A hundred years to uninhabitability is a little bit quicker than we thought. Timelines here to red dwarf and all the unpleasantness in between.
Probing your star
The surprising difficulty of actually reaching the sun. The Parker Solar Probe. Taking a close peek at the corona and the young solar wind. Close as in millions of miles.
Shifting circumstellar habitability zones. Moving the planet out nearer Jupiter as our sun expands. Throwing moderation to the wind and ditching the solar system. Tidal forces.
Planetary travel in deep space
Relativistic impact vulnerability. Appreciating Earth’s protected position within the heliosphere, blocked from impactors by two gas giants and its own moon.
Earth’s new home
Traveling across deep space with no sun. If you dig deep enough, mayyyyyyybe Kelvin’s “secular cooling” would keep everybody warm for the trip. Signing up for some eye shine. The three-body problem.
Living underground. Shielding from the radiation and frigid cold of deep space with kilometers and kilometers of Earth. Learning to eat lots of algae, crickets, and fungus. Taking advantage of geothermal energy at depth. Dealing with Earthquakes while being under some of them. The safety of tunnels.
Smuggling pickles in your pants into space. And maybe some vodka or cognac. “Who wants a warm pickle?”
The Wandering Earth by Liu Cixin: Amazon
The Three Body Problem by Liu Cixin: iTunes | Amazon
The AMAZING Design of the Parker Solar Probe by Smarter Every Day: YouTube
“Just make stuff!” But then for technical details for other Linux podcasters, my dotfiles (application configurations) are shared openly on Github. Files and scripts relevant specifically to our podcasting are probably all mentioned here.
Free software and licenses
Creative Commons and free software and making the world better by helping more people make their stuff.
The oft-overlooked actual difficulties of space settlement. Not technology and logistics, but like, how hard it will likely be for the humans doing the job at first. And second. And then for a while after, too.
Plants in spaaaaaaaace
Growing fresh food in space habitats. Poop-potatoes. Wide-spectrum LEDs. Self-contained hydroponics/aeroponics.
People in spaaaaaaaaace. Dealing with microgravity. Bro, do you even lift in space? Eyeball un-squishing. Figuring out how to burp. Fluid-pooling and major injury.
Turning people into jelly. Differing human sensitivity to sustained g-forces in different directions. The wonderful engineering concept of the ship with omnidirectional seating that reconfigures on-the-fly for optimal g-resistance (The Razorback).
High-speed space impact
Turning into jelly and then having your jelly explode your ship, because physics. Relativistic baseballs. Long-haul space-racing and how to be your own butt-wiping pit crew.
Kinetic weapon diplomacy
Nuclear non-proliferation treaties in space. Orbital kinetic weapons and cloaked nuke-ships playing the role of the submarine as deterrent.
Interstellar highway program
Minimum viable star system bootstrap answering machine. The Fermi paradox. The odds that most of the signs of alien civilization that we might discover would be past.
The Universe Today Ultimate Guide to Viewing The Cosmos: Everything You Need to Know to Become an Amateur Astronomer by David Dickinson & Fraser Cain: Amazon
The Expanse Season 3: Prime Video
Guide to Space by Fraser Cain: YouTube
Ahhhhnold! Your average Joe, working construction just like any other regular guy who is a giant bodybuilding monster-person. We really missed this in our coverage of Total Recall 2012.
Memory “insertion” and memory “deletion” or “blocking” in mouse studies. The great distance from where we are now to trivial memory “vacations” a la Recall. Semantic memory, autobiographical memory, and muscle memory.
Ideal tracking-implantation locations. The incredible utility of the anus for tracker storage, weighed against the small time window.
Building Martian settlements with as much radiation exposure as possible: glass! glass everywhere! Radiation exposure on the Martian surface. Burying your dead on Mars: a tasteful resource-wasting mausoleum indoors, a giant pile of bleached-out mummies outside the door, or arrange them in awesome poses?
Natural resources in space. Calculating mining cost vs cost to get it where it will be useful. Mining and transporting Helium-3 for fusion energy. Harvesting oxygen from frozen water and getting rocket fuel as a bonus. NASA’s Moxie and inventing trees for spaaaaace. Making your Martian habitat smell like a dirty fish tank, for science.
