TRANSCONTINENTAL SPACE WEATHER BALLOON EXPERIMENT: Last week,
Spaceweather.com and the students of Earth to Sky Calculus conducted a
unique experiment in atmospheric radiation involving airplanes and
high-altitude balloons launched simultaneously almost 3000 miles apart.
For the next five days, we will be highlighting some of the results.
The news kicks off with some interesting measurements of cosmic
radiation inside a commercial passenger jet. Visit http://spaceweather.com for details.
BLUE MOON: There's a full Moon this week and according to modern
folklore it is a "Blue Moon." Most Blue Moons are gray, as usual, but
sometimes a Blue Moon can really turn blue. Find out more about this
phenomenon in today's edition of http://spaceweather.com
ENCORE: Nuclear fission powers the Sun. Or is it fusion?
At any rate, helium is burned in the process, of that you are certain. After
all, you read that article on astronomy last week*.
You know what you know. But you probably don’t
know what you don’t know. Few of us do. Scientists say we’re spectacularly
incompetent at recognizing our own incompetency, and that sometimes leads to
Find out why wrongness is the by-product of big
brains and why even scientists – gasp! – are not immune. Plus, a peek into the
trash bin of history: the biggest scientific blunders and the
brighter-than-bright brains that made them. Including Einstein.
*Oh, and the Sun burns hydrogen to produce
helium. But then, you knew that.
“If it bleeds, it leads” is the tried
and true tenet of news. Indeed, headlines are often no more than a long
list of moral atrocities. Yet one man argues that we’re living in the
most civilized era in history. And he credits this to scientific thought
Hang on! Our executive function
isn’t enough to promote ethical behavior, says a psychologist. The real
fuel behind our drive to be good? Anger, compassion, pride: your
But whether or not you’re a pillar of
the community, good intentions might all be for naught when future ethical
decisions are made by our silicon successors. Get ready for moral
machines. Or not.
SPACE WEATHER ON PLUTO: As NASA's New Horizons spacecraft prepares to buzz Pluto on July 14th,
space weather forecasters have released long distance predictions for
the distant dwarf planet. A region of merged CMEs could be on the verge
of hitting Pluto and compressing its atmosphere, but this is expected
to happen well after the flyby. Meanwhile, New Horizons has just taken
its best picture of Pluto's farside, which is dotted with mysterious
dark spots. Check http://spaceweather.com for more information.
AURORA ALERTS: On July 10th and 11th, a G1-class geomagnetic storm
sparked auroras over multiple US states including Michigan, Vermont,
Maine, Massachusetts and the Dakotas.
ENCORE: You must not remember this. Indeed, it may be key
to having a healthy brain. Our gray matter evolved to forget things; otherwise
we’d have the images of every face we saw on the subway rattling around our
head all day long. Yet we’re building computers with the capacity to remember
everything. Everything! And we might one day hook these devices to our brains.
Find out what’s it’s like – and whether it’s
desirable – to live in a world of total recall. Plus, the quest for cognitive
computers, and how to shake that catchy – but annoying – jingle that plays in
your head over and over and over and …
Ramamoorthy Ramesh –
Materials physicist, deputy director of science and technology, Oakridge
Michael Anderson –
Neuroscientist, Memory Control Lab, MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit at
the University of Cambridge in the U.K.
Ira Hyman –
Psychologist at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington
James McGaugh –
Neurobiologist, University of California, Irvine
Larry Smarr – Professor
of computer science, University of California, San Diego; director of the
California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2)
This encore podcast was first released on January 20, 2014
Pluto is ready for its close up – but the near encounter during this
historic flyby will last less than three minutes. Be ready for the
action with our special New Horizons episode!
Hear from researchers who are Pluto rock stars: the astronomer who
discovered two of Pluto’s five moons, the planetary scientist who coined
the term “dwarf planet,” and the man who claims to have “killed Pluto.”
Find out how the New Horizons spacecraft will dodge rocks and other
dangers as it approaches the planet and what we might learn about planet
formation once we arrive. And why the battle over Pluto’s nomenclature
Plus, Neil deGrasse Tyson reads his hate mail – from 3rd graders.
A solar wind stream hit Earth's magnetic field on July 4th, sparking a
moderately strong (G2-class) geomagnetic storm. High-latitude sky
watchers who receive this email before sunrise on July 5th should be
alert for auroras. The hours around local midnight are usually the best times to look.