Welcome to STEMology – Show Notes
Season 1, Episode 21
Sharks’ intestines, an antarctic airstrip, VR crime scene and venom bandaids
In today’s episode of STEMology…
Sophie and David are talking about recent discovery that sharks’ intestines actually looks like shape of Tesla valve, the effort required to build an airstrip at the antarctic, how using VR crime scenes inside the court may lead to different juror’s verdict and healing bandaids made from snakes’ venom…
Sharks are top predators in the ocean that eat a lot of different things, invertebrates, fish, mammals, and even sea grass, they control the biodiversity of these species. So basically knowing how sharks turned them into poop is very important for our understanding of the ecosystem
They’d say there are issues with runway melting or being too soft to land on. They need engineered solutions…
They did a little study looking at comparing traditional methods versus this new VR method and what they found was that people who were shown photographs of the crime scene came to quite different conclusions about in this fake crime scene
What they found was that methacrylated gelatin applied aorta, bled a little bit, but the one with the retilase and methacrylated gelatin combination didn’t bleed at all and they could twist it and bend it around. And it wouldn’t rupture.
This is a “kind of, sort of, vaguely close” copy of the words that David & Sophie speak in this episode.
IT IS NOT 100% accurate. We are very sorry if we have spelt something completely incorrectly. If it means a lot to you to have it corrected, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
[00:00:00] David: [00:00:00] Welcome to episode 21 of STEMology.
[00:00:02] Sophie: [00:00:02] A podcast sharing some of the interesting fun, and sometimes just patently bizarre news in science, technology, engineering, or maths,
[00:00:11]David: [00:00:11] Your hosts are Dr. Sophie Calabretto and Dr. David Farmer
[00:00:14]Sophie: [00:00:14] In today’s episode of STEMology, Sophie that’s me and Dave that’s him. We’ll discuss Tesla’s valve shark intestines an Antarctic airstrip
[00:00:24] David: [00:00:24] VR crime scene investigation, and snake venom band-aids.
[00:00:28]Sophie: [00:00:28] What are we talking about, Dave?
[00:00:30]David: [00:00:30] Researchers have produced a series of high resolution, 3d scans ofsharks intestines from nearly three dozen shark species and find something really, really, really weird in their tummies,
[00:00:42] Sophie: [00:00:42] They have, and I, um, I really liked this one, mainly because I like sharks but also other reasons they’re spiraled, Dave.
[00:00:48] David: [00:00:48] The spiral they go round and round and round like a whippy
[00:00:53] Sophie: [00:00:53] but in different ways. Right? So, you know, there’s, um, we’ve had problems in the past in terms of visualizing these [00:01:00] things, because obviously when you cut into intestines because of their complex structure, you sometimes destroy the context of how things are joined in the connective tissue. And so apparently for more than a century, we have relied on flat sketches of shark digestive systems to discern how they function.
[00:01:18]I know I have. And, um, and yeah, and, and so what they did is, and if you have to correct me if I’m wrong here Dave, but work that has come out of University of Washington and California State University. They have developed a new method to digitally scan tissues of the spiral intestine.
[00:01:31] So they can look at soft tissues in great detail without having to slice into them.
[00:01:35] David: [00:01:35] Yeah, I think they, so they use computer aided tomography to do this. I think what’s new about it is nobody’s ever pointed this at a shark before, rather than it being a new technology.
[00:01:45] Sophie: [00:01:45] going to say, because the whole idea is you use like CT scans to create 3d images by basically taking like a series of like 2d x-rays from different angles. And then you combine them using computer processing. And I went, I thought we already did that for a bunch of things.
[00:01:59]David: [00:01:59] Yeah. So we’ve done [00:02:00] that in hospitals for ages and it’s people get CT scans of their heads and all kinds of other parts of their body. And, but this is the first time someone’s done it to a shark. And this is cool because as you say, we can now look at the three-dimensional structure of these cool intestines well, as it happens, these cool intestines, rather than just calling open the shark kind of digging around and it’s got, well, it’s dead obviously and saying, oh, it kind of looks like this and drawing a picture of it or taking a photo of it.
[00:02:26] Sophie: [00:02:26] Now it turns out that there are four different spiral, intestine shapes, Dave. Um, and so what I’ve tried to do for our listeners is describe what I think they look like based on the images in the paper.
[00:02:37] David: [00:02:37] I’m
[00:02:37] Sophie: [00:02:37] So you can correct me if I’m wrong. So there’s the first shape is the column shape. So I don’t know if you’ve been to a fair recently, Dave and had a tornado potato.
