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The future is here? Nukes, bots, and GMO's
Welcome to the Hurt Your Brain internet playlist from April 16, 2017. It's a collection of podcasts, videos, and other links for people who love to learn online and are fascinated by the world. Click here to get playlists emailed to you as they come out.
Fact of the week: To celebrate the fact that we're going to see Neil DeGrasse Tyson live next week, and that I just finished one of his books, here is something mind blowing I learned from him. The current model of physics shows that in the very instance after the big bang, matter and anti-matter were both created and instantly canceled each other out one-to-one through annihilation. Well not completely, because for every billion particles of anti-matter, there was a billion and one particles of matter. Scientists have no idea why there was this itty bitty difference. So every time you hear some crazy mind bending statistic about how much stuff is in the universe, just know that it's potentially less than a billionth of what was originally there. From Death by Black Hole.
Radiolab: Nukes 59 minutes “Each missile launch officer has under his direct control more firepower than all generals in all wars in the history of warfare”. All the fears you have about the lack of checks and balances for nuclear launches are true. Be sure to listen to well after the credits.
Beginner: Misha Comes to America 13 minutes The first episode of a new show where Misha, whose family emigrated from Pakistan when she was 11 years old, will learn something new as an adult that she wishes she did as a kid. It was lovely and short, and I think it will be a show worth subscribing to.
Planet Money: BOTUS 19 minutes Online bots are everywhere these days and Planet Money sets out to create one that buys and sells stocks automatically based on Trump's tweets about companies. It's fascinating and makes me realize, boy I really need to figure out more about this whole internet thing before some bot takes my job.
Science Vs: GMO 46 minutes Note: this episode doesn't look at farming practices or business models of companies like Monsanto, just specific things around GM crops. Conclusions: 1) GMO is a broad category that entails many different things. 2) There is no good evidence they are unsafe to eat and some of the evidence widely cited by GM critics has been retracted 3) GM plants resistant to insects allow for less insecticide spraying but overuse leads to resistant superbugs. 4) GM plants resistant to Roundup allow for effective weed control but overuse leads to Roundup resistant super-weeds. 5) When looking at aggregate data, GM crops have not yet shown a significantly higher crop yield.
Vox: Why I gave my kidney to a stranger 12 minutes The video to accompany this written piece from Vox. You will learn about the interesting concept of a donation chain and that there are some pretty damn selfless people out there.
+ Freakonomics did an excellent podcast episode on the concept of a kidney donation chain with the person who invented it: Make me a match
Med School Insiders: How to Wake Up Early-And Not be Miserable 7 minutes This channel is for people going into medical school (I'm not), but this video is super helpful for anyone who would like to learn how to wake up earlier or to have a healthier sleep life. A great overview of things like sleep hygiene, habits, and specific types of alarm clocks.
Science Channel: What Happens When Lava Meets Ice? 3 minutes Who wouldn't want to see the results of two extremes duking it out? Ice surprisingly holds its own.
Numberphile: The Problem in Good Will Hunting 5 minutes Draw homeomorphically irreducilbe size trees of size n=10. Uh whaaat? Sounds like something only a math genius could solve, which is why this is the thing that Will solved on the blackboard in Good Will Hunting. I still don't understand it, but this video shows that this isn't as hard of a problem as you might think.
ARTICLES AND OTHER LINKS
Popular Mechanics: The Blood of the Crab "Horseshoe crab blood is an irreplaceable medical marvel—and so biomedical companies are bleeding 500,000 every year. Can this creature that's been around since the dinosaurs be saved?"
Thing to subscribe to: Podcast Brunch Club newsletter Podcast Brunch Club let's you meet up in person with people in your area to discuss that month's theme, just like a book club. Because I'm addicted to newsletters, my favorite part is the monthly newsletter that anyone can sign up for to get great podcast recommendations. And as mentioned above, be on the look out for the June edition :)
Medium: Top 25 online courses In Personal Growth. Some paid, most free.
Reddit: r/podcasts: Recommend favorite episodes of 99% Invisible to listen to? One of my favorite shows and some great recommendations from the reddit community.
r/podcasts: Introducing Podchaser, the IMDb of podcasts. We're a group of redditors looking for feedback/banter on a community project. The whole team is here to chat. Check out the post for a full explanation. Looks like something worthy of supporting.
Quote: "People who believe they are ignorant of nothing have neither looked for, nor stumbled upon, the boundary between what is known and unknown in cosmos." - Neil DeGrasse Tyson
That's all for this week!