Atlas, Aurora, and Advancing Entomology

Wow.  It’s been a beat hasn’t it?  I, sadly, haven’t been listening to a lot of podcasts lately.  My podcast time (my commute) has recently been taken up by phone calls (I know, I know, shame on me.  Put your phone down when you’re driving!).  So my mind may be a little fuzzy on some of these, but here are some recent podcasts that I would highly recommend.  As Neil DeGrasse Tyson says: “Learn something!”


Hidden Wonders to Hit on Your Science Road Trip (SciFri): Have you heard of the website Atlas Obscura?  If not, you need to check it out.  It’s pretty cool.  It’s a website with a bunch of recommendations on obscure places you can visit on your next trip.  That I know of, we’ve only been to one of them so far in Savannah, but I’m always on here when we travel looking up ideas on trips (we found a few cool ones on our recent trip to Atlanta but didn’t have time to visit any sadly).  Science Friday had two of the Atlas Obscura people on (they recently published a book; I’ve already requested it from the library) to talk about some awesome places to visit that, if you’re like me, you’ve never heard of before.  I don’t want to spoil any of them because they’re all pretty awesome, but I did want to mention just one.  The Mississippi River Basin scale, which – when I eventually cross Mississippi off our bucket list – is definitely on my list to visit now.  If you like to travel and you like weird, offbeat things, check out this podcast, the website, and their book.


Grammar Girl #572.  Themself or Themselves (Grammar Girl): I want to note off the top that when I typed Themself, Word autocorrected it to themselves.  Twice.  I am a bit of a grammar nerd and am a strong supporter of the singular ‘they’, which is more common in Europe and Australia, but is still taboo here.  Well, fellow nerds, I’m proud to say that the singular they is finally making a stand in the United States and is becoming more and more popular.  The themself versus themselves debate is a question I’ve actually had, so I found this short podcast interesting and informational.


Neurosecurity:: Dawn of the Brain Hackers (Stuff to Blow Your Mind): Have you heard of neural lace, or other similar concepts?  Neural lace is Elon Musk’s version of the future of the cyber brain.  If you haven’t, Google it in your free time.  Pretty awesome.  And a little terrifying.  Stuff to Blow Your Mind tackles the security (or lack thereof) of the internet, and how it might spill over into – or hopefully we will learn from – neurosecurity.  This podcast reaffirmed my belief that Neil deGrasse Tyson has the right idea – I don’t want a computer controlling my brain.  The push for technology is fast.  It’s a little bit like the new cold war – the rush to break into the new technological advancement.  Like the internet, I fear the technology will develop faster than the security measures to protect it will.  I already freak out about using a calendar on my phone that syncs to my email and is on the internet.  There’s no way I want my thoughts, the power to control my brain – to be on the cloud.  What do you think?  Are you interested in a neural chip when the technology inevitably comes?


Maria Sibylla Merian (Stuff You Missed in History Class): Have you heard of her before?  I hadn’t, but she was pretty amazing.  Another Jane Goodall.  A woman without much professional training (no higher educational background) that revolutionized the field she worked in.  She was a naturalist illustrator who helped advanced entomology decades ahead of most of the others in her time frame.  Amazing.  Girl power!


How Itching Works (Stuff You Should Know): I have eleven mosquito bites on my legs I picked up in a ten-minute span speaking to someone in their front yard yesterday.  On our recent hiking trip, I thought it would be a good idea (since it was ballsy hot) to wear shorts and a spaghetti strapped shirt.  My arms and legs were eaten alive (is Zika still a think?  I hope not).  So I am painfully aware of itching lately.  Plus, I love getting my back scratched.  So I enjoyed this podcast.


Null and Void (RadioLab): As someone who received a jury summons this year, and as a victim in a previous crime (as my brother and father have been too), I found this podcast about jury nullification (I phrase I’d never heard of before) pretty interesting.  The discussions and questions the hosts brought up was also fascinating and thought provoking.  Should we still have a jury to try cases?  Should jury nullification be legal?  What would happen without jury nullification?  RadioLab delivers again.


How the Aurora Borealis and Aurora Australis Work (Stuff You Should Know):  The aurora borealis.  Perhaps my biggest wish on my bucket list.  Need I say more?  Fine, I will drop a nugget to tease you.  Did you know that the Aurora Borealis and the Aurora Australis are caused by the sun?  Did you, did you?


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