity and the planet as an interacting system. Dr Costanza is from the at Crawford School of Public Policy.

Recorded in Canberra, 22 Feb 2014.

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This episode features Broderick discussing all the latest research including brain-changing emoticons, shivering to lose weight, flying snakes and social lizards.

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This week on Fuzzy Logic the heat causes Broderick's mind to stop working, while Alice & Jarrod try to calm him down with stories about water and ice.
Originally aired on 19 January 2014.

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Awesome Animals

This week Fuzzy Logic looks at stressed snails, echidna spurs, cold mice and tail-wagging dogs.  It's a menagerie of animal science this week with Siân, Phoebe, Nina, Dan and Broderick in the studio.

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Do you need a supertanker load of cash to learn something interesting about the universe?   Here's a journey taken just to clench your fist. What happens when Rod is left alone with a word processor.

Recorded with Robyn Williams for the ABC Ockham's Razor. We don't have permission to copy the audio, so here's the link.

This week Broderick and Alice talk mathematics with Lashi Bandara and Alex Amenta from the ANU.  Find out what a mathematician actually does and whether maths can actually be useful!

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