Sunday, July 24, 2016

Big Picture Science for Monday July 25, 2016 - Musical Universe













Big Picture Science - Musical Universe

In space, no one can hear you scream, but, using the right instruments, scientists can pick up all types of cosmic vibrations – the sort we can turn into sound.  After a decade of listening, LIGO, a billion-dollar physics experiment, has detected gravitational waves caused by the collision of massive black holes, a brief shaking of spacetime that can be translated into a short squeal. 
 
We listen to the chirp of black holes crashing into each other and wonder: could the universe contain more than individual sounds, but have actual musical structure? 
 
A theoretical physicist and jazz saxophonist updates the ancient philosophical concept of the Music of the Spheres to probe the most vexing questions confronting modern cosmology.  Find out how the evolution of the universe resembles an improvisational jazz piece, and the musical inspiration John Coltrane drew from Albert Einstein.
 
Guests:

Download podcast at: http://bigpicturescience.org/episodes/musical-universe

You can listen to this and other episodes at http://bigpicturescience.org/, and be sure to check out Blog Picture Science, the companion blog to the radio show.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

The Strongest Solar Flare of 2016


Source - Space Weather News for July 23, 2016: http://spaceweather.com

SOLAR FLARES: Departing sunspot complex AR2565-AR2567 unleashed a pair of rapid-fire solar flares during the early hours of July 23rd. One of them was the strongest flare of the year so far.  The explosions caused shortwave radio blackouts on the dayside of Earth and may have hurled CMEs into space.

Visit http://spaceweather.com for more information and updates.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Geomagnetic Storm in Progress


Source - Space Weather News for July 20, 2016: http://spaceweather.com

GEOMAGNETIC STORM: Unexpectedly, a CME struck Earth's magnetic field during the late hours of July 19th. The impact sparked a minor G1-class geomagnetic storm that could intensify in the hours ahead as Earth passes through the CME's strongly-magnetized wake.

Visit http://spaceweather.com for updates.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Big Sunspots Staring at Earth


Source - Space Weather News  for July 17, 2016: http://spaceweather.com

BIG SUNSPOTS STARING AT EARTH: Solar activity has been low for months.  That could soon change.  Two big sunspots are staring directly at Earth, and one of them has an unstable magnetic field that harbors energy for M-class solar flares. Images and updates are available at http://spaceweather.com

NOCTILUCENT CLOUDS INVADE THE USA: For the first time this summer, bright noctilucent clouds have crossed the Canadian border into the continental USA.  Formed by wisps of summertime water vapor freezing around meteor smoke, the electric-blue ripples were sighted by multiple observers in Seattle and surrounding areas. Check out the video on http://spaceweather.com.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Big Picture Science for Monday July 18, 2016 - Raising the Minimum Age













ENCORE: We all try to fight it: the inexorable march of time. The fountain of youth doesn’t exist, and all those wrinkle creams can’t help. But modern science is giving us new weapons in the fight against aging. So how far are we willing to go?

Hear when aging begins, a summary of the latest biotech research, and how a lab full of youthful worms might help humans stay healthy.

Also, a geneticist who takes a radical approach: collect the DNA that codes for longevity and restructure our genome. He finds inspiration – and perhaps genes as well – in the bi-centenarian bowhead whale.

But what if age really is mind over matter? A psychologist’s extraordinary thought experiment with septuagenarian men turns back the clock 20 years. Will it work on diseases such as cancer as well?

Guests:

This encore podcast was first released on April 6, 2015

Download blog at: http://bigpicturescience.org/episodes/Raising_the_Minimum_Age

You can listen to this and other episodes at http://bigpicturescience.org/, and be sure to check out Blog Picture Science, the companion blog to the radio show.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Big Picture Science for Monday July 11, 2016 - Microbes: Resistance is Futile












Big Picture Science - Microbes: Resistance is Futile

ENCORE: You are what you eat. Whether you dine on kimchi, carnitas, or corn dogs determines which microbes live in your stomach. And gut microbes make up only part of your total microbiome.

Find out how your microbes are the brains-without-brains that affect your health and even your mood. Also, why you and your cohorts are closer than you thought: new research suggests that you swap and adopt bugs from your social set.