[00:02:45] David: [00:02:45] yeah. Yeah. I called helico potatoes, but yeah
[00:02:48] Sophie: [00:02:48] The a helico potato. So a column spiral, intestine shape looks like a tornado potato. you’ve got your funnel shape. There’s there’s two kinds of funnel shapes. There’s one that is pointed posterially and the other is [00:03:00] pointed anteriorly.
[00:03:00]David: [00:03:00] Just front and back for The listeners.
[00:03:02] Sophie: [00:03:02] Exactly. The posteriorly one looks like you’ve taken an apple and you’ve peeled that apple, but you’ve peeled it in one piece.
[00:03:07] So you had this sort of spiral apple skin. Does that make sense to you?
[00:03:12] David: [00:03:12] Yeah, it makes sense to me, please continue.
[00:03:13] Sophie: [00:03:13] And then we’ve got our outpointed anteriorly. Now it gets dodgy. So imagine you’ve gotten an alpine felt hat.
[00:03:20] David: [00:03:20] An Alpine felt hat. Okay. I need a bit more explanation of that.
[00:03:23]Sophie: [00:03:23] So did they just sort of like the slightly pointy, you know, they’re not like pointy, pointy, but they’re slightly pointy. So it’s like a short rim and then it’s kind of almost like a droplet shape on top of that. It’s like a slightly tapered, droplet shape.
[00:03:34]David: [00:03:34] Like a Santa hat.
[00:03:36]Sophie: [00:03:36] Yeah. Not so tall. Like it’s a little bit. And it’s like,
[00:03:38] David: [00:03:38] Oh, I know what you’re talking about.
[00:03:40] Sophie: [00:03:40] You know, there’s like a man with a feather and you might have a big horn in the
[00:03:43] David: [00:03:43] Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I know what you’re talking about. Yes. Thank you. That’s very colorful and illustrative.
[00:03:47] Sophie: [00:03:47] now stack a bunch of those on top of each other, and then somehow join like the rim to like the point of the next one. That’s what the, POS pointed anteriorly funnel one looks like SCRO. Just imagine a Gobstopper, like [00:04:00] not the everlasting Gobstopper from the movies of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, but an actual Gobstopper that you can buy at the shops. And
[00:04:07]David: [00:04:07] Gobstopper that will dissolve.
[00:04:09] Sophie: [00:04:09] That will dissolve when you suck on it. And just imagine that that was bullet shaped. So you’ve still got all of those kinds of layers in layers, but it’s sort of slightly more elongated. So those are the four different shapes. and then basically what they’ve done is, yeah, they’ve discovered these new aspects of how these shark intestines function.
[00:04:24] So they got 22 different shark species. They imaged all these things and they put them into these weird shape categories. and it, it basically appears. that these spiral shaped organs, just slow the movement of food and direct it downward through the gut. And also it relies on gravity in addition to peristalsis, which is you just normal rhythmic contraction of like the gut, probably gravity has a, um, piece to play in this, but the weird one is, the function resembles the one way valve designed by Nicola Tesla. So this is where the Tesla valve comes in. He called it a valvular conduit [00:05:00] patented in 1920, but the patient was filed in 1916.
[00:05:03] David: [00:05:03] And this is kind of like a blobby tube. Basically. It’s a tube with kind of alternating blobs on the sides. That means that when you put fluid through one direction, it basically flows in a nice laminar way through it. But when you put it through, in the other direction, it gets caught in the alternating blobs and redirected rounds so that the flow is counter to the direction that it came in on it just kind of mixes and stops.
[00:05:26] Sophie: [00:05:26] Yeah, exactly. Basically. it gets turbulent and then sort of halts the flow, although there’s, um, some people did some more research on this and they found that if the Reynolds number was low enough, i.e. The fluid going in the wrong way with low enough, you could still almost get to the end of the channel if it were short enough without it mixing, but that’s not how sharks work, yeah. This new findings could shed light on how sharks eat and process their food. Cause the whole idea is that most sharks go for like quite a long time between large meals. So the ability to sort of hold food in their system for a long time and absorb all those nutrients slowly as quite
[00:05:58] David: [00:05:58] away for quite a long time. Yeah. Yeah, [00:06:00] yeah. what I loved about this is that, so they said, oh, maybe the, um, guts function like a Tesla valve to slow the fluid and they tested that hypothesis. So they actually took some guts out of some sharks. and then they got some glycerol solutions and which would be kind of thicker than water solutions, I guess. and they pump them either anterior to posterior, which is front to back or posterior to anterior, which is back to front and they show it’s two things. One was that no matter which direction you pump, the fluid, it’s slower than just a tube. so it’s slowing the movement in either case, but if you pump it back to front, rather than front to back, it’s even slower.
