Wanna get dirty with me?
From star stuff to microscopic fluff to skin cells that slough while you’re in the buff, the universe of dust is curious enough to turn your mind into a cream puff.
May this week’s episode spread like dust on the wind.
Enjoy this video? Subscribe to It’s Okay To be Smart on YouTube!
What does a 375 million-year-old fish have to do with Sonic the Hedgehog?
I’ll give you a hint: It has to do with the evolution of thumbs! To know the rest, you’ll have to watch this week’s It’s Okay To Be Smart. Do it. Do it now.
Joining me this week is none other than Dr. Neil Shubin, discoverer of the famous Tiktaalik fossil. He’s got a three-part series called Your Inner Fish premiering this Wednesday at 10 PM Eastern on PBS. It’s basically just like this video, only with fewer Sega Genesis references and more Arctic paleontology expeditions.
I’m 100% not sorry for all the thumb puns this week :)
Meet Lucy, a 3.2 million-year-old hominid. Discovered in 1974, she is one of our oldest ancestors to walk on 2 legs.
Learn more with host Neil Shubin in this clip from YOUR INNER FISH.
The new 3-part series premieres April 9th at 10/9c on PBS’ THINK WEDNESDAY.
If my excitement about Cosmos represents a “10” on the excitement scale, then Your Inner Fish checks in at a very solid “9”.
I highly recommend this one. If you’re gonna learn the story of vertebrate evolution, I couldn’t think of a better teacher than Neil Shubin.
Will *you* accept the The Art Assignment?
PBS Digital Studios launched a brand new show today, The Art Assignment. It’s hosted by Sarah Urist Green and her husband (some guy named John Green?) and if the first episode is any indication, it is going to be awesome.
I’m really excited because not only does it dig into the lives and work of artists themselves, but the audience is invited to participate via the art assignments. I know that science can seem like a very analytical, uncreative endeavor sometimes, but I don’t think our process is that different from art, nor are we that different from artists. We both create new insight based on assembling influences and observations from the past, right? It’s so important to include creative experiences and arts education alongside STEM in order to fully hone the mind into a potent weapon of curiosity and creation, and I’m super-excited that the Greens are doing this.
So who wants to meet me in the middle?!
Is there intelligent life beyond Earth?
It’s the ultimate question, isn’t it? It’s also the subject of this week’s It’s Okay To Be Smart. I think you’re gonna like this one.
As we continue to tally Earth-like planets in our galaxy, we are closer than ever to being able to answer mankind’s ultimate question of existence: Are we the lone intelligent, curious, communicative life form in the universe?
I don’t know the answer to that. But here’s the other questions I tackle this week: We don’t have telescopes (yet) capable of directly imaging far-off worlds to scan them for signatures of living chemistry, but if we did, what would we look for? If we can’t see these worlds, can we listen for them? How are we advertising ourselves to the galaxy? Is the expiration date for life on Earth sooner than we think? What can we do about it?
Inside, you’ll find a heavy dose of extraterrestrial longing, some research done by Carl Sagan, a whole lot about the letter “L”, me doing my best “death metal” voice, and a really special treat from Ray Bradbury at the end.
Enjoy, and stay curious!
(If you didn’t see last week’s Exoplanets: Part 1, check it out here.)
Why Moose Fight
In collaboration with the American Museum of Natural History, PBS Digital Studios and ThirteenNY present a new show: Diorama. It does pretty much what it says on the tin, which is to say museum dioramas come to life and are explained by experts!
Yesssss! This is basically what is happening in my brain, and I suspect many others’ brains, when I walk through a museum. I am guessing this series will basically be Night At The Museum, only with far less Ben Stiller and much more science.
Anyway, talking about this episode, moose mating sounds like something I would not want to get in the middle of. And thanks to this video, I will never unhear the female moose moan. But wow is it interesting.
Is Earth the only living needle in this haystack of planets?
We live in one of a hundred billion of galaxies, each with hundreds of billions of stars. And now, thanks to modern astronomy, we know that the Milky Way is home to perhaps a hundred billion planets! In the past two decades, these exoplanet discoveries have spawned new questions about our universe, and if there might be another Earth, or other life, somewhere out there.
In part one of my two-part series on exoplanets, we’ll look at how astronomers find exoplanets, and what it means to call them Earth-like. We also trace the history of planetary science back three thousand years and examine Earth’s changing status in the cosmos.
We were once the center of the universe, and now Earth is just another rock in the sky. What does that mean for us?
I like to have something to do with my hands while I watch Christmas movies, and tonight I watched White Christmas and made this felt ornament out of the It’s Okay To Be Smart logo. The tree is looking smarter already.
Ahh! You guys! Chels made an IOTBS ornament! This is one of the most adorably smart and charming things I’ve ever seen.
Anyone else got science-y ornaments on their tree? I’d love to see them (they don’t have to be IOTBS-themed, of course). If you post them to Tumblr/Instagram/Twitter, tag them with #sciencemas and I’ll keep my eye out for a future post!
A GIFset of Ghosts of Evolution
GIF-Ghosts of Evolution
GIFts of Evolution
I don’t even know. Creative post titles are hard, okay? Just watch it or something :)
P.S. - In the third one do I look like the world’s greatest magician or what?