Sound-responsive lasers turn Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring into amazing laser installation. Via psfk
Doug Loves Movies - Nick Offerman, Jon Hamm and “Werner Herzog” guest (56:35)
A very masculine panel. Jon Hamm clearly grew out a beard to match the theme of facial hair. There were so many good moments in this episode. a couple of my favorites:
-Nick Offerman describing his book, completely dryly, as “340 pages of humor”.
-Werner Herzog explaining the fact that he is locked out of a round to Nick Offerman as “this is something that must happen”.
-Werner Herzog says that this is his first time meeting Nick Offerman and he is delighted by his “taciturn demeanor”.
But there are so many funny moments. Check it out.
Ear Wax from Whales Keeps Record of Ocean Contaminants (2:52)
How often do whales clean their ears? Well, never. And so, year after year, their ear wax builds up, layer upon layer. According to a study published Monday, these columns of ear wax contain a record of chemical pollution in the oceans.
The study used the ear wax extracted from the carcass of a blue whale that washed ashore on a California beach back in 2007. Scientists at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History collected the wax from inside the skull of the dead whale and preserved it. The column of wax was almost a foot long.
"It’s kind of got that icky look to it," says Sascha Usenko, an environmental scientist at Baylor University who was involved in the study. “It looks kind of like a candle that’s been roughed up a bit. It looks waxy and has got fibers. But it’s pretty rigid — a lot stronger and a lot more stable than one would think.”
There are light and dark layers within the column, each layer corresponding to six months of the whale’s life, Usenko says. Historically the rings have been used to estimate the age of the whale, he says, “very similar to counting tree rings.”
But age is not what Usenko was after. He studies how chemical pollutants like DDT and flame retardants are affecting whales. These pollutants get deposited in fatty tissues, such as whale blubber. And scientists often analyze blubber to see what whales are eating.
But analyzing blubber has a limitation, Usenko says.
"I would only know that organism — that [particular] animal was exposed to those contaminants," he says. "I wouldn’t know when."
And so he thought, why not look at ear wax, which is also a fatty material that accumulates toxic chemicals.
Because each layer of wax corresponds to six months of a whale’s life, by working through a plug of wax, Usenko could figure out when the animal was exposed to a particular chemical.
In this case, Usenko and his colleagues found that the whale had been exposed to worrisome pollutants throughout its lifetime.
He says the high levels of DDT surprised him.
"It’s been 30-plus years since we’ve stopped using this compound," he says, "but to still see it showing up at such high concentrations — one of the dominant chemicals we see — was surprising."
Usenko and his team also determined that “a significant percentage of the exposure occurred in the first, early stages of the animal’s life,” when it was still nursing, and perhaps especially vulnerable. At that point, the pollutants came from the mother, through her milk, the scientist says.
Usenko says he can’t tell just from looking at the wax whether these chemicals are hurting the development of young blue whales. He studied only one animal, and the ear wax alone can’t reveal whether the chemicals caused harm.
But the ear wax also contained a record of fluctuations in stress hormones throughout the animal’s life. And that, in combination with the chemical pollution data, may in the future provide better insight into the potential impacts of these chemicals on whales, Usenko says.
His current findings appear in the latest issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
But he needs more data, he says, so he has requested that scientists start collecting ear wax from dead beached whales the world over and mail the samples to him.
Electronic music driven by techno beats. From the Sequence2 compilation.
Just recently got into How Did This Get Made? It was very funny. This is a little miniepisode that they include a nice smash cut of some common keywords from the podcast. It’s literally Jason Mantzoukas yelling literally for a few minutes. Check it out at the very end of this.
The Thrilling Adventure Hour - #133: Beyond Belief, “Molar Express” (22:15)
A new Beyond Belief! No Sadie (Paget Brewster) on this one. The main female voice is the beautiful Autumn Reeser (see below). Paul F Tompkins is in top form as Frank discussing the pains of going to the dentist. Great episode.
P.S. I bought the book, and it is beautiful. You should check it out.
Cato Daily Podcast - The DOJ’s Odd Marijuana Announcement (8:02)
A great description of the strange way that the Department of Justice has decided to handle the cannabis legalization in Washington and Colorado and cannabis arrests in general.Best quote: “Why did we need a constitutional amendment to ban alcohol but we don’t need one for drugs?”
Slate’s Political Gabfest - The “Now, I Asked You So Nicely to Go to War” Gabfest (50:51)
Probably the best Gabfest episode in recent memory. They handled things terrifically and the ideas are hard hitting. They discuss the Syria decision of course. They discuss state nullification in reference to cannabis laws and gun laws. And their third topic is a brute taking on how pathetic campaign journalism has been. Very good. This would be the show through which I will introduce people to the Gabfest.
Freakonomics Radio - Who Are the Most Successful Immigrants in the World? (26:15)
A great podcast about the success of immigrants. They focus primarily on lebanese immigrants, but the message remains that the adversity that causes and is immigration often leads to great achievement. However, they do make the excellent point that immigrants are a self-selecting population that are probably best equipped to succeed. Well worth the listen.
Neko Case may be the best musical guest ever. She really got into it. Tom Lennon and Rob Huebel really tripped me out at the beginning of the second segment. Great episode. They were on promoting Hell Baby: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fk7knZqUE68
I listened to this at least 16 times today. Please enjoy. This album will probably be on of the top ten for the year for me.
'Sun Harmonics' by Jon Hopkins from the album 'Immunity' (2013)
Not the most approachable music. But I’ve been digging it.
'The Fever' by Death Grips from the album 'The Money Store' (2012)
'+81' by Deerhoof from the album 'Friend Opportunity' (2007)