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The Wonder of Reality

The Wonder of Reality

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The Wonder of Reality
The Wonder of Reality

The Wonder of Reality

The Wonder of Reality

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The Wonder of Reality is a fortnightly podcast about the magic of the universe, the science behind it, and the wonder in between.

Latest Episodes

Episode 17: Time

There are so many amazing technologies that could push our society forward into a multitude of better futures. But what if none of them happened? In this, the final episode of Miniseries 3: The Technology of Tomorrow we look at where technology is today or will be soon and how it can be used to better our lives in small ways, leading to a huge change together. This is our last episode for 2013 so tell us your thoughts on the podcast and enjoy the episode! Clarifications: In the original Star Trek series, the medical tricorder prop was made from a salt shaker. Links: Our Show Notes cover the topics ofSelf-Driving Cars,Giving Sight to the Blind,Robotics in Surgery,Google Glass and Augmented Reality,Oculus Rift and Augmented Reality,Brain Computer Interface,Soylent and Liquid Diets,Genetic Testing,Medical Tricorders,Distributed Computing,Prosthetic Limbs,Exoskeletons,3D Printing,

24 MIN2013 SEP 11
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Episode 17: Time

Episode 16: Extraterrestrial Intelligence

Space is big, really big. Are their aliens? Is the truth out there, and if it is, would we be able to tell it apart from just noise? To answer that we look to the structure of information, our language, and how we've learnt about the stars and planets closest to us. There are billions of stars in our galaxy, millions of planets, and a pattern to language meaning that life could be out there and we could detect it. Join us on a journey that could start at any time in our sixth's episode of Miniseries 3: The Technologies of Tomorrow. Clarifications: 50 internets to whoever can tell us the full name of the starship mentioned in this episode! The version of the Drake Equation we mention is slightly modified from the original version, but it’s mathematically the same. The number of stars divided by the lifetime of a star gives the rate of star birth which is the usual first term. Links: Our Show Notes for the episode coveringUnderstanding the Signal,Shannon Entropy, and theDrake Equatio...

26 MIN2013 AUG 28
Comments
Episode 16: Extraterrestrial Intelligence

Episode 15: Brain Upload

Could you live forever, and given the choice, would you take it? Being able to upload our brains to computers could happen within the next thirty years and the implications are enormous. But how would we get there? How close are we today? By exploring the technologies we have today, we try to predict how brain upload could become a reality, how long it would take, and if it would be a good thing. Enjoy the fourth episode of Miniseries 3:The Technologies of Tomorrowas we take you on a journey into the future. Clarifications: Like most science fiction shows, our ability to travel through time and that Travis uploaded his brain will be promptly forgotten about next episode. Links: OurShow Notesfor the episode includingReading Minds,Understanding the Brain,Brain Simulation,How It Could Happen, and theImplications Dr. Gallant’s work on reading minds (and the resultant video) The resolution of an fMRI (the kind used in Dr. Gallant’s work) The size of a neuron Emotiv has been creating br...

26 MIN2013 AUG 14
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Episode 15: Brain Upload

Episode 14: Nanotechnology

Few technologies could revolutionize the world as completely as nanotechnology. Artificial intelligence would help us work smarter, solve complex problems, and perhaps even educate us while quantum computinghas untold potential to quickly solve repetitive tasks and could be harnessed to better our lives in a myriad of ways. Nanotechnology could outdo both of them by a making a world of material wealth for everyone to the point of absurdity. Listen to episode 3 of Miniseries 3:The Technologies of Tomorrowand let us know what you'd want to see from nanotechnology in the comments below. Links: Our Show Notes for the episode including The Future of Nanotechnology,The Physics of Nanotechnology, andGetting to the Future Credit for the “roads becoming diamond-plated solar cells” goes to Robert J Sawyer, an incredible science fiction author The first reported case of a person being cured of HIV through a blood cell stem transplant Vaccines are often made from weakened versions of the viru...

