Monday, November 28, 2016

The Drunk History of the Discovery of the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation

Justin Long and Jason Ritter as Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson in the Drunk History episode "New Jersey"  

Drunk History is an absolutely hilarious show. Each episode features three pieces of historical account, all related by some theme or location, and all acted out by a mix of fantastic actors and comedians. The best part: the historical accounts are delivered by people who are ridiculously drunk, and the actors who portray historical figures all lip sync with the spoken words of the drunk story tellers. It's an incredibly fun way to learn about history!

One of my favorite pieces so far from Drunk History was when Jenny Slate tells the story of the discovery of the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation by Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson in 1964. The parts of Penzias and Wilson are played by Justin Long and Jason Ritter, respectively. This discovery, which showed that there is a remnant thermal radiation throughout the universe which derived from a time not too long after the Big Bang, when protons and electrons where combining to form atoms of hydrogen. This radiation, now often referred to as Cosmic Microwave Background, or CMB, was an important piece to our understanding of modern cosmology and the history of the known universe. 

Definitely check out the Drunk History piece on this discovery. It's called A Sound in Space:

Not only is it informative (though not totally correct), but Jenny Slate is absolutely awesome in this episode.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy the Pumpkin Pi

For those of you who celebrate Thanksgiving, I hope it's a very merry day for you (and that you get to eat some pumpkin pie!). Everyone else, I hope your year's harvests have been grand. Be they in foods that you worked through the year to cultivate, or maybe if your harvest this year comes in a bounty of happiness, health, and life, I hope you have some time to reflect on what life has provided for you and what you've managed to provide for yourself and others. Cheers all! 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

A "Space Love Story" with Nichelle Nichols

Nichelle Nichols, the famed actress and singer who played the first incarnation of Uhura in Star Trek (and also, famously, was one of the first people to play a black female character who was not a servant or slave on American television), has been a longtime supporter of space science and space exploration. 

In the video below, as part of the Planetary Society's series "Space Love Stories", Nichols talks about when she fell in love with space and why she supports the Planetary Society. Check it out:

Friday, November 11, 2016

Narcissi by Anatomy of the Sacred

Digging this tune. "Narcissi" by Anatomy of the Sacred has an ethereal background with a powerful guitar rhythm and strong vocals. Definitely fits in with Anatomy of the Sacred's description of themselves from their website:

Female-fronted symphonic metal duo Anatomy of the Sacred makes elegant, soulful music ablaze with powerhouse vocals, orchestral melodies and radiant harmonies draped over driving and resounding rhythms. Skilled songwriters, composers and artists Brenda Michelle Robinson (vocals) and Shane Krout (bass, guitar, vocals) experiment with opulent textures and unleash lyrics that float atop a sophisticated, intricately-woven tapestry overflowing with plush layers of electric guitar and bass... 

I also love the video. Two versions of what may be one woman, maybe out of place in time, maybe out of place in other ways, and the Magician. Definitely watch it and see what you think. However, I have to admit, one reason I love it is because my sister plays the Young Magician's Assistant. Check it out:

Saturday, November 5, 2016

"Hallelujah" cover by Pentatonix is incredible!

Leonard Cohen's song "Hallelujah" is lyrically deep and moving and has been covered many times. The Jeff Buckley version of the song is easily my favorite. However, I just heard the cover of this great song by Pentatonix and knew I had to share it. The video is chilling, with the singers standing in a desert landscape, as they melodiously belt out Cohen's words. If you like "Hallelujah", then you'll probably like this video: