Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey

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Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey is a 13-part television series with a purpose to introduce science as an engaging and entertaining topic. It is hosted by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, and produced by Seth MacFarlane and Ann Druyan,who is renowned scientist Carl Sagan’s widow.

photo from http://www.gq.com/
photo from http://www.gq.com/
photo from http://www.gq.com/entertainment/movies-and-tv/201403/cosmos-neil-degrasse-tyson-seth-macfarlane#slide=4
photo from http://www.gq.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carl Sagan was the original host of Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, a 1980 television show that covered a wide range of scientific subjects, including the origin of life and a perspective of our place in the universe. The 1980 original was the most widely watched series in the history of American Public Television until 1990 when it was surpassed by “The Civil War(1990).” The original Cosmos has been seen by over 500 million people in more than 60 countries.

Image from http://game-flappybird.tk/Carl-Sagan
Image from http://game-flappybird.tk/Carl-Sagan

 

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey recently premiered on March 9th, 2014 with the first episode titled “Standing Up  in the Milky Way.” The first episode features a tour of the solar system and the known universe before sharing the birth of Renaissance Italian Giordano Bruno’s vision of the universe as a limitless expanse of space and time. It then makes an exploration into the Cosmic Calendar, which dates back to the dawn of the Big Bang.  The episode appropriately ends with deGrasse Tyson narrating how he met his mentor Carl Sagan, the host of the original Cosmos series. And just to add a little more bang to this already star-studded affair, the first episode was introduced by none other than President Barack Obama.

Family Guy fans are quick to ask, why is Seth MacFarlane producing a science series? The truth is that MacFarlane has been a huge fan of Cosmos since the beginning. He has truly been an integral part of the team and has been a strong advocate for the series since the idea to remake the show was spawned in 2008 following an introduction the Druyan. As child, MacFarlane loved Sagan’s show.  MacFarlane sees both series as a gap between the academic community and the general public. MacFarlane also believes that “the universe is hilarious! Like, Venus is 900 degrees. I could tell you it melts lead. But that’s not as fun as saying, ‘You can cook a pizza on the windowsill in 9 seconds.’ And next time my fans eat pizza, they’re thinking of Venus!”

When recently interviewed about the show, deGrasse Tyson stated that “the goal is to convey why science matters to the person, to our society, to us as shepherds of this planet. It involves presenting science in ways that connect to you, so Cosmos can influence you not only intellectually but emotionally, with a celebration of wonder and awe,” says Tyson. “Science should be part of everybody’s life. The prerequisite is not that you become a scientist. It’s that at the end of the series, you will embrace science and recognize its role in who and what you are.”

The new Cosmos draws inspiration, and even some content, from the original series but also takes advantage of newer scientific concepts and major advances in production quality to combine rigorous scientific skepticism  with a sense of romance in the cosmos. Drawing from the original Cosmos, the new production brings back the Cosmic Calendar, which tries to put the unfathomable 13.8-billion-year history of the universe in the context of a year, with all of recorded history taking up just the last 14 seconds of Dec. 31. It is facts like these that highlight the unfathomable majesty of Cosmos.

If you missed the first episode, it can be viewed online at http://www.cosmosontv.com

(Episodes will air weekly on Fox, followed by a repeat broadcast with bonus material Monday at 10 p.m. ET/PT on National Geographic.)

 

References:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmos:_A_Spacetime_Odyssey

http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/tv/2014/03/08/fox-cosmos-series-with-neil-degrasse-tyson/6059985/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmos:_A_Personal_Voyage

 

 

This week’s challenge:

Go to the following link and solve the puzzle in as few moves as possible.  Post your score on our Facebook page!

Tower of Hanoi

Oscars History

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Amry Oscar

Louis Burt Mayer was born July 12, 1884 in Minsk, Russia.  He and his family moved to Rhode Island in 1887, then to Saint John, New Brunswick, where he worked in a scrap metal business with his father until 1904, when he moved to Boston at the age of 19.  He worked a variety of jobs there, but eventually found work renovating the Gem Theater, a 600 seat theater in Haverhill, Massachusetts.  He remodeled and reopened the theater, renaming it to The Orpheum, and showed movies there (at this time, still silent films).  He eventually purchased the other 5 theaters in Haverhill, and formed a partnership which controlled the largest theater chain in New England.

 

It’s worth noting that at this time, motion pictures didn’t hold the esteem that they do now.  Actors considered them to be second-class work, largely because the movies were silent.  Without a voice, actors felt that they were really only displaying half of the skills necessary to be good at their jobs, and the stars of opera and theater held the status that today’s movie stars do.  In fact, silent film stars initially weren’t even identified in their films, as many were embarrassed to “stoop” to that level.  Early movies were typically aimed toward “the working class” that typically couldn’t afford to see theater and opera productions, and film, in general, was seen as a form of entertainment only slightly above carnivals and freak shows.  Producers and creators of motion picture technology (Edison was a main player) basically wrote the rules of film at the time, and wouldn’t allow equipment to be used or money to be spent if directors weren’t following their rules, and they preferred for the glory of films to go to the production companies rather than the actors or directors.

