Category Archives: Podcast episodes

Episode 22 — Exoplanets

I’m sure we’ve all wondered from time to time whether or not there’s life elsewhere in the universe. Of course, if alien life exists, it’d likely need a planet to grow up on — so we’re off to search for exoplanets, extra-solar planets!

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Episode 21 — Biofuels

Salvation, or just a distraction?

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Episode 20 — Wet Mars / White Mars

There have been a number of hypotheses / theories trotted out over the years in an effort to explain the role that water has played (if any) in the history of Mars. Some of them have had a scientific basis, others have been more culturally based. Currently, the crop has really been thinned down to just two main theories, or at least, families of theories.

Tune in to hear both the human and geological history of water on Mars, and a bit of background on the argument you’ll hear subtly running in the background in related press releases…

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Episode 19 — The Evolution of the Theory of Evolution, Part 2 of 2

In the last episode, I talked about the development of evolutionary theory leading up to Darwin and his contemporaries. Now it’s time to turn to the man himself…

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Episode 18 — The Evolution of the Theory of Evolution, Part 1 of 2

Today, the 12th of February, 2008, is the 199th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin. Since this has been dubbed “Darwin Day,” and all sorts of events are planned for the upcoming year commemorating Darwin’s turning the “big 200” in 2009, I thought it’d be a good time to discuss how evolutionary theory has changed over the centuries, and what Darwin’s unique contributions really were…

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Episode 17 — A Tale of Two Craters, and a Shoemaker

While sorting through pictures for some “Scientific tourist” blog posts, it occurred to me that two of them together told an interesting tale. Listen in on this episode, and find out how two craters — one in Arizona and one in Bavaria — helped a man named Eugene Shoemaker reshape how geology is conducted, and invent the field of planetary geology as a scientific discipline…

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Episode 16 — Electric Lighting

Between discussions of global climate change, and the ever-rising cost of energy, people are starting to take a long, hard look at the costs of lighting — both financial, and ecological. Listen in to this episode, and I’ll attempt to (ahem…) enlighten you on the history and potential future of this technology…

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Episode 15 — The Solar Cycle

No, it’s not a sporty new solar-powered form of transportation — it’s a basic part of how the Sun behaves!

There’s been a recent surge of news about solar activity and the solar cycle — and of course, variations in solar activity always seem to get brought into discussions of climate change. Listen in this week, and I’ll give you some quick background on solar physics, the solar cycle, and how it all impacts us in the end…

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Episode 14 — Hybrid Cars

If you’re like many people, you’d like to help do something about climate change through the choices you make and the way you live. Celebrities and the mass media (among others) are presenting hybrid vehicles as a big step forward in this regard.

But left out of this rush to technology is any discussion of the fact that not all hybrids are equal. Some are little different from conventional cars, and consume fuel with equal gusto. Others offer dramatic improvements in fuel economy, but may not appear at your local automotive dealer’s showroom floor for years.

What’s a well-intentioned, but budget-minded potential car buyer to do?

Listen in to this episode, and I’ll give you a quick education in hybrid vehicle technologies. You’ll be able to tell series from parallel, and electric from hydraulic with aplomb — and more importantly, understand some of the challenges that lie ahead for this technology, and how to tell when a hybrid vehicle’s price premium makes it a worthwhile investment.

This episode is the first in a series on ways you and I can help fight climate change.

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So Aussie bees are off the hook, then?

You might recall that back in September, I published a podcast episode on Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) — a malady that has been wreaking some serious havoc on honeybee colonies in the U.S. and Europe. Well, there’s some new news on this front, and it just means that things are getting more interesting…

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