[UPDATE: The hangout's over. Thanks to all who watched! I'll have the YouTube video up as soon as I can!]
I know this is last minute, but I decided to do a live Hangout on Google+ to talk about the solar eclipse. I’ve embedded the video below if you want to watch. If you want to ask questions, go to the link above or send me something on Twitter. If you leave a comment here I won’t see it!
[Note: Every week I hold a live video chat on Google+ where I answer questions from readers. I call it Q&BA, and when I get a question that stands alone, I'll make it its own video. ]
A lot of people, it seems, have morbid thoughts about space. Why else would I get asked this so much: "What would happen to the human body exposed to the vacuum and cold of space?"
Of course, this sort of thing is depicted in scifi movies a lot, and people are curious about it. And even though the movies always get it wrong — you don’t explode, or freeze instantly — it does make folks wonder about it. And while the reality isn’t maybe as gooey as in the movies, it’s still pretty nasty.
I wrote about this in my review of the movie "Mission to Mars", as well as answering a question many years ago from a reader. And even though it’s an icky thing to think about, it does give me a chance to talk about heat transfer, which is pretty, um, cool.
A few years ago, I started doing a weekly video question-and-answer session I called "Q & BA". It was a series of short videos that were a lot of fun to make. Unfortunately, the overhead got to be too high — it took all day to edit them! — and I had to stop.
But now, Google+ has changed that: Hangouts On Air is a feature that allows me to go on camera and broadcast a live video chat session to an unlimited audience. I take questions via Twitter and G+, and it’s a lot of fun. It lasts about an hour, and I put the whole session on YouTube. But some of the answers stand alone, and it’s easy to extract them out, package ‘em up, and post ‘em by themselves.
So I’m very pleased to announce I’m starting the series again! The first Q&BA is a great question: "What’s the best way to get kids into science and skepticism?" — what better way to get the series going again? Enjoy.
I’ll be posting more of these, maybe even one per day as time allows. If you like them, please give them a thumbs-up on YouTube, and drop by the Q&BA Hangout when I do them live! I announce them on Twitter and G+, so follow me there and stay up-to-date. Also, I have an archive with links to all the videos. Thanks!
On Sunday, I did a live video chat on Google+ where I took astronomy and space questions from folks and answered them as best I could. It was a lot of fun, with several hundred people showing up! I did some minimal editing of the session and put it on YouTube for your enjoyment:
The video resolution is not that great, I know, and I’m working on solutions for that. I’m looking into recording the feed locally on my PC so that I can upload a better version. If you have suggestions, I’m listening (but anyone starting a PC vs Apple war will be eviscerated; be ye fairly warned, says I).
I’m also always happy to get suggestions from people too. I have plans to do this on a weekly basis, and would love to improve it. Whaddaya got?
[P.S. In the "Related posts" below I have some links to the old Q&BA v.1.0 videos. Those got to be so time-consuming I had to stop doing them, but things have gotten much better since then! I'm looking forward to doing this more often now.]
[Apologies, folks, I totally forgot to update this post with the link. Hopefully most of you figured out how to find it. I'll do better next time; I'll make a checklist. ]
I will be doing a live video chat session — what I call Q&BA — on Google+ today at 20:00 UTC (3:00 p.m. Eastern US time). I’ll be using Google+’s Hangouts On Air, which lets an unlimited number of people watch live.
I’ll post a link to the Hangout chat session here when it goes live. You don’t have to sign up for Google+ to see it, but it does help in three ways: 1) whenever I do this again you’ll be notified more in advance by following my posts there; b) when you go to the post with the embedded video stream you can +1 it (G+’s version of liking something) so I can get an idea of how many people are following; and γ) Google+ is pretty cool and you should probably be on there anyway.
I will take questions from folks by reading the comments in the Hangout post, and also on Twitter. A little while after we’re done (it’ll last about an hour, I’m thinking), I’ll post it to YouTube so even if you can’t make it live, you’ll still be able to watch at your leisure.
Hope to see y’all there!