Podcast

Evolution movie backdrop

Evolution: panspermia space rocks, periodic tables, and sooo much poison

Asteroids etc

Revisiting: asteroids vs meteors vs meteoroids vs meteorites vs who knows. Still confusing! How much space stuff hits Earth? Like, not just dust but things big enough to be impressed by. Who gets claim to Earth-impacting space rocks?

Panspermia

The idea that life can spread between worlds. Or maybe even stars (maybe not.)? The “soft hypothesis” of panspermia and the utility of primoridla ooze. The possibility of panspermia bringing life to primordial Earth. Cowboy scientists just leaving alien goo everywhere.

Periodic table of the elements

Chemical relationships via the periodic table. Actually-useful alternative periodic tables. Selenium toxicity, testosterone, and Brazil nuts. Arsenic. Marveling at 19th centtury arsenic popularity.

Evolution: iTunes | Amazon | Netflix
Matcha! It’s so tasty.: Wikipedia

Picard series backdrop

Picard: the moral center of Trek, supernovae, and Romulan stormtroopers

In which we discuss the first three episodes

Picard

We missed you Jean-Luc! Picard as the moral center of Star Trek, and the greatest of its captains.

Romulan supernova

Romulans. How to tell a Vulkan from a Romulan? Exploding stars. Detecting supernovae. The death cycle of a red supergiant. The reliability of physics across timelines/universes. The dangers of cleaving planets.

Federation Economics

“Post scarcity” with holodecks and replicators, and the realization that there is still a limited resource: energy. Star Trek Kardashev levels.

Synthetic life

Data. Lore. Data’s “daughter” from that one time on TNG. Bio-synthetic intelligent life. How important is embodiment?

  • Star Trek Beyond: drone swarms, teleporters, and decompression w/ Jolene Creighton: Decipher SciFi
  • Star Trek First Contact: transhumanism technology and ant behavior w/ Jolene Creighton: Decipher SciFi
  • Star Trek IV – The Journey Home: whale margarine, transparent aluminum, and time travel: Decipher SciFi
  • Star Trek Voyager: water, galactic scales, and coffee replicators: Decipher SciFi
  • Galaxy Quest: the best Star Trek movie: Decipher SciFi
  • Star Trek TNG: Netflix
  • The Picard Song by DarkMateria: YouTube
Halo backdrop image

Halo: first contact, power armor, and how does master chief poop? w/ Daniel Barker

Importance

Nostalgia: wow Halo has really been around for a minute. Hundreds of hours of that one level of local multiplayer but never playing the story. Turning an RTS into a TPS and then an FPS and then getting that Microsoft money. Figuring out the importance of Halo CE in the history of gaming. PC gaming master race. Tank-controlled console FPS games. Unseating Goldeneye. Establishing a timeline of FPS quality on consoles and PC.

First Contact

Humanity honing its warfare skills by just being jerks to other humans. Settling 800+ planets! “Glassing” enemy alien planets.

Put a ring on it

Ringworlds! But less a ring “world” and more a ring “weapons platofrm that also is fairly liveable.” The Drake Equation and the Fermi Paradox through the lens of Halo.

Armor

Master Chief vs Doom Guy. Measuring Hell energy. Mjolnir armor – a half ton and costs as much as a destroyer to produce. “Smart” and “dumb” AI delineations. Neural exoskeleton integration. PRedictive algorithms. Relating Master Chief to Upgrade. What about just putting an AI and some batteries inside of the Mjolnir armor? Falling from space.

Halo Foward Unto Dawn: Amazon
Uncertainty Principle: UncertaintyPrincipleThePodcast.com

TMNT 2 Ooze movie backdrop

The Secret of the Ooze: turtles, pizza, and irl toxic sludge

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

An incredible indie success story.

Pizza

Pizza popularity in the US post-WWII. Pizza classification arguments. Bread sauce cheese vs bread cheese sauce and the DRASTIC difference between the two. NYC Pizza ftw.

