Posts categorized “Science”

Friday, 24 March 2017

Geoff Punches Ghosts for Science

There's one!

There’s one!

Set to some Crazy Boy Floyds music, watch as Geoff (of the Crazy Boy Floyds, and also a founding member of Fools Play Improv) punches (and kicks) ghosts… for SCIENCE!!

You see, Geoff is up in Canada right now, and there’s a long-running…

Y’know what? No. I’m not gonna explain this. No explanation needed. There’s no explanation that could be better than: Geoff punches ghosts for science. Period. Full-stop.

Categories: Cartoons, Fools Play, Science, Videos.

Friday, 5 December 2014

Get Your Ass to Mars

NASA has fancy plans... and pants to match [image source]

NASA has fancy plans… and pants to match [image source]

This morning something kinda small but absolutely extraordinary happened. We took our first step towards landing a human being on Mars.

A Delta IV Heavy rocket system carrying the brand-new Orion Spacecraft launched on at 07:05 (Florida Time).

This was the very successful first step in a multi-stage plan (see the image at the top of this post) that ends with human beings setting foot on Mars sometime in the 2030s. Right about the time my daughter will be old enough to buy Alcohol. Perfect timing!

Phil Plait has a good run-down of this launch at his blog, Bad Astronomy.

Actually, one of the most exciting parts of this whole plan is the middle step, where we launch a robot rocket into an asteroid and then push it into a stable orbit around the moon. How cool would that be!? Shoving mineral-and-ore-rich asteroids into stable orbits could be the future of heavy metal mining.

I must admit I got a wee bit emotional watching that launch video. By the time I was born we had long since stopped going to the Moon, so I’ve never actually been alive for any human being touching any celestial object. Tons and tons of robots, yes, but no people. So to have people land on an asteroid and then Mars within my lifetime (hopefully). Is a tremendously exciting prospect after more than 40 years of drought.

You can read a bit more about the planned “Journey to Mars” at NASA’s website.

Categories: Science, Videos.

Friday, 20 December 2013

Ecuador Needs Some Jade for the Holidays: Let’s Make This Happen!

Ecuador or Bust!

Ecuador or Bust!

Fools Play’s very own mostly-retired Jade Fool, Taisha McFall, has had a rather grueling Fall quarter at college. But for Winter quarter she’s been accepted into a very prestigious program called “Animal Behavior and Zoology.” This is some awexome science.

But six weeks of the quarter will take place in Ecuador. Getting everything one needs to spend six weeks in Ecuador ain’t cheap.

So Taisha has created a GoFundMe campaign to help her with her substantial financial burden. EVERYONE should help her as much as possible this holiday season, whether by chipping in a few dolla-dolla-billsz or by sharing this campaign, because Taisha is awexome and works hard and is awexome. And this is the opportunity of a lifetime for her.

Read more about it all here. Let’s color Ecuador jade for the holidays!

Categories: Fools Play, Kickstarter, Links, Science.

Friday, 19 April 2013

Science is the Best Thing Ever: Wet Washcloths in Space

If you have a wet washcloth here on el planeta Tierra and you want to get rid of a lot of the moisture in a very short amount of time, you can simply wring it and much of the water will drip away.

But have you ever wondered what would happen if you did that in a microgravity environment? WHO HASN’T!?

Well, a couple of Canadian high school students wondered. And so they asked the Canadian Space Agency, which asked Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, who is currently aboard the International Space Station. And here’s what happened:



Chris Hadfield, by the way, is one of the coolest astronauts around right now. This isn’t the first question he’s answered via YouTube. He periodically uploads answers to various questions as part of’s YouTube Channel. Scroll through and you’ll see some here and there among the uploads. WATCH ALL OF THEM.

He also has an excellent twitter feed that he uses live from the ISS. Because SCIENCE IS THE BEST THING EVER. He periodically tweets photos of some amazing things. Like this:

So all y’all twitterers should probably follow him. Because SCIENCE IS THE BEST THING EVER.

Categories: Science, Videos.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

How Many People Are In Space Right Now?

Now we never have to wonder, because there’s an amazing resource: the incredibly-cleverly-named website

When I wrote this post, there were 3 people in space:

How Many People Are In Space Right Now?

You’re welcome.

Categories: Links, Science.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Hip-Hop in the Service of Science: Freestyle On the Brain

A few years ago some researchers from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders did a study where they hooked some jazz musicians into fMRI machines and had them do some musical improvisation to see what their brains looked like when they were improvising as opposed to when they were playing rehearsed, learned musics. The results were interesting.

Interesting enough that it caught the attention of hip-hop artist Mike Eagle and hip-hop “enthusiast and producer” Daniel Rizik-Baer1. They contacted one of the researchers with an interesting proposal: the original study had been about improvising music. What about improvising lyrics?

Soon twelve hip-hop freestylers including Mike Eagle were hooked up (one at a time) to fMRI machines to see what happened in their brains when they went off-script and started improvising rhyming lyrics.

Researcher Ho Ming Chow uses an fMRI machine to scan the brain of hip-hop artist Mike Eagle.

Researcher Ho Ming Chow uses an fMRI machine to scan the brain of hip-hop artist Mike Eagle.
Daniel Rizik-Baer

THIS IS SCIENCE! And it’s completely awexome. There are tons of ramifications for studies like this; seeing how the creative process happens in the brain can lead to all sorts of applications for developmental disabilities and brain damage.

If you like, you can read the whole report here: Neural Correlates of Lyrical Improvisation: An fMRI Study of Freestyle Rap

You really should read it, because Mr. Mike Eagle is one of the co-authors! Yes, that’s right: Mike Eagle co-authored a scientific paper. Unbelievably cool.

Read more about this study at these websites:

Science kicks total ass. Never doubt it.

I wonder what my brain looks like when I’m doing my type of improv.

1 Discovery News

Categories: Music, Science.

Friday, 24 August 2012

First-Person Perspective Video of the Mars Curiosity Landing

This is an amazing film of the landing of the Mars Curiosity, from the expulsion of the heat shield until touchdown, from the point of view of the Mars Curiosity itself!

From the YouTube notes:

This is a full-resolution version of the NASA Curiosity rover descent to Mars, taken by the MARDI descent imager. As of August 20, all but a dozen 1600 x1200 frames have been uploaded from the rover, and those missing were interpolated using thumbnail data. The result was applied a heavy noise reduction, color balance, and sharpening for best visibility.

Since this is a series of still frames that have been compiled into a film, the video is about three times as fast as the landing actually took. And you can see the heat shield thud into the Martian surface!

THIS IS SCIENCE! (via Why Evolution is True)

On a completely unrelated note, I’m off to an Open Mic night right now! It’s at the Olive Branch Café inside the Hidden Treasures Antique Mall, across the street from where the Mandolin Café used to be.

Categories: Science, Videos.