Posts Tagged ‘science humor’

Godspeed, John Glenn: 50 Years of Americans in Orbit

On February 20, 1962, perched atop an Atlas rocket, John Glenn was blasted into space at 17,500 miles per hour.  He splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean about five hours later, having orbited the Earth three times, the first American to do so.

Our most recent video for Time.com is a tribute to John Glenn, NASA, and 50 years of Americans in orbit. I wrote it, Tara Fredette was cameraman, and Jim Fields edited.

Godspeed, John Glenn…

Link:
http://www.time.com/time/video/player/0,32068,1461672138001_2107230,00.html 

My 25 Mundane Neutrino Explanations

Today I had the most fun I’ve ever had on Twitter, thanks to the OPERA experiment working out of CERN, home of the Large Hadron Collider.

The blogosphere is ablaze with news that they seem to have detected neutrinos traveling faster than light.  If true, it would be the biggest science news of the century, overturning one of the most fundamental concepts in physics.  There is obviously much skepticism amongst scientists.  For a typically insightful explanation, check out Bad Astronomer Phil Plait‘s post:  Faster-than-light travel discovered? Slow down, folks

The Twitter fun began when a discussion between two physicist/mathematician-types, Blake Stacey (@blakestacey) and S.C. Kavassalis (@sc_k) led Blake to tweet:

@sc_k Maybe we need to counterbalance the HEP blogohedron with a Twitter meme? e.g., #mundaneneutrinoexplanations

Then he spun out a few funny examples of more mundane explanations for the unusual neutrino measurement:

  • #CERN physicists did arithmetic on old Pentium computers
  • #CERN physicists let undergrads near the experiment
  • Calculations done by visiting Americans who still don’t get the metric system.

…  all with the #mundaneneutrinoexplanations hashtag appended.

I think I was the first one to follow his lead with:

  • Forgot to carry the one
  • Confused neutrino with one sent later
  • Study published by Wakefield et al

Then @drskyskull and @physicsdavid and others joined in (even astophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and the Bad Astronomer) and, before you know it, the Twitterverse was alive with funny explanations, some of which may be as likely as superluminal neutrinos.  I ended up spitting out about 25 of them, which I present here, as they were tweeted, in reverse chronological order (so start from the bottom).  Enjoy!

 

#mundaneneutrinoexplanations

 

April Fool’s Tribute to Thomas Edison

Last year, for April 1st, I was asked to make a guest post to a GE blog called Edison’s Desk.  So I made this April Fool’s Tribute to Thomas Edison.  I had a lot of fun with the links – try ‘em all!

I must really be an April Fool because this is a big day for me.  I’ll be on NPR’s Science Friday with Ira Flatow – to talk about science and comedy with my friends Tim Lee and Norm Goldblatt.  The show streams live from 11am to 1pm Pacific/2-4pm Eastern, in addition to airing on your local public radio station.  Listen to it here.

Then later tonight I’m emceeing a great STEM education event (STEM = Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) in the planetarium at the California Academy of Sciences.  It’s called STEMPosium and it’s an evening to honor some fantastic education innovators.  This event will be live streamed from their website at 7:30pm Pacific. Check it out!

Bad Science in Star Wars

FORA.tv has a short video of me performing at the recent Wonderfest science festival in Berkeley.  I’m talking about bad science in science fiction movies, and the example in the clip is a classic moment from Star Wars…

Link to video on YouTube

Link to video on FORA.tv

Georgetown University – Free Show

Friday, October 22, 2010. As part of the inaugural USA Science & Engineering Festival, I will be performing 8pm, Friday night, October 22, 2010, at Georgetown University – and it’s free and open to the public (that’s YOU!).

For details:
Rational Comedy for an Irrational Planet – An Evening of Science Humor

My friend Norm Goldblatt, the Phunny Physicist, will also appear.

USA Science & Engineering Festival Expo Saturday

As part of the inaugural USA Science & Engineering Festival, I will be performing multiple shows.

At the huge weekend Expo – which is free and open to the public (that’s YOU!) – I will be doing 20-minute sets:

Saturday, October 23, 2010, 2:30pm – on the Wilson Plaza stage

Sunday, October 24, 2010, 3:30pm – on the National Mall stage

And check out my full-length show on Friday night at Georgetown University – also free.

USA Science & Engineering Festival Expo Sunday

As part of the inaugural USA Science & Engineering Festival, I will be performing multiple shows.

At the huge weekend Expo – which is free and open to the public (that’s YOU!) – I will be doing 20-minute sets:

Saturday, October 23, 2010, 2:30pm – on the Wilson Plaza stage

Sunday, October 24, 2010, 3:30pm – on the National Mall stage

And check out my full-length show on Friday night at Georgetown University – also free.

Crow’s Nest, Santa Cruz

I will be performing at the Crow’s Nest in Santa Cruz, CA, on Sunday, April 25, 2010.  Showtime is approximately 9pm.  It’s on Santa Cruz time.

SkeptiCal 2010 Science & Skepticism Conference

I will be speaking at SkeptiCal 2010, the Northern California Science & Skepticism Conference in Berkeley, April 24.

Other speakers include Eugenie Scott, Seth Shostak, Kirsten Sanford, Brian Dunning, and more.  See the list of speakers.

Science Comedian on BoingBoing

I’m on BoingBoing!

Maggie Koerth-Baker posted a YouTube clip of me this morning.  It’s an excerpt from my performance two weeks ago at Wonderfest, the Bay Area science festival.

The entire festival was videotaped by Fora.tv.  You can see the rest of my 15-minute performance here.

Also, a dialogue I moderated entitled Do Robots Make Better Astronauts? (featuring Chris McKay of NASA Ames and Kanna Rajan of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute).

If you’re visiting from BoingBoing… Welcome!

It’s odd to be judged just by these admittedly – purposely – corny bar jokes.  They aren’t exactly representative of my entire act.  They were the silly end to my presentation.

And they also cut the routine short – there are a few more, including the final bar joke which is arguably the best one….  about Helium.

Check out the rest of that performance or see my other YouTube clips:  www.youtube.com/sciencecomedian .  Subscribe!

I’m @sciencecomedian on Twitter.  Follow me!

And check out the science videos I’ve been making for Time Magazine’s website.

Thank you, goodnight!