A science and science fiction based podcast hosted by two high school friends, and two college friends. Listen and learn and geek out. In this podcast, science meets fact, meets fiction.
The Post-Movie Funzies
Pre-show Patreon Only: Void Train and other train games, Fallout 4
This episode contains: A chill post-Thanskgiving episode with Steven and Ben. Turns out people get tired after eating smoked turkey and phǒ (phǒ real? phǒget about it), at least people over 40. Good times with family. These kids are talking and love Bluey. If you’re of a certain age, you may not know Bluey, but you should. Are there new Bluey episodes? Not yet, but there is a new Bluey video game. Ben apologizes for talking about old Steam Deck issues, but he’s really not sorry, is he? Anyways, the most recent update (3.5) fixed the issues his son had, so this is just an old man shouting at the cloud. BTW, 30 years ago was not 1970, Steven. You poor thing. Steven was not prepared for Scott Pilgrim Takes Off on Netflix, which looks like the comic book, has all the actors for the movie, and then runs with a “What If?” story, completely changing the Scott Pilgrim story at a fundamental level. Our patron Renee met Mark Hamill while she and her family were all dressed like Leia. Mark Hamill is so lucky. Ben asks Steven to go on a date to see The Abyss Special Edition for his birthday, but it’s in Santa Maria, and Steven will never spend another birthday in “that hellhole” if he can help it.
Brain Matters: Our brains are not able to 'rewire' themselves, despite what most scientists believe, new study argues.
According to the article, two scientists argue that the commonly held belief that the brain can rewire itself and repurpose regions for new functions after injury or deficit is flawed. Through analyzing previous studies, they found no compelling evidence that areas like the visual cortex of blind individuals or uninjured areas after stroke took on entirely new functions.
Instead, they believe the brain enhances existing latent abilities through learning and repetition, not completely changing functions. So for example, when someone loses a finger, the area for that finger already got some input from neighboring fingers, it just enhances that after amputation. Their view is that understanding true brain plasticity limits is important for patient expectations and rehabilitation approaches. The brain's ability to adapt comes from hard work, not magical reassignment of resources.
Pure energy (like that song from Information Society, and Leonard Nimoy): Generating Power on Earth From the Coldness of Deep Space.
This article discusses the concept of generating power on Earth by utilizing the coldness of deep space. It explores the principles of thermodynamics, thermoelectric power generation, and radiative cooling. The article also presents various prototypes and experiments conducted to harness energy from the coldness of space, including the use of selective emitters and negative illumination photovoltaic cells. While the technology is still under development, it shows potential for powering low-power electronics and lighting, offering a sustainable energy solution.
Mid-show Patreon Only: Limp Bizkit is making a comeback? Maybe you don’t want to hear it.
Science Fiction: Steven finally saw The Marvels with his wife. He liked it, but his wife was lost. Why is that? Well, if you haven’t seen Captain Marvel, Ms. Marvel, Wandavision, Secret Invasion (but not really), LOKI, Hawkeye, Ant-Man and the Wasp: QuANTumania, Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers Endgame or X-Men: The Last Stand, maybe you’re gonna be a little lost. Steven and Ben both agree: that’s a little much for the normies, but it’s also a little much for these tired old comic book nerds (like our valiant podcast hosts). With so much discussion about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Ben says we’ve got to talk about something else, so what does he do? It’s DC time. My Adventures with Superman is a cartoon on Adult Swim and Max that is worth watching, and Ben gives ju
Suns Up, Thumbs Up
This episode contains: Three hosts again this episode. We talk about Kevin Bacon, Ben has returned and is now known as Numbers. We have an audio diary (that we share with the world). Devon shares a personal story and is now relieved, we chat a bit about Lethal Company and invite Ben to join. Ben tells us all about Patch Quest and the joy he's having with his son. Steven shares how he's brainwashing his kids into enjoying Pokemon (not really).
Finally, Am I Right?: Please make more USB-C cables like this. Elgato has make a great teleprompter that also has a great USB-C cable that ships with it. Their latest USB-C cable has the bandwidth and USB type imprinted on the connector. A lot of USB-C cables have unknown data speeds, charging speeds or both. More companies should adopt this labeling standard.
BONES!: Printed robots with bones, ligaments and tendons. Researchers have succeeded in printing a robotic hand with bones, ligaments and tendons made of different polymers using a new laser scanning technique. This makes it possible to 3D print special plastics with elastic qualities in one go which opens up completely new possibilities for the production of soft robotic structures.