 

In the 1910s, the public became increasingly interested in knowing and connecting with the stars of their movies.  Film fan magazines began to be published, and rogue actors started to develop their own personas to play to their fans.  In the late 1920s, moves began to incorporate sound, which began to decrease the stigma associated with the motion picture industry, and resulted in even greater interest from fan bases.  At this point, film fan magazines also began to switch from describing movie plots to writing pieces on actors’ lives outside of the films, which audiences gobbled up.  This all amounted to an increase in the power of actors amongst the film industry, and served to rustle some feathers with the big wigs.

 

Now, back to Mr. Mayer.  After establishing dominance in the New England film market, Mayer moved to Los Angeles, which was quickly becoming the center of the film universe.  LA was ideal due to favorable weather conditions year-round, fewer licensing restrictions than were found in the northeast, and the fact that Westerns (growing in popularity during this time) were easily filmed there.  Mr. Mayer set up his own production company in LA, and continued to be successful enough that he caught the attention of Marcus Loew, who had recently merged Metro Pictures and Goldwyn Pictures, and needed a talented leader to head the productions on the west coast.  Mayer acted as vice president of the company for 27 years, and his name was eventually added the name of the company, which made it Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, or MGM.

 

Mayer made a good deal of money in this position, and in fact was the first American citizen to earn a salary of more than $1 million dollars.  For 9 years, starting in 1937, Mayer was the highest paid man in the US, earning approximately 1.3 million per year (equivalent to a little over $21 million today).  Part of Mayer’s success came from his ability to sell pictures that people wanted to see, and he jumped on the public’s insatiable appetite for details of the lives of stars.  Mayer is generally credited with creating “the star system,” whereby his stars were forced, contractually, to take part in public activities as the studios saw fit.  Studios would set up dates between famous actors and actresses, names were changed (Cary Grant = Archie Leach, Joan Crawford = Lucille Fay LeSueur, Rock Hudson = Roy Harold Scherer, Jr.), and images were maintained.  Eventually, actors became tired of the ridiculous ways they were being forced to spend their free time, and pushed back against the star system.  Like any good businessman, Mayer was keenly aware of threats to his income, and he saw this threat coming.  To make matters worse for him, talk of unions was in the air, so he and some buddies got together in late 1926 to come up with a plan.

 

They decided they needed a way to stroke the ego of their actors a bit more while maintaining the idea that Hollywood was a magical place.  Additionally, they wanted to create an organization that could deal with the changing needs and requests of their actors while keeping an eye on (and batting away) attempts to unionize.  They named the organization “the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences,” and held a banquet in January of 1927 to offer membership to others in the industry.  It’s generally accepted that someone at this banquet suggested that they should award prizes to actors each year.  The story goes that one of the attendees drew a sketch of a man holding a sword while standing on a film reel, which became the iconic statue given to winners each year.  Another story suggests that, a few years later, one of the librarians working for the Academy claimed that the statue looked “like my uncle Oscar.”

 

The movie industry hit hard times (along with the rest of the country) in the 1930s, and actors did eventually unionize, but the Academy grew into an important piece of the American film industry despite it’s nefarious beginnings.  Mayer was eventually fired from MGM after (ironically enough) the company failed to win an academy award 3 years in a row.

 

Valentine’s Day

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Valentines-Day-

Well guys, that time of year is upon us again. The wonderful time of year when everyone loves each other, smells flowers all day, and overeats chocolate and candy hearts. Most everyone celebrates Valentine’s Day to at least a tiny extent, but why do we feel the need to send all these flowers and cards on just one random day in Februrary? This episode Perek gives a look at some of the historically significant events that may have helped to shape the traditions we practice today. A couple of interesting stats and jokes are included FREE in this episode – feel free to use them at your home or office, royalty free. Happy Valentine’s Day everybody.

Chris Kresser’s ‘Your Personal Paleo Code’

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Your-Personal-Paleo-CodeThis episode, we interview Chris Kresser about his new book ‘Your Personal Paleo Code.’ All of the studies we talk about can be found at www.chriskresser.com but take a bit of searching once you’re there. Here’s the one that we talk about that attempts to mitigate some of the ‘healthy user bias’ that crops up in a lot of modern research. The full transcript of the interview follows below. Leave a comment on our Facebook page and ‘Like’ Good Guys To Know to get entered to win a signed copy of the book, along with some great online extras from Chris.  Enjoy!

