PDA

View Full Version : Phil Plait Interview on Skepticality!



dcolanduno_old
2005-May-20, 07:38 AM
Phil was kind enough to come and chat with us on 'Skepticality', our free skeptical/critical thought internet radio show/podcast.

If you want to hear Phil and the gang banter about the 'flaws' in the new Star Wars Movies, general thoughts on 'hoaxters', and some of the ever-popular topics that Phil is famous for, please come and take a listen;

http://www.skepticality.com/

You can listen to/download the shows by clicking the 'pod' icon next to the show headline.

The show is free, and if you want, you can subscribe to the show for free and have the new episodes downloaded automatically as they are released, just click on the 'get podcast' menu option at the top of the skepticality home-page for more information!

If you have any problems, or questions, please feel free to ask here, or send me e-mail at feedback@skepticality.com.

Enjoy!

01101001
2005-May-20, 09:18 AM
Phil was kind enough to come and chat with us on 'Skepticality', our free skeptical/critical thought internet radio show/podcast.
I seriously doubt that! Do you have any evidence?


If you want to hear Phil and the gang banter about the 'flaws' in the new Star Wars Movies, general thoughts on 'hoaxters', and some of the ever-popular topics that Phil is famous for, please come and take a listen;

http://www.skepticality.com/
Oh. Nevermind.

Welcome to the BABB.

dcolanduno_old
2005-May-20, 12:08 PM
Thanks Mr. 105!

Although we were at the mercy of Skype, the evidence *does* exist.

:)

tracer
2005-Aug-08, 11:54 PM
I know this interview happened nearly 3 months ago, but I just (today) discovered it and listened to it.

And I'm terribly, terribly saddened to learn that B.A. doesn't have any telescope of his own, other than a pair of binoculars. :cry:

B.A., would you like the 12.5" Dobsonian that's sitting in my living room? I hardly ever take it outdoors anymore, because it's about as heavy as a Chevy Suburban made of white dwarf matter, and the only way to move the tube is to lift it like I'm doing a Caber Toss.

dcolanduno_old
2005-Aug-09, 12:09 AM
B.A., would you like the 12.5" Dobsonian that's sitting in my living room? I hardly ever take it outdoors anymore, because it's about as heavy as a Chevy Suburban made of white dwarf matter, and the only way to move the tube is to lift it like I'm doing a Caber Toss.

Wow, that's an amazing offer!

tracer
2005-Aug-09, 05:20 PM
Not that amazing. I bought it used a decade ago for less than a grand* (including both eyepieces and the finder 'scope).




*) That is to say, less than one grand in American money. Og knows how much that is in Canadian or British money.

dcolanduno_old
2005-Aug-09, 06:12 PM
Not that amazing. I bought it used a decade ago for less than a grand* (including both eyepieces and the finder 'scope).

Hey! The most expensive scope I've ever owned personally was $60 and was prettty inferior! So, anything over 100 bucks is amazing in my book.... ;)

The Bad Astronomer
2005-Aug-09, 08:04 PM
Wow, tracer, I'm overwhelmed. That's an amazing gesture! Let's discuss it offline; I'll send you an email.

T H A N K S.

Trivial Pursuit
2005-Aug-09, 09:41 PM
I listened to this interview last night instead of watching T.V. It was quite enjoyable... I love listening to people dismiss foolishness.

dcolanduno_old
2005-Aug-10, 04:53 AM
I listened to this interview last night instead of watching T.V. It was quite enjoyable... I love listening to people dismiss foolishness.

Thank you, I am really happy you enjoyed it. When you aren't getting paid, your only currency is providing entertainment and getting the feedback that you did the job!

Trivial Pursuit
2005-Aug-10, 05:16 AM
Well, you certainly did do the job. Can I ask you some questions?

1. How old was that interview? (With TBA).
2. How often does the "podcast" air?
EDIT: Oh ya one more. Why is it called podcasting?

Thanks.

dcolanduno_old
2005-Aug-10, 05:44 AM
Well, you certainly did do the job. Can I ask you some questions?

1. How old was that interview? (With TBA).
2. How often does the "podcast" air?
EDIT: Oh ya one more. Why is it called podcasting?

Thanks.

The show with Phil was from May, 20th 2005. Our show is not on a 'standard' schedule, but we do put out about 2-3 shows a week. One of which is 'Whimsicality' which is a 10 min show about something Whimsical and interesting. The other shows are 30-60min shows which are interviews or discussion topics.

They call it podcasting because, Adam Curry, (The ex-MTV VJ from the 80's), started calling it podcasting because he used an iPod to subscribe to the shows, or copy them into his iPod. The name sounded catchy and caught on. Apple didn't have much to do with the naming of the phenomena, but 8 months into the concept Apple released iTunes 4.9 with podcasting support. Good move on their part, since it was a play on words for their product.

