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Update: listen to the Tintignac Carnyx

In 2004, archaeologists discovered a hoard of ritually destroyed weapons — a dozen swords, scabbards, spearheads, a shield, bronze helmets, an iron helmet shaped like a swan — a cauldron, animal remains and seven carnyces. Before then, the remains of only five examples of the Celtic man-sized wind musical instrument that was widely used as [...]

Reading the Collections, Week 40: Tullis Russell Oral History Collection

Over the past few weeks there’s been a series of letters to the London Review of Books discussing the phenomenon of ‘cross generational vaulting’ – anecdotes passed down through generations […]

Ep. 395: Baryons and Beyond the Standard Model

In the last few episodes, we’ve been talking about the standard model of physics, explaining what everything is made up of. But the reality is that we probably don’t know a fraction of how everything is put together. This week we’re going to talk about baryons, the particles made up of quarks. Show More Summary

Ep. 394: The Standard Model - Bosons

All fundamental particles are either fermions or bosons. Last week we talked about quarks, which are fermions. This week we’ll talk about bosons, including the famous Higgs boson, recently confirmed by the Large Hadron Collider.

Ep. 393: The Standard Model, Leptons and Quarks

Physicists are getting a handle on the structure of the Universe, how everything is made of something else. Molecules are made of atoms, atoms are made of protons, neutrons and electrons, etc. Even smaller than that are the quarks and the leptons, which seem to be the basic building blocks of all matter.

Ep. 392: The Standard Model - Intro

Humans, cars and planets are made of molecules. And molecules are made of atoms. Atoms are made of protons, neutrons and electrons. What are they made of? This is the standard model of particle physics, which explains how everything is put together and the forces that mediate all those particles.

Ep. 391: Entrophy

Have you ever been doing thermodynamics in a closed system and noticed that there’s a finite number of ways that things can be arranged, and they tend towards disorder? Of course you have, we all have. That’s entropy. And here in our Universe, entropy is on the rise. Show More Summary

Ep. 390: Occam’s Razor and the Problem with Probabilities

I’m not saying it’s aliens, but it’s aliens. Actually, it’s almost certainly not aliens, or a wormhole, or a multiverse. When scientists discover something unusual, they make guesses about what’s happening. But Occam’s Razor encourages us to consider the probabilities of different events before making any concrete predictions.

Ep. 388: Megastructures

This week astronomers announced an unusual transit signal from another star. Although it’s most likely a natural phenomenon, one remote possibility is that this is some kind of alien megastructure. Freeman Dyson and others have considered this idea for decades. Today we’ll talk about the kinds of structures that aliens might want to build.

When media gets drunk on absurdity and tries to tell us we’re the ones who sound drunk

Recent claims about Australian English turn out to be unsupported and extremely questionable according to a range of national experts we surveyed. Their responses, only some of which are provided below, make us question whether The Age was irresponsible in publishing them in the first place and sparking their viral and international dissemination.

Ep. 387: Water on Mars… Again

Have you heard the big news? NASA has reported that Mark Watney is alive and well on the surface of Mars. No, wait, they’ve reported that there’s water on Mars. Didn’t they already report this? Today we’ll update you on the latest discovery and what this means for the search for life on Mars.

Ep. 386: Orbiting Observers

The atmosphere keeps us alive and breathing, but it really sucks for astronomy. Fortunately, humanity has built and launched space telescopes that get above the pesky atmosphere, where the skies are really clear. Let’s take a look at the past, current and future of orbital observation.

5 Ways to Reduce or Stop Racing Thoughts that Stall Sleep

I can’t forget to bring that paperwork with me tomorrow! I can’t forget to pay that bill! I need to call the bank! I can’t believe she said that to me. What did he mean by that? What am I going to do about that […]

Ep. 385: Rovers on the Run

Taking pictures of distant worlds is great and all, but the best science happens with boots on the ground. Or in this case... wheels. This week we'll talk all about robotic rovers and the places they rove.

Ep. 383: Approaches to Absolute Zero

The coldest possible theoretical temperature is Absolute Zero, this is the point at which no further energy can be extracted from a system. How are physicists working to get as close as possible to this extreme cold?

Ep. 384: Escaping Probes

The gravity of the Earth is a tough thing to escape, but breaking free from the gravity of the Sun is on a whole other level. But humans have achieved this amazing accomplishment, and right now there are several spacecraft leaving the Solar System and never coming back.

Coin Dealers: Harken Ye to the ACCG

Wayne G. Sayles ('FBI Warns Dealers and Collectors' FBI seeks cooperation of trade ACCG August 29, 2015) refers to the recent warning on the FBI web site alerting art collectors and dealers to be especially careful in the trading of antiquities from the Near East. Show More Summary

Ep. 382: Degenerate Matter

n some of the most extreme objects in the Universe, white dwarfs and neutron stars, matter gets strange, transforming into a material that physicists call “degenerate matter”. Let’s learn what it is, how it forms.

Ep. 381: Hollowing Asteroids in Science and Fiction

When we finally make the jump to fully colonizing the Solar System, we're going to want to use asteroids as stepping stones. We can use them as way stations, research facilities, even as spacecraft to further explore the Solar System. Today we'll talk about the science and science fiction of hollowing out asteroids.

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