Nearly 65 feet
beneath the icy surface of a remote Antarctic lake, scientists have
uncovered a community of bacteria existing in one of Earth's darkest,
saltiest and coldest habitats. The finding could have implications for
the possibility of life in extreme environments on other planets.
If there is only one show you hear about the end of the world, let it
be this one. Recorded before a live audience at the Computer History
Museum on October 27th, 2012, this two-part special broadcast of Big Picture Science
separates fact from fiction in doomsday prediction. In this episode:
Maya prophesy for December 21, 2012 … asteroid impact and cosmic threats
…. and alien invasion.
Presented as part of the Bay Area Science Festival.
Eclipse chasers always hope for clear skies, but observers of last
week's total solar eclipse in Australia discovered that clouds can add a
surprisingly beautiful twist to the brief minutes of totality.
NASA's NuSTAR spacecraft has detected X-ray flares coming from the
center of the galaxy--a signal that the Milky Way's supermassive black
hole is having dinner. Astronomers are not sure, however, what's on the
SOLAR ACTIVITY: A big new sunspot (AR1618) has emerged near the center
of the solar disk, and it is crackling with strong M-class solar flares.
NOAA forecasters estimate a 70% chance of more M-flares today, and a
15% chance of powerful X-flares. If the rapid growth of AR1618
continues apace, the Thanksgiving holiday (USA) could be filled with
stormy space weather. Check http://spaceweather.com for updates.
Zombies are making a killing in popular culture. But where did the
idea behind these mythical, cerebrum-supping nasties come from?
Discover why they may be a hard-wired inheritance from our Pleistocene
Also, how a whimsical mathematical model of a Zombie apocalypse can
help us withstand earthquakes and disease outbreaks, and how the rabies
virus contributed to zombie mythology.
Plus, new ideas for how doctors should respond when humans are in a
limbo state between life and death: no pulse, but their brains continue
Meet the songwriter who has zombies on the brain …. and we chase
spaced-out animated corpses in the annual Run-For-Your-Lives foot race.
TAURID METEOR SHOWER: Earth is passing through a stream of gravelly
debris from Comet Encke, source of the annual Taurid meteor shower.
Because the debris stream is not very congested, Taurid meteor rates are
low, no more than 5 per hour. The special thing about Taurids is that
they tend to be fireballs. Check http://spaceweather.com for the latest videos and images of the display, which is expected to peak around Nov. 12th.
Scientists and sky watchers are converging on the northeast coast of
Australia, near the Great Barrier Reef, for a total eclipse of the sun
on Nov. 13/14. For researchers, the brief minutes of totality open a
window into some of the deepest mysteries of solar physics.
The Internet is not the only globally-uniting phenomenon. Viruses
and bacteria can circle the globe as fast as we can, and the effects can
be devastating. Discover what it takes for an animal disease to become a
human pandemic. Also, was hurricane Sandy a man-made disaster? The
future of severe storms and climate change.
Plus, the view of our science from abroad: why Brits have no trouble
accepting the theory of evolution but Americans do. And what about a
new annex for Silicon Valley – 12 miles out to sea?
Jerry Meehl – Senior scientist, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO