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This week's show

Eclipsing All Other Shows
Jul 17, 2017

Eclipsing All Other Shows Excitement builds for the 2017 solar eclipse.

They say that the experience of watching a total eclipse is so profound, you’re not the same afterward.  If life-changing events are your thing and you’re in the lower 48 states on August 21st, let us help you make the most of viewing the Great American Solar Eclipse.

Learn the basics of where to be and what to bring, even on short notice. No eclipse glasses?  Find out why a kitchen colander is an excellent Plan B.

Also, the strange behavior of animals and private jet pilots during an eclipse.  The latter is making the FAA sweat.

Plus, how 1878 eclipse fever inspired Thomas Edison and astronomer Maria Mitchell, and what was at stake for them scientifically.  And today, with astronauts able to view the Sun from space, what new science can we still learn by eclipse expeditions on Earth?

And, NASA turns up the heat on solar studies with a probe to within a hair’s breadth of the Sun. 


Eclipse Resources:

  • The free 8-page eclipse booklet for the public, which gives non-technical information about the eclipse in everyday language (what’s happening, exact times in various US locations, how to observe safely, etc.) can be downloaded from:
  • The program to provide 2 million free eclipse glasses through 4800 public libraries nationwide is described at:
  • Eclipse glasses can be purchased in bulk from the two manufacturers in the U.S.
                   American Paper Optics
                   Rainbow Symphony
    Many science museums and science and nature stores will be selling them locally, and many public libraries will have them free, thanks to the program supported by the Moore Foundation and Google to make 2 million of them available.
  • Good safety information about viewing the Sun is found at the American Astronomical Society eclipse site.
  • The best maps of where the eclipse will be visible are at:

Descripción en español

Frogs' Pants
Jul 10, 2017
Frogs' Pants
Clever experiments to define and detect life.

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It’s one of the most bizarre biological experiments ever. In the 18th century, a scientist fitted a pair of tailor-made briefs on a male frog to determine the animal’s contribution to reproduction.  The process of gestation was a mystery and scientists had some odd-ball theories.  

Rational Lampoon
Jul 03, 2017
Skeptic Check: Rational Lampoon
Why you know much less than you think you do.

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Two heads may be better than one.  But what about three or more?  A new study shows that chimpanzees excel at complex tasks when they work in groups, and their accumulated knowledge can even be passed from one generation to the next. 

Skeptic Check: How Low Can You Go?
Jun 26, 2017
Skeptic Check: How Low Can You Go?

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ENCORE  Baby, it’s cold outside… but you still might want to be there.  Some people claim that chilly temperatures are good for your health, and proponents of cryotherapy suggest you have a blast – of sub-zero air – to stave off wrinkles and perhaps halt aging altogether. 

Perpetual Emotion Machine
Jun 19, 2017
Perpetual Emotion Machine
Compassionate computers and irrational human behavior.

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Get ready for compassionate computers that feel your pain, share your joy, and generally get where you’re coming from.  Computers that can tell by your voice whether you’re pumped up or feeling down, or sense changes in heart rate, skin, or muscle tension to determine your mood.  Empathetic electronics that you can relate to.