Monday, 22 January 2018

Round-up of top science discoveries of 2017 with @smrolfe

Radio Verulam Science Feature 22-01-2018
Some of the top science discoveries and stories from 2017

Sam and Danny discussed the following stories:

Giant Pandas and Humpback whales no longer endangered
Thanks to conservation efforts both species are no longer endangered and wild panda populations have grown by 17 % since 2007.

Hole in the Ozone layer is healing
Since the discovery of the hole in the ozone layer, CFCs were banned in products in the late 1980s, early 1990s, since then we have been monitoring the size and shape of the hole. This is the first time that we have been able to estimate the healing of the hole to somewhere between 2050 and 2070.

Cure for the common cold?
A gene-targeting drug is being developed that may be able to cure all examples of the virus could be available by 2027. It targets the genes responsible for the assembly of the virus, which can attack all varieties, unlike a vaccine. Vaccines encourage drug resistance, whereas this is like pouring sand into a clock mechanism, disabling it.

Organ transplant breakthrough
Human-pig embryos have been created, potentially paving the way for doctors to be able to grow an unlimited supply of organs.

Brain implant helps quadriplegic man
He was able to move his fingers after he broke his neck six years ago, thanks to a cybernetic implant in his brain

Malaria death rates drop
Death rates have fallen by 60 % since 2000, translating to 6.2 million lives saved over the past 17 years, thanks to efforts to control and eliminate the disease.

These are the stories we didn’t have time to get to:

A new state of matter – time-crystals
Solid, liquid, gas, plasma, Bose-Einstein condensates and now, time-crystals. Time crystals have a repeating crystal structure, not just in space, but also in time. This discovery could help revolutionise quantum computing. They are a material that can have movement, even at their lowest energy state, by periodically switching the alignment of the atoms inside the crystal.

Therapy that reverses ageing in mice
Scientists in the Netherlands have developed a molecule that purges the damaged cells in tissues that build up promoting age-related diseases. Elderly mice re-grew fur and could out-run untreated mice by twice the distance.

Physicist creates drip-free wine bottle
An additional small groove at the top of the bottle saves every drop! Because glass is hydrophilic (‘water-loving’), it attracts the wine as it pours out. The groove forces droplets to fall with the wine as it pours or return to the bottle.

For more details, pictures and videos, visit the sources below.

Friday, 19 January 2018

Coming up next week on West Herts Drivetime (w/b 22nd Jan 2018) including @smrolfe, @pheeniie, and @FBerrynews

On Monday, Space Dr Sam talks Science.

Regular feature "Interior Design" with Gwendoline Alderton, find out how to bring a cosy winter touch to your home on Tuesday.

Drivetime Sessions on Wednesday welcomes Phoenix O'Neill, who will play original songs and the regular required cover.

On Thursday, Danny will get local news stories from Franki Berry from the Herts Ad.

And Friday brings the usual Radio Verulam Film Guide with Simon Carver...

The Radio Verulam Film Guide: Friday 19th January 2018

Simon was in the studio again to talk at length about the 10 top movies in the box office as well as his choice of free-to-air TV for the coming week:

Idiocracy (2006)
9.00pm – 10.40pm

Sicario (2015)
9.00pm – 11.25pm
Channel 4

The Sting (1973)
11.00pm – 1.30am

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (2010)
8.00pm – 10.15pm

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011)
9.00pm – 11.30pm

The Madness of King George (1995)
7.50pm – 10.00pm

Pulp Fiction (1994)
9.00pm – 12.00am

Liz from Fleetville Community Centre tells us about the history and upcoming new build

Fleetville is a widely multi-cultural area in St Albans and the Community Centre brings a secular space for the residents to host community events.

Open for a total of 75 years, the building became a community centre from around the late 1970s, previously a nursery.

Upcoming events include:
Friday 26th Jan - 7:30 pm - Burns Night, book in advance.
Friday 23rd Feb - 7:30 pm - Big Quiz
Friday 16th March - 7:30 pm - Silent Disco

Other regular uses of the building that you can get involved with include: a nursery, Bridge club, learn IT skills, cooking classes, play table tennis, painting, rehearsing for plays and learn about Fleetville's full and amazing history.

