Dr Karl

Home / Comments


Listed below are the latest 50 comments taken from every post on the website.

Brontosaurus: what’s in a name?

Michelle Fraser

Thursday 25th August 12:44 pm

Well how very exciting! I am currently teaching dinosaurs to my clever little reception year one students and now I will be able to give them the very latest information!

Quantum mechanics 101

Joe Sands

Sunday 17th July 1:50 pm

Hi Dr Karl, As an amateur scientist I have always been interested in physics. Unfortunately, current theories including quantum mechanics appear irrational. I have come across a website http://www.youstupidrelativist.com/RopeLite.html which explains many of the issues I have with modern physics i.e. defines time, light, magnetism, debunks quantum theories etc I don't have the expertise to mathematically look into these theories and was hoping your influence would lead to someone with more mathematical skills to explore the rope hypothesis and its consequences to understanding our universe. Looking forward to your response. Regards, Joe

Credit card theft: why it pays to be careful

Charlie Conlon

Monday 30th May 12:05 pm

ISPS tend to require users making some queries (e.g. access from a different machine ) to ' prove (they're ) human by keying a set of characters displayed in an obscure form - not readily processed by a scambot. Wouldn't it be good if ATMs did the same, at least for queries & withdrawals online? The customer could respond while waiting in a queue, perhaps keying a PIN. This could differ from the regular PIN & expire after ATM use or, say, 20 minutes. What about some public pressure, or do we expect the banks to do it as responsible traders? Honestly, I don't mind waking up at 3am. Your devoted fan, Charlie.

Two simple tips to help you lose weight

Geoffrey Brown

Monday 16th May 8:27 pm

Hi Dr Karl. I saw you once say you haven't used soap for 15 years. Could you please advise on what to look for in an alternative to soap. Thanks Geoff

Two simple tips to help you lose weight


Thursday 12th May 12:27 pm

Reducing energy in while increasing energy out is certainly the way to loose weight. However dietary choices are not only governed by the need for energy or nutrients. Social, psychological and environmental factors must be taken into account if growing rates of obesity are to be understood. Food choices can be governed by unconscious drives. For example - emotions (the effect of eating mum's cooking) and habit (it is habitual for many people to eat cereal for breakfast and not salad). Psychological interventions like CBT may prove helpful in addressing these aspects. People also make choices as a result of external pressures. Humans have a strong drive to feel linked socially, so will choose to eat food that conforms with their social group. Those that choose to eat differently such as vegans can attest to the huge social pressures they are placed under to conform to group social norms. Marketing campaigns have normalised consumption of large portion sizes, lots of meat and blurr the line between healthy and unhealthy choices. Studies of new migrants in Australia have identified the 'dietary transition' that occurs as migrants move from healthy traditional eating patterns to what they perceive as superior western diets largely based on information from marketing campaigns. Simply observing the menu choices at any food court will reveal that unhealthy options are plentiful and cheap, while the few healthier options are usually much more expensive. Their are strong social norms that value the 'bargain' so it is often viewed as illogical to spend more on a healthier option like a cup of salad than paying less and getting a much bigger portion of something like potato chips. When questioned the food industry claims it is only supplying what the consumer wants, thus denies it has any moral responsibility to provide healthy food. Epidemiological studies have also identified many factors such as food deserts, where there are no healthy food options available. While a paucity in education about food preparation, access to cooking equipment, time and financial resources may also lead to unhealthy eating habits. It is a mistake to assume that all humans always make choices for rational reasons, such as scientifically based dietary facts, and this in my opinion is why the energy in/energy out equation has yet to succeed as a way to reduce obesity in the population. Rather than expecting individuals to resist these numerous pressures it would be more effective to change the environment around people to make healthy diet choices the easy choices.

The awesome origins of gravitational waves


Wednesday 9th March 4:17 pm

Hi Karl, What about detecting gravitational waves here on earth? I have noticed that when you hysically move or you make a conscious decision the world around you such as trees and birds react to the energy you release. A strong wind will blow through trees nearby and crows will caw and other birds will start to chirp. Could this be the force of gravity at work? Could it be that on earth we're connected to all visible objects by dark matter and when we make a movement or have a deep thought it stretches the dark matter that holds everything together through gravity. In addition, I notice that the sunlight becomes either brighter or darker with these movements or thoughts (perhaps indicating that our actions are bending the sun's rays around the matter in close proximity to us; it's as if each object has its own sphere of influence on the marco world of matter). Could we perhaps measure the gravitational effect that these movements and thoughts have on the distance between us and the trees and birds as has been measured with the distance between LIGO's mirrors? On a completely other note. If dark matter is surrounding all visible matter like a scaffolding; could this be tested by casting a beam of light at an inanimate object or animal in a dark room and calculate its effect as a gravitational lense as is done with much larger objects in space?