[00:06:38] So it does two things. it promotes slow movement of fluid or slow movement of stuff through the channel, but it also favors movement in a single direction. Irrespective of what the muscle is doing, because as you said, there’s regular rhythmic muscular contractions they’ll pump stuff in a particular direction.
[00:06:55] Even if those aren’t happening, the shape just they’re an intrinsic property of the shape that it is [00:07:00] favors the fluid going in one direction, which is really, really cool. So they came up with this idea and said, oh, it looks kind of like this. And then they tested that idea and they were right. Which has, which as we’ve covered on this podcast is not something that often happens to scientists.
[00:07:12] Sophie: [00:07:12] No, that’s very exciting science when it, it happens the way you want it to. and then I went through all of the different sharks that they had imaged and I converted their scientific name to their real name, and then worked out which one had the most fun guts, which is the torpedo potato. and I was pleased to see my friend, the Epaulette shark, which is like a really small shark with it’s evolved that it’s little fins.
[00:07:31]Actually, they can act as like little feet and they could walk around on the bottom of the ocean floor. So they, they have a fun spiralized gut as well as a bunch of other ones. But the fun thing is they did, I thought that because some of the images they had with these, so kind of like small dog fish shark, and I went, oh, they just got the kind of slightly boring, small sharks, but they imaged like bull sharks and like rave shocks and stuff. So they went like proper, big.
[00:07:52] David: [00:07:52] Yeah, they were messing around this also. So this made me curious about something, right? Cause, um, so if you can, if it’s favored that the fluid goes in one way, [00:08:00] right? So you eat something and it.
[00:08:01] goes one way. I started wondering. well, does that make it difficult for sharks to vomit?
[00:08:05]Sophie: [00:08:05] Oh,
[00:08:07] David: [00:08:07] And so I did a little Google search for sharks and vomit
[00:08:10] Sophie: [00:08:10] excellent. Love it.
[00:08:11] David: [00:08:11] And And I learned something really wild and interesting, which is that sometimes sharks vomit up their guts. They vomit up their entire stomach.
[00:08:18] Sophie: [00:08:18] Oh gosh.
[00:08:19] David: [00:08:19] so there’s this, there was I found in article, which we’ll put in the show notes, all they get out, which was, uh, this guy talking about, he was tagging a bull shark and it vomited and it vomited up some sea birds and stuff, but then it vomited up its own stomach.
[00:08:32] And he described this process of helping the shark by poking its stomach back down into itself. But apparently this is something they do when they’re a bit stressed. So if they’re in a stressful situation though, they’ll vomit up their stomach just to, but it’s a fine, they can do it and then undo it.
[00:08:45] It’s called a gastric eversion and they do it just to clear their stomach out in a stressful situation. But apparently.
[00:08:51] Sophie: [00:08:51] I should try that when I’m stressed.
[00:08:53] David: [00:08:53] Yeah. And apparently vomiting in sharks is common. So apparently great white sharks when they’re eating like a whale carcass or something like [00:09:00] that, they’ll take a big bite of it and then swim away.
[00:09:02] And sometimes they’ll regurgitate it and it’s not happening flippantly what’s happening is they reckon it’s assessing the nutrient content of what it’s just bitten. And if it’s not up to snuff, they’ll vomit to up and go back for a different bit.
[00:09:15]Sophie: [00:09:15] Just like bears ate like the juicy brains and heads, not the rest of the rubbish, non fatty bodies, when they’ve come out of hibernation.
[00:09:24]David: [00:09:24] so the guts seemed to mean that this stuff can only go one direction, but it doesn’t prevent sharks from vomiting, which I thought was, yeah.
[00:09:31] Sophie: [00:09:31] Well, there you go. And then apparently in the end, what they’re going to do is use a 3d printer to create models of several different shark intestines and test how materials move through the structure in real time, which seems worse than what they actually did because obviously a 3d printer is going to create a rigid structure, which is not the way intestines work, but then they also hope to collaborate with engineers to use shark intestines as inspiration for industrial applications, such as a wastewater treatment or filtering micro microplastics out of the water columns. [00:10:00] That’s very exciting too.
[00:10:01]David: [00:10:01] Very very good. And they say, because sharks are top predators in the ocean that eat a lot of different things, invertebrates, fish, mammals, and even sea grass, they control the biodiversity of these species. So basically knowing how sharks turned them into poop is very important for our understanding of the ecosystem. This is a, this is a lovely article.
[00:10:18] Sophie: [00:10:18] Thank you. Tesla shark guts Godspeed, little doodle.
