Brad got older, and Phil got bolder. Since the one brother had a birthday and got all lazy, the other brother made a new show, and went all crazy. Join us while the inmate, (Phil) takes over the asylum, (the podcast.) No animals were provably harmed in the making of this show.
What was the first food?
The energy we need in order to live comes from the food we eat. Other organisms use other forms of energy. But what about the first organisms? Where did their energy come from? Along with a look at how living cells use energy, we try and figure out what was the very first food.
Continue reading Ep 256: What was the first food?
Prebiotic evolution part 2: DNA and RNA
DNA cannot copy itself. It needs enzymes, very large complicated proteins to replicate from one cell to a new one. The way the proteins are produced requires DNA and RNA. All three types of molecule have to be present in a cell for the cell to work. What exactly are DNA and RNA, and how did all this complicated business get started? Join us for the conclusion of our look at the evolution that happened before evolution.
Continue reading Ep 255: Prebiotic evolution part 2: DNA and RNA
Prebiotic evolution part 1: proteins
Most of the way your cells do what they do is by using proteins. Proteins are made by life. But if life makes proteins and life needs proteins, where did the first proteins come from? Join us for part 1 of our investigation of the evolution before evolution—the building up of the complex chemicals needed for the beginning of life.
Continue reading Ep 254: Prebiotic evolution part 1: proteins
The solar system’s greatest hits
After gravity managed to make some decent sized planets, they started getting smashed together with almost planet sized bits and pieces. These impacts may be responsible for our oceans, and perhaps even for life on our planet, but it was not an easy ride. Join us for a look at some of the biggest collisions in our inner solar system, and the huge scars that were left behind.
Continue reading Ep 253: The solar system’s greatest hits
From gas and dust, to all of us
The general idea is simple—a cloud of gas and dust collapses in on itself, driven by gravity, until roughly in the middle of it, our sun began to shine. But the details are somewhat odd, especially when we compare our solar system to what we’re able to observe of planets around other stars. What triggered the original collapse? Why does our sun spin so slowly? Where did the earth’s water come from? How and why did our solar system end up with nice stable, nearly circular orbits that gave life on earth billions of years of relative peace? There’s plenty of room for competing theories and interesting side trips as we take a look at the birth of our sun and planets.
Continue reading Ep 252: From gas and dust, to all of us
making the ingredients
Before our planet could form, all the stuff one would like to make a planet out of had to be made. Starting with hydrogen and helium, stars had to cook up the rest of the periodic table over a nice long period. Toss in some explosions and collisions, and everything we’re made of was ready to make us. But, all those giant stars couldn’t even get started, if it weren’t for a quirk of how the tiniest pieces of the universe interact. But hey, what’s a little quantum physics amongst friends?
Continue reading Ep 251: making the ingredients
Just after the beginning
The standard model of cosmology has been worked out, slowly and painfully and oh so very carefully. Only trouble is, some recent observations don’t quite match what the theory predicts. Join us for a timeline of the early universe, and some of what doesn’t quite match what we were expecting.
Continue reading Ep 250: Just after the beginning
Figuring out the neighborhood
From the surface of Earth, the sun and moon look to be about the same size. Other planets are tiny specks of light, and everything seemingly spins around us. But that’s not what our solar system is really like. So, how did we find out what was where, and which way things were moving?
Continue reading Ep 249: Figuring out the neighborhood
The matter of dark matter
From the rotation of our own Milky Way galaxy, to the expansion of the universe, much of the night sky is moving in ways we can’t quite explain. To plug the wholes in our understanding we have dark energy and dark matter. We don’t actually know what they are, but they can still surprise us.
Continue reading Ep 248: The matter of dark matter