Friday, September 29, 2006

TPD Podcast EP: 007
Click here to listen

This week's show is run a little bit different than usual. First of all, Andrew and I are both in the same room here at my office in Bellingham. Due to time constraints and his having to catch the bus back to Seattle, we were unable to cover in-depth some of the news, but we have the links in case you carave more knowledge, which we hope you do.

For this week, we covered:

  • Armchair Astronomy: The science of star-searching has gone one step further - your home PC. I interview Dr. Gregory Laughlin about the future of computing and astronomy.
    Special: Come on Down!

    The 2006 Nobel Prizes for Physics, Chemistry and Physiology were awarded this past week. We detail the physics prize in-depth, but not before alerting you to the just-as-awesome research done in the other two science fields.

    For more information, see: Physics, Chemistry and Medicine

    For this week's thought experiment, Andrew talks about how human beings should think of themselves more as a species as opposed to discrete groups.

    TPD Podcast EP: 006
    Click here to listen

    New updates for the blog. We now have links below each post title where you can click to listen in. If you wish to download the episode to your computer, rick click on the link and select "save target as". We reccomend the second option to save bandwidth. As you may have realized, this show was partiuclarly short. Not even 10 minutes short. The main reason was the lack of a Thought Experiment for this week, but also due to shorter stories and also a different way of podcasting. With both Andrew and I off to college, my connection in my dorm room has been severely limited in terms of bandwidth. This means Skype, our primary use of recording the podcast, works very inefficiently. Until we can either bypass or remedy the situation, we will be doing the more formalized 'story-per-person' segments as per this episode. This also means guest appearances after podcast #7 will be delayed for some time.

    For this week, we covered:
    1. Is There a Doctor in Orbit? - French doctors perform the world's first zero-gravity surgery.
    -More Info

    1. Bose-Einstein States Created - Physicists have developed a new way of making a new form of matter.
    -More Info

    Special: Time for Europa
    After budget cuts and delays, a mission to search for life beneath the icy crust of Europa has been greenlighted.

    Image of a rising Jupiter over the Europan ice sheets by Walter Myers of Europa is widely considered the best place in the solar system to look for extraterrestrial life. More info on NASA's Roadmap for Solar System Exploration can be found here.
    See also the press release.

    More information on NASA's Europa Explorer can be found here

    No Thought Experiment for this week.


    Saturday, September 23, 2006

    TPD Podcast EP: 005
    Click here to listen

    We're back from vacation with new exciting stories from the science world. Our 5th episode, I feel, is the best one yet (leaps and bounds over 004). Looking back on the previous podcasts, it truly shows how much our show has evolved. We realize the episode names have been inconsistent recently, but from this episode on, we're naming them in numbers of ###. This allows for better sorting alphabetically. The next episode will be named 006, in line with the blog title. If the podcasts have also been coming in a bit quiet and a bit large (filesize-wise), we're testing different encoding procedures. It should be better in a couple shows, though. Also, for the future, we will be linking to the articles themselves so you can read more behind the reports. As far as astrophysical research goes, we'll link you directly to their research papers as well as a couple articles explaining it.

    For this week, we covered:
    1. Lucy's Daughter - Six years later, archeologists have unveiled the oldest, most complete fossil of the 'missing link.'
    - More Info
    1. Here's Lookin' at You, Kid - After three decades, the European Space Agency's Mars Express probe gives new angles and new origins to the infamous 'face on Mars.'
    - More Info

    Special: The Big Bust?
    Could some new ways of looking at the interactions of Cosmic Microwave Background photons disprove the central pillar of inflationary cosmology?

    The Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB). Each change in color is a difference of 1 part in 100,000. More info on the CMB can be found here.
    We also have links to the research paper and the easier to article.

    For our Thought Experiment this week, I ask Andrew some common questions about where it all came from.