Mitch: My guest today is Chris Kresser of chriskresser.com. He’s got a brand new book hot off the presses called “Your Personal Paleo Code.” It’s based on his very thorough interpretation of tons of nutrition research, as well as anecdotal examples from his own journey back to health, and his experience with his clients that he helps get healthier through diet and lifestyle change. For you crossfitters out there, if you’re not already familiar with Chris, you probably are familiar with Robb Wolf, who called Chris, “The most knowledgeable clinician in the paleo world.” Chris, welcome to good guys to know, that’s some high praise from another paleo juggernaut.

Chris: It’s great to be here mitch, I appreciate the opportunity.

Mitch: So I thought a good place to start out would be, we’ve talked about paleo on the podcast before, but it’s been a couple years; why don’t we start with just the strict definition of what paleo is, what’s the diet, what foods can we eat and not eat, before it gets the Chris Kresser treatment?

Chris: Ok, the paleo diet is based on the diet of our Paleolithic or so-called ‘caveman’ ancestors, and they ate primarily meat, fish, wild vegetables and fruits, nuts and seeds, and some starchy plants like sweet potatos, so the way that the paleo diet was first introduced, those were the foods that were emphasized. And eggs; which probably wouldn’t have been around during the Paleolithic because chickens weren’t domesticated at that point, but they almost certainly ate wild eggs from birds that they found and nests and things like that. So that’s the basic foods of the paleo diet, and that works really well, for a lot of people, at least for a period of time. It tends to lead to pretty spontaneous weight loss, without a lot of calorie counting, or eating bland, tasteless food. Or even counting macronutrients like fat or protein, or carbohydrates. But, I’ve found, in my work with patients, that, for many people, it’s unnecessarily restrictive, and I don’t think there’s any reason to avoid foods that modern research suggests are healthy when they’re well tolerated, just because our ancestors ate them. Out of some sort of paleo re-enactment idea.

Mitch: Let me read an excerpt from your book that kind of gets at that and then I’ll have you expand on what your structure looks like. It says “Therefore, they’d keep tomatoes, peppers, potatos, and other nightshade vegetables off your table forever. They’d have you bid a permanent farewell to dairy products, and all grains and legumes, but the science doesn’t support this stance so neither do I.” Read the rest of the transcript

2013 – A Year In Review

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Wow, another year down, another year of podcasting in the books. In this special episode, we review some of our favorite moments from the podcast in 2013. From interviews with professional gamers, to recording our first ever studio album, it has been a busy year for the Good Guys and we hope that you have enjoyed listening to us as much as we have enjoyed producing the podcast.
IMG_0852IMG_0849

To wrap up the year, we calculated the scores for all of the challanges that we have completed over the past 12 months. Just in case you have forgotten, here are the challanges that we did this year:
– Hug-a-thon challenge
– Donkey Kong challenge
– Victoria’s secret underwear challenge
– Poetry reading challenge
– Halloween costume challenge
– Wikipedia challenge
– Formal dinner challenge
– Classical music challenge
– Art challenge
– Food journal challenge
– Charity challenge
– Whittling challenge
– Paper airplane challenge
– Thrift shop challenge
– Complete nutrition challenge
– Jeopardy! challenge
– Sensory deprivation challenge
– Geochaching challenge
– Firestarting challenge
– Origami challenge
– Spa challenge
– Scary movie challenge
– Letter writing challenge
– March madness challenge
– Wobble challenge!!!!

Mitch once again is the winner with 87 points, followed by Puff with 78 points, and Perek with 77 points. Geo is left scraping the bottom of the bucket with a measly 75 points…
We also review our year long challenges and propose new challenges for 2014.

Once again, a huge thank you to all of you for listening!

Best Guys to Know – 2013 Edition

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As 2013 comes to a close, join us to remember some of the best guys to know of 2013. There are many notable GGTK who surfaced in 2013 including a number who just missed our list: Bill Nye, Peyton Manning, Justin Timberlake and Garrett Camp, just to name of few.  But the 4 gentlemen listed below represent not just what was good about 2013, but what we hope is in store for 2014.  Have a listen to our newest podcast as your favorite Good Guys to Know discuss who they think were the Best Guys to Know from 2013.  Thanks for listening!