The name 'podcast' is a hot button in the community, although it is too late to change it now... I guess Microsoft has been hesitant to promote the idea of podcasting and has now started to talk about 'Microcasting'. (sigh)

The 'easiest' way to subscribe to the show, is to download iTunes 4.9, it's free to use and subscribe, ( http://www.apple.com/itunes/download/ ), then you can subscribe to us by clicking the link below then hitting our 'subscribe' button. Once subscribed, all you have to do to check for new shows is load iTunes, and it will check and download new episodes when they come out:

http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewPodcast?id=73797923

Trivial Pursuit
2005-Aug-10, 05:47 AM
Ok. Thanks alot, I will indeed subscribe.



I guess Microsoft has been hesitant to promote the idea of podcasting and has now started to talk about 'Microcasting'. (sigh)

That would do no good. The shows would be too small.

Trivial Pursuit
2005-Aug-10, 06:07 AM
For some reason, I can't get past the "Got iTunes?" page. Any ideas? :(

EDIT: Ok, I feel stupid now...really really stupid. It was a pop-under window and I had to press "Accept". It didn't show up on the little window toolbar at the bottom.

dcolanduno_old
2005-Aug-10, 09:27 PM
For some reason, I can't get past the "Got iTunes?" page. Any ideas? :(

EDIT: Ok, I feel stupid now...really really stupid. It was a pop-under window and I had to press "Accept". It didn't show up on the little window toolbar at the bottom.

[edit: I didn't read the 'edit']

tracer
2005-Aug-10, 11:06 PM
The name 'podcast' is a hot button in the community, although it is too late to change it now... I guess Microsoft has been hesitant to promote the idea of podcasting and has now started to talk about 'Microcasting'. (sigh)
When I hear a word ending in "-casting", I imagine something like a broadcast: a single signal sent out at one specific time. Anybody who's "listening" to that signal at the time it's sent out will "hear" it, but anybody who isn't listening, or forgot to "tune in", will miss it.

In that sense, "podcasting" doesn't sound like any kind of "-casting" I know of. Yes, a subscriber gets notified when new "podcasts" are available, but the subscriber then retrieves the "podcasted" data on demand, just as though he or she clicked on a webpage link. Even the subscriber notification messages aren't "-cast" like a broadcast is; it's my understanding that the reader program merely connects to a subscription server and downloads all the notification messages that have been "posted" since the last time that reader program had logged in.


BTW, I still need to weigh the tube on that Dobsonian 'scope of mine to know if it's not so heavy as to be unreasonable for someone to lift it regularly. Sorry for the delay.

mickal555
2005-Aug-11, 03:32 AM
The name 'podcast' is a hot button in the community, although it is too late to change it now... I guess Microsoft has been hesitant to promote the idea of podcasting and has now started to talk about 'Microcasting'. (sigh)
When I hear a word ending in "-casting", I imagine something like a broadcast: a single signal sent out at one specific time. Anybody who's "listening" to that signal at the time it's sent out will "hear" it, but anybody who isn't listening, or forgot to "tune in", will miss it.

In that sense, "podcasting" doesn't sound like any kind of "-casting" I know of. Yes, a subscriber gets notified when new "podcasts" are available, but the subscriber then retrieves the "podcasted" data on demand, just as though he or she clicked on a webpage link. Even the subscriber notification messages aren't "-cast" like a broadcast is; it's my understanding that the reader program merely connects to a subscription server and downloads all the notification messages that have been "posted" since the last time that reader program had logged in.




Yeah...

but I don't really think matters that much...

Gillianren
2005-Aug-11, 03:38 AM
it does if you're a word person. I was thinking much the same thing.

dcolanduno_old
2005-Aug-11, 03:45 AM
Well, if you want some 'logic' behind it all... <as if>

It is called 'PodCasting' because the word was fun, and mixed 'pod' and casting and sounded like 'broadcasting'.

Now, the 'casting' was in the name before the 'pod' was.

The evolution was that the folks that wrote the software iPodder, (Adam Curry and a couple others), referred to the software as an 'RSS Catcher'. Based off of what Dave Winer, the father of RSS 2.0 called the act of checking for, then retrieving content from an RSS feed. 'Catching'.

The act of creating and updating content was known as 'Casting'.

It was a fishing metaphor.

Whereby, the media developers were putting out media into the big ocean of the internet, hoping others would come and 'catch' the show.

So, later on, the 'pod' name became attached because it sounded like 'broadcasting'. Hence, the name 'podcasting' caught on. And, yes, they still call software such as iTunes 4.9 'Podcatchers' in the 'industry', such as it is.

The best description of what it REALLY is though... is an Audio Magazine.

tracer
2005-Aug-12, 08:47 PM
The act of creating and updating content was known as 'Casting'.

It was a fishing metaphor.
:o

Wow. That almost makes sense.

