Interronauts | Episode 2: Spartan ants, graphene from soybeans, VNs, and a chat with Antarctica

By Jesse Hawley

24 February 2017

4 minute read

Episode 2 of Interronauts—the CSIRO podcast—has Jesse, Sophie, and Adrian discussing a whole bundle of topics. We’ve got the antimicrobial properties of dragonfly wings, how roundworm genes might inform weight gain, how desert ants navigate their way home, a new way to make graphene—the world’s strongest material, pesky mobile Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), and we cross over for a chat with Asaesja Young, a CSIRO communicator in Antarctica.

Science news


RV Investigator in Antarctica. Image: CSIRO/Marine National Facility.

This week we spoke with Asaesja Young, one of our communicator, aboard our research vessel, the Investigator, currently conducting studies in Antarctica. We spoke about life aboard a research vessel, what it’s like to conduct science at the bottom of the planet, and about the diversity of research aboard.

To read view the ongoing blog of the RV Investigator, you can go here.

To learn more about the current voyage, the Sabrina Seafloor Survey, you can visit the website here.

And finally, you can keep up to date with their live tweets for the next week or so with #RVInvestigator.

CSIRO news

Hooded person holding a red card

Virtual Private Networks aren’t as private as the name suggests.

Virtual Private Networks…not so private

“Alarmingly, [our report on mobile VPNs] uncovered that not only did 18 per cent of the apps fail to encrypt users’ traffic but 38 per cent injected malware or malvertising – software designed to damage or gain access to the users’ information. The very reason users install these apps – to protect their data – is the very function they are not performing and these apps have been installed by tens of millions of users,” from our blog. Learn more about the study here.


Real superheros use graphene. – CSIRO scientist holding up graphene.

Real superheroes use graphene. Image – Ellen Singleton.

Graphene from soybeans

“Graphene is, quite literally, the stuff of superhero comics. It’s made from carbon, is one atom thick, has an optical transparency of 97.3% and also happens to be the strongest material on earth. No wonder it’s already featured as Tony Stark’s new, bulletproof and transparent face-plate in Marvel Comics’ Superior Ironman #2.” Apart from being the strongest material around, graphene is so thin, it’s essentially a two dimensional structure! Learn more on our blog.


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