evolution

Species movie backdrop

Species: alien bio-containment, the Arecibo message, and Von Neumann trolls

Species

Wow there some really good movies in 1995! Geiger alien designs. Not “Alien,” but “alien.” This time, with nipples.

Ptosis

Forrest Whitaker. Chris’s history of eyelid laziness variability. Being either a dolphin or a flamingo. Eye farts?

The Arecibo Message

The limited utility of sending messages to aliens 25,000 light years away. The Arecibo Message sent in 1974 toward the M13 globular cluster. A cluster containiner millions of stars. 1679 bits: not a lot of bits!

Bio-executable Von Neumann machines

Von Neumann trolls. Self-assembling bootstrapping biological systems. What if DNA is very common across life in the universe?

Containment

How to combine biological containment and prisoner containment. Lots of “fire” buttons. Biocontainment protocols. Integrating what we’ve learned from prison-escape movies. Considering the Magneto-vault.

Cocoons

Vulvic wall-pods. What the hell even is up with cocoons anyway? Cocoons are basically alien material already. The “soup method” of metamorphosis.

Fat-bergs

Links

We redid our Patreon tiers! Check it out!: Patreon

After Earth Will Smith Jaden Smith backdrop image

After Earth: pheromones, murder-birds, and language evolution

This movie

Not well reviewed. Will Smith’s “painful failure.” The real twist is the lack of explanation for things. Jaden Smith wisdom.

Accent and language

The future “language” in the film. The difference between accent and dialect. how languages change over time, by example. Trying to understand original spoken Shakespeare and generally succeeding. Trying to understand original spoken Beowulf and completely failing. The mutual intelligibility of Old Norse and Old English.

Creatures

Surprise! There are aliens and they want to kill us. Engineered animal-weapons (the “Ursa”). Improving the Ursa design: giving guns to blind animals for fun and profit. Komodo dragon-mode leeches. Evolving from parasite to hunter. The combat techniques of butt-spiking murderbirds (shrikes).

Phereomones

“Smelly handshakes.” Mammary pheromone response in human infants. Getting used to stinky things. Tales of accidental moth pheromone pranks.

Quarantine earth

Surprising evolutionary directions in the absence of humanity. Even a thousand years later, baboons still don’t appreciate getting hit with rocks.

Atmosphere

The dangers of low atmospheric oxygen. Using the top of Everest as marker for O2 danger. Climbing Everest in shorts.

Links

In Our Time – Pheromones: BBC
“Butchering Bird” (the shrike): YouTube
Eddie Izzard “Babies on spikes” bit without any context: YouTube
Lion scent-marking with non-scientific audio: YouTube

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I Origins: rationality, eyeballs, and biometric ID w/ Daniel Barker

Featuring guest co-host
Daniel Barker headshotDaniel James Barker of Uncertainty Principle the Podcast

Eyeball anatomy

All the important parts, wherever they are! Who really cares anyway we’re only here for two in particular: the iris and the retina. The retinal blind spot.

Creationism

And intelligent design. Are wrong. Reaching conclusions and working backwards for fun and profit. Young Earth creationism. Dan’s religious upbringing. Irreducible complexity. Faulty reasoning.

The evolution of the modern vertebrate eyeball

Fish and their goofy eyeball arrangements. The crazy Charlie eyeball progress chart. Light sensitive flat patches, pits, enclosures, open pinhole eyeballs, lenses, and flexing your sphincters. Dan’s episode on Three-D Vision.

conspiracy charlie eyeball evolution

Comparative eyeball studies

Human eyes are pretty sweet! But there other ones that do other things (at their own local summits on Mount Improbable) and are also really good at stuff! Goats, sharks, snakes (sorta), bees. Removing your lenses for fun and profit. Monet’s lens removal and ultraviolet perception.

Eyeball shortcomings

Common “colorblindness” is a misnomer, but “color discernment syndrome” doesn’t flow as well. Retinal wiring and the “blind spot.” Saccades. “Chronostasis” or “the stopped clock illusion” and the tight coupling of our eyes and our brains.

Bio-identification

Selecting scanning sites for statistical uniqueness and natural resistance to hacking. The insufficiency of fingerprints. Iris scans. Retinal scans. Bio-identification security. Ease of use.

Rationality

Rationalism/spiritualism/etc. The rational scientific worldview and self-correction. The absolution of new knowledge.

