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Category: Science & Medicine

A fun take on the latest science news with enough data to sink your teeth into. Lagrange Point goes beyond the glossy summary and gets in depth with the research from across the world.

July 30, 2018

Episode 285 - Icey lakes on Mars, a planets worth of dust and unexplained oxygen

We are often tantalized by the prospect of water on Mars, but thanks to a Teenage Satellite we have found lakes of water on Mars, just beneath the surface. Plus we find out where all that martian dust comes from and check in on everyone's favourite Comet, 67-p.

  1. R. Orosei, S. E. Lauro, E. Pettinelli, A. Cicchetti, M. Coradini, B. Cosciotti, F. Di Paolo, E. Flamini, E. Mattei, M. Pajola, F. Soldovieri, M. Cartacci, F. Cassenti, A. Frigeri, S. Giuppi, R. Martufi, A. Masdea, G. Mitri, C. Nenna, R. Noschese, M. Restano, R. Seu. Radar evidence of subglacial liquid water on Mars. Science, 2018; eaar7268 DOI: 10.1126/science.aar7268
  2. Horner, J. (2018, July 26). Discovered: A huge liquid water lake beneath the southern pole of Mars. Retrieved from http://theconversation.com/discovered-a-huge-liquid-water-lake-beneath-the-southern-pole-of-mars-100523
  3. Lujendra Ojha, Kevin Lewis, Suniti Karunatillake, Mariek Schmidt. The Medusae Fossae Formation as the single largest source of dust on Mars. Nature Communications, 2018; 9 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-05291-5
  4. K. L. Heritier, K. Altwegg, J.-J. Berthelier, A. Beth, C. M. Carr, J. De Keyser, A. I. Eriksson, S. A. Fuselier, M. Galand, T. I. Gombosi, P. Henri, F. L. Johansson, H. Nilsson, M. Rubin, C. Simon Wedlund, M. G. G. T. Taylor, E Vigren. On the origin of molecular oxygen in cometary comae. Nature Communications, 2018; 9 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-04972-5
July 23, 2018

Episode 284 - Solar panels that work in the shade, using coal waste and greener concrete

Solar Panels keep getting better, but what if we could have solar power even when it's very overcast? Plus is there a way to make concrete greener and less carbon intensive? What if one of those solutions also helped take care of waste product from Coal Power Plants? We look at innovative green technologies this week in Lagrange Point. 

  1. Joshua Shank, Emil A. Kadlec, Robert L. Jarecki, Andrew Starbuck, Stephen Howell, David W. Peters, Paul S. Davids. Power Generation from a Radiative Thermal Source Using a Large-Area Infrared RectennaPhysical Review Applied, 2018; 9 (5) DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevApplied.9.054040
  2. Sarvesh Kumar Srivastava, Przemyslaw Piwek, Sonal R. Ayakar, Arman Bonakdarpour, David P. Wilkinson, Vikramaditya G. Yadav. A Biogenic Photovoltaic MaterialSmall, 2018; 14 (26): 1800729 DOI: 10.1002/smll.201800729
  3. Gang Xu, Jing Zhong, Xianming Shi. Influence of graphene oxide in a chemically activated fly ashFuel, 2018; 226: 644 DOI: 10.1016/j.fuel.2018.04.033
  4. Sung Hoon Hwang, Rouzbeh Shahsavari. High calcium cementless fly ash binder with low environmental footprint: Optimum Taguchi designJournal of the American Ceramic Society, 2018; DOI: 10.1111/jace.15873
July 16, 2018

Episode 283 - Dust storms carrying life, harming life and engulfing a planet

Dust storms can be hazardous, especially when they engulf an entire planet like on Mars. They can also carry pollution across national borders and contaminate wide areas. But Dust Storms may also hold the secret for how life can spread across vast deserts. This week we look at dust storms of this world and out of this world. 

