Sunday, October 21, 2007

Q&A With Brian Greene

Q&A With Brian Greene

Last week string theorist and physicist at Columbia University, Brian Greene came to my university as a part of a lecture series featuring distinguished lecturers. He did a question and answer session for a small group of us (about 20 or so people), as well as a planned lecture event. This week is the Q&A session.

Theme music by Liquid Tension Experiment

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Heisenburg's Uncertainty Principle

Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle

What can a retired basketball player and a cannon full of paintballs teach us about quantum uncertainty? A lot, actually. Have a listen in on why we can't tell where a proton is at the same time when we know its momentum: the quintessential uncertainty principle. For a link to the blog post I mouth off about, see the exposé on Ramtha and What the Bleep Were They Thinking?

New and permenant theme music: Baxiden by Liquid Tension Experiment

Monday, September 3, 2007

The Banach-Tarski Paradox

The Banach-Tarski Paradox

A mouthful no doubt! This week we go over just how a mathematical universe differs from a physical one on the basis of the Axiom of Choice. More interestingly, if we exploit this paradox, we can clone anything we want with the exact same properties as the original. As per Andrew's note, you can see an example of a fractal here. Really amazing stuff to say the least.

Barbarian Horde is by Hans Zimmer

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Rachel Cooper's Overview on Thought Experiments (guest)

Rachel Cooper's Overview

Rachel Cooper, a lecturer at the University of Lancaster, provides for us an overview as to what thought experiments are and what they are used for. As a side note, she refers to Lucretius' Spear, an earlier podcast.

Debussy Reverie is by David DeLucia

Monday, August 6, 2007

Einstein's Relativity

Einstein's Relativity

So many topics to cover in so little of time! Time dilation, spacetime continuums, all the sorts of fun stuff you learn in upper-level cosmology courses. Alas, we can't do justice to Einstein's theories or results here, but we can take a sure enough stab at it. The book I keep referring to is Einstein, His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson. It's really a great read and I don't want to sound like I'm just telling you to buy a book just for the sake of buying it. If you want to learn about relativity, but are too intimidated by Einstein's own book that he wrote on the subject, Isaacson covers it in depth as well as more than you ever bargained for.

A New Hope is by John Williams

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Poincare's Conjecture

Poincare's Conjecture

Amidst more recording troubles, I had to do solo again this week. Alas, the show must go on and this week I talk about how extra dimensions can be rooted out of lower dimensional fields. A great book to check out on this topic is Edwin A. Abbott's Flatland. Specifically on the Poincare Conjecture, there are tons of math books abounding on the subject, since it was only just recently solved. It's worth a look and is on the cutting edge of the fascinating world of topology!

We Want a Rock is by They Might Be Giants

Monday, July 23, 2007

Kent Hovind's Last Debate

Kent Hovind's Last Debate

Well, this week we had originally planned to go over Maxwell's Demon, but a screwup in the recording prompted us to ditch the file. Perhaps it was for the better, given that it is the 1 year anniversary of our debate with famed creationist Kent Hovind. Perhaps one of our few PDFcasts, the debate is about 20 some odd pages in length, but filled with comedic gold. As a toast to the convicted tax evasionist and 'scientist', we are putting up for free download a transcript from our debate with an intro included.

The feed has now been updated. Hopefully it should work at this point. If any other podcasts are not up and running, please alert me and I'll fix 'em.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Mach's Machine

Mach's Machine

Courtesy of Stanford

Ersnt Mach proposed that perpetual motion machines went against common sense. In this solitary episode, I talk about various claims of pseudo-scientific energy companies and talk about why their murky science is, at best, flawed. From tachyon theory of gravity to consciousness-energy, a short list of problems is noted.

White Army, Black Baron is by the Soviet National Choir

Monday, July 9, 2007

Can Life be Patented? (Skypecast)

Can Life Be Patented?

A deep philosophical question indeed, arisen from the recent episode of Science Friday's discussion on ethics of cloning. Andrew and I are joined by members of the Skype community in the form of a skypecast in which we discuss the ideas and let the fans of the podcast get a word in as well, live. Despite off-topicness and quality issues (Skypecasts have been under repair as of late), we venture forth into a discussion about whether or not life as we know it or not can indeed by patented.

