The Blunt Report
About this podcast
Science | Knowledge | Discovery - Making the mysteries of the universe more accessible.
About this podcast
Science | Knowledge | Discovery - Making the mysteries of the universe more accessible.
The Blunt Report
Franck Marchis - Exoplanets
Franck Marchis is a Planetary astronomer at the SETI Institute and the CSO at Unistellar. Franck starts the conversation today with some of the real time stats in the search for other worlds, such as numbers of planets and numbers of stars, that really shine a light on our place in the universe. He also discusses Astronomical research itself, and how things like citizen science can really bolster this pursuit. Lastly, Franck reflects on some of the philosophical and societal effects that looking to the stars really has. https://unistellaroptics.com/
Lewis Dartnell - Astrobiology
Lewis Dartnell is an Astrobiologist, Presenter and Author. Today he discusses the series of contradictions that we have on the topic of life elsewhere. Life on Earth is somehow special, yet there is an abundance of Earth-like planets within our universe. Life is fragile, yet life always find a way. So In this conversation, Lewis discusses what is significant in Astrobiology, why it matters to us, its effects on society and ultimately what that means for humanity and for the future. For more information on Lewis, as well as his fantastic books, find him at lewisdartnell.com.
Other Worlds - Mars as the Abode of LIfe
Episode 1 in the Other Worlds Series. We investigate humanities obsessive relationship with Mars, and subsequently, the idea of the martian. This tale follows how Mars played a role in the world's religions, the planet's involvement in the development of astronomy, and finally, the unfortunate tale of Percival Lowell and his "Martian Canals".
Tom Wong - Quantum Computing
Tom is a Quantum Computing researcher and physicist, working at the intersection between physics and computer science. Today, he talks about this technology that could revolutionize the way we live life. He explains what quantum computing Is, from how it operationally differs from classical computing, to how it is actually an entirely different way of computing and should be treated as such. Tom also discusses some of the real world benefits and concerns about this technology. Particularly, how quantum computing could drastically advance our pursuit of higher tech medicines and vaccines, but also the potential vulnerability of our current information if we don’t prepare for a quantum computing world now.
George Musser - Quantum Entanglement
George Musser is a contributor to the Scientific American, an author and science communicator. Today, he talks about one of the most unexplained parts of the quantum world, known as quantum entanglement, or as was coined by Einstein, spooky action at a distance. George gives us a clear and easy to grasp explanation of what spooky action at a distance is, also discussing why it is that quantum physics is just so hard to explain compared to other areas of science. Lastly, the conversation covers some of the philosophy behind this quantum world, why its actually not that strange, and why unlearning things in science can often be just as important as learning them. Books can be found here: https://spookyactionbook.com/author/gmusser/
The Father of Quantum Mechanics - Niels Bohr: Escape from Copenhagen
Episode 1 in the Quantum Series. We follow the story of Niels Bohr, a Jewish born physicist and one of the Fathers of Quantum Mechanics, during the invasion of the Nazi’s to his home nation of Denmark. Bohr’s escape is an incredible tale, ending in his eventual involvement in the nuclear weapons program that arguably changed the face of humanity.
Meeta Singh - Sleep for Athletic Performance
Meeta Singh is a Physician who applies Sleep Science to enhance physical and mental performance, assisting athletes within the NBA, NHL, NFL and MLB. Today, Meeta discusses how and why sleep is such an important tool for high level performance, and that improving the one-third of our life that we spend asleep really can give us the extra percentage points over competitors. We also discuss the specific roadblocks athletes come up against in terms of sleep, such as early morning training times, competing in different time zones and the sheer pressure and stress they are under. Lastly, although it is obvious to a lot of us the importance of physical recovery and sleep, Meeta lays down why sleep is crucial for athletes learning new techniques or even its ability to create the correct winners mindset. www.meetasinghmd.com
David Cunnington - Specialist Sleep Physician
David Cunnington is a Specialist Sleep Physician, diagnosing and treating sleep disorders out of his clinic in Melbourne, as well as via his podcast, Sleep Hub. https://drdavidcunnington.com.au/ Today, David discusses with me the strange cultural hangups we have about sleep, such as it being associated with weakness, when in reality it is one of the ultimate pillars to physical and mental well-being. We also discuss some of the research and methods behind a good nights sleep, as well as the lingering myths purported by wellness sights or bloggers, and how we circumvent these as a population.
Dying to Sleep - The Case of Fatal Familial Insomnia
Episode 1 in the series on sleep where we will follow the story of Silvano, a monumental figure in the world of sleep science who carried the condition fatal familial insomnia, and in the process, taught modern medicine the extreme case of what happens to a person when they do not get sleep.