The new build will be replace the current pre-fab building, which was only meant for around 10 years use. It is not fuel efficient and cracks and damp patches are appearing...!

'Friends of Fleetville Community Centre' are always looking for people to join their team, helping with organising events and to raise money for the new build. You don't have to live in Fleetville!

For more details visit:
Tel: 01727 836 843

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Charlotte's Film Club: High Fidelity

Charlotte rounds off a week of Jack Black films with 2000 Drama/Romance "High Fidelity".

John Cusack stars as the owner of a failing record store in Chicago, where he sells music on vinyl. Although they have an encyclopedic knowledge of pop music and are consumed by the music scene, it's of no help to Rob when his long-time girlfriend, Laura (Iben Hjejle), walks out on him. As he examines his failed attempts at romance and happiness, his two friends, played by Jack Black and Todd Louiso.

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Charlotte's Film Club: Shallow Hal

Another Jack Black comedy for today's Film Club, as Charlotte and Danny discuss "Shallow Hal" from 2001.

The story revolves around Hal (Jack Black) who, taking his dying father's advice, dates only the embodiments of female physical perfection. But that all changes after Hal has an unexpected run-in with self-help guru Tony Robbins. Intrigued by Hal's shallowness, Robbins hypnotizes him into seeing the beauty that exists even in the least physically appealing women.

Gwyneth Paltrow also stars.

The Drivetime Sessions with @HorsesCaution sponsored by @FightingcocksSA

On this week's Drivetime Sessions we were joined by the local band the 'Caution Horses'.  While on air they discussed their new album 'Cautionary Tales' and played three songs.  The first was an original, entitled 'Any Other Name', the second was a cover of the 'Civil Wars' song 'From this Valley', and the third was a cover of the 'Beautiful South' song 'Little Time'.  

For more information about the 'Caution Horses' ' gigs, visit their Lemonrock page here.

If you would like to listen to the Drivetime Sessions again then visit and navigate to Wednesday at 5:30.

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Charlotte's Film Club: King Kong

On this week of exploring the works of American actor Jack Black, Charlotte focuses today's Film Club on Peter Jackson's "King Kong" from 2005.

This remake of the 1933 Classic sees Black as a director from New York taking a crew of actors and sailors to the ominous Skull Island to film a new movie. Accompanying him are playwright Jack Driscoll (Adrien Brody) and actress Ann Darrow (Naomi Watts), who is soon whisked away by the monstrous ape, Kong, after they reach the island. The crew encounters dinosaurs and other creatures as they race to rescue Ann, while the actress forms a bond with her simian captor.

Andy Serkis stars as the titular ape thanks to motion capture, along with Jamie Bell, Colin Hanks and Kyle Chandler.


Interview with Helen Lack: Local Artist

Today we talked to Helen Lacks, a local artist who has an exhibition at the Trestle Arts Base from the 13th January-1st March. 

Helen started out her career as a photographer, working for Vogue and taking part in many exhibitions.  Now her medium has changed and she works in mixed media, mostly using paint as a form of expression.  She uses many different types of paint, such as oil, acrylic and spraypaint.  She list Jackson Pollock as an inspiration, with vibrant colours and drip painting. Art has always been a part of her life, and especially so in the last three years.  Now she feels a compulsion to paint 3/4 times a week.  She says she always has an idea before she starts painting.  She was always doodling as a kid, but now she mainly paints abstract pieces and semi-figurative work.

This exhibition will be her 2nd solo art exhibition within 6 months, and is self-curated.  It consists of 15 pieces, both in large format and also some framed artwork. Many of her abstract landscapes take inspiration from Monet and Van Gogh, and she has 2 large pieces based on pollution in London and New York. The Trestle Arts base has free entry, with a gallery cafe and yoga & dance workshops.  The artwork is available for sale, both as the original piece or as a print.  Besides this exhibition, she has been part of many exhibitions in Hertfordshire and London.  The Deputy Mayor of Hertsmere praised the 'richness of colours' in her previous exhibition, entitled 'Natural Elements and the Universe'. 