    The Farse on Mars:

    Zooming in (Viking 1 orbiter images):

    (Mars Global Surveyor images)

    (ESA's Mars Express images)

    TPD Podcast EP: 004
    Click here to listen to the podcast
    Click here to listen to the interview

    Because of the size of the interview, we decided to split the files and have episode 4 seperate from the interveiw for bandwidth purposes. We know, we know, this episode was kind of crappy. Admittedly, we wanted to get a show out before our week-long vacation. Because of this we didn't have time to read through the articles correctly, but we'll link them here if you're interested in following up on them.

    For this week, we covered:

    Interview - We chat with Stanford Ph.D Richard Fralick on the physics of 9/11 conspiracies.
    1. Record Setting Rotators - Observations show that the earliest galaxies evolved a lot faster than initially anticipated.
    2. Cork World - A new planet is discovered with the density only 1/4 that of water.
    Special: ISS it worth it?
    The International Space Station gets some new power, but is it all really worth the time and effort?

    This weekend, Andrew details just how bizarre things get when one travels close to the speed of light.


    Friday, September 22, 2006

    TPD Podcast EP: 003
    Click here to listen

    For this week, we covered:
    1. Sim Earth - Recent test simulations show that massive, close-orbiting gas giant planets can actually provide a save haven for Earth-like waterworlds.
    2. Quantum Entanglement - The rise of new computing methods could hail the new era of quantum computers.
    Special: EM-Theory
    New developments in space propulsion technology could change the way the world runs, or rather, hovers.

    Pictured above is the funnel-type propulsion technique used for EMdrive. A basic overview on the propulsion technology goes along the lines of converting solar thermal radiation into microwaves, then shooting them down this funnel, causing a force.

    You can read more about EMdrive here

    While I thought he went out of the realm of coherency, Andrew's Thought Experiment this week deals with predicting randomness.


    Wednesday, September 13, 2006

    TPD Podcast EP: 002
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    Our editing skills are still a bit rusty, what with the obvious error at the end where the next brain teaser and answer were cut out. This one, I felt, was leaps and bounds better than 001, since we've now had a little bit of practice. Podcasting is a lot tougher than I had first thought it would be.

    For this week, we covered:
    1. Microscopic computing - Can bacteria-driven motors influence computing? How does this differ and relate to quantum computing?
    2. In memory - Steve Irwin, a noted conservationist, dies from a stingray attack off the Australian coast. We talk about his mission of conservation and how we should be spreading his word.
    Special: Lunar Origins

    The Smart-1 spacecraft put up by the European Space Agency (ESA) crashes into the Moon. Astronomers in Hawaii analyze the spectra to give us new hints about how our cosmic neighbor was formed.

    The picture shows where Smart-1 impacted the Moon 3, Sep, '06.

    This week, we poke your mind with relative motion. We all know that everything is relative to something else, but what happens if you try to remain motionless to everything in the universe?


    TPD Podcast EP: 001
    Click here to listen

    So the pilot episode went well in terms of getting the way we record (which, i may say is a tad inefficient at this point, but oh well) down, but the editing process is still a bit flawed. Some parts were left in, others cut out where they shouldn't have been. Reminder for all the podcasters out there: never try to edit an hour long program at 11:00pm (PST) the day you have work tomorrow.

    For this week, we covered:
    1. Alternative fuels - We talk about how ethanol from corn is a fallacy and that ethanol from a type of grass is more efficient.
    2. Pluto rebellion - It seems as though people in the IAU and abroad are not taking the recent demoding of Pluto quietly. Outrage over a vote hijack and who else joined the new club.
    3. Ethical stem cells - New methods of producing stem cells help to get around the political and ethical dellimas associated with them.
    Special: Dark Matter

    This week, we analyze a new paper put forth by Douglas Clowe that details the new way of proving that dark matter is real and here to stay.

    The image taken from the Chandra X-Ray Observatory shows two areas of dark matter (blue) independant of the matter in the colliding clusters (red).

    Andrew's thought experiment for this week overviews the fabric of spacetime. Just what is it?