Category Archives: Uncategorized

Ep 273: building bones and binary



building bones and binary

We rewind slightly to cover the beginnings of automated logic. Then we have a look-see at the mechanical calculators of the 17th century, and the people who made it happen. Along the way, we find the birth of binary.
Continue reading Ep 273: building bones and binary


Ep 272: The fall of Rome and the rise of zero



The fall of Rome and the rise of zero

We’d planned to get a bit further, but there was just too much nifty history. Water wheels, paper mills, the fall of Rome, the golden age of Islam, and the spread of the number zero, more than enough for one episode.
Continue reading Ep 272: The fall of Rome and the rise of zero


Ep 271: which numbers count?



which numbers count?

If you want to come up with a machine that computes, (a computer,) you need numbers with which to compute. Before we had the numbers we know and love, several other numbering systems were tried. Today we take a look at some of them and how they worked, along with their historical context.
Continue reading Ep 271: which numbers count?


Ep270: Stone age computers



Stone age computers

We decided to spend a few episodes telling the story of how we got computers. This episode, in typical “Lab With Brad” fashion, we’re going all the way back to the beginning of the story. And by “beginning,” we mean slightly before we were human beings.
Continue reading Ep270: Stone age computers


Ep 269: It’s the end of the world as they knew it



It’s the end of the world as they knew it

The Permian period began with lush forests. new bugs arrived to feed on the succulent plants, strange sharks still swam the seas, and the first large plant eaters and their predators walked the increasingly dry earth. At the end of the period was the most devastating mass extinction in our planets history.
Continue reading Ep 269: It’s the end of the world as they knew it


Ep 268: Strange sharks, giant insects, and a new and improved egg



Strange sharks, giant insects, and a new and improved egg

During the carboniferous, forests and swamp dominated the landscape. In the oceans, strange new sharks appeared. Giant insects walked amongst the trees while the first reptiles and early ancestors of what would become mammals hid inside rotted stumps.
Continue reading Ep 268: Strange sharks, giant insects, and a new and improved egg


Ep 267: Forest, fins and feet



Forest, fins and feet

Giant Mushrooms, the first forests, 28 foot long armored fish hunting sharks who were hunting smaller fish. In shallow streams and ponds, some fish were changing, becoming better at breathing air. They developed fins that could support their weight out of the water, if only for a little while at a time. By the end of the Devonian period, the fish that would become us crawled out of the water and went for a walk.
Continue reading Ep 267: Forest, fins and feet


Ep 266: The Lab anniversary: three years and counting!



The Lab anniversary: three years and counting!

After three years of doing this show, we do more of this show. Join us as we celebrate our anniversary with a couple nifty interesting things that never quite made it into an episode, along with a few laughs, a status report on our time machine and shrink ray, and other bits and pieces.
Continue reading Ep 266: The Lab anniversary: three years and counting!


Ep 265: By tooth and scale



By tooth and scale

The Silurian period was warm, and compared to the periods around it, rather gentle. Plants on land became a bit more sophisticated, with roots and stems and the ability to move water an nutrients around their bodies. Giant sea scorpions, the largest arthropods of all time, cruised the waters, probably chowing down on our early vertebrate ancestors. The fish developed jaws and moved into fresh water, and apparently, Changed some scales into teeth.
Continue reading Ep 265: By tooth and scale


Ep 264: Life tries again



Life tries again

After the extinctions at the end of the Cambrian, the Ordovician once again came with a sudden increase in the amount and variety of life. This time, those who survived the end of the Cambrian would diversify, so life didn’t quite start over. This period saw the armored jawless fish, and just before it’s end, some fish with jaws, which is as far as vertebrates got so far. There were also giant relatives of octopus and squid, with shells that got anywhere from 20 to 40 feet long, and the very first land plants make their appearance.
Continue reading Ep 264: Life tries again