Category: Humor

Unicorn chaser

By Phil Plait | November 6, 2012 10:16 am

I suspect something like half of the people reading my blog will, today, need this: a video of a puppy playing with a spring doorstop.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dEmq6Denjqo

[The term "unicorn chaser" comes from Boing Boing, and is akin to a palate-cleansing for your brain after something awful.]

c/o my pal the geektastic Bonnie Burton.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Geekery, Humor
MORE ABOUT: doorstop, puppy

How far back will we set our clocks?

By Phil Plait | November 3, 2012 11:59 am

This picture is going around Facebook. I tried to find the original, but it’s hopeless, so I’ll just put this here.

Remember, in the US we’re not just voting on the President, we’re voting on lots of Congresscritters, too. In that case, we may be setting the clocks back more like two thousand years.


Related Posts:

- The Neroes of global warming
- A wind is rising
- The US Congress Anti-Science Committee

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Antiscience, Humor, Piece of mind, Politics

Drama bike ride

By Phil Plait | November 2, 2012 11:03 am

Because I can.

If you don’t get it, this might help.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Geekery, Humor

They Came From Outer Space

By Phil Plait | October 31, 2012 6:00 am

Space is scary.

Supernovae explode, flooding their neighborhood with deadly high-energy light and blasting superheated matter outward at a large fraction of the speed of light. Black holes gobble down everything around them, and they’re sloppy eaters, spewing out deadly radiation and belching vast winds of gas. Galaxies collide, asteroids impact, entire worlds are chewed to dust by their violent stars.

And since ’tis the season, here’s a gallery of spooky pictures of nature: moaning nebulae, screaming stars, ghastly volcanoes, and more. Y’know, we humans love to make up stories about vampires and goblins to scare ourselves, knowing they’re just stories… but the Universe is real, and really, really terrifying. Mwuhahahahahaha!

Happy Halloween from the BA Blog!


MORE ABOUT: Halloween

Awkwardly Embraceable interview

By Phil Plait | October 26, 2012 12:57 pm

My friend, the geekeriffic Jessica Mills, interviewed me for her blog on Tech Republic (the second part is here). It was a lot of fun talking with her; we wandered over topics like Hubble, Star Trek, science, Doctor Who, black holes, Neil Tyson and Bill Nye, and what I would do if I encountered advanced aliens in a wormhole (answer: self-promotion).

Jessica is amazing. She is a writer, producer, and actress, and was the driving force behind the very funny web series Awkward Embraces (which I wrote about in a post a while back). If you’re a geek – and you are – you should watch it.

She’s also just cool and funny and smart and talented, and you could do a lot worse than follow her on Tumblr and Twitter. Hey. She was a Geek-A-Week, so you know she’s cool.

MORE ABOUT: Jessica Mills

OSU marching band boldly goes

By Phil Plait | October 25, 2012 9:30 am

A little while ago, the interwebz went all twitterpated over the Ohio State University marching band doing a halftime show tribute to gaming. Don’t get me wrong: it was really cool, especially the part starting at 6 minutes in. I was in a marching band for many years (shocker) and I’m amazed at what OSU did.

But somehow that particular show overshadowed the one OSU did on September 15 that was way cooler. And by cooler, I mean geekier.

Behold:

I don’t want to spoil it, but if you want a cheat sheet, the You Tube page for the video has a list of the highlights and their times in the video.

My favorite part – duh – starts at 4:50. Make sure you keep watching for a minute. Make it so.

Tip o the shako to Heather Curtis.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Cool stuff, Geekery, Humor, Space

To Dorkly Go

By Phil Plait | October 24, 2012 12:00 pm

How much do I love Dusty Abell’s artwork?

A whole quadrant’s worth, that’s how much. And here’s why:

Oh, my. [Click to massively balokenate. This is only one small part of a much larger piece, and it's amazing.]

And why, yes, I do recognize Every. Single. Thing. in this drawing. Because my geekery is beyond even the capacity for Norman to coordinate.

Dusty also did this piece of awesomeness, too. And? He has the coolest name ever. He should’ve been an astronomer.

Tip o’ the Tranya to io9.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Cool stuff, Geekery, Humor, SciFi, TV/Movies
MORE ABOUT: Dusty Abell, Star Trek

PUNY Helicarrier!

