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Wondering who did Frank think he was talking to?

Biking home listening to an old Fresh Air podcast from my backlog, I was amused to hear the story of Frank Sinatra giving a grammaticality judgment. Sammy Cahn describes how Sinatra objected to his lyric for the song "The Last Dance:" Sinatra didn't care for embedded auxiliary inversion. Apparently Cahn shared the judgement but justified the inversion on […]

Nurses complain about algorithms

In response [to the rise of diagnostic algorithms], NNU [National Nurses United] has launched a major campaign featuring radio ads from coast to coast, video, social media, legislation, rallies, and a call to the public to act, with a simple theme – “when it matters most, insist on a registered nurse.”  The ads were created […]

Ep. 345: Numbered Places: Launch Complex 39

Almost every historic American launch occurred at one place in Cape Canaveral: Launch Complex 39. Good old LC39 was build for the Apollo spacecraft, and then modified for the Space Shuttle program. And now it’s carrying on this tradition for upcoming SpaceX rockets. Let’s explore the history of this instrumental launch facility.

Ep. 344: The Rings of Saturn

There’s so much we know about Saturn’s beautiful rings, and yet, there’s so much we don’t know. Morgan Rehnberg, a PhD student at the University of Colorado, Boulder and works with the Cassini mission. Morgan joins Fraser to talk about Saturn’s amazing rings, and how they might have formed.

Ep. 343: The Universe is Trying To Kill You

We always say that the Universe is trying to kill you, but we thought we’d really hammer the point home. Dr. Phil Plait from Bad Astronomy joins Fraser Cain for a very special episode of Astronomy Cast. Join us as we hammer out all the ways the Universe wants you dead.

Ep. 341: 45th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference

Pamela has a day job, remember? As an astronomer? Recently the 45th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference occurred in the The Woodlands, Texas. Pamela and guest astronomer Sondy Springmann will let us know about the big announcements made at this year's conference.

Assorted links

1. What happens when you conduct a census of the Mexican educational system? 2. Monopsony in motion, MP3 file, a song by the Anarchist Econometricians of A.  What do you know about them?  And Felix Salmon on Wonkonomics. 3. Can robots solve the Malaysian mystery? 4. Do poverty traps really exist? 5. An early history […]

Ep. 340: Wernher von Braun

When the United States helped defeat Germany at the end of World War II, they acquired the German rocket scientist Wernher von Braun. He had already developed the German V2 rocket program, and went on to design all the major hardware of the US rocket program. This week, we talk about von Braun’s life and accomplishments.

Ep. 339: Space Conspiracy Theories

Yes, we actually landed on the Moon. No, aliens didn’t crash land at Roswell. What is it about space exploration that leads to so many conspiracy theories? We’ll try to get to the bottom of these conspiracy theories, poke holes in their ridiculous ideas and help you build your baloney detection kit.

Ep. 338: Copernicus

It’s safe to say that the Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus shook up the whole Universe. Well, our understanding of our place in the Universe. It was Copernicus who came up with the heliocentric model, placing the Sun at the center of the Solar System, with the Earth as just another planet.

“Languages shouldn’t be learnt, they should be lived” – Fluent in 3 Months in the media: BBC/Bloomberg/4 hour blog…

What a week! I’m still on a book launch buzz, before I can get back to “normal”, if there is such a thing for someone constantly travelling. And now that the book stuff is finally winding down, I can start focusing on what’s next onShow More Summary

Ep. 337: Photometry

There's a lot you can learn by just staring at an object, watching how it changes in brightness. This is the technique of photometry, and it has helped astronomers discover variable stars, extrasolar planets, minor planets, supernovae, and much more.

Ep. 336: Units of Measure

How heavy is a kilogram, how long is a second? How warm is a degree? We measure our Universe is so many different ways, using different units of measurement. But how do scientists come up with measurement tools which are purely objective?

Paumanok.

Following up on my recent request for information about Toronto/tkaronto (and my much earlier query about Wampanoag), I have a question arising from this very interesting half-hour talk in which Amy King, Julia Bloch, and Tom Pickard discuss Basil Bunting’s reading of Whitman’s great “Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking” (they only play a few […]

More Yoga Mat Hysteria

The “yoga mat chemical” (azodicarbonamide) is the latest food-based fearmongering, thanks to an unscientific petition by the self-described “food babe,” who apparently feels that she is qualified because she is a computer scientist. (Well, it has the word “science” in it.) Unfortunately, the “yoga mat chemical” is an effective meme. Who wants to eat something [...]

Ep. 335:Photoelectric Effect

Pop quiz. How did Einstein win his Nobel prize? Was it for relativity? Nope, Einstein won the Nobel Prize in 1921 for the discovery of the photoelectric effect; how electrons are emitted from atoms when they absorb photons of light. But what is it? Let’s find out.

Listening Closely to Elizabeth Parsons

The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography podcast doesn’t have an exciting format—it consists of professional readings of O.D.N.B. entries. But the podcast producers obviously like picking out quirky subjects to share with listeners. Show More Summary

Ep. 334: Chelyabinsk

Around this time last year a space rock crashed into the Earth above Chelyabinsk, Russia. It brightened the skies for hundreds of kilometers, broke windows and injured many people. Let’s look back at the event. What happened, and what did we learn?

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