Science Fiction: We talk about For All Mankind season 4, episode 2: Have A Nice Sol. Steven talks about his theory for the season arc. Ben watched The Marvels and gives us his non-spoiler review about his "fun film". Then we talk about the spoiler post-credit scene. Devon gets bored and breaks a toy. Steven and Ben watched LOKI and talk about the season finale and what it means for the future of the MCU. Spoilers for the ending of LOKI season 2. Devon argues about how movie flops might make Marvel change their business strategy, and Ben and Steven have a rebuttal. Ben has finally read "The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet" by Becky Chambers, and describes it as 'a space opera with no heroes'.
This episode contains: This is a throwback episode to the old times, before the Dark Times when Ben came. Steven and Devon host the show. We talk about the difficulty of scheduling a time for four people to get together consistently, Devon talks about having his neighbors over for dinner and how over-achieving they are, and the cost of success. Although, what is success? Steven is still dealing with sick kids and his own recurring illness. We also read and respond to comments from our Patrons.
Brain Matters: Rats have an imagination, new research suggests. Researchers have developed a novel system to probe a rat's thoughts, finding that animals can control their brain activity to imagine remote locations.
Devon also talks about reading Blindsight by Peter Watts and his recent foray into reading about consciousness.
Blindsight by Peter Watts: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blindsight_(Watts_novel)
Other Minds: The Octopus, The Sea and The Deep Origins of Consciousness by Peter-Godfrey-Smith: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Other_Minds:_The_Octopus,_the_Sea,_and_the_Deep_Origins_of_Consciousness
Fire Sale at the Lefttorium: Left-handers aren't better spatially, gaming research shows. By asking participants to download and play a video game that captured user information and tracked navigational challenges, researchers were able to measure demographic data -- including hand preference -- and activity from more than 420,000 international participants, across 41 different countries. They found that left-handers were neither better nor worse than right-handers at the tasks, clarifying a long-running debate about the links between handedness and spatial skills.
Science Fiction: We discuss the season premiere of For All Mankind, which Steven realizes he did not finish. We talk about the alternate history between the last season and this season, the events of the new episode and where the show might be going. We also talk about the first three episodes of this season of Rick and Morty. Devon enjoys the show more on rewatch. Steven then tells us about Lethal Company.
The Most Ferengi Thing Ever
This episode contains: It’s just Ben with his son, special guest host Flint Lawless! Ben’s got COVID, Steven’s vomiting all over the place and Devon’s in California. Does anyone want to really listen to all that?!?! Instead, Flint and Ben chat about COVID quarantines, Halloween, and how awesome friends are.
Everybody wants to be a cat, Because a cat's the only cat who knows where it's at: Cats Make Nearly 300 Different Facial Expressions. Cats can sometimes get a bad rap for being aloof or not emotive. Compared to dogs, felines tend to be more subtle with how they express themselves—perhaps with a mere flick of an ear or curl of their whiskers. A study has found that cats use nearly 300 distinct facial expressions to communicate with each other. The findings suggest that cats' facial expressions provide information about their emotions and social behavior, and could potentially help humans better understand and communicate with their feline companions. This study may even one day lead to an app that can decode cat facial expressions.
Turning old rotary phones into music streamers: Flint and Ben wax poetic about spinning wax. But what if it was even less convenient to listen to your music? Sometimes more convenience is cool, sometimes less is cooler. You pick up the rotary phone and it welcomes you in a bit of a sleepy voice with the words: “Hello, dial zero to listen to music”. Why zero? It is zero because it is the most satisfactory number to dial. Then you get to listen to a directory of your playlists, and choose using a two digit number. Dial the number of songs you want randomly played from the playlist, and then hang up. Voila, your music is now streaming to your speakers.
Science Fiction: Flint and Ben review the 908th episode of Star Trek: “Old Friends, New Planets.” It’s the fourth season finale of Star Trek: Lower Decks, and we also by extension review the fourth season as a whole. What do you get when the Ferengi make a Genesis device? Then it gets fun when Flint gives Ben the rundown on how awesome the new 1.7 update for Trailmakers is. Trailmakers finally is going to space with the biggest map they’ve ever made, with several fascinating planets. Flint’s building spaceships to explore the cosmos. Flint’s even got a hot take on the lore behind the planet Doon (his theory is it was originally a water planet). Furthermore, there have been big updates to character customization. We wrap up the episode with last words, and Flint knocks it out the park.