David: [00:10:32] spiral shark guts to perfectly straight landing strips on the antarctic continent. so basically this is a we story or we engineering story, and I say we very flippantly cause it’s actually a huge undertaking of an engineering story. basically on Antarctica outside of the summer months, it’s very, very difficult to land a plane in Antarctica, to the extent that it’s impossible and you can’t do it.
[00:10:55] Sophie: [00:10:55] Yes.
[00:10:56]David: [00:10:56] The Davis aerodrome project, the Australian government is proposing to [00:11:00] change that a chartered engineer, Stu Gibson with the Australian Antarctic division’s Davis Aerospace Project said what we need is reliable year round access to the continent. There is currently no facility in Antarctica that has this and the benefits include greater efficiencies, improved scientific data collection benefits for biological studies, improved safety and emergency response capabilities, enabling new models of international collaboration and enhanced logistics to support new and emerging technologies
[00:11:28] Sophie: [00:11:28] I’m just going to jump in there really quickly, Dave cause at one stage you did say the Davis aerospace project, which I love, but it’s just the Aerodrome project.
[00:11:36] David: [00:11:36] oh, is the aero I’m sorry. David Aerodrome Project.
[00:11:39] Sophie: [00:11:39] The Davis Aerodome, you’re , David.
[00:11:42] David: [00:11:42] I’m David it’s Davis and it’s aerodrome, not aerospace. Gotcha.
[00:11:45] Sophie: [00:11:45] But yeah. So the, so apparently there are, actually like a bunch of there’s I think there’s 20 or so airstrips on the continent of Antarctica, but as you said, they’re not available all year round and this is a huge problem. and what they’re actually finding because we as a [00:12:00] people have to destroy things as much as we can.
[00:12:02]the period of operation in the summer months is getting smaller and smaller. They think due to global warming as well. So when the ice temperatures are too high, they can’t land. in winter they can’t land. so basically, yeah, they need to come up with this a year round air link but this is not a trivial feat as you’ve suggested.
[00:12:20] So what they need is a concrete airstrip. That is 2.7 kilometers in length, 45 meters wide. And they want to have it located 4.5 kilometers from the Davis station. But David, the challenge of building this, are mind boggling. So when you think of like a construction project, you need things to construct stuff out of.
[00:12:38]and so Hobart is the closest port to get materials from, it’s also 4,850 kilometers away. And the journey by icebreaker takes around 14 days, not including two weeks in biosecurity at Hobart port.
[00:12:51]David: [00:12:51] it’s really, really far. And obviously, because we’re building an airport, we can’t fly the materials in
[00:12:56] Sophie: [00:12:56] Exactly. Yeah. Cause we don’t have an airport yet soon. We’ll be able to next time they [00:13:00] want to build an airstrip once they’ve built this airstrip, trivial, but at the moment problematic. Also, if you think about all the people who would need to be there to build it, you’re going to need sort of more accommodation.
[00:13:10] So at the moment, the Davis station houses about 90 expedition as each summer, but they’re going to need to up that capacity to about 250 for all the engineering construction.
[00:13:19]David: [00:13:19] Lots of people.
[00:13:19] Sophie: [00:13:19] People and other specialists, and then there’s a runway itself. So the, yeah, and I think this bit, is that a thing I find most interesting, cause obviously it’s not trivial just to like stick concrete on ice and hope that it will support planes.
[00:13:32]David: [00:13:32] No indeed. So they need 11,500 concrete pavers about 10 tons, which doesn’t … I mean, I’m not an engineer or anything, but it doesn’t sound like a trivial thing to do the ends of the earth.
[00:13:44] Sophie: [00:13:44] Yeah. And so even getting those, I think ten tonnes will take several icebreaking cargo ships each season, and each season they’d have to make three to four trips themselves. and then there’s the issue of permafrost, but I feel like we can get to permafrost cause you’re going to say something about cargo ship.
[00:13:59] David: [00:13:59] Well, [00:14:00] Yeah, so basically it’s, a massive pain in the arse, but it’s already a massive pain in the arse. So even though this is a huge pain in the, and a huge logistical expedition Logistical undertaking. it’s less of a pain in the arse compared to what you currently have to do, which is at the moment, So it takes two months to get it ready to get The current landing strip ready. It opens in late October, then shuts down in December for six weeks because it’s too warm. And then it reopens in February and operates till March when it closes again.
[00:14:29] Sophie: [00:14:29] Yeah.
