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Before I talk about the nerdy television shows which will be on tonight, I must mention that Nashville rockers Heartbeater released their debut album Slow Waves yesterday. I totally forgot to mention it. Hell I’ve only heard a couple of the songs, but I know it’s an awesome record because I’ve seen them live many times, and they are just that good. The main strongpoint is the amazing chemistry between the two guitar players whose parts are almost always playing off each other and harmonizing. Check them out at heartbeater.net or their label’s bandcamp.

Now for some serious nerding-out.

  • Obama finally got a clue and is having solar panels installed on the White House. It’s about fucking time!
  • Tonight is the season premier of Mythbusters on the Discovery Channel. The myths their testing tonight both involve dogs, so this will surely be an adorable episode.
  • Of course, directly following Mythbusters will be the 2nd episode of Phil Plait’s Bad Universe. This time he will be studying the realities of alien attacks and the overall existence of extraterrestrials, as well as the grim realities of interstellar travel. Two of my favorite things back to back=me having a nerd-out. Here’s a sneak peak at tonight’s episode:
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Pardon me while I totally nerd-out for a minute… but I must share some news that made me very happy this morning. I first saw this in a tweet from Dr. Neil de Grasse-Tyson. Dr. Phil Plait- astronomer, author, blogger, and relentless promoter of real science and reality in general- is getting his very own show on the Discovery Channel. I’ve been a big fan of his ever since discovering his blog Bad Astronomy. He’s been mentioning a so-called “sooper seekrit project” in his posts for about a year now, and this must be what he was referring to. I get the feeling that there was some sort of miscommunication between him and the powers-that-be at Discovery, because all the tweets and mentions about this new show lead back to this YouTube video, which is basically a promo commercial/sneak-peek at the new series. However, he hasn’t yet mentioned it on his blog or even tweeted about it *update: he finally mentioned it on his blog here. Turns out it will only be a 3-part series… :(* . This doesn’t surprise me given the fact that he’s currently at Comic-Con. It looks like the show is going to take on a Mythbusters-esque vibe but mostly focusing on all the myths and junk science surrounding various doomsday/disaster scenarios such as asteroid impacts, comet impacts, gamma-ray bursts, and hopefully the ridiculous 2012 Mayan calendar myth. I honestly wouldn’t be the slightest bit surprised if Jamie and Adam of Mythbusters are producers of this show… or somehow otherwise involved with it.

Check it out: *Updated youtube link- they took the video down for a few days and reposted it.*

No idea when this show will air, *the show will probably air this fall* but I’m definitely looking forward to it. Congrats, Phil!

Plans for a “space resort” have been in the books of many commercial aerospace corporations for years and years, but now it’s actually about to happen. Space.com reports that a European company based Barcelona, Spain plans to open the first space hotel in 2012. I must admit my doubts that it will actually be ready and operational by then, but it’s a pretty cool notion nonetheless. The company even reports that 43 paying guests have booked a stay. Don’t get your hopes up though, as a 3-night trip is currently carrying a price tag of $4.4 million. Even if they don’t hit the expected opening date in 2012, it will eventually happen, almost assuredly by 2020. It’s quite possible that space vacations could eventually come down in price enough that your average Joe might be able to afford one.

The well-known Drake Equation has long been used by scientists to approximate how many intelligent might exist elsewhere in our galaxy. A major problem exists with the numbers, though, because depending on your level of optimism and reasoning to arrive at certain variable within the equation, you can get a result ranging from millions of intelligent civlizations to almost none. That’s a HUGE variability and thus the Drake Equation really isn’t very effective, at least not until we can arrive at more concrete variables to plug into it. Some new research from astronomers at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette may actually give us a better idea of just how common life, and intelligent life, is in our galaxy. The research has found that Sun-like stars are the best places to look for planets with intelligent life. Not surprising at all, but what may surprise you is the fact that Sun-like stars are actually pretty rare. Our Sun is bigger and hotter than 93% of the stars in our galaxy (and presumably the universe), which means that the habitable zone around most stars is closer than the earth is to the Sun. Their research has also shown that bigger stars (like our Sun, or even bigger) are more likely to form small, rocky planets around them. Since bigger stars generally have shorter lifespans, you can see how there’s a sweet spot in star size where the star is big enough to be likely to have small, rocky planets, yet small enough that the overall lifespan of the star is longer than the time it takes for intelligent life to develop. (It took about 4.5 billion years for us to develop on earth.) We have a pretty good idea of how many stars are in the Milky Way, as well as the size distribution. That means about 10% of the stars in the Milky Way fall into that “sweet spot” category. Since there are over 100 billion stars in our galaxy overall, that means about 10 billion stars likely to have earth-like planets and live long enough for those planets to develop intelligent life. I’d say those are some pretty damn good odds of alien civilizations out there, and that’s just in our own little galaxy, which is one of BILLIONS. Most astronomers and astrobiologists agree there’s a pretty good chance we’re not alone. To me that is really exciting. (Via Astrobiology Magazine and Space.com)

