Episode 28: Fourteen questions with Ethan Siegel

Ethan in one of his many costumes.
Ikonokast
Ikonokast
Episode 28: Fourteen questions with Ethan Siegel
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Ethan in one of his many costumes.
Ethan Siegel as an early telescopist.

We started with a list of twenty questions, but that turned out to be bigger than a breadbox (figuratively, meaning we ran out of time.)  And so we have fourteen questions related to phsyics and the universe in general.

Ethan Siegel is a primo science communicator, with a blog at Starts With a Bang, a podcast of his own of the same name, and articles that he has published in a diverse array of magazines.  He’s an enthusiastic interpreter of science, and we assure you there is no math required to listen to this podcast.

Starts With a Bang site and blog.

The Encyclopedia Cosmologica

Ethan’s book Beyond the Galaxy Link from Amazon, purchase supports Ikonokast.

We are using new bumper music. “Happy Dance” by Mr. Smith is extracted for the intro, and the close is “A Song for Peace” by Siddhartha Corsus.  Legal notifications under the Creative Commons License. 

Episode 27 – The Science Says I’m Right and You’re Wrong

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Ikonokast
Episode 27 - The Science Says I'm Right and You're Wrong
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Especially since Covid-19, everyone you argue with either in person or on the internet about masks or vaccines, or climate change, or evolution, or whether the earth is flat or round*, or whatever people fight about, there’s going to be a demand to produce the science to support your argument.  That’s not always as easy as you might think.

In this episode, Mike interviews Greg, to ask about how science works, what peer-review means, whether correlation implies causation and if that means that correlation has no value.  It helps to have a good understanding of what science does, and how it works.  We’re here to help.  For example, are you familiar with “The Scientific Method?”  You likely earned an “A” on your 8th Grade (2nd form) science quiz by reciting this set of steps:

Cooking up a Science Misunderstanding
Just a basic idea of how science works.

There’s much more to science than that.  Science is woven into the culture, and yet many misconceptions remain.  Greg and Mike only covered a quantum mass of misconceptions, but we never fail to inform. There are many resources, and we reference this one during the show:

Understanding Science:  An Overview

and also this one, they are both pubished by the University of California, Berkeley:

Misconceptions of Science

We are using new bumper music. “Happy Dance” by Mr. Smith is extracted for the intro, and the close is “A Song for Peace” by Siddhartha Corsus.  Legal notifications under the Creative Commons License. 

*The earth is neither flat nor round, is it?  It’s an oblate spheroid, meaning it is ball-shaped with bulges around the belly, or the tropics.  Pizzas are flat and round, the earth is not pizza.

Episode 26 – Seven Simple Rules for Saving the Planet

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Ikonokast
Episode 26 - Seven Simple Rules for Saving the Planet
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Yurt
A yurt

One person alone doesn’t make much of a difference, really.  But that’s no reason to throw your hands in the air, say “what does it matter,” and take a hot shower with water heated by a gas-burning tank.  There are simple actions that you can take in your life, that don’t require turning into a scoldy, crunchy, hippie living in a yurt on a commune in Vermont.  (Although there’s nothing wrong with that.)

In this episode, Mike and Greg are each other’s guests, and we go over things you can do both at home and in talking to your local and national government representatives to help restore carbon balance to nature.

Engineers are working the problems, too.

We are using new bumper music, “Happy Dance” by Mr. Smith.  Legal notifications under the Creative Commons License. 

 

 

 

Episode 25 – Pump: A Natural History of the Heart, Part 2

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Ikonokast
Episode 25 - Pump: A Natural History of the Heart, Part 2
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The wait is over!

Bill Schutt
Bill Schutt, auther of Pump: A Natural History of the Heart

This is the second part of Greg Laden’s interview with Bill Schutt, whose book Pump: A Natural History of the Heart, is available on Amazon in multiple formats. If you haven’t listened to the first part of this interview yet, catch up on that one first.

Don’t forget to listen to our interview with Dr. Schutt on Cannibalism: A Perfectly Natural History.

Here are the links to the articles in both parts of this interview:

Pump: A Natural History of the Heart

Meteorite Crash-Landed in Canada Woman’s Bed

COVID-19 slows birth rate in U.S., Europe

Bat guts become less healthy through diet of ‘fast food’ from banana plantations

Threatened rattlesnakes’ inbreeding makes species more resistant to bad mutations

Episode 24 – Pump: A Natural History of the Heart, Part 1

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Ikonokast
Episode 24 - Pump: A Natural History of the Heart, Part 1
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We are back!

Bill Schutt
Bill Schutt, auther of Pump: A Natural History of the Heart

Join us with part one of an interview with zoologist and author Bill Schutt, as we discuss his latest book, Pump: A Natural History of the Heart, a delightful and informative exploration of the heart, in all its (anatomical) forms.

