Q:Joe! Where did you get your Copernicus t-shirt from your bloopers video? :)
NEW VIDEO!!! Behind the scenes of It’s Okay To Be Smart!!
Hey everybody! Man, I have been so busy the last couple weeks working on some awesome new upcoming videos (seriously, just wait until you see next week’s vid) as well as a couple new projects, but I didn’t want to leave you empty-handed this week.
So here’s a video full of bloopres. Wait, I mean bloopers. Definitely bloopers. I mess up a lot.
ALSO, we’ve got another “Ask Joe” episode coming up, so send in your questions about science or whatever and I might answer them!
Enjoy laughing at my expense. Sorry for the singing.
They are having WAY more fun there than we are having in our solar system.
Source: Laughing Squid
The Brain Scoop:
Year of the Passenger Pigeon
September 2014 marks the 100-year anniversary of the passenger pigeon’s extinction. How is it possible that the number of these pigeons - at once the most numerous species on the planet - could decrease from 3.7 billion individuals to 0 in just forty years?
During the eradication of this species many people assumed the populations would somehow renew themselves. Conservation wasn’t on the minds of most people living in North America in the mid-19th century, and given the destructive potential of a few billion birds roosting in your backyard they weren’t exactly a hallmark species.
Could we bring back the passenger pigeon? Newly developing technologies focused on de-extinction efforts could mean we potentially bring them back… but at what cost, and more importantly, where? Habitat destruction, climate change, and human impact means we’re losing innumerable ecosystems worldwide - it’s reported that by 2050 as many as 20-30% of all life on our planet today will be extinct.
We’re living during this miraculous time of incredible technology where we’re more strongly connected with one another than ever before. We have tools, resources, and access to knowledge unprecedented in human history. It’s about time we tapped into our collective awareness and begin to think critically about our individual impacts. What can we do to live in tandem with our environment? What can you do?
This Brain Scoop video is especially timely considering this recent announcement by the Audubon Society scientists stating that climate change could threaten more than half of all bird species within the next century, thanks to habitat loss and disruption of migration routes.
Human beings have a very real and often very rapid impact on the planet and the other species that call it home. As Elizabeth Kolbert writes in The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History:
“When the world changes faster than species can adapt, many fall out. This is the case whether the agent drops from the sky in a fiery streak or drives to work in a Honda. To argue that the current extinction event could be averted if people just cared more and were willing to make more sacrifices is not wrong, exactly; still, it misses the point. It doesn’t much matter whether people care or don’t care. What matters is that people change the world.”
Let’s not do this again. Isn’t one Martha enough?
Today’s the day. The day you help save the internet from being ruined.
(Long story short: The FCC is about to make a critical decision as to whether or not internet service providers have to treat all traffic equally. If they choose wrong, then the internet where anyone can start a website for any reason at all, the internet that’s been so momentous, funny, weird, and surprising—that internet could cease to exist. Here’s your chance to preserve a beautiful thing.)
Don’t just scroll past this.
Science + Beer = A Very Happy Joe.
Richard Feynman once said that “…all life is fermentation.” He was probably referring to that general biochemical conversion of sugars into hosts of molecules that cells from bacteria to beagles use to drive all their cellular processes, but I’d like to imagine he was also referring to BEER.
With that in mind, for this week’s It’s Okay To Be Smart I took a trip out to Austin’s Jester King Brewery to see the beer-making process in action. Most people know generally how beer is made (grain + hops + yeast + water = alcohol + CO2 + beery goodness) but the kind of beer that they make at Jester King takes that one step further.
Every barrel that they age at Jester King is like a tiny evolution experiment. Rather than the carefully controlled clones that make mass-produced beer, the beer that we tasted is made by complex populations of both yeast and bacteria, competing and cooperating, mutating and swapping genes in order to create flavors that are impossible to predict. They truly let nature take its course.
I’d like to think that Charles Darwin would gladly drink a pint of this stuff.
One more thing… at the end of the video, we had a chat about why humans drink beer and other fermented beverages in the first place. Were they, in fact, crucial to establishing our first civilizations? Did the act of drinking influence our social evolution? Have humans always looked to nature for ways to expand our minds through chemicals? I’d love to know what you think!
BONUS: You can now catch all of the food science videos that we’ve done on OKTBS in one playlist (including cheese and BBQ!)