Monthly Archives: September 2017

Ep 52: More about the dark side



More about the dark side

In 1933 Fritz Zwicky was studying the motion of galaxies within the Coma Cluster. He found that the motion could only be explained if there was considerably more mass present than what could be observed. Later, in the late 1970s, Vera Rubin was observing the rotational dynamics of the andromeda galaxy. She was attempting to verify theories of how such a galaxy should be spinning. Again, the motion didn’t fit the theory. Again, only having more mass there than could be observed could explain the motion. Thus, we have “dark matter”—a form of mass only observable by its gravitational effects.


Ep 51: What is “dark energy,” and is there really such a thing?



What is “dark energy,” and is there really such a thing?

In the early 1990s, two separate teams tracked the rate of expansion of the universe by using type Ia supernovas as standard candles, (see episode 41 and episode 42 for details on standard candle usage.) Each team found that the rate of expansion of the universe is increasing. Recent observations of type Ia supernovas suggest that they may not be as standard as previously thought. Although other observations have tended to support the notion of dark energy causing our universe to expand faster and faster, the analysis has been rather complicated, razing the possibility that the only reason we’ve seen more evidence for dark energy, is because we’ve expected it.

Here’s an article on how type Ia supernovas may not be as standard a standard candle as was believed.

Why Our Standard Candle Isn’t Really Standard

Here’s an article on the results of the boomerang experiment, thought to support the notion of dark energy; but only when combined with the now somewhat suspect supernova studies.

Balloon Flight Sees A Flat Universe Filled With Dark Energy

And here’s an article that suggests that the universe is expanding, but not accelerating, though it suffers from the same issues regarding complex analysis.

Marginal evidence for cosmic acceleration from Type Ia supernovae


Ep 50: Let’s celebrate, with balloons!



Let’s celebrate, with balloons!

The first manned flight of a hot air balloon took place in France in 1783. However, sky lanterns, paper and wood hot air balloons that don’t carry people, have been around in China since as early as 300 BC. Why did it take ever so long? During the research for episode 37, I became interested in the subject of balloon powered flight. Join me as I talk about what I found, just for fun.

Here’s an article on the BOOMERanG experiment, which is what got me on this kick in the first place.

BOOMERanG Balloon Flight Sees A Flat Universe Filled With Dark Energy

Here’s an article on a record set for highest skydive, set in 1960 by a fellow who jumped from a balloon.

Inside the Original Space Dive

Here’s a video on the same subject.

Sky Dive From The Edge Of Space (1960)

Here’s a page and video for when the record was broken, a jump from a balloon at 128,000 feet.

Felix Baumgartner | Red Bull Stratos

Felix Jumps At 128k feet!

Here’s an article on how you can build your own sky lantern.

Candle Powered Hot Air Balloon

Have an article on the Nazca lines.

Nasca Lines

And a couple of articles on a hot air balloon, capable of carrying people, built with methods available to the Nazca culture.

Nazca | Julian Nott

Latin American Aerials


Ep 49: The cyborg Olympics



The cyborg Olympics

Special thanks to @seeingwithsound, creators of the vOICe, (see episode 19,) for telling me about this one.

In 2016, competitors came together to strive for the gold. The only thing is, these athletes used their brains, interfaced with computers, in order to compete.

Here’s an article about the cyborg Olympics that I first read when @seeingwithsound shared it on twitter.

How We Won Gold in the Cyborg Olympics’ Brain Race

Here’s a link to episode 14, when I talked about some of the early developments of the technology the competitors used.

Ep 14: A monkey matrix

Here’s a ted talk that demonstrates the technology.

A headset that reads your brainwaves

And finally, here are a couple of commercially available devices.

g.GAMMAsys – Active electrode system with comfortable cap and a very high signal quality.

g.USBamp-RESEARCH – g.tec’s high performance biosignal amplifier, acquisition and processing system.


Ep 48: Hey universe, let’s hear some noise!



Hey universe, let’s hear some noise!

What would eventually be called the theory of the big bang was first described by Georges Lemaître in 1927. This early description included predictions later verified in 1929, but it wasn’t until 1964, when the cosmic background microwave radiation was accidentally detected, that the theory was taken seriously by the mainstream scientific community.

Check out episode 47’s show page, where there are links that provide much of the background to this episode about the background microwave radiation.


Ep 47: It’s still getting bigger



It’s still getting bigger

In episode 42, we learned that in 1923, Hubble found out that spiral nebula are actually spiral galaxies, changing our understanding of the size of our universe. In 1929, using spectral lines, (see episode 44 and episode 46,) and building off of work previously done by Vesto Slipher, he discovered that the universe is not only bigger than we thought; it’s still getting bigger. This provided supporting evidence for the theory of the big bang.