27 MIN2013 JUL 31
Comments
Episode 14: Nanotechnology

Episode 6: Statistics, Philosophy, and Science (Re-Release)

Originally released four months ago, Episode 6: Statistics, Philosophy, and Science took the information from the first five episodes of Miniseries 1:"What is Science and How Does It Work?"and build on their foundation. We covered all new informationincludingstandard deviation,when scientists were allowed to say they had "discovered" the Higgs Boson,the largest object in the universe, andthe half-life of facts. Refresh your memory or give it a listen for the first time. (We'll be back with new content on July 30th, 2013.)Without further ado, here's the culminating episode of miniseries 1. Corrections/Clarifications: The feedback episode for miniseries 1 has already been recorded; thanks to everyone who sent us feedback! "The Gender Paradox" is also called "The Boy or Girl Paradox" Links: Still one of our longestShow Notesyet (Bayesian vs Frequentist,Gender Paradox,Modelling, 5-sigma, and the null hypothesis,Bias, Error, and Simpson’s Paradox Redux,More than 1% of the universe,Stati...

30 MIN2013 JUL 17
Comments
Episode 6: Statistics, Philosophy, and Science (Re-Release)

Episode 13: Quantum Computing

Quantum Computing was only discovered in the past forty years even though quantum physics was born about one hundred years ago. During these past forty years, scientists have tried to understand how we could use it and what benefits it would bring us. It's a completely different way of computing, and makes a perfect addition toMiniseries 3:The Technologies of Tomorrow. Links: OurShow Notesfor the episode (Binary in Classical and Quantum Computers,Qubits and Bits,Deutsch’s Problem, andObstacles) Double Slit Experiment http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double-slit_experiment Photoelectric Effect http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photoelectric_effect Blackbody Radiation http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planck%27s_law How to count in binary The four conditions required for quantum computers to be dramatically faster than classical computers The World Community Grid is one example of how distributed computing is making the world a better place Folding@home’s website How to break our standard, large ...

21 MIN2013 JUL 4
Comments
Episode 13: Quantum Computing

Episode 12: Artificial Intelligence

Over the past two miniseries we've discussed how to conduct good science and how humans make mistakes. In this miniseries we wanted to look ahead at how technology could completely transform our world and revolutionize our lives. In this episode we discuss artificial intelligence, how it could come about, the impact it would have on our lives, and how we're on the path to achieve it. So sit back and take a trip to the future with us in our first episode of Miniseries 3: The Technologies of Tomorrow. Links: Our Show Notes for the episode Tic-tac-toe Number of possible chess positions Deep Blue Google Self-Driving Cars are accident free How driverless cars work Watson and understanding Jeopardy clues Strong AI Episode 6 and Netflix Prize Evidence of Machine Learning Watson and Medicine Watson and Customer Service

35 MIN2013 JUN 19
Comments
Episode 12: Artificial Intelligence

Episode 11: Processing the Inputs

The brain is our most complex organ and does an amazing job of processing all the sensory information we perceive. In Episode 7 we talked about tetrachromacy in women and this episode we discuss why there might be so few recognized tetrachromats. Following up our discussion in Episode 8 on the structure of the eye, we dive into how language can affect what we see, even if our eyes are unaltered. Then we covered how itch and pain are different senses in Episode 9 and we explain how our brain interprets them in this episode. Finally, we continue our discussion on how neurons work from Episode 10 by explaining why brain freeze happens. Join us as we fill in the pieces in this, the last episode of the first half of Miniseries 2: "How Humans are Fallible". Links: Our Show Notes coveringPain vs Itch,Complimentary Colours and Afterimages,Colour Consistency,Language and Seeing Colours, andDivergent Buildings and Ice Cream Headaches The difference between itch and pain How our eyes see after...

25 MIN2013 JUN 5
Comments
Episode 11: Processing the Inputs

Episode 10: Sensational Transmission

We celebrate our tenth official episode in our fourth part of Miniseries 2:"How Humans are Fallible". The transmission of information from you fingertips to your brain is incredibly fast but a complicated journey that can be altered by what you eat, drink, how much you exercise, and even how much sleep you've gotten. Some information travels 50 times faster than others, meaning you will know how hot something is before you know how much it hurts. React fast and click below to listen in. Links: Our Show Notes Information on nerve transmission speed The different types of neurotransmitters For more information on neurotransmitter release, look into Dale's Principle The Wikipedia articles on electricalsynapses, the synaptic cleft, and voltage-gated calcium channels Inhibitory neurotransmitters Perineurium General information on neurons and their size Conduction velocity of neurons The Wikipedia articles on cocaine, treating depression, paralysis, anesthesia, and depressants