#1: Pope Francis: 

Photo from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Francis
Photo from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Francis

Esquire voted Pope Francis the “Best Dressed Man of the Year.” Some quickly scoff at the notion that His Excellency could garner such credit.  However, his choice in garb has made more significant contributions to the Catholic Church than most realize.  The most notable aspect of his fashion statement is its simplicity. Commonly, you will see this pope donning a white robe and white skullcap, a distant cry from the more ornate costumes of his predecessors.  He also opted out of the traditional red leather Prada shoes that were previously a staple of papal dress, and chose the simplest ring to round out his ensemble.  This fashion statement has lead some to say that “this Holy Roman Emperor really does have new clothes!” http://www.esquire.com/blogs/mens-fashion/pope-francis-style-2013

For Christmas this year, the Pope gave presents to 2,000 immigrants living at a shelter near the Vatican.  The purpose of the presents was to allow the immigrants to connect with family over the holiday season.  He provided them with postage for letters, a prepaid calling card, a free metro transit card, and a signed Christmas card.  Take that Santa! Additionally, he is regularly known to sneak out at night dressed as a regular priest, to serve the homeless.  All of these actions have gained him the nickname “The Pope of the Poor.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/19/pope-francis-christmas-immigrants-_n_4473273.html

Continuing to break tradition, instead of shacking up in the papal apartment, a 12-room luxury suite on the top floor of Apostolic Palace, Pope Francis chose to live in a small studio apartment in the Vatican.  Plus, instead of the glistening bulletproof Pope-mobile. Pope Francis drives a 20-year-old car with over 180,000 miles on it. All of these actions recently landed Pope Francis the title of Time’s Person of the Year.

The Pontiff also was more involved in pop culture and social media than any of his predecessors.  For one, HE TWEETS! His often-poignant tweets have gained him more than 3.4 million Twitter followers.  Follow him @pontifex.  He also has taken the only Papal “selfie” which is quite timely considering “selfie” is the 2013 Word of the Year.  As if all that weren’t enough, he was also the most talked about topic on Facebook and the most searched term on the Internet in 2013 (http://www.people.com/people/package/article/0,,20755963_20764775,00.html

 

#2: Elon Musk:

Unknown
photo from www.businessinsider.com

Reason #1: He is the CEO of Tesla Motors and SpaceX.

Reason #2: He is the CEO of Tesla Motors and SpaceX.

Seriously, it’s hard to argue against the powerful odor that Elon Musk left on 2013.  Our most loyal listeners would be sharp to remember that we have previously done podcast main pillars on both of Mr. Musk’s remarkable companies (We also highlighted his “Hyperloop” concept in our Future Transportation podcast.)  Did we mention that he also co-founded PayPal?  I think instead of referring to Elon as the Best GGTK of 2013, we might just crown him the Best GGTK of ever.  Let’s all pray he continues his life-altering ways in 2014!

In fact, Elon Musk may just warrant his own pillar someday.  Literally every fact I read about this guy is more impressive than the last.  Don’t believe me?  Dabble in his Wikipedia entry (I bet you read the whole thing.) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elon_Musk

 

#3: Jimmy Kimmel:

photo from http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/tv-movies/jimmy-kimmel-joins-letterman-leno-11-35-article-1.1233873

Since launching Jimmy Kimmel Live! In 2003, Mr. Kimmel has methodically carved out a niche for himself in late-night TV.  Moving stride-for-stride with Jimmy Fallon, Kimmel is helping to usher in the next generation of late-night talk shows. What makes him a GGTK?  First, he’s funny and he has a knack for finding and creating some of the best viral videos on the Internet.  In 2013 Kimmel continued his annual challenge for parents to tell their kids that they had eaten all of their Halloween candy.  The uploaded videos creatively depict everything that is right and wrong with kids today. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RK-oQfFToVg

And then there is the “Worst twerk fail EVER” video.  What Kimmel did was create a video of a girl twerking and accidently setting her pants on fire!  With no promotional fanfare this video went completely viral! It currently has over 15 million views on YouTube and was featured on local news stations across the nation.  Two months after it ravaged the Internet, Jimmy came clean, announcing that the video was a hoax; a prank aimed at news outlets who will show just about anything to get more viewers.  Well played Jimmy, well played. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HSJMoH7tnvw#t=145

Warning: these videos are addicting and completely hilarious.  Thank you Jimmy to your contributions to 2013!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aXlDHdaQoiI#t=226

 

#4: Nelson Mandela:

Mandela

2013 was the year the world said ‘goodbye’ to Nelson Mandela.  His life was remarkable (both good and bad) in every way.  After serving more than 27 years in prison for defending his political beliefs, he was elected President of South Africa, the country’s first black president.  His life work centered on overcoming apartheid and fostering racial reconciliation.  One of the most influential South African men to ever live, he was their founding father of democracy; “Washington and Lincoln rolled into one.”  Among his many accolades, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work for “the peaceful termination of the apartheid regime, and for laying the foundations for a new democratic South Africa” in 1993.  He was also awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States, by President Bush in 2002.  Some people quickly admonish Mandela for his socialistic (bordering on communistic) beliefs, and his relationships with some of the world’s most brutal dictators, but a complete view of his life confirms that he was a truly a GGTK.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nelson_Mandela

 

And there you have it!  The Best Guys to Know of 2013.  Let us know what you think of our choices and add your own in the comments below! And Happy New Years!!!