Wtf is a turtle

Turtles, tortoises, terrapins, and the difficulty with colloquial names. Putting them in the water to see which ones drows. Telescoping vs hinging necks.

Toxic ooze

Realizing the horrifying reason “toxic sludge” was in all of our childhood media. Joe’s story about that one superfund site that I can’t spell. Creating better ooze monsters. Honey badger? Mantis shrimp?

Nuclear waste

Short term nuclear waste storage and the problem with active maintenance. Long-term nuclear waste storage and keeping things safe after humanity. Long-term nuclear waste warning messages. The limits of language and pictograms. Designing for “bad vibes.”

This place is a message… and part of a system of messages …pay attention to it! Sending this message was important to us. We considered ourselves to be a powerful culture. This place is not a place of honor … no highly esteemed deed is commemorated here… nothing valued is here. What is here was dangerous and repulsive to us. This message is a warning about danger. The danger is in a particular location… it increases towards a center… the center of danger is here… of a particular size and shape, and below us. The danger is still present, in your time, as it was in ours. The danger is to the body, and it can kill. The form of the danger is an emanation of energy. The danger is unleashed only if you substantially disturb this place physically. This place is best shunned and left uninhabited.

10 Thousand Years: 99% Invisible
Why danger symbols can’t last forever by Vox & 99pi: YouTube
TMNT decayed costume nightmare fuel: Twitter

The Thirteenth Floor movie backdrop

The Thirteenth Floor: Yo dawg I heard you liked the simulation hypothesis

This movie

Yo dog, I heard you liked simulations. Server-room LAN rave parties. choosing your simulated period for fun, profit, and lack of complications.

Simulation

Plato’s shadows on a cave wall. Maybe shadows all the way down, and turtles all the way up! The simulatability of our perceived reality.

The argument

The simulation argument made distinct from the simulation hypothesis. Considering possible “great filters” that could prevent technological progress reaching the point where a reality simulation is possible.

Difficulties

The possible impossibility of simulating a whole universe in what may itself be a finite universe. Video game engine-corner cutting analogies for the reality sim. Kardashev scales and simulation ability.

#### Reality

But is it “real” and does it even matter? “I think therefore I am.” Mind uploading and downloading and VR “death.

Inception: iTunes | Amazon The Matrix: iTunes | Amazon | YouTube The Matrix – green phosphors, neuroplasticity, and rejecting utopia w/ Adrian Falcone: Decipher SciFi The Truman Show – objects visible from space, dome megastructues, and reality testing: Decipher Scifi

Highlander 2 movie backdrop

Highlander 2: time travel, aliens, and complete and utter nonsense w/ Joe Ruppel

Mythology

Taking a simple mysterious mythology and explaining it for fun and profit*.

Meta

The original Highlander’s original, surprising success story. Deciding to make a sequel. Budgets and revenues and how did we get here, really?

Versions

Aliens vs time travel. The clincher: neither actually makes any more sense than the other.

People

Not only Connnor MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod, but ALSO his best friend who totally just died in the last movie. but hey, lol jk it’s a kind of magic. Ol’ Ironsides hamming it up and honestly stealing the show. Recasting Highlander 2 with characters from The Room. The 80s/90s: when bad guys were really bad guys and just didn’t need a reason.

The ozone layer

The actual environmental problem that the world actually got together amd potentially resolved! Fixing the ozone layer. The “shield” in the film and blocking all of the visible light in addition to the UV.

Scenes

Some scenes from this film were truly mind-boggling and/or amazing and it’s hard to tell which were which. Ironsides ham. The car scene, OR sacrificing Yoshi to make the jump. Sean Connery being rogueish/trash on a plane. Scottish fan-death. Offscreen sword-switching antics.

Highlander 2 Fairytale Ending: YouTube Highlander 2 BTS Interviews: YouTube Sean Connery The Musical by legolambs: YouTube

* not really very much profit tbh

Decipher SciFi decadal review

Decade in Review: privacy, computing everything, and torture toilets

No spoilers this week! Just looking at all the scientific discoveries of the past decade and how that has or hasn’t played into the scifi we’ve covered.

