Why do we build monuments? What are they made of?
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I'm Joe Hanson, Ph.D. biologist and host/writer of PBS Digital Studios' It's Okay To Be Smart. Check out my "Episode Extras" here. There's a lot of amazing science out there. Let's go discover it together.
Science is awesome, and there’s so much of it to explore. Let me be your guide. Remember, It’s Okay To Be Smart.
I took a trip to one of Austin's famous moontowers so I could put the enormity of our solar system into perspective. With the help of a grapefruit, and a lot of walking, you'll get an idea of just how tiny everything is out there!!
Dorothy went over one. LeVar Burton read to us under one. In a song, Kermit the Frog connected us to one. Even Mork's suspenders were made of them.
It seems like every week someone tells us how the internet and the digital age are overloading our brains. Sure, sometimes it feels like we're being fed more information than we can handle, that we're paying attention to the wrong things. Are we giving our brain a fair shot?
Wind is everywhere. The air is constantly moving, sometimes gently, sometimes violently. Why? Pressure, temperature and rotation come together to make wind. Here's how.
The very first radiation to escape after the Big Bang has been traveling outward for 13.8 billion years. This cosmic microwave background has been literally stretched over time, it's frequency and temperature lowering as the universe, and everything in it, expands.
There is no sound in space. In the near-vacuum of space, there is nothing to transmit the physical waves that we need to perceive sound. But that doesn't mean we can't MAKE sound from space. This week, I feature several artists using scientific data to create "space sonification" projects. From the longest palindrome ever created to a chorus created from Earth's magnetic field, these pieces lie at the intersection of art and science. More than just art, they allow us to perceive patterns in complex data in a completely new way.
Why does music make us feel happy or sad? Or angry or romantic? How can simple sound waves cause so much emotion? I went from my comfy chair to the streets of Austin to investigate how it might be written into our neuroscience and evolution. Modern neuroscience says our brains may be wired to pick certain emotions out of music because they remind us of how people move!
To begin this video, we launched a little confetti to celebrate the fact that I am now "Dr. Joe", since I successfully defended my Ph.D. in molecular biology! Woo! But you don't have to call me "Doctor."