[00:14:29] David: [00:14:29] it basically takes the thing as long to get ready as it runs and in order to make it run so you have to do a few things and you have to clear of winter snow because the winters knows no goods. And the surface ice requires suitable bearing strength, and it’s tilled by a snow grimmer to create higher friction. I had to look at what a snow groomer was, and it’s basically a snowcat like from the shining films the thing from another world and it has on it, a multidirectional blade that cuts and levels the snow surface before driving over it, a [00:15:00] power tiller on the rear churns the snow to an even consistency for a large, heavy comb drag surface leaving. And I enjoyed this, a corduroy finish on the snow.
[00:15:10] Sophie: [00:15:10] Oh,lovely.. It’s funny. I didn’t even look it up, but I just assumed that’s what it did. So I’m glad that was a really good assumption based on absolutely nothing, but I’m glad did look that up.
[00:15:19] David: [00:15:19] You assumed corduroy?
[00:15:21] Sophie: [00:15:21] Well, I like Yeah. Like a kind of like the dimpled cut. Yeah. Um, because I was thinking about that, you know, it is, that’d be quite important cause imagine if you just kind of made this like nice and flat, and then you had no friction whatsoever and a plane lands and just like doesn’t ever stop and then just goes off the side of Antarctica. It’s not funny. It would be horrific,
[00:15:40] David: [00:15:40] No, they’d say there are issues with runway melting or being too soft to land on. They need to engineered solutions like the one we’re talking about, and I’ve never been to Antarctica, but, have been on a plane. And I agree that those things are bad. Like if the runway melts away before you land on it, I agree that that is bad. and I can understand why they’re doing what they’re doing
[00:15:55] Sophie: [00:15:55] but yeah. And so then they’ve picked this specific site, which is the area is known as the [00:16:00] Vestfold Hills in east Antarctica. And it’s selected because it is ice-free and has a fairly consistent rock base and is less susceptible to permafrost. And then this is why we’re running into permafrost.
[00:16:09] Cause I’ve heard people say permafrost before, but I’ve never really bothered to understand what permafrost is. And it is in fact, a little bit interesting than a little bit more interesting than permanent frost. So permafrost is just ground that continuously remains below zero degrees Celsius for two years or more, it can be located on land or under the ocean.
[00:16:29] And it doesn’t actually have to be the top layer. So you can have permafrost. It’s kind of like a couple of centimeters to a couple of kilometers deep under the earth surface. So you might not see me. Like you might not know there’s permafrost there. And then the whole issue is if you build on top of it, this whole idea, you know, when you build, you’re gonna, like, now you’ve got big, heavy structure and it might warm stuff and stuff is going to melt.
[00:16:48] And then you’re going to have this sort of like structural issues. And, but then what really happened to me because obviously every time we talk about science, they go to TV shows I watched as a child. And you remember the X-Files episode where like Mulder and [00:17:00] Scully have to go up to some Alaskan outposts because there’s was like a bunch of geophysicists who were like taking ice cores and there was a 2,500 year old microbiome, like a microbe. There’s like a,
[00:17:11] David: [00:17:11] fleshy thing microbe.
[00:17:12] Sophie: [00:17:12] oh no, there’s this is the one that like it’s, so it’s a parasitic alien life and would basically infect them and would cause them to become like ultra violent, and then they would kill each
[00:17:20] David: [00:17:20] Oh, Yeah. It was their thing episode. They did a thing episode and it was
[00:17:23] Sophie: [00:17:23] Yeah. Basically. Yeah. And I was like, let’s not disturb the permafrost. It sounds like a terrible idea for many reasons, either like you’re all going to kill each other or like, you know, you’re going to build this runway and it’s going to sink into the ground. But, uh, yeah. So apparently Dave, they plan to complete this by 2040. So it’s gonna take a while.
[00:17:40] David: [00:17:40] For better or for worse?
VR Crime Scene
[00:17:42] Sophie: [00:17:52] From cold, cold Antarctica to killing people in hot blood, or did they? Dave VR [00:18:00] crime scene.
[00:18:01]David: [00:18:01] Temperature segway. So letting jurors walk through crime scenes using virtual reality may improve their spatial memory and make it easier for them to agree on a verdict. According to new University of South Australia research that could pave the way for this technology to be introduced into courtrooms.
[00:18:17]Sophie: [00:18:17] Yeah. So this is really fun. I liked this one mainly because I love me, a bit of true crime. And I love me a little bit I love some games.
[00:18:24]David: [00:18:24] So basically they wanted to see whether using VR could help jurors better understand crime scenes and the elements of a case that were relevant to determining the guilt or the innocence of the person involved. And this was the University of South Australia’s Data to Decisions, Cooperative Research Center.