Plus, the philosophical questions that are arise when we realize that we have more microbial DNA than human DNA.

And a woman who skipped soap and shampoo for a month to see what would grow on her.

Guests:

This encore podcast was first released on March 16, 2015

Download podcast at: http://bigpicturescience.org/episodes/Microbes_Resistance_is_Futile

You can listen to this and other episodes at http://bigpicturescience.org/, and be sure to check out Blog Picture Science, the companion blog to the radio show.

Friday, July 08, 2016

Sunset Conjunction of Jupiter and the Moon


Source - Space Weather News for July 8, 2016: http://spaceweather.com

SUNSET SKY SHOW: When the sun goes down tonight, step outside and look west.  Jupiter and the crescent Moon are side-by-side in the sunset sky.  Try to catch them before the sky fades to black.  A bright conjunction framed by twilight blue is a beautiful sight!  Sky maps are available at http://spaceweather.com

SOLAR WIND SPARKS SOUTHERN LIGHTS: A high-speed stream of solar wind is buffeting Earth's magnetic field on July 8th. This is causing minor geomagnetic storms and colorful auroras in the southern hemisphere.  NOAA forecasters say there is a 50% chance of additional storms today (July 8), waning to 25% tomorrow (July 9) as Earth exits the solar wind stream.

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Noctilucent Clouds Descend to Mid-Latitudes


Source - Space Weather News for July 6, 2016: http://spaceweather.com

NOCTILUCENT CLOUDS DESCEND TO MID-LATITUDES: Last night, noctilucent clouds descended to their lowest latitude of the 2016 season.  Electric-blue ripples were sighted over nearly a dozen European countries as far south as 46 degrees N.  These formerly-Arctic clouds are spreading as a result of climate change and may soon be spotted over the continental USA. Visit http://spaceweather.com for photos and observing tips.

Sunday, July 03, 2016












Big Picture Science - Science Fiction True

ENCORE: Don’t believe everything you see on TV or the movies. Science fiction is just a guide to how our future might unfold. It can be misleading, as anyone who yearns for a flying car can tell you. And yet, sometimes fantasy becomes fact. Think of the prototype cellphones in Star Trek.

We take a look at science that seems inspired by filmic sci-fi, for example scientists manipulating memory as in Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. And despite his famous film meltdown, Charleton Heston hasn’t stopped the Soylent company from producing what it calls the food of the future.

Plus, why eco-disaster films have the science wrong, but not in the way you might think. And, what if our brains are simply wired to accept film as fact?

Guests:

This encore podcast was first released on December 22, 2014

Download podcast at: http://bigpicturescience.org/episodes/Science_Fiction_True

You can listen to this and other episodes at http://bigpicturescience.org/, and be sure to check out Blog Picture Science, the companion blog to the radio show.











Big Picture Science - Science Fiction True

ENCORE: Don’t believe everything you see on TV or the movies. Science fiction is just a guide to how our future might unfold. It can be misleading, as anyone who yearns for a flying car can tell you. And yet, sometimes fantasy becomes fact. Think of the prototype cellphones in Star Trek.

We take a look at science that seems inspired by filmic sci-fi, for example scientists manipulating memory as in Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. And despite his famous film meltdown, Charleton Heston hasn’t stopped the Soylent company from producing what it calls the food of the future.

Plus, why eco-disaster films have the science wrong, but not in the way you might think. And, what if our brains are simply wired to accept film as fact?

Guests:

This encore podcast was first released on December 22, 2014

This postcast will be released this coming Monday at: http://bigpicturescience.org/

You can listen to this and other episodes at http://bigpicturescience.org/, and be sure to check out Blog Picture Science, the companion blog to the radio show.

Friday, July 01, 2016

Crazy-Bright Auroras over Antarctica


Source - Space Weather News for July 1, 2016: http://spaceweather.com

CRAZY-BRIGHT AURORAS OVER ANTARCTICA: The sun has been without spots for more than a week, and solar activity is very low.  Nevertheless, in Antarctica the auroras have been so bright they are casting shadows and turning the snow reflected-green. What's going on? Visit Spaceweather.com for pictures and an explanation.