Well, we don’t normally do this sorta thing, but oh man this was so good! What the film is about, how it is about, and why it was so special. Appreciating those who do the best work of making history relatable (coughDan Carlin cough).
Film degradation. Scratching, exposure, shrinkage, physical tearing. The crapshoot that is video frame rates in early 20th century film footage. Crank cameras and gearing and compressed-air constant-framerate cameras. Correcting for all of this and the challenge of bringing it all up to a standard 24 fps.
Film is an illusion
The optical illusion that we perceive as movement on a screen. Persistence of vision. Video framerates and the “refresh rate” of the human eye. Motion interpolation as an offense against art and all things good. Tom Cruise fighting the good fight. Motion interpolation as a really neato technology which is actually really cool when not on by default on new televisions. Motion interpolation in VR or video games.
Historian types and objections to the “enhancements” introduced by the filmmakers. Art vs education and the importance of relatability. Modernizing history. Colorization. 3d-ification. Finding it hard to complain about digital enhancement and remastering which leaves the original materials untouched.
They Shall Not Grow Screenings (Jan/Feb 2019): Fathom Events
They Shall Not Grow Old (Digital pre-order): YouTube | iTunes
“YOU WON’T BELIEVE YOUR EYES!” by Smarter Every Day: YouTube
Compounding acceleration in the relative vacuum of space. Incredible efficiencies versus chemical rockets, and the very low force produced making it only appropriate once spaceborn. The differing problems solved by chemical rockets and ion drives. The benefit of ion drive once out of Earth’s gravity well and going far away. Earth’s tectonic plates, slowly building up to escape velocity. That beautiful blue glow. “Ionic wind” aircraft in-atmosphere: a completely silent aircraft motor with no moving parts!
Landing in spaaaaace
Methods of landing on Mars: Aeroshells, parachutes, rockets, and balloons. Past examples. Different bodies in space and their particular atmospheric densities, atmospheric conditions, and gravitational acceleration.
Nuclear power solutions
Nuclear power vs solar cells. People’s presumption of full-on nuclear reactors rather than the smaller and less-efficient radioisotope thermoelectric generators like on Curiosity. Wondering why we don’t use tiny nuclear robots to blow the dust off of the solar robots. NASA, call us for more great ideas.
Martian dust storms. The low density and force of Martian dust storms, contrary to popular depictions. The visual impressiveness of huge Martian dust storms from space relative to actual effect. The (low) density of the Martian atmosphere and its make-up. How 60mph dust storms are are actually not that powerful: with low gravitational acceleration, static charge, it is very very easy it is to keep dust particles aloft.
Orbital centricity words
The revelation that “geocentric” and “geostationary” apply very specifically to only Earth and there are other words particular to the other major bodies in our solar system. All of the other centricity classifications, including Arecentric for Mars as in the film (though they don’t use it).
Hypoxia and inability to give detailed instructions to your AI on how to disperse the spirit of humanity into the universe.
2036 Origin Unkown: Netflix | Amazon | iTunes
Why You Should Put YOUR MASK On First (My Brain Without Oxygen) by Smarter Every Day: YouTube
How Do Ion Engines Work? The Most Efficient Propulsion System Out There by Fraser Cain: YouTube
Giving’em the old Philip K Dick joint. Cyberpunk. Adaptation fidelity.
Even though it looks like it’s the future…
Luminescent tattoos! Bioluminescence, electroluminescence, phosphorescence, and maybe some other -escences too! A world with three boobs. Well, maybe more than that in the whole world. Hand phones. Ubiquitous smart glass. Neck-mounted face-replacing direct-eye laser projectors. Memory manipulation and deletion.
Digging a hole through the Earth. Trying to find hard things to do when building a space elevator is too easy. Adding unnecessary rockets to your earth-faller to reach a seventeen minute trip time. Digging deep in the Earth and heat issues. Finding impenetrable hot rock stew even without piercing the crust. Atmospheric pressure in the center of the Earth. Making it work by vacuum tube. The one easy straight line through the Earth that avoids the Coriolis effect, and the actually useful curved lines between land areas.
Camera rocket grenades that explode into camera bullets. Like a camera, but more messy. IR scanning. Two-dimensional room-mapping by Roomba. Photogrammetry. Playing VR hentai sex games in your room, in your room.