  1. Authors: J. A. Rivas Jr., J. E. Mohl, R. S. Van Pelt, M.‐Y. Leung, R. L. Wallace, T. E. Gill, E. J. Walsh. Evidence for regional aeolian transport of freshwater micrometazoans in arid regionsLimnology and Oceanography Letters, 2018; DOI: 10.1002/lol2.10072
  2. Tuyet Nam Thi Nguyen, Kuen-Sik Jung, Ji Min Son, Hye-Ok Kwon, Sung-Deuk Choi. Seasonal variation, phase distribution, and source identification of atmospheric polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons at a semi-rural site in Ulsan, South KoreaEnvironmental Pollution, 2018; 236: 529 DOI: 10.1016/j.envpol.2018.01.080
  3. Penn State. (2018, June 28). Mars dust storm may lead to new weather discoveries. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 14, 2018 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/06/180628124412.htm
  4. NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center. (2018, June 20). Martian dust storm grows global: Curiosity captures photos of thickening haze. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 13, 2018 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/06/180620170956.htm
July 9, 2018

Episode 282 - More precise precision medicine plus last chance medications

How far would you go to find a treatment that helps you or a loved one suffering from a chronic condition? Is it worth the side effects or the pain of jumping through bureaucratic hoops? Is it worth risking the black market? Plus we find out ways to make precision medicine even more precise to rule out side effects. 


  1. Bell, F. (2017, March 01). Sick kids chosen as first patients to receive legal medicinal cannabis in Victoria. Retrieved from http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-03-01/children-with-epilepsy-receive-legal-medicinal-cannabis-victoria/8313902
  2. Dunstan, J. (2018, June 08). Dad defends medicinal cannabis program as kids drop out. Retrieved from http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-06-08/victorian-medicinal-cannabis-trial-kids-drop-out/9848596
  3. Medical Marijuana and Epilepsy. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.epilepsy.com/learn/treating-seizures-and-epilepsy/other-treatment-approaches/medical-marijuana-and-epilepsy
  4. Understanding Epilepsy. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.epilepsy.org.au/about-epilepsy/understanding-epilepsy/
  5. Zafar, A. (2017, May 26). Cannabis compound shown to slash seizures in kids with rare form of epilepsy | CBC News. Retrieved from https://www.cbc.ca/news/health/dravet-syndrome-epilepsy-cbd-1.4130180
  6. A. Suraev, N. Lintzeris, J. Stuart, R. C. Kevin, R. Blackburn, E. Richards, J. C. Arnold, C. Ireland, L. Todd, D. J. Allsop, I. S. McGregor. Composition and Use of Cannabis Extracts for Childhood Epilepsy in the Australian CommunityScientific Reports, 2018; 8 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41598-018-28127-0
  7. Lei Zhang, Peng Zhang, Guangfu Wang, Huaye Zhang, Yajun Zhang, Yilin Yu, Mingxu Zhang, Jian Xiao, Piero Crespo, Johannes W. Hell, Li Lin, Richard L. Huganir, J. Julius Zhu. Ras and Rap Signal Bidirectional Synaptic Plasticity via Distinct Subcellular MicrodomainsNeuron, 2018; 98 (4): 783 DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2018.03.049
July 2, 2018

Episode 281 - Interconnections between animals, ocean currents, climates and ecosystems

This week we look into three stories about how oceans tie our planet together. Our ecosystems are often linked in unusual ways that are not immediately obvious. Ocean currents can tie ecosystems across the world together, impacting migratory species, local environments and ecosystems. Sometimes these impacts are short term, other times they play out over years, decades and centuries. 


  1. Carl J. Reddin, Ádám T. Kocsis, Wolfgang Kiessling. Marine invertebrate migrations trace climate change over 450 million yearsGlobal Ecology and Biogeography, 2018; DOI: 10.1111/geb.12732
  2. Hector M. Guzman, Catalina G. Gomez, Alex Hearn, Scott A. Eckert. Longest recorded trans-Pacific migration of a whale shark (Rhincodon typus)Marine Biodiversity Records, 2018; 11 (1) DOI: 10.1186/s41200-018-0143-4
  3. Jocelyn Champagnon, Jean-Dominique Lebreton, Hugh Drummond, David J. Anderson. Pacific Decadal and El Niño oscillations shape survival of a seabirdEcology, 2018; 99 (5): 1063 DOI: 10.1002/ecy.2179