The awesome origins of gravitational waves


Wednesday 9th March 2:17 am

Dr Karl, This relates a bit more to the Higgs field and dark energy, but I thought it appropriate to plonk here. Among other things, I am an electrical engineer working for a government utility, and have had a long standing interest in cosmology. For some time I have been developing a theory relating to gravitational fields which I would like to run past you. It might be complete rubbish, or it might make Einstein very happy. If interested can you respond to the email. Thank you for your consideration, MM

The awesome origins of gravitational waves

Len Buchanan

Thursday 3rd March 8:29 am

I enjoy your podcasts from the other side of the planet (Toronto, Canada). A question: After listening to today's podcast regarding the detection of gravity waves: If the two black holes combined and ejected 3 solar masses as gravity waves, then did the energy come from the black holes, and if so, does that make them not black holes? Alternatively, that energy was never in the black holes but instead existed as potential energy between the binary black holes and the originals did not have the masses described. Cheers, Len

Two simple tips to help you lose weight


Saturday 23rd January 3:12 pm

This old paradigm of obesity presented here (calories in, calories out) is correct as a description of what happens when we eat too much, however it does not have any explanatory value as to why we eat too much or exercise too little. A number of converging areas of science provide a compelling explanation though an understanding of the effect of different macronutrients (eg. carbohydrates versus fat) on hormones. While most doctors understand the role of thyroid hormone and cortisol 'imbalances' in obesity, and would never think to accuse a patient of being 'greedy' or 'lazy' in such a case, the same courtesy is not extended to 'imbalances' in insulin or leptin. A review of any up to date physiology text will demonstrate the role of insulin in activating lipoprotein lipase and the Glut 4 transporter to stimulate fat storage, and in potently inhibiting the action of hormone sensitive lipase, which is the rate limiting enzyme for fat metabolism. Leptin is a hormone with a role in regulating appetite, resting energy expenditure (yes that's right) and the reward pathways for eating. Leptin resistance is able to be induced through a number of pathways including excess insulin. Given that insulin levels are highest following carbohydrate ingestion, extending this line of reasoning would suggest that low carbohydrate diets would regulate appetite (leading to less calories in), increase spontaneous energy expenditure (more calories out) and increased fat metabolism. Indeed that is exactly what the research demonstrates. At last count, more than 24 head to head RCT's (good quality research) compared the effect of low fat to high fat diets on weight loss (with many of the studies not restricting the intake in the high fat group). All except for one (no significant differences) demonstrated more weight loss in the high fat groups. Research has also been performed looking at energy expenditure between high carb and high fat diets, finding an increased energy expenditure (without exercise) of 300 calories daily (equivalent to 1 hour of moderate exercise) in the high fat group. Repeated systematic reviews and meta analyses on the health effects of saturated fats have shown no deleterious effects. Studies looking at predictive biomarkers of health (surrogate markers, but still useful if interpreted correctly) demonstrate improvements in sugar levels, HDL cholesterol and triglycerides among others. Increases have been found in LDL cholesterol on high fat diets, however this is predominantly driven by an increase in pattern A LDL, which is non-oxidised and not thought to be involved in the pathogenesis of athersclerosis (clogging of the blood vessels). In summary, the balance of scientific evidence (easily accessible through google scholar) supports a high fat low carbohydrate diet both for weight loss and health. This does not contravene the first law of thermodynamics, can be explained through an understanding of the underlying physiology with regards to changes in insulin and leptin.

Life’s little risks all add up

Todd Stoehr

Tuesday 22nd December 1:32 am

Hello Dr. Karl: During the long search for the missing Flt. 370 in the southern Indian Ocean huge amounts of sonar scans have been made of the ocean floor in the search areas. What is being done with all this data? Where is it being archived? When will it be made available to researchers and scientists? Best regards. Todd

Quantum life

joseph kelly

Monday 21st September 8:13 am

Dr Karl, love your efforts. I am an chemical engineer; can you put some links to the works you are talking about? It is all very interesting, and (joke) as Monty Burns said in The Simpsons, I ask you to "continue the research". thanks Joe K

Coconut water as blood plasma alternative?