Total Recall 2012: iTunes | Amazon
My room in VR in 1:1 scale (Photogrammetry Scan) by Az Balabanian: YouTube
FACE SWAP by David Gidali: Vimeo
Glistening, rippling man-meat. Sweaty pecs. Aggressive handshakes with biceps the size of coconuts. Longing for the good old days. Feeling unjustified disappointment when our heroes aren’t giant walking meat monsters. The inapplicability of the bodybuilder physique to actually getting hero stuff done. Bodylifting.
“Savant syndrome is a condition in which someone with significant mental disabilities demonstrates certain abilities far in excess of average” –Wiki. As opposed to someone just simply being awesome at something. Josh’s recent related coverage from The X-Files Podcast @ LSG Media. Acquired savantism. Aptitude for… alien user interfaces? Trans-cranial magnetic stimulation.
Chess club vs computer club. Afterschool D&D. Duke Nukem and Team Fortress LAN parties at school.
Predator vs prey. Linguistically, should they be called “predator” if they hunt mainly for sport? “Predator” as a label for a biological relationship in which one creatures hunts and eats another for sustenance. The deadliest cat in the world. Humans as top “predator.” How to judge top predator when the line is not so clear cut.
Survey of movie alien contact scenarios and what they reveal about us. Energy required for interstellar travel and the likelihood anyone will happen by by accident. Government secrecy. Zip tie budgets and how to keep an alien captive. irl tranquilizer dart use and the inherent dangers. Why not to shoot yourself with an alien tranquilizer dose.
Building the megapredator
Selecting desirable traits from around the cosmos. Leave enough room for my stomach. Spinal juice collection. Gene manipulation. Selecting for intellectual traits: competitive science. Interpretive flex-dancing to enable armor modes.
Reasonable solutions to the predator problem. The fix for climate change (fusion?). Arnold Schwarzenegger. The Terminator integrated with The Predator, Aliens, and Blade Runner. How awesome was the original predator?
Josh is on other shows at LSG Media!: Science Fiction Film Podcast, The X-Files Podcast
Meet the Deadliest Cat on the Planet: YouTube
Not a lot of Doctor Who experience at the table here. Recognition of the Moffat era. Finding a single, self-contained Who unit to use as an entrée. James McAvoy.
Pedantic note: the millenium wouldn’t really start until 2001. Colbert gets to be the jerk for once.
Numeronyms. Alternate terms: CDC, FADL. How we got here (there, then?). Limits on data storage and memory over time that make two-digit date storage actually seem kinda reasonable. Y2K38, aka the Unix millnium bug. The horrors of datetime in software and can you imagine the pain of writing this code for time travel. Standard datetime epochs: unix epoch, planet epoch, and time-since-the-big-bang epoch. We’re gonna need a lot more memory.
Doctor Who has got a lot of heart. But also he has literally two hearts. Animals irl on Earth with multiple “hearts.” Octopus (3), hagfish (4). The role of auxiliary “hearts” in these animals. Human heart grafting in heterotopic aka “piggy-back” heart transplants.
The history of time-measurement accuracy. From sundials to Hugens’ pendulum to modern atomic clocks. Appreciating GPS and understanding how atomic clocks are integral to their function.
Dolphin intelligence. It’s not about how smart they are, it’s about how they’re smart. Mammalian sameness as an avenue into better understanding life in the sea. Dolphin communication. Dolphin “language” and the possibility of translation. The Dolphin C.H.A.T. interface.
Big star! Red supergiant, 9th brightest in our sky. “Brightness” outside the visible spectrum. Dying stars gnoshing on their planets before going off.
Life form dominance
Metal boxes, taking over the planet and slowly digesting the soft squishy things inside them. Street Fighter-style car-breaking. How to judge the “top” species of a world.
Universal translators. A visit from Nick Farmer from the past, when we asked him about universal translators in our Q&A #2.
Space is big
Mind-bogglingly big! The bigness of space and the difficulty in finding a sense of scale from a human perspective.
Space is big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist’s, but that’s just peanuts to space.
Doors deriving sexual pleasure from providing their service. Polar opposite extreme AI demeanors. Deep Thought and AI constraints.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy The Game: BBC Radio 4
DRONE Solar System Model by Mark Rober: YouTube
VFX Artist Reveals the True Scale of the Universe by Corridor Digital: YouTube