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!