Rocketfest: I met Phil Plait!

September 5, 2012


This past Monday (Labor Day) I had the pleasure of meeting someone you’ve seen me reference approximately 8,956 times on this blog- the one and only Dr. Phil Plait, a.k.a. the Bad Astronomer. As I mentioned last week, the U. S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, AL held a fundraising event called Rocketfest for the Space Camp Foundation, an organization that creates scholarships for kids to go to Space Camp. If you don’t know what Space Camp is, then you need help. Above is photographic proof of the insane amount of nerdery that occurred. Just look at our shirts!

As a music snob of sorts, I had a hard time with the musical performances, though Molly Lewis’ anti-folk leanings reminded me of Jeffrey Lewis at times. That’s definitely a good thing. Phil Plait gave a short presentation on the Mars rover Curiosity, and while it was all stuff I’ve already seen and/or know about the mission, his passionate and charismatic delivery was the star of the show for me. He’s one of the best ambassadors of science to the general public I’ve ever seen, right up there with Adam Savage, and I sincerely hope he continues to become more of a public figure.

The whole point of the event was to raise money for Space Camp scholarships, so if you care about the future of human race, make a donation now. I say that because our future depends on the kids of today becoming more interested in STEM and thus becoming the scientists and engineers that will continue to innovate and improve our technology. Programs like Space Camp are what inspire kids to enter those fields. I wasn’t lucky enough to get to go when I was a kid, but I sure as hell want my kids to go someday. I will probably be able to afford the tuition, but some families aren’t as fortunate, and those kids deserve the chance to go just as much as the fortunate ones.

I now step down from my soapbox. 🙂

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 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:

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!