[00:18:43]Sophie: [00:18:43] DTDCRC
[00:18:45] David: [00:18:45] Yeah. Thank you. which has previously published research, confirming the mnemonic value of 3d crime scene reconstructions. Today I learned that mnemonic. It means just aiding memory and not necessarily like a lettered, net, a letter thing like Mo Mary eats, peanut [00:19:00] butter to remember methyl, ethyl, phenol beetle,
[00:19:02]Sophie: [00:19:02] yeah. Well, I didn’t know
[00:19:03] David: [00:19:03] propyl,
[00:19:05] Sophie: [00:19:05] Also didn’t know your pneumonic about Mary either. So now I’ve learned two things.
[00:19:09] David: [00:19:09] Yeah. so mnemonic means aiding memory, although I got it wrong, so it didn’t actually work for me in that particular instance, but basically they built a simulated crime scene in a nearby car park and scanned it in 3d with LIDAR technology, you want to talk about LIDAR, Sophie?
[00:19:25] Sophie: [00:19:25] No, I just looked at these, you know, I get excited about apparatuses
[00:19:28] David: [00:19:28] You do
[00:19:29]Sophie: [00:19:29] yeah, these were some hefty,layers of scanners that they use. So there was the stationary fairly focused S 70 and they handheld Pharaoh freestyle. Each of the first one costs about 25,000 US dollars. The second one is about 10.5 thousand US dollars, but like, together, they created 133 million individual data points in this reconstruction of this yeah.
[00:19:52] So it’s not even about LIDAR. I was just like, that’s a lot of data points and I love, that.
[00:19:57]David: [00:19:57] So it’s, very impressive. They did a little [00:20:00] study looking at comparing traditional methods versus this new VR method. Right. And what they found was that people who were shown photographs of the crime scene came to quite different conclusions about in this fake crime scene, which was a sort of dangerous driving situation.
[00:20:13] So 53% of them said that there was a verdict of careless driving should be applied. And 47 said that it should be a dangerous driving
[00:20:21]Verdict. And that’s actually quite significant. They say because, the former attracts, like, it’s just a fine, you get fined for it. and the latter is actually like a license suspension And maybe you go to jail. So not like a trivial distinction that people are 50, 50.
[00:20:37] Sophie: [00:20:37] Yeah, I think there’s like it’s not a difference in intent, but yes, a dangerous driving is basically you’re driving in a reckless manner or at a speed, which is dangerous to a person. Whereas driving without due cares, you sort of just like not paying attention. So one of them, like, you’re basically endangering people. The other one, you might hurt a person, but like you’re not specifically endangering people. But yeah, those are the interesting cause they, so they started off in the same. So they had each person listened to three [00:21:00] audio files outlining what happened. And then after that intro and they split them up into the two groups, as you said.
[00:21:05] So the groups that saw these images on the screen, and then the groups that went into VR mode and then following that they had to retell the narrative, mocking the spatial locations of evidence items, and then making a verdict decision. And the fact that, yeah, like so 87% of the people with the headsets said it was death by dangerous driving. whereas Almost 50 50 for, the people who just saw the photos. That’s a huge difference.
[00:21:28]David: [00:21:28] Yes. And as we say, it’s, important because of the outcomes of these verdicts. And so basically when they were given VR goggles to wear, that changed completely. So now 87% of the test subjects concluded the scene, illustrated death by dangerous driving, as opposed to careless driving, which is not unanimous.
[00:21:47] But it’s, huge difference.
[00:21:49] Sophie: [00:21:49] It’s a hefty majority to like a 50, 50 split. And so, yeah, and they’ve just said that participants who were immersed in the scene were more likely to correctly remember the location of the car and [00:22:00] the relation to the victim at the time of the accident. And, you know, those kinds of things would just difficult for people who will just looking at photos, and that this provides unequivocal evidence that interactive technology leads to fairer and more consistent verdicts. And indeed could be used in courtrooms of the future, but then there are drawbacks, Dave, for example, it’s very expensive and especially in remote locations, and in some cases, the site could have changed making accurate viewings kind of impossible.
[00:22:26] So you’d sort of need to get there on the crime scene before anyone touches anything. And then you would image it. Is that the, but then that will be the same for photos. I don’t see that as a criticism really.
[00:22:34] David: [00:22:34] also make an interesting point, which is that whether the VR models obviously you’d make the VR model and the VR model would be but the VR model is, but if there is evidence that’s successfully challenged at the trial, that has to be excluded from consideration by the jury. Do you then go into the VR model and remove that?
[00:22:53] Sophie: [00:22:53] Those things. Yeah. That’s a really good point, actually.
