My friend Cara Santa Maria is a scientific researcher and educator. She’s also Senior Science Editor with The Huffington Post, where she does a video show called "Talk Nerdy To Me". She contacted me recently because she wanted to do an episode on solar storms – how they work, and how they can affect us here on Earth. She interviewed me about them, and the episode is online at HuffPo:
[Note: If the video doesn't appear directly above this sentence, refresh your screen.]
The Sun has been a bit feisty lately, spitting out some decent flares and coronal mass ejections. So far, none has been both strong enough and aimed at us to do any damage (there was a fairly powerful CME in July, but it was on the other side of the Sun, directed away from us). And while they can’t hurt us directly due to our protective atmosphere, as I say in the video solar storms can disrupt our power grid and our satellites, creating havoc. The more we study the Sun the better we understand it, and the more likely we’ll be able to protect ourselves should it decide to throw another major hissy fit.
I’ll add that Cara’s good people, and I like her show (she interviewed me for the Venus Transit, too). She’s passionate about science education, and like me she finds real joy and wonder in all fields of science and nature. You can follow her on Twitter.
[Edited to add: the shirt I'm wearing in the video (watch to the very end!) is available at Lardfork's Spreadshirt store.]
The Point is a web-based talk show on the Young Turks YouTube channel where various issues are discussed by panelists. They have people send in short videos making some salient point, then panelists discuss it. Cara Santa Maria — the senior science correspondent at The Huffington Post — guest-hosted the show this last week, and asked me to send in a video for discussion. I talked about asteroid mining, which started an interesting discussion.
For more information about asteroid mining and Planetary Resources, you can read my recent post about them.
The video embedded above is set to start at my segment, but I’ll note that my friend Chris Mooney was the first video they discussed, talking his new book "The Republican Brain". Chris is always careful when he discusses this topic, knowing it will be misinterpreted willfully or otherwise, which of course it has been. But I do have to point out one thing that bugged me: noted science author K. C. Cole was on the panel, and I agreed with much of what she said. But when talking about Chris’s book, she brought out the "Well, there’s antiscience on the left as well" meme, and that argument really irks me.
Yes, there does exist antiscience bias on the left as promulgated by antivaxxers and alt-medders — and I have to debunk that way too often as well — but it’s not nearly as far-reaching as antiscience on the right. It’s not a party platform, for one thing, and for another there simply isn’t nearly as much or as focused as it is on the right. Read this link for more about this (especially before you leave a comment here — hint, hint).
Still, it was an interesting discussion on The Point, and I’d like to thank Cara for inviting me. And as to her question at 35:43… yes. Yes, I am.
- Breaking: Private company does indeed plan to mine asteroids… and I think they can do it
- Space firm about to make a big announcement. I take a stab at what it is.
- TED talks now on Netflix… including mine