My brain is back from vacation

By Phil Plait | September 16, 2008 12:00 pm

The SETI Institute has a regular podcast called "Are We Alone", hosted by astronomer Seth Shostak. I have a semi-regular feature on it called "Brains on Vacation", and the new one was just uploaded. Seth and I talk magic, belief, the JREF, and what I want to do as the new President.

You can grab the higher-quality MP3 directly, or a somewhat lower-res but faster download version in WMA format. My segment starts pretty much right away, but of course you should listen to the whole show!

Funny– I’m listening to it now, and I say that there are no skeptic shows on TV. That’s not right: I forgot about Mythbusters! And someday, maybe, Skeptologists will air…


Comments (13)

  1. What about Fringe? That’s a great show, right? ūüėõ

  2. MisterBixby

    What about Penn and Teller’s Bulls *clap* Hit?

  3. Would love to see the Skeptologists on the air someday :)

  4. Ari

    Does Phil have anymore info on the mysterious object detected by Hubble in the direction of CL 1432.5+3332.8 ?

    Quote from a Sky and Telescope:
    Hubble began seeing something brighten. It continued brightening for about 100 days and peaked at 21st magnitude in two near-infrared colors. It then faded away over a similar timescale, until nothing was left in view down to 26th magnitude. The object brightened and faded by a factor of at least 120, maybe more.

    The mystery object did not behave like any known kind of supernova. It is not even in any detectable galaxy. “The shape of the light curve is inconsistent with microlensing,” say the researchers. They recorded three spectra of it ‚ÄĒ and its spectrum, they write, “in addition to being inconsistent with all known supernova types, is not matched to any spectrum in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey database” of vast numbers of objects. “We suggest that the transient may be one of a new class.”

    What’s its distance? That would certainly be a first step to figuring it out, but only the broadest constraints can be put on its distance. Its lack of parallax motion means that it can’t be closer than about 130 light-years, and a lack of cosmic hydrogen absorption in its spectrum means that it can’t be farther than 11 billion light-years (when “distance” is defined by light travel time). That leaves a lot of leeway. — End quote.

  5. Hakobus

    You apparently also forgot about Bull’s hit.

  6. I’ve always wanted to see a show like Ghost Hunters except where people set out to show what’s really going on rather than trying to “prove” the existence of ghosts based on hand-waving and self-supporting circular reasoning. I guess Skeptologists is along those lines, so I will definitely have to check it out.

  7. Well the Penn BS show is on Showtime… which is pay to play on many cable systems; Mythbusters is on Discovery which (on our system anyway) is part of “basic extended” (whatever that means…)

    Just once it would be fun to see something like those two shows on one of the big three TV networks…

  8. Ari, I sent an email to him on that subject. Although, since it’s coming from a Military address, not sure if it gets eaten by his spam filter.

  9. Andy

    OMG. I had not seen The Skeptologists thing before. I now *pine* for this show.

    Will we get to see the pilot before it gets picked up? Is there anyone we should write and bug to try to get it into further production? Any consideration of doing it as a webcast type thing? Maybe Felecia and Joss could give you some pointers for that.

    One way or another, it *has* to become a reality.

  10. ¬ęb√łnez_brigade¬Ľ

    Like the new Skeptologists logo, I do (though an added telescope character wouldn’t hurt).

  11. Heh. I should have mention P&T’s show as well. I was on it once, after all! Shame on me.

  12. The BA Says: “I have a semi-regular feature on it called “Brains on Vacation”, and the new one was just uploaded.”

    Well, my brain needs a vacation. I just uploaded the last formatted file for “The Saucer Fleet” to the publisher. Six weeks of 12 – 14 hour days! Your “Death From the Skies” will probably beat it to the shelves, but not by much.

    Thanks for doing the Foreword!

    – Jack

    PS – That’s why you haven’t seen much of me around here lately.

    PPS – A link for those interested (scroll to the bottom):

  13. And you forgot about Scooby Doo – TOS. Not SD:TNG, of course.

    Did you mention to Seth how awesome Dragon*Con is and how they should TOTALLY come to Dragon*Con and do SETI and Skeptic talks?


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