Links

Richard Dawkins demonstrates the evolution of the eye: YouTube
Uncertainty Principle the Podcast Daniel James Barker: The Show | The Marty McFly episode

AXL A-X-L movie robot dog backdrop

A-X-L: dogs as technology, domestication, and unpleasant sticky materials

Doggo

Man’s best friend! And one of (many of?) our best technologies. The level to which we can handicap animals for aesthetics if we put our mind to it. Domesticated foxes.

Domestication

Domestication. Plants and animals. Bending chosen qualities to better human use.

Watermelon as of The Renaissance. Yay selective breeding! We win!

Warbot design

Implicit and explicit communication channels. Dog human body language-reading. Data connections and cloudy signal processing. Adaptation of dog body-design to robots. The small design effort required to get people to treat a robot animal like an animal.

Flamethrowers

The difference between industrial and military flamethrowers. An unpleasant, sticky material: napalm and napalm-like products!

Survey!

We have one of those. Pls help.

Netflix Extinction 2018 movie backdrop

Extinction: space stealth, leaving Earth, and the evolution of consciousness

Spoiler alerts

Special conditions requiring primary and secondary warnings.

Robots

How to tell if you are a robot? New Study Finds Best Way To Determine If You Are Android Still Cutting Open Forearm To Reveal Circuitry Within. Self-delusion and mass self-delusion.

Earthvacuation

Earth is really well-tuned for our needs (or is it the other way around?), and humans should try to maintain this as a base of operations if at all possible.

Surviving outside of Earth

Key resources on Mars and elsewhere in the solar system (outside of Earth). Iron for bullets. Rocket fuel.

Stealth in space

There is no stealth in space. Trying to hide from Earth (on Mars). Difficulties in hiding propulsion, light-blocking, and infrared emission. Hiding “in” the sun.

Attacking Earth

Shock and awe vs the impossibility of stealth. Why a nuclear EMP attack might not be a great idea. Throw a rock at it.

Zap Brannigan style

Evolving consciousness

Evolved consciousness in Earth life. The possibility of consciousness emerging in “artificial” life. Attention Schema Theory. Central processing of separate signal enhancement.

Links

Real Quick: LSG Media
What is Consciousness? by Vsauce: YouTube

Wall-E movie backdrop

Wall-E: biodegradable plastics, waste management, and space cattle

Space settlement

The economics of leaving Earth. Settling the inner and outer solar system. The Expanse. Space cattle and other space resources (water, mineral).

Garbage – in spaaace!

Garbage in space aka space junk. Cleaning up space junk. Giant nets as a major cleanup strategy.

Garbage – on Eaaaarth!

Modern waste management. What to do with municipal solid waste. Leachate. The difference between dumps and landfills and the interesting energy-reclamation technology involved in cutting edge WTE facilities.

Plastic

Massive plastic appreciation. How plastics ushered in the modern world. A lament for wasteful use of “disposable” plastic products. Microplastics in the water. Biodegradable plastics. The discovery of plastic-eating bacteria. Speeding up nature to digest plastic now. The coming plague of plastic-eating bacteria.

“De-evolution”

This isn’t a thing! There’s no end point that is being retreated from – life just adapts to pressures, ongoing.

Handling failure

Revisiting our past failures. Combating cynicism by just kind of ignoring it.

Links

Wall-E: iTunes | Amazon
The Water Fountain You Pee In: YouTube

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A Quiet Place: echolocation, cochlear implant vs hearing aid, and aliens

Stream the movie:
iTunes | Amazon

A Quiet Place

Episode: 149
What:
Be quiet or the monsters will kill you

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Enemy Mine : Episode 146

Stream the movie:
iTunes | Amazon

Enemy Mine

What: A human and an alien struggle to get past their differences.
Directed by: Wolfgang Petersen
Starring: Dennis Quaid, Louis Gossett Jr., Brion James

Show Notes

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The Time Machine (feat Joe Ruppel) : Episode 107

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iTunes | Amazon

The Time Machine [1895, 1960, 2002]

What: We talk about H.G. Wells’ “The Time Machine” and its two film adaptations. Time travel!
Written/Directed by: H.G. Wells | George Pal | Simon Wells
Starring: Rod Taylor, Alan Young, Yvette Mimieux | Guy Pearce, Yancey Arias, Mark Addy

Featuring guest co-host
Joe Ruppel PhotoJoe Ruppel, history nerd and our co-bff

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Kong Skull Island : Episode 100

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iTunes | Amazon

Kong Skull Island

What: King Kong fights monsters on Skull Island.
Directed by: Jordan Vogt-Roberts
Starring: Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, Brie Larson, John Goodman, John C. Reilly

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