Anna Daly on science week, sustainability and blackouts

Anna Daly on science week, sustainability and blackouts

The science behind beauty, household appliances, wearable technology and building an orchestra out of junk are just a few of the innovations to be discovered in the latest season of island of the future.

Coinciding with Science Week, which takes place from 13th to 20th November, the dazzling show will once again explore the latest discoveries and inventions from the Irish scientific community.

Presenter Anna Daly will use her curiosity about how things work and how science could improve the future for her children, while exploring the ‘endless possibilities’ of science that is the theme of this year’s Science Week.

We caught up with Daly to find out what she’s looking forward to before she presents the show for the first time.

“It’s a great show. It’s a weird show,” she says. “I think there is something for every member of the family. I’m very used to my kids asking all kinds of crazy questions that I don’t have the answers to. So I find myself in the corner of the Google kitchen again on my phone for a clever answer.

“So I really feel like it’s kind of a show for everyone in that sense because of course it’s about the future and amazing scientific and medical developments, which is obviously very exciting but also a lot of fun.”

“I think kids are great because they make me think, because we just accept the world around us, don’t we? We are very accepting as adults, while children sometimes remind you that they have almost higher expectations than you. So they question things.

“I have three boys and the six year old asks all kinds of crazy questions but the nine and eleven year olds ask all kinds of questions and the nature of the question makes me think their mind shift is different than ours.

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“As a kid you’re more curious. You question things. You ask, well, why doesn’t the government do that? Or why doesn’t that exist? Or why not cure cancer? And it’s really hard to give them [answers] because you always want to give them an honest answer, right? You don’t want to give them an answer just to please them. So yeah, it can be really difficult.”

Daly says it taught her an eternal lesson: “There are no stupid questions. The stupid ones are the ones who sit there, not engaged, and don’t ask questions.”

It’s a lesson she’ll take to the live broadcast, she adds. “I’ll remember that this week because I’m not a science expert, I’m there to ask players’ questions, so I won’t be ashamed to ask any stupid questions. You’ll hear a lot of them, no doubt!”

A focus of the show will be sustainability and how it intersects with the growing energy crisis, with experts likely to share their insights and tips for the coming months. “Sustainability is high on everyone’s agenda right now,” says Daly. “So the possibility of a power outage, that’s a big conversation to have. What happens if there is a power outage? Who is prioritized? Who decides who gets cut off and where they are? I will definitely ask those questions.”

She highlights an incredible example of how Irish communities are tackling the energy crisis and mentions those in the Aran Islands who are part of an energy self-sufficiency project that is expanding its energy sources as part of ReAct (Renewable Energy for self-sustainable Island CommuniTies), a four-year Research project aimed at using renewable energy to stop emissions and reduce energy costs on Inis Mór.

“Which basically means if we have a power outage, they’ll be self-sufficient,” says Daly. “In fact, they might be as advanced as energy trading, so if the O’Reillys have enough energy, maybe they can pass it on to the Clarkes next door.”

Additionally, there will be segments on the science of skin and the meaning behind all the ingredients, which will be heavily advertised to shoppers. “It’s very easy to have science-led stuff, and it almost fools us, doesn’t it? We’re taken with that stamp of authority, so we’re going to question all of that,” says Daly.

There will also be a section trying to recreate an orchestra and its instruments out of scrap and which films correctly predicted the future and what they haven’t yet.

Daly himself is particularly excited about the gadget segment, which will explore the latest in wearable and home technologies.

For herself, however, she likes to keep the balance in terms of the technology she relies on. “I think in moderation. You also don’t want your life to be dominated by technology. I’m at a point now where I don’t want my kids to be looking at screens all the time either.

“It certainly has a place, it matters and offers a degree of quiet time when we really need it. But there has to be a balance. There has to be a balance. And the same goes for wearable technology. I don’t wear an Apple Watch. My husband does. I’m a little afraid of the amount of information I have to give you about myself.”

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