[00:22:55] David: [00:22:55] And how do you do that, et cetera. So it seems like a no brainer, but it’s actually quite [00:23:00] complicated.
[00:23:01]Sophie: [00:23:01] Yeah, but I liked the pictures in this paper and apparently via has precedence in the courtroom, Dave internationally, and they’ve quoted in the press release most famous example in 2019, when the Bavarian state criminal office created an interactive scene of the Auschwitz concentration camp to aid the prosecutor’s case in a war crimes trial, which sounds like incredibly traumatic.
[00:23:22] David: [00:23:22] It sounds awful. And two at the time, like who involved in that terrible time could have ever foreseen that. That is how that would happen.
[00:23:30] That VR technology employed and bringing the people responsible to justice.
[00:23:35] Sophie: [00:23:35] But yeah, so, um, but there you go set some interesting work was coming out of a uni essay, DTDCRC.
Band Aid Venom
[00:23:42] David: [00:23:52] From putting goggles onto your face to super glue that comes out of a snake’s face. Researchers have crafted a [00:24:00] bioadhesive gel. That includes the venom of the common lancehead pit Viper to stop bleeding.
[00:24:06] Sophie: [00:24:06] Oh, I loved this Dave I loved a lot of things about this. And so, yeah, so basically this is a fast acting superglue, so it’s a hemostatic bio-adhesive or a HAD, this is joint work that’s come out of Canada and China. And the whole issue is that, you know, so say. You cut yourself and it’s a pretty bad cut and you want to stop that bleeding ASAP.
[00:24:25] You know, we do have these adhesives that we use, but, um, often these synthetic adhesives can, so they’re easy to manipulate because like we’ve made them that way, but they can not degrade to something which is potentially toxic to people, which is not a great idea if you’re literally putting this on you.
[00:24:39] Yeah. Gaping wound and blood. And, we’ve got these natural bio adhesives of oil, which are more likely to have good biocompatibility, but like limited overall integrity and adhesion. And so what they’ve done is they’ve created the perfect love child, where they’ve taken something synthetic and weird and then put in some nice snake venom.
[00:24:58]and it works a treat. And so this [00:25:00] is this particular you’ve said the common lancehead pit Viper,
[00:25:05] David: [00:25:05] sounds like something you wish wasn’t common.
[00:25:07] Sophie: [00:25:07] No. And it’s sort of like the district group on every level is just a bit scary. So it stalks tropical lowlands of south America, for small mammals, birds, and reptiles, which it takes down with venom that destroys their vascular system.
[00:25:19] It’s one of the most venomous snakes in the region. And then I also found, although generally terrestrial, it’s also an excellent swimmer and even climbs trees when necessary to reach prey. Generally nocturnal it may forage at any time of the day if necessary this next also easily agitated. So basically they can go anywhere at any time. And they’re super easy to piss off.
[00:25:39] David: [00:25:39] They’re just raging.
[00:25:40] Sophie: [00:25:40] And they have raging. And so this snake venom, I’ve never heard of this process before, but it basically kills things using this process called consumption coagulopathy so basically the venom causes excessive clotting in the prey until basically it exhausts the prey’s body from the ability of forming [00:26:00] clots. So it uses up all it’s like clot goo. And so then the prey ends up bleeding excessively. So like over clots and then they bleed out. Is that not horrific?
[00:26:08] David: [00:26:08] Yeah. it’s pretty terrible. so clotting usually happens when, if you have a cut or something, then what happens is in your blood vessels, you have an underlying layer of collagen. It’s a connective tissue, that’s in your tissues to hold it together and give it kind of shape and stop you from being all floppy.
[00:26:23] And basically if blood is exposed to this, it starts, cascade of cellular signals that ultimately results in. A molecule called fibrinogen being converted to a molecule called fibrin, which polymerases holds everything together. So basically you’ve got things called platelets, which are in your blood become activated and start this process as well.
[00:26:42] And they’re involved. But ultimately the long-term consequence is this conversion of fibrinogen to fibrin, to hold everything together. And basically. This molecule they’ve extracted from the horrible sending common lancehead pit Viper they’ve called it reptilase It’s also known as batroxobin And [00:27:00] basically this is a molecule that directly converts fibrinogen to fibrin causes clotting.
[00:27:06] So as you see, when it’s injected into the vascular system of an animal, like through a horrific fang similar venom delivery structure, then Yeah, it causes complete conversion of all of their fibrinogen into fibrin. So they don’t have any more. So they clot so much that they bleed to death, which is just a terrible way to die.
