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Saturday, August 10, 2013


The StarTalker

Issue 42, August 8, 2013

This Week's New Podcast
Cosmic Queries: Viruses, Outbreaks and Pandemics 

August 11, 2013, 7:00pm ET/4:00pm PT

Virus Bat

Infectious disease expert Laurie Garrett is back to answer your questions about viruses. First, she describes two current outbreaks: H7N9 influenza, which killed 25% of its victims in China, and MERS-CoV, a genetic relative of SARS. With pilgrimages like the Haj in October, Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus is a serious pandemic concern to the worldwide health community. Next, Laurie explains how viruses like Ebola and HIV jump from bats and primates to humans through “zoonosis” and why they’re so lethal when they do. All this, plus a fungus that turns ants into zombies, pathogens that spread via rain, the dangers of the anti-vaccine movement and, unfortunately, so much more. The show will be on our website and iTunes this Sunday, August 11th at 7:00pm ET, and on SoundCloud and Stitcher by 7:15pm ET.
Photo Credit: MGVP/UC Davis.

Catch Up on Last Week's Podcast
Cosmic Queries: Dark Matter and Dark Energy
August 4, 2013

Dark Matter Visualization 

If dark matter is the longest unsolved problem in astrophysics, how can Neil deGrasse Tyson answer your Cosmic Queries? Well, it turns out we do know something about the stuff that makes up 96% of our universe. For instance, how it affects the rotation of galaxies, and what would happen if it disappeared. And whether dark matter is increasing as the universe expands. You’ll find out if there are connections between black holes and dark matter and what Hawking Radiation is. Did the recent experiments on the ISS explain why dark matter doesn’t interact with ordinary matter? Plus, Neil tells comic co-host Leighann Lord why he thinks dark energy should be named Fred. One of our most popular shows this season...if you haven't heard it – Listen now.
Photo Credit: Dark Matter Visualization courtesy of SDSC and NPACI Visualization Services.

Best of the Blog
The Perseids Are Back this Weekend!
Posted August 7, 2013


Here’s a recipe for a bit of tasty cosmic cuisine this weekend:
1. Take a dash of stellar dust and debris from comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle.
2. Sprinkle into Earth’s atmosphere.
3. Lie back and watch the show.
And if the weather cooperates and you’ve got clear skies – it’s looking good for the NY metro area, so I’m hopeful – then you’re in for one of the best meteor showers we get to see each year, The Perseids. At peak, there can be as many as 100 meteors burning across the sky per hour. But even if you just catch a few, they’re worth the effort. And, according to NASA, the Perseids have the most “fireballs” of any meteor shower. For more information and some great images - Read more.

Have You Seen Our Latest "Behind the Scenes" Video?

Nanobot Viruses and Biotechnology on StarTalk Radio

Nanobot Viruses on StarTalk Radio Get a sneak peak of this week's new podcast in this "Behind the Scenes" video taken from the episode. In it, Laurie Garrett answers a fan's cosmic query about whether we can create “nanobot” viruses that we could use to fight disease, and if we do, how we can control them. She also tells Neil deGrasse Tyson and Chuck Nice how we’re developing human engineered microorganisms in the lab, including a competition where high school students invent new life forms. Watch now.
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