Coming up, Helen has been selected to participate in the 'Talented Art Fair' in London.

Helen's Website
Trestle Arts Base

Monday, 15 January 2018

Charlotte's Film Club: School of Rock

Charlotte's Film Club this week is all about American actor, comedian and musician Jack Black, starting off today with "School of Rock" from 2003.

Black stars as Dewey Finn, an enthusiastic guitarist desperate for work after being ejected from his bar-band. Posing as a substitute music teacher at an elite private elementary school, he exposes his students to the hard rock gods he idolizes. As he gets his privileged and precocious charges in touch with their inner rock 'n' roll animals, he imagines redemption at a local Battle of the Bands.

Richard Linklater directs.


Local Theatre Review

David Widdowson joined us tonight to provide an update of whats on in our local theatres.

Maltings Art Centre 
2nd February
Norwich based folk / Americana trio Alden, Patterson and Dashwood is made up of Christina Alden on vocals and guitar, Alex Patterson on violin and mandolin and Noel Dashwood on dobro and vocals. Their music takes influences from folk traditions from both sides of the Atlantic, with uplifting instrumentals and self-penned songs depicting tales of young travellers, sleepy seas and their affection for home

Abbey Theatre

FRI 19 - SAT 20 JAN 2018 8PM
WED 24 - SAT 27 JAN 2018 8PM

Two young people sign up for a trial to test a new antidepressant. They fall in love. But what is love? And when you view the world through a haze of drugs, how can you tell if what you’re feeling is really you?
I Had a Black Dog’ …his name was depression
By Matthew Johnstone
Friday 2 February 2018, 7pm

Friday, 12 January 2018

The Radio Verulam Film Guide: Friday 12th January 2018

Rejuvenated by the Christmas break and New Year celebrations, Simon talked in his most animated fashion about films!! Can you believe it.

His picks for the week on free-to-air TV are:

Platoon (1986)
9.00pm – 12.35am

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
5.25pm – 9.00pm

Mr Holmes (2014)
6.20pm – 8.00pm

Scarface (1983)
10.00pm – 1.25am

Twelve Years a Slave (2013)
9.00pm – 11.40pm

Payback (1998)
9.00pm – 11.05pm

The Adjustment Bureau (2010)
6.55pm – 9.00pm

The Drivetime Sessions with @BethHedgesMusic sponsored by @FightingcocksSA

On this week's Drivetime Sessions we were joined by the local singer-songwriter Beth Hedges. She performed her songs 'Straight Ahead' and 'Safe And Sound', and performed a cover of McFly's 'That's The Truth'.

For more information about Beth you can visit her website at

If you would like to listen to the Drivetime Sessions again then visit and navigate to Wednesday at 5:30.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Charlotte's Film Club: Justice League

Concluding the Film Club this week, Charlotte chooses to put "Justice League" into the Drivetime records.

This ensemble Superhero thriller sees Bruce Wayne inspired by Superman's selfless sacrifice in the events of the previous film, enlisting newfound ally Diana Prince to recruit a team to stand against a newly awakened enemy. However even with the united forces of Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg and the Flash, could it be be too late to save the planet from an assault of catastrophic proportions?

Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Gal Gadot, Ezra Miller, Jason Momoa, and Ray Fisher all feature.


Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Charlotte's Film Club: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Today Charlotte's Film Club looks at the next anticipated Star Wars Sequel "The Last Jedi", released in the December of 2017.

In this sequel to 2015's "The Force Awakens", Luke Skywalker finds his peaceful and solitary existence altered by the arrival of the force-strong Rey, who desires to learn the ways of the Jedi forces. Meanwhile, Kylo Ren and General Hux lead the First Order in an all-out assault to exterminate Leia and the Resistance from the galaxy.

Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega,and Oscar Isaac reprise their previous roles in the series, alongside newcomers Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern and Benicio del

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Charlotte's Film Club: The Greatest Showman

Next on our week of 'recent releases', Charlotte looks at 'The Greatest Showman', starring Hugh Jackman.