Sasha Sagan is an Author and Science Communicator, as well as the daughter of world renowned educators Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan. Her new book "For Small Creatures Such as We" can be found here: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/566611/for-small-creatures-such-as-we-by-sasha-sagan/ “I’m not a scientist, its not my job. And yet, it is my worldview and it is my philosophy.” On todays episode of the podcast, naturally, Konner and Sasha discuss humanities connection to the cosmos. Sasha derives a great amount of importance to this spiritual connection we all have to the universe around us, without the framework of religion, and discusses the interconnectedness of it all. The guys also chat about the poverty of language, and how things like spiritual or sacred are something we yearn for, yet these words are cemented with religious connotations, even if we don’t mean it. Sasha discusses the wonder and the beauty that the natural world can give us, more so than the myths purported by pseudoscience. And how these facts of our world can and should influence our lives. Not only that, Konner and Sasha talk about the problem of education more broadly, and how this can bolster a lack of belief in the scientific method.
David Williams - NASA Psyche
David Williams is a Research Professor at the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University who has worked on a number of NASA’s Robotic Missions and is currently an investigator with NASA’s Psyche mission. The Psyche Mission is an orbiter mission that aims to learn about the origins of planetary cores by exploring the metallic 16-Psyche Asteroid. “Science is a way of thinking that can provide information for making good public policy. It is not something that should be used or denied or distorted to confirm a particular political idea.” As a representative of NASA’s Psyche mission, David discusses the importance of the Psyche asteroid and how it could provide answers to some of the biggest questions of our universe, like how the Earth itself formed. Konner and David talk about some of the specific science and engineering of this mission, as well as how metallic asteroids like Psyche could be holding untold riches. David also discusses the broader importance of space exploration and the very human question of why we explore. Lastly, the guys chat about the current status of science and how it is often distorted by politicians as a means of pushing certain ideologies. LINK FOR PSYCHE SLIDES: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1uCSkTzht_1wba6LflmpjPOeX_C_sPX6b/view?usp=sharing
Justin Lehmiller is a Science-Backed Sex Researcher, Social Psychologist, Author of the Blog "Sex & Psychology", as well as his most recent book "Tell Me What You Want", which offers an unprecedented look at sexual fantasy based on the most comprehensive study ever conducted. "It's interesting when we say that 15 min a week of porn is an addiction, but the 3 hours of T.V. that the average American watches per day is not" The Book "Tell Me What You Want": Amazon - https://amzn.to/2Z19lxa Website (which provides extra features) - https://www.lehmiller.com/tell-me-what-you-want Today, Justin discusses the reality of Sex research. Namely, that public commentators of sex and the associated psychology tend to be from a place of personal experience – not evidence and facts – and we discuss some of the issues that this brings. Konner and Justin also delve into the anxiety around deciding your long term lover or partners that many young people tend to face nowadays due to the huge success and choice of online dating. However, Justin attempts to break the very common negativity surrounding new technologies and dating, and instead raises some very clear positives – such as the increased diversity within relationships. Justin also talks on a subject that is clouded with misinformation and fear – porn usage and addiction. We uncover some of the realities of this topic and how that could effect porn users.
Robin Ince is a Comedian, Writer and Host of the BBC Series The Infinite Monkey Cage alongside Physicist Brian Cox. Robin also has his own Broadcasts within the Cosmic Shambles Network. For more: https://cosmicshambles.com/ “They aren’t just scientific facts – They are stories of what it is to be in the universe.” Today, Robin discusses the strange place he has found himself in, being the resident science comedian. He chats about why it’s a good thing to be the stupidest person in the room and how, after having met some of quite literally the greatest minds to have ever walked the face of the earth, some of his opinions about people have actually changed. Konner and Robin also talk about the idea of "stupid questions" and how Robin has come to the realisation that although people may perceive certain questions as stupid, when they are motivated by curiosity, they can often be the most profound. Konner and Robin also discuss the idea of telling the story of science. For the longest time science has been looked at and delivered, in a very cold and unappealing way. Now, through shows such as the infinite monkey cage, we are starting to uncover the emotions, the poetry, and the human story of science and scientific endeavour.
Robert Degle has an Educational History in Philosophy, a Current John Danaher Brown Belt and is the Soon-To-Be Jiu Jitsu Coach at Evolve MMA in Singapore. https://www.instagram.com/robertdeglebjj/ "We’ve left serious thinking to the side in favour of intentionally esoteric bewilderment to get tenure. We’re just playing games with words at this point." *NOTE*: This is a two part podcast. 0-45mins - Philosophy Segment; 45mins-Finish - Jiu Jitsu Segment Today Robert discusses the themes of philosophy closest to his heart, being that of Ludwig Wittgenstein. Specifically, the idea of Wittgenstein's ladder, and how nonsense pursuits can often be a crucial part of future goals. Also, the guys discuss the themes of language and culture, and how we have a strange relationship with language, in which we are controlled by it, while also, having control over it. And finally, lays out his approach to Jiu Jitsu. Specifically, how to solve puzzles and have systematic approaches to solving these puzzles, something that covers all varieties of challenges. My guest also discusses some of this his systematic ideas and how you can use them too.
