Sunday, March 29, 2009

Are We Alone for 03/30/09 - Speaking Klingon

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Are We Alone - "Speaking Klingon"
Ever try talking to an alien? In the movies, they always speak perfect English. But what if we really made contact? Could we just whip out a universal translator - or even a babelfish - to understand one another?

Let's say we do learn to communicate: what to say, what to say? We'll hear the protocol for just how to reply to ET. And, from Klingon to Esperanto: the recipe for creating a language from scratch.

Plus, get ready to babble with your Blackberry: how computers are learning to recognize - and respond - to human speech.

Q1=B4t'.f:t'.ql. P4&=tr'w.k*.k*n.=D5^Q5=P4^B5 P4&=D1>s'.t*.ql.=B5
What does this mean? Listen to the show to find out!


Guests:
  • Terrence Deacon - Professor of anthropology and neuroscience, University of California, Berkeley
  • Douglas Vakoch - Director of Interstellar Message Composition, SETI Institute
  • Donald Boozer - Librarian, Coordinator of Cleveland Public Library's recent exhibit "Esperanto, Elvish, and Beyond...The World of Constructed Languages"
  • Jim Glass - Director of the Spoken Language Systems Group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory Systems.
    Ask MIT's Jupiter about the weather!
You can listen to this and other episodes at http://radio.seti.org/, and be sure to check out Are We A Blog?, the companion blog to the radio show.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Are We Alone for 03/23/09 - Skeptical Sunday: Take a Number


Are We Alone - "Skeptical Sunday: Take a Number "
Pick a number, any number. Got it? Good. Is it a lucky or unlucky? Is it a code that gives you a clue to the future? A lot of people assign all sorts of magical significance to numbers. From Friday the 13th to lucky number 7 – we’ll find out whether the idea of digits of destiny adds up. Plus, 666 and 616: find out what famous figures these figures code for.

Learn the numbers that do have significance in math and nature: how a honey bee’s lineage is an example of the Fibonacci series.

Meanwhile, Brains on Vacation quashes satellite fireball rumors, and our Hollywood skeptic gives a “how to” for faking UFO photos.

It’s Skeptical Sunday.. but don’t take our word for it!

Guests:
You can listen to this and other episodes at http://radio.seti.org/, and be sure to check out Are We A Blog?, the companion blog to the radio show.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Are We Alone for 03/16/09 - You've Been Slimed!



Are We Alone - "You've Been Slimed!"
Hollywood horror flicks have captivated us with alien blobs, but the slime slithering on our own planet is as beguiling. From microscopic machines to life on ocean floors, new research reveals how essential slime is to life on Earth, and possibly other worlds.

Discover the new materials made from hagfish slime… the social life of a slime mold… and the threat posed by the gray goo of self-replicating nanobots.

Plus, it’s been 50 years since it first oozed across the screen: why there’s no escape from The Blob!

Guests:
You can listen to this and other episodes at http://radio.seti.org/, and be sure to check out Are We A Blog?, the companion blog to the radio show.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Video: Confessions of an Alien Hunter

Check out this interesting video featuring Seth Shostak of the SETI Inistitute as he talks about the search for extraterrestrial civiliztions, and the possibility of discovering an extraterrestrial civiliztion in the near future.



You can find out about Seth's new book "Confessions of an Alien Hunter: A Scientist's Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence" at both National Geographic and Amazon.com. Be sure to check out the Are We Alone? internet radio show as well as it's companion blog Are We A Blog?

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Are We Alone for 03/09/09 - Building Better Brains



Are We Alone - "Building Better Brains"
Forgot your own birthday? Misplaced your Shih Tzu? Did you put the milk in your backpack and the iPod in the fridge? Age may bring wisdom but - alas - not a boost in RAM. But there's hope - scientists are discovering that the brain is more malleable than thought. We'll hear about the science of neuroplasticity and what you can do to slow that cerebellum slide. Ever been to a brain gym?

Plus, why the brains of London cabbies are bigger than those of your average commuter.

Guests:
You can listen to this and other episodes at http://radio.seti.org/, and be sure to check out Are We A Blog?, the companion blog to the radio show.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Are We Alone for 03/02/09 - A Man, A Planet, A Tenal: Panama!




Are We Alone - "A Man, A Planet, A Tenal: Panama!"
While the Kepler spacecraft hunts for habitable planets outside our galaxy, we’ve let one of our own planets slip away! Find out why Pluto’s demotion to dwarf status created a public uproar as astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson reads us his hate mail. From third-graders!

Also, how we might find Earth-like planets… the possibility of life on Saturn’s moon Titan… and TED Prize winner Jill Tarter’s vision for finding E.T.
And, the man who made it all possible: 400 years of Galileo and the telescope. Part of our series for the International Year of Astronomy.

Guests
You can listen to this and other episodes at http://radio.seti.org/, and be sure to check out Are We A Blog?, the companion blog to the radio show.