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!