'The White Tree' by Howard Shore

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Olbers' Paradox

Olbers' Paradox

Detailing how the universe, if infinite, should be as bright as the surface of the sun, Andrew and I also talk about whether or not if theory is ahead of testability and the feasibility thereof. Sorry about the overlap between Andrew and I's speaking, it was a latency error with the recording program used. It gets annoying, but just listen to what Andrew has to say.

I only realized at the last possible second that I needed some sort of July 4th theme music, and due to the fact I was lacking some 1812 Overture, I tossed in the most patriotic song that wasn't a Hans Zimmer work. Fight For Freedom is by Manowar.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Paley's Watch (Guest)

Paley's Watch

Special guest of the Big Bang and Creationism Podcast and colleague of mine, Robert Lippens joins returning co-host Andrew and I on a discussion about Intelligent Design. William Paley engineered his thought experiment about the watch and the watchmaker close to the turn of the 19th century. Since then, Intelligent Design has gotten lots more public media attention. The three of us roundtable it out on various claims by Intelligent Design proponents.

No skypecast for this week, sorry. We had millions of troubles and skypecasting was one of them. I realize there was a crowd trying to get in and get it to work, but they're being fixed right now, servers are down, etc. Perhaps next time!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Sunday Skypecast!

This Sunday we'll be graced with the presence of a colleague of mine, Robert Lippens, of the Big Bang and Creationism podcast. We'll be discussing William Paley's thought experiment on Intelligent Design. All are encouraged to join, all you need is skype and patience.

It begins Sunday, June 24th at 11:00 am, PST. Follow the link below to listen in.

Click right here!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Newton's Bucket

Newton's Bucket

What can a rotating glob of water tell us about the universe's expanse? In this experiment you can perform at home, you can follow the history of the 400 year-old theory on Newton's explanation on why he thought the universe was infinite.

(couldn't resist!)

Music by Gustav Holst

Monday, June 4, 2007

Finals Week

This week and weekend are prep for finals here at Western Washington, so there will be no new program for this weekend. Show the video around, though!

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Pale Blue Dot (video)

Pale Blue Dot

No introduction or commentary on this one. This is a segment from my planetarium show (the Earth segment) rendered for smaller screens, so the quality may be reduced a bit. The quote is from Carl Sagan's book, Pale Blue Dot, an amazing read which I would suggest all audiences to give a look at. There is no intro music to this, but music throughout and is done by Yo-Yo Ma, called the Ecstasy of Gold, from his album where he plays a bunch of music from Ennio Morricone's compositions.

Many of the images have been used without acknowledgment of the authors from If your image was used, please let me know and I'll credit you.

A youtube version of this can be viewed here:

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Galileo's Thread

Galileo's Thread

It is a common misconception to think that things that weigh more than others fall faster. After all, we see all the time that paper floats to the ground when our cellphones drop quickly onto the pavement. Galileo, in the 1600s, disproved this with a simple string.

Info on next week's video podcast in here too!
(Music by Carl Orff)

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Lucretius' Spear

Lucretius' Spear

Are the boundaries to the universe finite? If so, what exists beyond them? Lucretius wondered this in his work, On the Nature of Things. If the universe is infinite, how do we fit in? This podcast aims at explaining that.

Music by Hans Zimmer

Monday, May 14, 2007

Euthyphro's Dilema

Euthyphro's Dilema
(music by Harry-Gregson Williams)

Hopefully this will synchronize to the old podcast feed. Some updates to note of are a planetarium show preview I will be hosting in video format in a few weeks and a skypecast in a couple months from now. Andrew is gone but slated to return in a few weeks from a brief "vacation".

This podcast details where morality is derived from: objective or subjective sources?

Sunday, May 6, 2007

First new podcast

What Is a Thought Experiment?

The new podcast is kicked off. The future of the show will detail the history of thought experiments, ones from the fields of physics, math and philosophy, too. Expect controversial topics like religion and things like that to come!

For those arriving from Thought Provoking Discussion, welcome and yes, we are continuing the plan from the other blog message.