By Phil Plait | October 17, 2012 11:09 am

I’m no Loki (I look terrible in a helmet with long curving horns), but I still know how to take down S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Helicarrier. My pal Veronica Belmont asked me to come on her TechFeed show "Fact or Fictional" to talk about whether the ginormous turbo-fan driven Helicarrier from the Avengers movie could actually fly. SPOILERS: yes, kinda, but at grave cost to the planet below it.

It turns out that just to power the thing would take about a trillion Watts – enough to supply electricity to a billion homes. That might prove detrimental to the environment. Worse, the air blasted downward from the fans would have to be moving supersonically to support the tremendous weight of the Helicarrier, so it would pulverize anything near where it was landing.

And don’t even get me started on Iron Man kick starting that one engine. The centrifugal force alone would reduce him to the size of a soggy jelly bean inside that suit.

And before I get accused of nerdgassing about the movie, note well that what I bet most people would think is the craziest thing about the Helicarrier – its ability to cloak – actually strikes me as being possible. It’s a bit tougher than getting a 100,000 ton carrier off the ground without utterly destroying everything within a hundred square kilometers, but still not outright nuts. It’s all in the video.

And heck, I loved the movie. If you want nerdgassing, read what I have to say about "Armageddon"


Related Posts:

- Veronicarmageddon
- "Armageddon7quot; had bad science. Shocker, I know/
- Apparently, Black Widow knows me. And maybe Nick Fury, does, too.
- Astronomy Veronica Anemone

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Cool stuff, Debunking, Geekery, Humor

Big Picture Science: Doomsday live show

By Phil Plait | October 11, 2012 9:00 am

My friends at SETI’s Big Picture Science podcast – what used to be called the Are We Alone radio show – want to put together a live show for the October 27 Bay Area Science Festival, a huge public gathering of folks where they can learn about science. They plan on holding a lively panel of astronomers, climate scientists, and other experts about the facts behind doomsday theories (such as they are).

But they need help to raise the funds to do this. They need $4000, so they started a Kickstarter fund to help. They’re almost there – as I write this they’re only $600 away, with a couple of days left to go – though of course with more funds they can do more.

This is being done by my good friends SETI astronomer Seth Shostak and science journalist Molly Bentley, and I support them. In fact, I’ve done many a segment of the Big Picture Science podcast: Seth and I do a roughly once per month interview called Brains on Vacation (see Related Posts below). So I know this show does good work, and the live show will be really fun, entertaining, and of course educational. In a good way!

Go check out their Kickstarter and beam them some cash if you can. Thanks!


Related Posts:

- Big Picture Science: Antivaxxers (and updates)
- Faster than light Brains on Vacation
- Beast of Skeptic Check
- Big Picture Science: climate change denial on Fox News

The Church of Who?

By Phil Plait | October 5, 2012 10:09 am

I have been remiss about keeping up with the new season of Doctor Who – I have the episodes recorded but haven’t had a chance to watch yet, so no spoilers, sweeties! – but this has not in any way tarnished my love for the show.

But love has different levels, different strengths. While I do very much enjoy the show and think about it a lot as any geek does, I don’t think I would say I worship it. Still, I had to smile as I watched this video by Mike Rugnetta at the PBS Idea Channel, where he asks: is Doctor Who a religion?

It’s a funny idea, and he certainly brings a lot of evidence to the table! If I were taking the question seriously, I’d say it’s not a religion unless people actually believe the show is real. Otherwise, it’s more of a philosophy.

But then, of course, there’s this. Hmmm:

Thinking on this more, though, I suspect that if I had to start a church of Who, it wouldn’t have the Doctor as the central figure. Clearly, if you watch this, you’ll see it’s Karen Gillan who possesses supernatural powers.

Of course, my choice of Ms. Gillan here has nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that when I attended the Doctor Who panel at Comic Con this year and went up to take this photo, she looked right at me:

Sigh. My heart may belong to River Song, but what can I say? Unlike the Doctor, I’m only human.

Tip o’ the sonic to Nerdist.


Related Posts:

- Comic Con 2012
- Time and Relative Dimensions IN ROCK (also I Am the Piano Doctor Man)
- Dragon*Con 2011
- My Nerdist episode is online
- My Late Late Show segment is now online

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Geekery, Humor, Piece of mind, Religion
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