Jackman stars as P.T. Barnum, in this original musical that celebrates the birth of show business & tells of a visionary who rose from nothing to create a spectacle that became a worldwide sensation. Barnum comes from nothing to create a circus celebrating the extraordinary, supported by his wife and two daughters, yet never seems to be content with the fame he acquires.

 Zac Efron, Michelle Williams, Rebecca Ferguson, and Zendaya also star.

Health Matters, NHS at 70, Cancellations; 111 and Sign; 3 Before GP; and Aussie Flu

Five Issues in this, the first DriveTime of 2018
  •         NHS at 70
  •          Cancelling Elective Operations
  •          Sign Language for the 111 Service
  •          Is your Pharmacy safe?
  •          Aussie Flu

 1. NHS at 70 – This is the year that the NHS, turns 70; July 5th is a significant day and an opportunity for us, as patients, to appreciate and support all of those dedicated NHS staff. There’s a great little video on Facebook that

And also an excellent web page that highlights some of the activities that we can get up to to show our support; for example – and I’ve signed up for it – the NHS 1,000 mile challenge.

So, this is a great time to support your NHS!

2. Cancelling Elective Operations
In order to ensure that urgent cases have priority, Watford Hospital has cancelled non-urgent planned surgery until the end of January; in addition, some non-urgent outpatient appointments have also be postponed. 

If your surgery or appointment has been cancelled you should have heard by now and you should have been offered an alternative appointment; and you can assume that your treatment is going ahead if you haven’t heard from the hospital. But the situation is under review, and could change quite dramatically at any point during these winter pressures. Whilst we can recognise that the hospital needs to prioritise care for acutely unwell emergency patients, I’m sure everyone recognises the anxiety and inconvenience it creates for anyone whose treatment is re-scheduled. For more information go to

3. The 111 Service and Sign Language
Great news for anyone who is hard of hearing – you can now communicate with the NHS 111 service using BSL (British Sign Language). Here’s how it works; you can use your computer and webcam, or the InterpreterNow app on your smartphone or tablet, to make a video call to a BSL interpreter.

The interpreter telephones an NHS 111 adviser and relays your conversation with them. The NHS 111 adviser will ask you questions to assess your symptoms, then give you the healthcare advice you need or direct you straightaway to the local service that can help you best.

Go here for all the information

4. Three Before GP
Think before you book your next GP appointment; do you really need to see a Doctor?

Actually, the Royal College of General Practitioners  (“RCGP”) wants us to think three times – hence the mantra “3 Before GP”! We need to ask ourselves three simple questions before we book our next appointment:
1.       Can I self-care? There are so many situations when we know what we need to do, so let’s do it without bothering the Surgery. If we’re not certain, then
2.       Could I verify it by using NHS Choices?  Of course, there are other web sites too! And finally
3.       Can I seek advice/treatment from a Pharmacist?
A recent survey showed that 27% of GP appointments were avoidable; in other words, we could have sorted the matter out by other means. One of the three options above could well have been the solution! And it would have meant that the doctors would have more time to spend with patients who really need their help!

5. Aussie Flu – should we be worried?
Although there seem to be many cases of flu around, the data shows it’s at pretty much the same level as last year. Aussie Flu is referred to as H3N2, and this year’s vaccine should give some protection against this type of flu. Good hygiene is imperative
  • wash your hands often with warm water and soap
  • use tissues to trap germs when you cough or sneeze
  • bin used tissues as quickly as possible
Finally - stay well in 2018!

Monday, 8 January 2018

Charlotte's Film Club: Molly's Game

Charlotte's Film Club is back for the New Year! This week we look at some of the most recent releases at the end of 2017/ start of 2018.

Monday's Film is 'Molly's Game', starring Jessica Chastain and Idris Elba. The Film tells the true story of Molly Bloom, a young Olympic-class skier who ran the world's most exclusive high-stakes poker game for a decade, her players including Hollywood royalty, sports stars, business titans and finally, unbeknown to her, the Russian mob.