Now that I’ve rambled way too much, enjoy this Time interview with one of my favorite “celebrity astronomers,” Neil deGrasse Tyson: (Via Snarkmarket)

And then enjoy watching Mythbusters’ Adam Savage give a vial containing one of his farts to Craig Ferguson as a gift. I could go on and on about how wonderful Mythbusters is. But I’ll spare you that rant. (Via Bad Astronomy)

I’ve known Brock Sharp for quite a while now, ever since he was involved with Vacant Cage Records back in the mid 2000’s. They folded back in ’07 and since then he’s been doing all sorts of random music-related things, including starting the Dig For Fire Agency with me. Just last week he was offered the opportunity to take over the music blog Rock Sellout. He agreed, and now it’s up and running again under his command. So go check it out. I may even end up contributing to it some in the future.

Tonight Those Darlins will be joining the Dexateens, the Rustlanders, and Band of Heathens at Mercy Lounge for an Americana Music Awards showcase. They’ll also be joined by a super-secret special guest, and based on the Nashville Cream’s hints and the AMA website, I’m pretty sure it’ll be John Fogerty.

In case you’ve been under a rock the past few days, the long-rumored Pavement reunion is definitely, absolutely, 100% happening. I knew there was something to that 5 Spot almost-reunion-show for Bob N.’s wedding. Maybe they’ll either A) play in Nashville, or B) play at SXSW next year. Or both?

It should be no secret that I’m the world’s biggest Mythbusters fan. That’s why I’m very excited about some of the topics covered in the upcoming season, which debuts October 7th. Can you build a sailboat out of duct tape? Or a cannon? Does a muddy car really get better gas mileage than a clean one? (WTF?) And the one I’m most interested in: does having multiple drinks with various liquors give you a worse hangover than sticking to one liquor all night? If the episode tackling that one is half as funny as the one testing other alcohol/sobriety rumors, then it’s gonna probably end up being one of my fav episodes of all time. CAN’T. WAIT. (Via Gizmodo)

I’ll leave you today with this video containing various drunken antics and a few performance clips from Caitlin Rose’s trip to the Monolith Festival at Red Rocks, CO. Wish I could’ve gone!

The last “Road to Bonnaroo” 8 off 8th is happening tonight at Mercy Lounge. I definitely think this one will be tough to call, and could be a very close race, much like the first one in which The Features won by 1 fan vote. So be sure to come out to Mercy tonight and cast your vote. You never know, it could be the deciding vote! Nashville Cream has more on the lineup/order, etc…

Speaking of local music, the Magic Wands got another mention on RCRD LBL, this time for a Crystal Fighters remix of their breakthrough single “Black Magic.”

Remember that epic Danish band Mew from 2006? Well, they’re back in action, and I’m anxiously awaiting the release of their next album on August 25th. Leave it to them to use a whole effin’ poem as their album title… You ready? Here it is:

No more stories
Are told today
I’m sorry
They washed away

No more stories
The world is grey
I’m tired
Let’s wash away

Yep, that’s it. A whole poem. More deets at Stereogum.

Credit: NASA

Credit: NASA

The astronauts of STS-125 have been hard at work repairing/upgrading the Hubble Space Telescope, doing a spacewalk every day since Thursday, and today was their last. Click the image or here to see more eye candy from the mission at Universe Today.

Speaking of great photography, the New York Times started a new photography & video blog called LENS. It has a great interface and allows you browse through several photo essays and great video clips.

I did a short preview of Wolfram:Alpha on here once before, and now it’s actually here. Head on over to check it out, but be sure to read about how to phrase your input before you just start typing in questions. We’re not quite to the point of a computer simply being able to correctly answer any question regardless of phrasing/syntax. But this is a damn good start… Is it better than Google? You tell me.

It should be no secret that I’m a HUGE Mythbusters fan. (In fact, the only good thing about LOST being over with is the fact that I now get to watch new episodes of Mythbusters.) Apparently I’m the last one to know this but Kari Byron, the red-headed geek-girl of the cast, is pregnant! It should also be no secret that I have a huge celebrity-crush on her (as does just about every male fan of the show). I didn’t even know she was married! What’s really cool about the whole thing is that she’s taking this opportunity to bust some common pregancy myths. She did an interview with Pregnancy Magazine in which she busts the top 5. Go Kari! Via Bad Astronomy. Also- watch this unedited clip on Discovery.com of her subtly announcing the news.

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