Growing drugs in sunflowers, electric dolphins, and fingerprinting zombies

Tim’s blog

This week on radio, Tim Thwaites is talking about growing drugs in sunflowers; electric dolphins; silent submarines; fingerprinting zombies; and more…

Could we grow drugs using sunflowers?—Queensland researchers believe future cancer drugs could be grown in sunflowers and ultimately delivered as a seed “pill”.— International Botanical Congress (in Melbourne this week)

A story on this topic can be found on this website at

Electric dolphinsDolphins are famous for their ability to hunt their prey via echolocation. Now German scientists have discovered that at least one dolphin species can also detect fish by tuning into their electric fields. This is the first example of electroreception in mammals, except for the platypus and echidna.—Proceedings of the Royal Society B

A Science story on this topic can be found at

A submarine that doesn’t make waves—Wading through water can be such a drag—even for sleek, streamlined submarines. But with the right outerwear, American researchers say, they could zip through the ocean without leaving a ripple of wake. They’re talking about the water equivalent of an invisibility cloak.—Physical Review Letters

A Science story on this topic can be found at

First private spacecraft set to dock with the space station—NASA and SpaceX company have “technically” agreed on the date of the first docking of the SpaceX Dragon capsule with the International Space Station.—New Scientist

A New Scientist blog on this topic can be found at

‘Predict your death’ longevity paper retracted—A paper that claimed to reveal the genetic factors that help people live to 100 or more has been retracted from the journal Science a year after it published. Many academics were upset that the authors concluded that longevity was mostly genetically determined, as opposed to involving environmental factors.—Science

A Nature story on this topic can be found at

New fingerprint scanner spots the living dead—Although you could use this new German invention to keep a zombie army from breaching your fingerprint-activated door, the idea is to prevent crooks using fingers from a corpse to cheat fingerprint challenges.—Forensic Science International

A New Scientist story on this topic can be found at