The Third Amendment
This episode contains: Three hosts for three times the fun! Steven is drinking some coffee from Green Day and Oakland Coffee, have you heard there's a new album coming? Ben's brother gives us some feedback on space mining and fiction: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Moon_Is_a_Harsh_Mistress We chat about how to read more by listening more. How do you read / listen to books?
Step Up 2 Tha Streetz: 8,000 steps a day to reduce the risk of premature death. A study has identified, for the first time, the optimal number of steps at which people would gain the greatest benefits. We talk about how most people have some sort of pedometer on them in the form of a smartwatch or phone, but getting out there to take the steps can still be a challenge. To be clear, there are no health deficiencies if you walk more than the suggested 8,000 steps. Steven once logged over 20,000 steps (while at Disneyland).
How's Your Pokedex coming? ASH - Ai Pocket Field Guide. Inspired by the legendary Pokedex, ASH was developed as a digital artifact that could help children connect and learn about and protect the biodiversity that surrounds them every day. This looks like an amazing thing that all children should have to help them explore the natural world around them...but we can't find a buy button. Is this a real product or just a concept? We can't tell, but the idea of ot being real is intriguing!
This Week in Space (but really 30 years ago): How would we know whether there is life on Earth? This bolf experiment found out. Thirty years ago, astronomer Carl Sagan convinced NASA to turn a passing space probe’s instruments on Earth to look for life — with results that still reverberate today. In 1989 the Galileo spacecraft was launched, and later pointed at Earth to see if we could detect "life" which would give us a powerful control for when we would eventually probe exoplanets (which had yet to be discovered). Very cool. Steven is reminded of a mission in Starfield where an old generation ship is discovered at an already colonized planet.
Big Question: How many personal liberties would you give up for health and safety? We have quite a discussion this week, covering everything from gun control to different constitutional amendments, plugging into and out of the Matrix, Covid quarantine restrictions and fatigue, physical and mental health vs community responsibilities, personal liberties, governmental trust, revolutions and rebellions, and a whole lot more!
Wet Wiffle Ball
This episode contains: Steven and Ben are kid free! We revisit Scream, the first one, and how it relates to Dawson’s Creek. Also, how to use walkie talkies to move the moon. Steven discusses the fun of paranormal reality shows. Ben reminisces about the Blair Witch Documentary. Steven gives us an updated on his homelife and dealing with Covid.
I See You!: Molecular age of the eye determined. A team of researchers have mapped almost 6,000 proteins from different cell types within the eye by analyzing tiny drops of eye fluid that are routinely removed during surgery. The researchers used an AI model to create a 'proteomic clock' from this data that can predict a healthy person's age based on their protein profile. The clock revealed that diseases such as diabetic retinopathy and uveitis cause accelerated aging within specific cell types. Surprisingly, the researchers also detected proteins associated with Parkinson's disease within eye fluid, which they say could offer a pathway to earlier Parkinson's diagnoses.
Can You Dig It? Space is starting to look like the better mining operation. Space agencies in Japan and the United States recently sent spacecraft to investigate, nudge, or bring back samples from these hurtling space rocks, and after a rocky start, the space mining industry is once again on the ascent. Companies like AstroForge, Trans Astronautica Corporation, and Karman+ are preparing to test their tech in space before venturing toward asteroids themselves.
Science Fiction: Rick and Morty is back but hard to watch without cable. Ben assures us that Rick and Morty is still Rick and Morty despite not having Justin Roiland. The Lower Decks episode Caves is awesome. We also discuss ALF, possible Lower Decks style Star Trek novels, Steven finishes One Piece live action, Foundation is a good show but not fun, Star Trek Department of Temporal Investigations, and more!
Fun and smart!
I worried that jumping into a podcast with over 300 episodes about science would be difficult but I’m hooked. The science from older episodes is still fascinating and relevant. I’ve already learned about some new movies to watch and another podcast to listen to. The guys have a great rapport and are fun and easy to listen to. Glad I gave it a chance!
Hard to listen to
Thought this was the guy that visited cult podcast, but it’s not. Tried listening for a bit anyway and the whole thing is meh.
This podcast is so awesome!
This is a great idea and just reached in to my inner nerd. I feel like I found the geek internets biggest secret. Subscribe to this show.