Mitusshi Kimsa

Thursday 17th September 12:35 am

Good sharing, <a href="http://kidbuxblog.com/why-is-drinking-coconut-water-good-for-health/" rel="nofollow">Why is drinking coconut water good for health</a>? Coconut Water is a natural isotonic beverage, with the same level of electrolytic balance as we have in our blood, it’s the fluid of life. See more at: <a href="http://kidbuxblog.com/why-is-drinking-coconut-water-good-for-health/" rel="nofollow">http://kidbuxblog.com/why-is-drinking-coconut-water-good-for-health/</a>

Meet the radioactive you


Sunday 16th August 3:13 am

Way to break it down Dr. Karl. I remembered my Geology teacher from high school mentioned something about granite being slightly radioactive but this helps to put things in perspective. Now I have some context for the hazards that come from having a granite bench top in the home. To balance out the small amounts of radon released from a granite benchtop all I have to do is find some sort of trade off like smoking zero cigarettes and eating as healthy as I can and maintaining my overall health as well as my dental health to keep the number of x-rays taken to the absolute minimum over the next 30 years.

Why can’t you stop going to the toilet after a couple of drinks?

SJ Bobkins

Thursday 13th August 7:16 am

Incredible, I never knew this stuff about how alcohol blocks the production of a chemical related to the need to go to the boy's room. I wonder if science can find a chemical other than alcohol, for reasons that are obvious, to help treat hypertension related to hypervolemia, or too much fluid in your circulatory system. Many studies on heart disease and HBP in Black people connect hormones control kidney function as a reason for their dramatically high (vs other races) problem of hypervolemia and it's effect n BP. So if you reduce ADH during active periods of the day, the BP should also fall. I know diuretics work by changing the sodium exchange inside the kidney cells, but the potential side effect on potassium can be life threatening. It seems as if working on the ADH would be cleaner. As an aside, the caffeine in Coke a'Cola has to have the same effect on "breaking the seal". If I drink a Diet Coke, soon after the need to race to the John becomes very strong, while I can drink a larger drink of water without such a feeling of urgency.

Can cows make strawberry-flavoured milk?

SJ Bobkins

Thursday 13th August 6:59 am

Thanks for the information about flavoring milk, I love anything tasting like Banana's, could be there is some connection with my mother's diet. I have heard a few urban legends or real facts repeatedly told over my lifetime, one is that a nursing mother can make a baby very sick by eating chocolate while she is nursing. I don't know if there is any connection to household pets that can be poisoned if they discover and eat a supply of chocolate, but it's interesting. The other rumor-legend had to do with men eating lots of pineapple to offset the odor and other factors relating to their semen. I have no desire to move into the X-rated category, I hope I danced around any reasons to get myself banned. The idea of changing the flavor of milk is really interesting and should be explored, but there are just a few questions, if we were not so used to the flavor of cow's milk would it have a grassy taste and smell to it when we did drink it? Secondly, if a dairy company harnessed the process of producing Strawberry, Blueberry, or Banana milk, do you suppose governments would force these companies to give the product another name, such a flavored-dairy drink, not allowing the use of "milk"?

The science of stinky sweat and earwax

SJ Bobkins

Thursday 13th August 6:39 am

I love Dr Karl, he makes learning about science more fun than any other activity, well except for laying around the beach. I knew about differences in child development among races or those sharing original ancestral locations, and I knew about the sticky vs dry earwax, but I did not know why, thank you for the enlightening remarks. I wish I could see and hear the Dr on PBS in the US, I'm sure Dr Karl knows that that stands for the Public Braodcasting Company, as America and it's adherence to Funtementalist forms of Christianity had spawned all this crazy pseudo-Bible science which denies global warming and so many other ideas. Chem-trails now referred to by the title Geoengineering is becoming better known and without critical thinking to limit such panic it spreads. I know from connections to airlines, no pilot on earth, flying passengers would allow such a use of his aircraft nor the pollution of his airframes fuel supply with the claimed aluminum sulfate dominated blend of minerals. I would love to see Dr Karl if he ever comes back to the good old US of A. I apologize for the very unwise decision made by NASA to put him out of the Astronaut program, just terrible.

Two simple tips to help you lose weight


Sunday 28th June 5:02 pm

Dear Dr Karl. I enjoy hearing you Sunday mornings on ABC 2 for your all too short segment. This morning Sun 28th June you talked about using Sorbelene for years rather than soap. Could you please repeat the reason/s why? Thank you again for always being interesting and informative as well as entertaining. Helen Ridge

Swearing makes pain go away

Richard Manton

Tuesday 14th April 6:39 pm

Is it possible that if all the blackholes in the universe eventually join as one, that everything in the universe is compressed into that Giant Black Hole, then the emerging White Hole is the next BIG BANG?

Six ways the blue and black dress scrambles your brain


Sunday 22nd March 8:31 pm

So far nobody has explained why two people standing side by side see the dress differently coloured. I think it has the answer to how we perceive reality and need to understand why some see it the colours they do. It looks like something science cannot answer :)