Archive for the ‘podcasts’ Category

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Song of the Elements

September 4, 2008

George Hrab from Geologic Records (and frontman for the Philadelphia Funk Authority) also puts out a weekly podcast. He is also an excellent skeptic and freethinker. His music and references are frequently beyond me (I guess I am within the “hopelessly behind the times” part of life now), but I still find much of it enjoyable.

In any case, his July 3rd podcast #72 was awesome. For some time he had been writing little ditties about various elements but finally took the time to finish the entire periodic table. It’s a very humorous listen and some of the songs are very well done! (Others are just plain silly.)

I have only listened through it a single time so far (more times will happen), so I don’t have a favorite yet, although zinc’s response to an earlier song was funny as were the tunes for silicon and uranium. Generally SFW, although a couple cuss words here and there. Would be great for children if not for those!

Update: As Mike reminded me, Tom Lehrer did a single Elements song, going through all the elemental names within a single, somewhat known tune. Much fun as well!

Speaking of NSFW, below is his video for “Out of My Mind” off his Interrobang album. The song is very good and the video is… technically very interesting. Get over any hangups you have and watch the whole thing.

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Astronomy Cast

February 18, 2008

Astronomy Cast is a weekly podcast by Fraser Cain (of Universe Today) and Pamela Gay (from SIUE). They cover all aspects of the universe from just above our atmosphere to far, far away, from the very beginning to the theorized end. A tour of our Solar system. Dark Energy. Birth of the Universe, Galaxies, Stars, Black Holes. Tidal forces. Relativity. Monster telescopes. No astronomical topic is too large, too small or too complex for them to handle.

Each episode is about 30 minutes long. The format is very easy to listen to – Fraser and Pamela essentially have a conversation about the current week’s topic. In general, he asks questions and she answers them using very little jargon – no math (well, not counting the Drake Equation episode)! Occasionally, Fraser will branch off and try to rephrase an answer in a different mode to give users another chance at understanding some of the really complex issues they ably handle. Pamela is a master at getting across astrophysical concepts without coming across as talking down to anyone. Additionally, she has one of the most awesome speaking voices I have heard in many years. I could listen to her for hours in a lecture hall (come to GMU and guest lecture, Pamela!).

I have listened to all 76 episodes (plus a few bonus tracks) to date and it sits at the top of my list – if there is an Astronomy Cast episode to hear, it doesn’t matter what I am in the middle of listening to, I switch to that.