[00:27:25] Sophie: [00:27:25] Isn’t that awful, but yeah. So they’ve done a good here though, in these snakes through, through, no, I guess like mirror of their own. So what these researchers have done is they took this reptilase, which you just told us about and they stuck it into this methacrylated gelatin. Just my favorite kind of gelatin, to develop into a fast acting tissue adhesive.
[00:27:44]So the idea is they already knew about this gelatin and it had previously showed promise in the way that it can be controlled and set using light, which is really cool. So the idea is squeeze it out the tube and shine like a laser light or even a smart phone flashlight will work and that sets it, but it was not able to [00:28:00] stick well in the presence of blood, which is a huge issue. But then reptilase comes to save the day.
[00:28:05] David: [00:28:05] Yeah, so they mixed the two together and they, we like methacrylated gelatin because it’s biocompatible. Cause it’s basically a collagen derivative. And as you say, when you shine the light on it, becomes cross-linked and joins things together.
[00:28:18]So they did some work on this and they showed some comparative work between, They did everything. So they did, methacrylated gelatin versus reptilase versus a combination of the two versus a fibrin glue and versus in one case, just suturing.
[00:28:36] Sophie: [00:28:36] Yeah, cause apparently at the moment the best option is fiber and glue, but this new, mixture, could seal wounds in a new 45 seconds, which is half the time of this fiber and glue. But yeah, so I’ve got a note here. Beautiful grid of sliced rat back and different wound closing methods at day 0 3, 5 and 20, it was, I mean, I say beautiful, cause it was like nicely presented, but it was revolting.
[00:28:57] It’s like, so what they got was, you know, and we liked to do [00:29:00] things to animals in science because it’s harder to get ethics approval to cut people, but, they got these poor rats and they tested the glue on major bleeding wounds, like on deep skin cuts, ruptured aortas in rats and they found that this, you know, didn’t require any stitching or wash out with the blood, but I’ve also got another note messed up schematic of cutting a rat tail off and gluing up the whole slicing rats back and glowing up whole injuring a rat’s liver and gluing it back up, slicing aorta and gluing it back up.
[00:29:29]David: [00:29:29] Yeah. So these are pretty grim experiments. So they, but they were done very systematically and I very well and they showed the important thing. I think. So at the first one they did was a tail amputation model. So the tails got a great big blood vessel in the middle of it. So it bleeds a lot. So basically they amputated, the mouse tail, and then they applied one of the different things And they showed that not only did the mixture of the methacrylated gelatin and reptilase work better than, you know, the methacrylated gelatin alone or the reptilase alone. [00:30:00] It works better than both. And light activated and they showed that there was less time of bleeding, less blood loss. And when they looked at the wound closure at day five, it was better closed and the combination treatment. So although it’s kind of horrific, they’ve actually shown that it works better than either treatment by itself, which is kind of what you want to show
[00:30:21] Sophie: [00:30:21] And also the rats were anesthetized by 1% pentobarbital so that’s fine. They couldn’t feel it.
[00:30:27]David: [00:30:27] And the most, so this would not have been a survival procedure, but this is again, an important experiment. Was they looked at what happened if you. So basically they looked at the abdominal aorta. So this is one of the major blood vessels that out of your heart. So it’s got the full pressure generated by your heart going through it.
[00:30:44] It’s a very high pressure blood vessel. And what they did was they clamped this at both ends while the rats were anesthetized and they made an incision in it. So there’s no a big hole. And this vessel That’s got all the, all the blood pressure generated by the heart going through it. They [00:31:00] then applied either methacrylated gelatin alone or the HAD and then took the clamps off.
[00:31:05] And what they found was that the gel that methacrylated gelatin applied aorta bled little bit, but the one with the retilase and methacrylated gelatin combination didn’t bleed a tall and they could twist it and bend it around. And it wouldn’t rupture.
[00:31:19]Sophie: [00:31:19] That’s amazing.
[00:31:20]David: [00:31:20] Which is pretty amazing. And, although horrific, there’s no other way you could demonstrate that.
[00:31:26] And there’s a lot of potential benefit here. so yeah, we’ve come a long way in this conversation, since we were just talking about how scary the common landside pit Viper was.
[00:31:35] Sophie: [00:31:35] We have. Yeah. So apparently, these treatments still has to undergo clinical trials before it can be used on people to do things like save lives on the battlefield or other accidental traumas, like car crisis. But this is, yeah, this is really, I really enjoyed this one as traumatic as the paper was like, we do worse things to rat sometimes and yeah, like crazy good results.
[00:31:54]David: [00:31:54] Crazy good results. And yet critically they showed that it worked. The combination works better than either component alone, I [00:32:00] think was really nice.