1. Privacy & Cyberpunk

… and the illusion thereof. Snowden and the shattering of the illusion of privacy in the digital age. The world becoming the less awesome-looking irl version of cyberpunk. Workers as a resources. Torture toilets.

2. Machine learning

The biggest huge development in the pats decade which underlies every other things. Wowzers. Realizing the importance of the data going in, so you don’t get racist policing or image recognition. The availability of open tools, compute time, and learning resources.

3. Genetic editing

CRISPR! What will eventually result from this one?

4. Space

Water on Mars! So much more water than we thought. Greater accuracy in portrayals of space settlement. Increasing private industry in space.

5. Physics

Hey, an update on Einstein: still correct! Also… Gravity waves! Higgs-Boson! Imaging a black hole. The contributions of computing and storage technologies.

39. Human history

Confirmation of Sapiens and Neanderthal interbreeding in remaining modern humans. Discovering more extinct human varieties.

53. Technology

What happened to AR glasses!? The state of wearables. Recognizing that there are senses to augment other than our visual system.

Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker movie backdrop

The Rise of Skywalker: the force, fan service, and blade-based wayfinding

Whoops, a movie review

So the movie didn’t put in any cool science things and the only thing left to do is review it and talk about… feelings? Different viewing experiences between opening night and subsequent viewings.

Franchises

Fan service. Coherent extended story arcs. Reconsidering the prequel triloges in light of the new one. Indie IP ownership with one person in charge vs Disney. Realizing what a truly satisfying job disney did with Marvel. What made Star Wars different?

Oy vey

Bending over backwards to justify fantasy events, and how movies can deserve this treatment. Bringing in The Emperor at the end. Bringing back Leia with scraps of cut scenes and lots of over-the-shoulder conversation shots.

Exagol

How to hide a planet. How to hide a planet engaging in major empire-level engineering and construction projects. Hiding your Sith shipyard.

Tech

Technological stagnation. Miniaturization. Bad ways to encode spatial information. Knife-based wayfinding.

People

C3PO software limitations and an argument in favor of Free Software. Probably maybe lobotomizing your long-time companion without deliveration. The sith ecclesiastical cult language. Pointless characters. The writer explains how Rose got mostly cut from the film.

The Force

Force diads. Beavis and Butthead candy sale force-healing math. Adam Driver doing all the acting.

The Saga – Star Wars with Tommy Wiseau – The full story: YouTube

Ad Astra movie backdrop

Ad Astra: nuclear spaceships, the edge of the solar system, and space monkeys

Science…?!

Some things are more art than science sometimes.

Structures anchored to geostationary orbit

“Space antennas” but what kind of signal would benefit from this design? X-Rays? Why would this not be better off in orbit? The structure sure looks a lot like a space elevator. Space elevators and geostationary orbital masses.

Falling from space

It’s hard to steer without sufficient atmospheric density. Felix Baumgartner’s jump “from space.”

High energy blasting

Antimatter nonsense. Our increasing fragility in the face of an unlucky coronal mass ejection. Protecting infrastructure both inside and increasingly outside our atmosphere.

Moon settlement

Moon surface settlements vs moon gateways vs embarking to The Moon from low Earth orbit. Awesome moon buggy chases. Pirates!

Mars settlement

Communicating with and from Mars. Interplanetary distance and comms speed. Building settlements within Martian or Lunar lava tubes.

The heliopause

Finding the “edge” of our star system. Difference in concentration of high energy particles.

SETI

Looking for signs of life around other stars. Taking pictures of black holes. Planet-sized telescopes. The absurd distances from Earth to other stars. Vegemite in Australia. Absent of evidence is not evidence of absence.

Nuclear spaceships

Project Orion. Blowing up your spaceship because it doesn’t have a nuclear bomb-ready push plate.

Ad Astra: iTunes | Amazon