NOCTILUCENT CLOUDS--A SIGN OF CLIMATE CHANGE?  July is often the best month for spotting noctilucent clouds and, indeed, July 1st began with a magnificent display over Europe. A new study by researchers working with NASA's AIM spacecraft suggest that these electric-blue clouds are a sign of climate change at the edge of space. Full story: http://news.spaceweather.com/climate-change-at-the-edge-of-space/

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Green Flash on Mars


Source - Space Weather News for June 29, 2016: http://spaceweather.com

GREEN FLASH ON MARS: You've heard of green flashes above the setting sun. This week an astrophotographer in Sweden spotted a green flash on Mars. Visit Spaceweather.com for pictures and an explanation of this unusual phenomenon.

BRIGHT AURORAS CAST SHADOWS: The sun has been completely blank for 6-going-on-7 days.  Even without sunspots, however, space weather continues. On June 28th researchers in Antarctica photographed a display of auroras so bright it cast shadows on the ground. The outburst is highlighted on today's edition of Spaceweather.com

Image credit: Space Weather News / B Sudarsan Patro


Sunday, June 26, 2016

Big Picture Science for Monday June 27, 2016 - Skeptic Check: The Me in Measles












Big Picture Science - Skeptic Check: The Me in Measles

ENCORE: Wondering whether to vaccinate your children? The decision can feel like a shot in the dark if you don’t know how to evaluate risk. Find out why all of us succumb to the reasoning pitfalls of cognitive and omission bias, whether we’re saying no to vaccines or getting a tan on the beach.

Plus, an infectious disease expert on why it may take a dangerous resurgence of preventable diseases – measles, whooping cough, polio – to remind us that vaccines save lives.

Also, a quaint but real vaccine fear: that the 18th century smallpox vaccine, made from cowpox, could turn you into a cow!

It’s our monthly look at critical thinking … but don’t take our word for it!

Guests:
  • Paul Offit – Infectious disease specialist at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
  • Neil deGrasse Tyson – Astrophysicist, director of the Hayden Planetarium in New York City
  • Adam Korbitz – Lawyer specializing in space law
  • Andrew Maynard – Professor of environmental health science, director, Risk Science Center, University of Michigan

Download podcast at: http://bigpicturescience.org/episodes/Skeptic_Check_The_Me_in_Measles

You can listen to this and other episodes at http://bigpicturescience.org/, and be sure to check out Blog Picture Science, the companion blog to the radio show.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Sunspots Vanish ...Again


Source - Space Weather News for June 23, 2016: http://spaceweather.com

SUNSPOTS VANISH ...AGAIN: For the second time this month, sunspots have faded away leaving the face of the sun completely blank. This signals an important transition in the solar cycle: Solar Minimum is coming. Visit Spaceweather.com to learn about the down-to-Earth effects of low sunspot numbers.

SPECIAL WEBCAST: Have you ever wondered how NASA plans to fly astronauts to Mars? Find out on June 24th when the Coca-Cola Space Science Center visits Cape Canaveral for a live webcast about NASA's Space Launch System.  The presentation will include the bone-rattling launch of a mighty Atlas V rocket. Tune in Friday between 7 am and 11 am EDT: http://www.ccssc.org/webcast.html

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Big Picture Science for Monday June 20, 2016 - Elements Never Forget



Big Picture Science - Elements Never Forget

It’s elementary, Watson.  Things are in flux – from the elements in the air you breathe to party balloons.   We investigate the massive, historic loss of nitrogen from the atmosphere and meet the culprits behind a modern-day helium shortage.

But it’s not all a disappearing act: be thankful that oxygen showed up in our atmosphere a few billion years ago.  Meanwhile, atom smashers have recently produced some new elements.  Their appearance was brief, but long enough to fill out the periodic table.

And perhaps the tastiest use of an element – one that gives Seth a chilly reception.

Guests:

Download podcast at: http://bigpicturescience.org/episodes/elements-never-forget

You can listen to this and other episodes at http://bigpicturescience.org/, and be sure to check out Blog Picture Science, the companion blog to the radio show.