Tanya Harrison is a Former Mission Operator with the Mars Rovers and a Planetary Scientist Focusing on Martian Geomorphology as well as both Martian and Terrestrial Imaging. http://tanyaofmars.com/ "I would love to see the excitement come back toward mars like we had trying to get humans to the moon during the Apollo program" Today, Tanya discusses what it feels like to be able to control rovers and orbiters on an entirely alien planet a hundred-odd million kilometres away. Konner and Tanya also discusses why everyone has such a huge desire towards mars unlike any other planet. Tanya and Konner chat about the in’s and out’s of the Mars Rover operations, such as the goals and steps involved, and also talk about the philosophical and technological aspects associated with space exploration. Tanya also talks about the big question: Putting people on Mars, and how the face of this goal has changed with the likes of Elon Musk’s spaceX and Blue Origin. Lastly, my Tanya lays out how Earth imaging is done, as well as some of the ethical considerations of our increasing technology and increasing ability to monitor and image our planet.
Stephan Kesting is a BJJ Black Belt and Firefighter with an academic background in Biology who has recently completed a 1,000 mile solo Canoe Trip through Canada’s Arctic. For more: https://www.grapplearts.com/ "Just as you wouldn't take, necessarily, financial advice form your dentist, or take car mechanic advice from your doctor, you probably shouldn't take much advice from your Jiu-Jitsu instructor, other than Jiu-Jitsu advice."' Today, Konner and Stephan discuss the strange, but undoubtedly important, intersection between science and martial arts. Things like the ability to logically and cognitively break down ideas or techniques, or even how to have a little skepticism when it comes to things like martial arts instructors asking to be called professor or sifu. Not only that, the guys chat about being the best in a field vs. being highly skilled in many areas, and how this ties into ideas like diminishing returns, experiencing the richness of existence, and where the balance in life is between being disciplined, focused, and achieving a goal, and when you should actually quit and change tracks. Lastly of course, Stephan talks about his epic 1000 mile solo canoe journey through the arctic. He lays out some of the preparation, unexpected emotions, and a few of the experiences along the way. *Note* Coronavirus within martial arts is discussed for the first 15min of the episode. Feel free to skip ahead if you would not like to hear about this.
Kristen Mark is a Sex and Relationships Researcher, with an academic background in behavioural health science and psychology whose work encompasses sexual health, sexual desire and desire discrepancies, as well as national and global sexual education policy and theory. More: http://www.kristenmark.com/ "Stop it with the abstinence only, it doesn't work. With kids especially, you tell them not to do something what are they going to do? They just go try it." On today's episode of the podcast, Kristen discusses our understanding, or lack thereof, of what sexual pleasure actually is. Kristen and Konner discuss things such as its purpose, why it arises, its peaks and troughs and how much of a role it plays in human existence. Kristen and Konner also look to the future and discuss how sexual education can and should change, while breaking down a couple of common misconceptions about ideas surrounding access to sexual education and abstinence. And lastly, Kristen also lays out some of the research conducted with individuals who have experienced sexual trauma and how these individuals have developed their own happy and healthy relationships despite the adversity.
Kristina Campbell is a Human Microbiome Writer, Documenting Gut Microbiota, Nutrition, Probiotics, Prebiotics and Fecal Microbiota Transplantation. Website: bykriscampbell.com "We've grown up and taken our health class in school and learned all the parts of our body. But then to think that's only half the story. That actually, at least half the cells are bacterial and not human at all, and they're invisible. That's something big to get your head around." On today's episode, Kristina sheds some light on what terms like microbiome and micriobiota actually are. Kristina and Konner discuss changing our ideas and paradigms about germs and bacteria. Not only that, Kristina lays out the incredible width of things that our microbiome can affect, ranging from overall mortality, to even the makeup of our brains. Lastly, and thankfully for everyone's sake, Kristina talks about things we can all do to assist our own microbiome, what is fact, what is fiction and how to avoid some of the people and products out there that are based on nonsense.
Sokeel Park is the Director of Research for Liberty in North Korea (LINK), an organisation that works to rescue thousands of North Korean Refugees who have escaped their country and are vulnerable to exploitation and capture, by ensuring their safe and dignified journey to freedom within South Korea. More Links: https://www.libertyinnorthkorea.org/ and "The Jangmadang Generation": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lvsqpwI_IfU "The North Korean people deserve and need a lot more allies around the world - a lot more solidarity and support for them." Today, Sokeel discusses why he and many others with him at the organisaiton, are motivated to do this work with Liberty in North Korea. My guest, lays out what the process is for rescuing North Korean refugees. But perhaps most importantly, Sokeel describes how important it is to change the narrative and to highlight the people of North Korea.
Chris Grant is a Science Historian specialising in the Space-Flight Era and the creator of Universe University, a Science History podcast and blog. Find more at www.universeuniversity.space "You can't help but wonder about the Human Mind and who was the first to conceive some of these truly fantastical ideas" On today's episode, Chris takes us back in time to a period when humans just began to explore the vast ocean of space for the very first time. Chris and Konner chat about some of the motivations and reasons behind the space race, such as the Societal reasons, political reasons and even some philosophical ones. Chris also talks about the impact soviet Russia had on space and technology as a whole, with people Yuri Gagarin and the satellite Sputnik, as well as what the future of space exploration looks like.