We have changed our format a little, and hope you enjoy it. Feedback is welcome as long as you are nice about it.

Material discussed in this and the next episode:

Pump: A Natural History of the Heart

Meteorite Crash-Landed in Canada Woman’s Bed

COVID-19 slows birth rate in U.S., Europe

Bat guts become less healthy through diet of ‘fast food’ from banana plantations

Threatened rattlesnakes’ inbreeding makes species more resistant to bad mutations

Episode 23 – Language Myths, Mysteries, and Magic

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Ikonokast
Episode 23 - Language Myths, Mysteries, and Magic
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Dr. Karen Stollznow is a linguist who earned her PhD at the University of New England, in Australia. She hosts the skeptical podcast Monster Talk with Blake Smith (subscribe, you’ll thank us!) She is also a prolific author, having published academic works, non-fiction as well as fiction.

Karen Stollznow
Dr. Karen Stollznow

In this episode, we open with the ways in which we judge and stereotype each other based on the dialect and language that we use and move on to the meanings of words and how the change in time and space. Not only does the cafe lose the accent after a time, but bad words turn good and good words turn bad. It’s hysterical, how that works.

We marked this episode “explicit” because we discuss some of the words that are not used in polite language and how the relative offense of using some words varies based on where the speaker is as well as how the audience may be.

Check out her Amazon Author’s Page Here and also check out Monster Talk.

Episode 22 – Ethics, Conflict of Interest, and Science

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Ikonokast
Episode 22 - Ethics, Conflict of Interest, and Science







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Anastasia Bodnar, PhD, is our guest on this episode.  This is her second stint on Ikonokast, and for a refresher or if you are new to the show, we welcome you to listen to Genetic Engineering and Food Security.

Anastasia Bodnar
At the White House

Our topic for this show is the importance of disclosure of potential conflicts of interest while conducting and reporting on research.  Anastasia is a founding member and a director of Biology Fortified, an organization that presents information and research on the topic of genetic engineering.  Recently, Anastasia had a close up look at a potential conflict of interest, and we discuss that in depth.

Also, there are opportunities for science communicators to join the Biofortified group and Anastasia, Greg and Mike talk about what volunteer needs can be filled.

Biology Fortified Support Opportunities

Top Cancer Researcher Fails to Disclose Corporate Financial Ties in Major Research Journals

Conflicts of Interest Ethical Systems.org

Finally, here’s a video describing the GMO Corn Experiment discussed during the podcast:

Episode 21 – What messages go viral and reach millions?

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Ikonokast
Episode 21 - What messages go viral and reach millions?







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Today, Ikonokast visits with Joe Romm, author of How To Go Viral and Reach Millions: Top Persuasion Secrets from Social Media Superstars, Jesus, Shakespeare, Oprah, and Even Donald Trump.

Romm is a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, and the founder of the widely read and well respected Climate Progress (a part of Think Progress). He was for a time Acting Assistant Secreatary of the US Department of Energy, and has published several books on climate change, energy, national security, and communication, some of which we link to below.

In this interview, as well as in Romm’s book, you’ll learn about the tried and true methods of creating a message that sticks. You’ll also learn about the one thing Donald Trump is very good at (much to our collective peril).

Books by Joe Romm:

Climate Change: What Everyone Needs to Know

Language Intelligence: Lessons on persuasion from Jesus, Shakespeare, Lincoln, and Lady Gaga

Hell and High Water: How Global Warming Will Forever Change

Episode 20 – When The Uncertainty Principle Goes To 11, with Philip Moriarty

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Ikonokast
Episode 20 - When The Uncertainty Principle Goes To 11, with Philip Moriarty







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 Nigel Tufnel, lead guitarist of the band Spinal Tap, modified his amplifier for a higher energy state.  Something that he could go to that was louder than the loudest, for when “10” wouldn’t do.  His amplifier goes up to “11.” And he needs it for that special moment in the song “Hell Hole,” I guess.

Philip Moriarty is the guest for this episode of Ikonokast.  The interview is a wide-ranging tour of education in the US and the UK, where Professor Moriarty teaches physics and is delighted on the first day of term to see all of the t-shirts with the names of metal bands, as the students file into class.

Moriarty and the Molecules
Molecules

Music depends on waves.  Wave functions depend on, um, waves, too.  So music and quantum physics are naturally related in form, if not always function.  The humanities and science are not so easily separated.  In Moriarty’s book and in this podcast the two are firmly forged.

 

A selection if things mentioned in the podcast:

Giants of the Infinitesimal

Get me off Your Bleeping Mailing List (Peer reviewed PDF)

Pub Peer

The Death of Expertise: The Campaign against Established Knowledge and Why it Matters by Tim Nichols

Something about Carlo Rovelli

The Physics of Everyday Things: The Extraordinary Science Behind an Ordinary Day by James Kakalios.