Category Archives: Science

Bentley Michaels’ Performance Titan Podcast

20130129-082525.jpg[audio http://traffic.libsyn.com/akin4pleazure/PT5_MattJAcobs.mp3]

I was recently asked by Bentley Michaels, the Performance Titan over at NerdTitan.com, if I would be willing to be a guest on his podcast! I agreed and we recorded last week. He shot me a txt last night, informing me that the podcast was up, so here you go! I had a BLAST talking with Bentley about how I kinda sound like Seth Rogen, my roles as the Table-Top Titan and Science Correspondant at NerdTitan.com and I got on my high-horse and ranted about NASA being defunded. It was a LOT of fun and I have been invited to guest on the show again, in a couple of weeks, along side the VERY funny King Richard, the Comedy Titan over at NerdTitan.com! I am GREATLY looking forward to that podcast! You can give the Bentley Michaels Performance Titan podcast a listen over on NerdTitan.com and you can subscribe to it over on iTunes.

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Sci-Fri: NASA Recently Discovered 461 Alien Planets

The field of view of the  Kepler Space Telescope with graphic showing new planet candidates. [Image Credit: NASA] Click to Enlarge

The field of view of the Kepler Space Telescope with graphic showing new planet candidates. [Image Credit: NASA] Click to Enlarge

The Kepler Space Telescope is on the forefront of studying planets that lie outside of our own solar system, called exoplanets. It has returned some promising info, but recently announced that it has discovered 461 “Objects of Interest” that are considered for exoplanetary status. This is really exciting news considering the information presented in the graphic above. You may be wondering what you’re looking at with that graphic… It took me several minutes of staring to gather what that means. The shape of the photo (something like a fat cross) is the view of the Kepler Space Telescope. It’s field of view is fixed and always observes the same chunk of space, a field in the northern constellations of Cygnus, Lyra and Draco. Here’s a couple more graphics to help with figuring out where in the hell THAT is…

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Happy Earth/Sun Perihelion Day! Let’s Talk Seasons…

Perihelion and Aphelion [Image Credit: Illinois State Museum]

Perihelion and Aphelion [Image Credit: Illinois State Museum]

The Earth’s orbit around the Sun is elliptical, meaning that as it orbits the Sun, there are times that Earth is closer to, as well as, further away from the Sun. The distance is actually very minor, in the larger sense of things. Perihelion is the term for when the Earth is closest to the Sun and occurs today with the Earth being ~147,166,462 km (91,445,000 mi) from the Sun. At aphelion (when the Earth is furthest from the Sun), it’s ~152,171,522 km (94,555,000 mi) away from the Sun, a difference of 5,005,060 km (3,110,000 mi). Sure, this seems like a big change. When you consider that the distance is ~3.4% of the Earth’s total distance from the Sun, it’s not that vast. Wait… if today is the day that the Earth is closest to the Sun, shouldn’t it be warmer? It’s a common misnomer that the distance in orbital difference is the why the Earth has seasons. The Earth should be warmer when it’s orbit takes it closer to the Sun. The idea makes sense, even if its wrong. The reason for Earth’s seasons is actually due to its 23.5 degree axial tilt. How did that tilt happen? How does that tilt give us seasons?

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Apologetic Alien: Mike Brown Escapes Our Vengeance

Apologetic Alien MemeThis is Wehttam. I am attempting to communicate with Nainotulpian expeditionary ship Ylferif currently orbiting the third planet that is orbiting Nuseht. I’ve tapped a local inhabitant of this planet in an attempt to ascertain how I might be able to communicate with the ship and my superior officers and to attain a bit more information about this planet since it appears that I may now be here longer than was initially planned. The “intelligent” life forms of this planet, known to them as Earth, call themselves “humans”, which seems to be a derivative of their scientific language, “Latin”, for the homo erectus species. I learned one of the many languages that exist, here on Earth, known as American English, by telepathically scanning his brain for communication systems. Apparently, this culture is still very dependent on audible expression, except in the case of their VERY primitive computational devices, which seem to be named after a fruit that grows on trees, for whatever reason.

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Debunking Doomsday 2012: Nibiru

Earth MemeThe “Planet X” or “Nibiru” theory is by far the most prominent in the Doomunity these days. It is easy to see why, as well. It is the hardest (supposedly) to confirm or deny. Just look at the past “Debunking Doomsday” posts that I’ve put up:

  1. Coronal Mass Ejections: These happened over the Thanksgiving holiday and hit the Earth days later. I’m willing to bet that no one reading this noticed a difference.
  2. Planetary Alignment: All of the planets in our solar system are going to line up in a straight line and the gravity of the gas giants on one side of the Earth  combined with the gravity of the Sun on the other side of us will pull our planet apart. No such alignment is even supposed to happen in the near future, much less on 12.21.12
  3. Solstice Conjunction: Happens EVERY December 21st and the planet has yet to fall out of orbit, be ripped to shreds, have our magnetic poles reversed or any other crazy theory that was supposed to happen. It’s called the Solstice Conjunction because it happens on the date of the Winter Solstice every year. Congratulations, this is the shortest day of the year! #DOOOOM!

Nibiru, which is referred to as  a rogue planet that orbits out in the Kuiper Belt by some in the doomunity and as a brown dwarf star by others, is supposed to strike out of nowhere on December 21, 2012. The first sign that this theory too is nothing but hogwash is that the crazy doomsayers can’t even collaborate on what the hell Nibiru is.

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Debunking Doomsday 2012: The Solstice Conjunction

This is the spiral galaxy ESO 498-G5 that is over 100 million light years away [Image: ESA/Hubble & NASA]

This is the spiral galaxy ESO 498-G5 that is over 100 million light years away [Image: ESA/Hubble & NASA]

I’m not sure if there is an official name for this theory other than “DOOM!” but I’m calling it the Solstice Conjunction theory, for reasons that will be apparent soon. This theory is similar to the Planetary Alignment theory that I posted last week. They are similar simply because there is an alignment (also known as a conjunction) that happens in both of the theories. This alignment doesn’t involve any other planets, it is an alignment of the Earth, Sun and the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way Galaxy. From what I’m reading on several sites and blogs, this myth is more highly revered by the doomunity than is the Planetary Alignment myth, which is interesting considering the Planetary Alignment theory has more chutzpah than this one. It is far more rare, as well, and has that sciencey sounding “gravitationally pulling apart the Earth” thing. Way more fun than the Solstice Conjunction. #Bleh

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