Episode #119: Old School vs. New School
Guest Editorial by Lawrence Santoro: The Hugo's
Long-winded audio expansion of the linked blog post. Santoro talks about his geeky 3rd grade teacher who got him interested in SF, the Futurians, and the feeling of community surrounding Starship Sofa. He rambles on a bit, but it's interesting and certainly a worthwhile editorial, more interesting but less persuasive than Matt Sanborn Smith's argument last issue. On one hand, 18 minutes is too long, on the other hand, it doesn't seem like 18 minutes.
The Transcribe Project by Will Reese
Tony interviews Will Reese of the Transcribe Project in a pub in England. Will is amusing in his tales of procrastination (and the number of drinks he orders), but, again, not really entertaining or informative enough to justify 17 minutes listening time.
Science News by J.J. Campanella
An amusing introduction about Jim's children and their obsession with Dinosaur Train leads into a neat article about melanosomes being recovered from fossils which indicate dinosaurs likely had patches and stripes in white, black, red, brown, yellow and orange and may have been closer to birds in their coloring rather than lizards. It turns out the reason scientists often color dinosaurs in drab colors is that they had no evidence and didn't want to make any embarrassing assumptions, so they chose drab lizard colors.
Next up is an AWESOME article about sea slugs who have been able to steal chloroplasts from algae and keep the chloroplasts alive inside their own cells. These sea slugs are now able to create their own chlorophyll and have working photosynthesis, the first animal we've found to do so.
Another new paper suggests that bacteria on cigarettes, specifically in the tobacco itself, can actual survive in smoke to cause lung infections when inhaled. Hundreds of species of bacteria, many potentially infectious in humans, have been identified in a testing of common cigarette brands.
Finally, in a Kuru study, evidence has suggested a new potential function for the protein that mutates into the infectious prions causing it. This protein may be involved in signaling Schwann cells to produce myelin, and if it is, it could throw a wrench in some types of Mad Cow Disease research.
Nothing boring here, and the sea slug piece was great, but at only 3 minutes out of a 19 minute segment, with too much time spent on prion semi-news and dinosaurs, I just don't think this was as good as some of Campanella's other editions. Rating: B
The Clapping Hands Of God by Michael F. Flynn 4/5
Film Talk by Rod Barnett - Daybreakers & The Book of Eli
Commentary on the fact that interesting films are often released in Jan/Feb because studios don't want to release anything that makes money then, and by that they mean big budget crap.
Daybreakers is a post-apocalyptic science fiction vampire film with an excellent cast, and decent effects considering its low budget. Although it isn't a great movie or a classic or anything, Barnett gives it a reservedly positive review because it doesn't romanticize vampires, has a touch of humor, and addresses issues like over-population and depletion of resources. Despite reading a few negative reviews elsewhere, I'm inclined to see this one just for the novelty.
The Book of Eli is about a post-apocalyptic wanderer protecting one of the last copies of The Bible after most copies were burned following whatever wiped out civilization. Barnett likes the treatment of religion and faith in what might have otherwise been a standard action movie.
We're a little light on substance this time, but I'm glad he brought Daybreakers to my attention, and it's interesting to hear about the ideas involved there. The Book of Eli review was pretty slim though. Rating: B