"Casting" your RSS reader's metaphorical fishing hook into the subscription service's waters, to try and catch new content.

But ... but that implies it's the READER that's doing the casting, not the PUBLISHER. That would mean that if I'm downloading a Podcast, it would be ME that's doing the "Podcasting," not the site I'm downloading it from or the guys who created or distributed the audio file in the first place.

dcolanduno_old
2005-Aug-12, 08:49 PM
The act of creating and updating content was known as 'Casting'.

It was a fishing metaphor.
:o

Wow. That almost makes sense.

"Casting" your RSS reader's metaphorical fishing hook into the subscription service's waters, to try and catch new content.

But ... but that implies it's the READER that's doing the casting, not the PUBLISHER. That would mean that if I'm downloading a Podcast, it would be ME that's doing the "Podcasting," not the site I'm downloading it from or the guys who created or distributed the audio file in the first place.

Haha,

I think the publishers are supposed to be 'fishing' for listeners using their shows as bait... ;)

Trivial Pursuit
2005-Aug-12, 09:10 PM
The act of creating and updating content was known as 'Casting'.

It was a fishing metaphor.
:o

Wow. That almost makes sense.

"Casting" your RSS reader's metaphorical fishing hook into the subscription service's waters, to try and catch new content.

But ... but that implies it's the READER that's doing the casting, not the PUBLISHER. That would mean that if I'm downloading a Podcast, it would be ME that's doing the "Podcasting," not the site I'm downloading it from or the guys who created or distributed the audio file in the first place.

Haha,

I think the publishers are supposed to be 'fishing' for listeners using their shows as bait... ;)

I was thinking the exact same thing tracer. #-o

tracer
2005-Aug-24, 04:02 PM
And I'm terribly, terribly saddened to learn that B.A. doesn't have any telescope of his own, other than a pair of binoculars. :cry:

B.A., would you like the 12.5" Dobsonian that's sitting in my living room? I hardly ever take it outdoors anymore, because it's about as heavy as a Chevy Suburban made of white dwarf matter, and the only way to move the tube is to lift it like I'm doing a Caber Toss.
UPDATE: After the talk on the Moon Hoax that B.A. gave last night, he is now the posessor and, one would hope, operator of my old 12.5" Dobsonian reflecting telescope. Hopefully, he has a place to put that enormous tube-and-base when he's not using it.

He graciously tried to thank me for this little gift, but I told him to hold off thanking me until he's actually looked through it and knows what kind of an image it gives. :wink: Nevertheless, even without setting it up and looking through it, he gave me an autographed copy of his book, a whole bunch of little (and not-so-little) astronomy-related items, and a fragment of a special kind of iron meteorite!

So, who wants to touch me?

dcolanduno_old
2005-Aug-24, 04:20 PM
Very cool tracer!

If I touch you, will it hurt? ;)

The Bad Astronomer
2005-Aug-24, 09:12 PM
You forgot to mention how totally awesome the talk was! 8)

I want to thank Tracer again for the 'scope and for his generosity. I haven't used it yet (I got home after 11 p.m.) but I'll try to this weekend, or earlier if I can whittle away at my evening workload.

BTW, R.A.F. and Mrs. R.A.F. were there as well.

R.A.F.
2005-Aug-24, 10:28 PM
You forgot to mention how totally awesome the talk was! 8)

That was a totally awesome talk you gave last night. :) That video loop of Buzz punching Bart...well, I could watch that all day long. :lol:


BTW, R.A.F. and Mrs. R.A.F. were there as well.

...and I've got the "doctored" pictures to prove it!! :wink: I will be posting some of them sometime tomorrow.

tracer
2005-Aug-25, 01:28 AM
BTW, R.A.F. and Mrs. R.A.F. were there as well.

...and I've got the "doctored" pictures to prove it!! :wink:
And you can tell they're doctored, too, because our shadows aren't parallel! In fact, some of R.A.F.'s pictures show objects with two shadows. It's almost as though there was some artificial light source shining on the people in frame, perhaps even an artificial light source given off by the camera itself! 8-[


But seriously, folks, that talk was awesome. B.A. is neat to listen to. The moon-hoax-hoax topic is one I find very dry when I read about it in print, but Phil's presentation made it quite enthralling.

Although I couldn't figure out what those "eyes" were supposed to be in the frowny-face crescent moon picture B.A. put up at the beginning of the talk. I thought, hey, they look like two reflecting telescopes when you stare down the barrel (the black spot in the middle of each "eye" being made by each 'scope's secondary mirror) -- but then again, reflecting telescopes were on my mind a lot that night for some inexplicable reason. :-"

The Bad Astronomer
2005-Aug-28, 02:01 AM
Well, I took a look at the 'scope just now. It appears to be in decent shape. A few bumps on the tube, but that's no biggie (a pristine tube is just asking to be scratched). The mirror is a bit, ah, dusty. There were some spider webs in the tube:-) My old 'scope had a spider in it too at one point. And it's better than a bullethole in the primary mirror (which happened to one professional 'scope), or bird poop (like with Penzias and Wilson's radio horn). I'll clean it up tomorrow if I can. The eyepieces appear to be in good shape, and the finder looks good too.

The assembly is sitting in my back yard, cooling off now. I'll probably head out in an hour or so to peek at Jupiter and Venus.

Yay!

mickal555
2005-Aug-28, 03:36 AM
Good luck!

Watch out for anymore space bugs though- I knew somone who had a massive cockarouch on their primary...

Is sagutaries up in that part of the word, I was observing in that area last night- actually I was doing a tour for my mum and sister, it was great fun! Dispite the cold.


Don't forget about mars, I've heard that at 75 mag.
Mars will appear as big as the full moon to the nacked eye!!!

:wink:

The Bad Astronomer
2005-Aug-28, 04:05 AM
I took a look at Venus and Jupiter. Not bad! It's hard to tell how good the optics are with objects so close to the horizon, so later I'll take a gander at something up higher, like the Ring nebula, and maybe Andromeda later.

mickal555
2005-Aug-28, 04:13 AM
Cool :D

The dumbell, M13 are up too- unfortunetly I can never see them from my place due to their low alt, +dec and tree's....

Have you collemated it? that's alway's important, easy to forget- and put off.

The Bad Astronomer
2005-Aug-28, 09:28 PM
Telescope Update

Last night, I took a look at Venus, Jupiter, the Ring Nebula, the Dumbbell Nebula, M31/32, and M13.

Everything looked great! I'm pretty sure I was seeing stars down to mag 12 easily. Fainter than that, and they're hard to identify on catalogs! I'm trying to use some online faint star catalogs now to see what the limit was.

I just cleaned the primary and secondary mirrors, which was easy-- the dust came right off. The surfaces look good, and the coatings intact. I'll recollimate it tonight before using it again.

I'll also try to draw some of the fields I observe to get a good idea of the limiting magnitude. I think I should see 13th mag visually through the 'scope, given its mirror; I can see 4th mag with just my eye, and the 'scope should give me a factor of about 9 magnitude boost.

Wanna see the math? :-)

The 'scope has a mirror of 12.5 inches = 317.5 mm. The pupil of my eye opens to about 5 mm, so the mirror has (317.5/5)^2 = 4032 times the area of my pupil, so I should see stars 4032 times fainter. Call it 4000.

A one magnitude difference in star brightness is a factor of 2.512 in "real" brightness (that's 100^0.2, the definition of a magnitude). 2.512^9 = 3981, or very close to 4000. So a factor of 4000 in brightness is very close to 9 magnitudes. Since I can see 4th mag stars from my back yard easily with my unaided eye, I should see 13th mag through the 'scope. That's my goal, at least. I know 11th mag stars were easy last night, so I think 13 might be do-able. 8)

Maksutov
2005-Aug-28, 10:07 PM
Great news about the scope. One wonders if tracer's less-than-satisfactory viewing results were due to the condition of the optics.


My old 'scope had a spider in it too at one point.
Most larger Newtonians have spiders in the tube. :wink: They're a lot more rigid and steadier than single rod diagonal mounts, plus the diffraction pattern is much more regular (the stereotypical "four spike" star).


And it's better than a bullethole in the primary mirror (which happened to one professional 'scope)
Ouch! A book on the 200" mirror noted that it was a good thing the manufacturers encased it in steel for its rail journey across the US, since when it arrived in CA, there were numerous bullet holes in the steel plate. #-o


Telescope Update[edit]I just cleaned the primary and secondary mirrors, which was easy-- the dust came right off. The surfaces look good, and the coatings intact. I'll recollimate it tonight before using it again...
What were your cleaning materials and method?

The Bad Astronomer
2005-Aug-28, 10:59 PM
Get this: I used distilled water and a series of cotton balls. :-) I considered using soapy water, but the instructions said just try water first. It worked pretty well! The cotton balls didn't scratch the surface, and the water dried with no waterspots or streaks. I was nervous at first, but a test worked well enough, so I decided to go for it.

It's too hot outside right now to reinstall it, so I'll wait a couple of hours. I need to make sure I have time to recollimate though!

dcolanduno_old
2005-Aug-29, 03:14 AM
Too much fun!

Always makes me want to run out and buy a scope! <looks in his bank account>

tracer
2005-Aug-31, 05:50 PM
Great news about the scope. One wonders if tracer's less-than-satisfactory viewing results were due to the condition of the optics.
Oh, I'm sure that was a factor. ;) However, it was only in the smaller, 10 millimeter eyepiece that I noticed any blurriness. The image in the 27 millimeter eyepiece always looked pristine.