27 MIN2013 MAY 22
Comments
Episode 10: Sensational Transmission

Episode 9: The Sense Census

With the eye taking two episodes to cover, we wanted to discuss the other senses in this, the third episode of "How Humans are Fallible". Our hearing allows us to detect threats from far away, our sense of smell tells us about threats that we can't hear or see, touch includes pain and heat perception, and taste is a complicated tangle of sensations. In researching this episode we discovered that we don't have just five senses, but an entire multitude. Use nearly all of them in this episode. Corrections/Clarifications: In the episode Travis says it takes 0.2 seconds for a sound to hit our left ear and then the right ear. In actually it's only 0.2 milliseconds between the two ears detecting the same sound. Links: Our Show Notes for the episode coveringHearing,Smell,Touch (and How We Have More than Five Senses),Taste,Caring for Your Human: The Senses,Miracle Berries, Alcohol on the Skin, and Wrap-up How our two earsdetect the source of sounds Sound intensity and logarithmic hearing Her...

28 MIN2013 MAY 8
Comments
Episode 9: The Sense Census
the END

Latest Episodes

Episode 17: Time

There are so many amazing technologies that could push our society forward into a multitude of better futures. But what if none of them happened? In this, the final episode of Miniseries 3: The Technology of Tomorrow we look at where technology is today or will be soon and how it can be used to better our lives in small ways, leading to a huge change together. This is our last episode for 2013 so tell us your thoughts on the podcast and enjoy the episode! Clarifications: In the original Star Trek series, the medical tricorder prop was made from a salt shaker. Links: Our Show Notes cover the topics ofSelf-Driving Cars,Giving Sight to the Blind,Robotics in Surgery,Google Glass and Augmented Reality,Oculus Rift and Augmented Reality,Brain Computer Interface,Soylent and Liquid Diets,Genetic Testing,Medical Tricorders,Distributed Computing,Prosthetic Limbs,Exoskeletons,3D Printing,

24 MIN2013 SEP 11
Comments
Episode 17: Time

Episode 16: Extraterrestrial Intelligence

Space is big, really big. Are their aliens? Is the truth out there, and if it is, would we be able to tell it apart from just noise? To answer that we look to the structure of information, our language, and how we've learnt about the stars and planets closest to us. There are billions of stars in our galaxy, millions of planets, and a pattern to language meaning that life could be out there and we could detect it. Join us on a journey that could start at any time in our sixth's episode of Miniseries 3: The Technologies of Tomorrow. Clarifications: 50 internets to whoever can tell us the full name of the starship mentioned in this episode! The version of the Drake Equation we mention is slightly modified from the original version, but it’s mathematically the same. The number of stars divided by the lifetime of a star gives the rate of star birth which is the usual first term. Links: Our Show Notes for the episode coveringUnderstanding the Signal,Shannon Entropy, and theDrake Equatio...

26 MIN2013 AUG 28
Comments
Episode 16: Extraterrestrial Intelligence

Episode 15: Brain Upload

Could you live forever, and given the choice, would you take it? Being able to upload our brains to computers could happen within the next thirty years and the implications are enormous. But how would we get there? How close are we today? By exploring the technologies we have today, we try to predict how brain upload could become a reality, how long it would take, and if it would be a good thing. Enjoy the fourth episode of Miniseries 3:The Technologies of Tomorrowas we take you on a journey into the future. Clarifications: Like most science fiction shows, our ability to travel through time and that Travis uploaded his brain will be promptly forgotten about next episode. Links: OurShow Notesfor the episode includingReading Minds,Understanding the Brain,Brain Simulation,How It Could Happen, and theImplications Dr. Gallant’s work on reading minds (and the resultant video) The resolution of an fMRI (the kind used in Dr. Gallant’s work) The size of a neuron Emotiv has been creating br...

26 MIN2013 AUG 14
Comments
Episode 15: Brain Upload

Episode 14: Nanotechnology

Few technologies could revolutionize the world as completely as nanotechnology. Artificial intelligence would help us work smarter, solve complex problems, and perhaps even educate us while quantum computinghas untold potential to quickly solve repetitive tasks and could be harnessed to better our lives in a myriad of ways. Nanotechnology could outdo both of them by a making a world of material wealth for everyone to the point of absurdity. Listen to episode 3 of Miniseries 3:The Technologies of Tomorrowand let us know what you'd want to see from nanotechnology in the comments below. Links: Our Show Notes for the episode including The Future of Nanotechnology,The Physics of Nanotechnology, andGetting to the Future Credit for the “roads becoming diamond-plated solar cells” goes to Robert J Sawyer, an incredible science fiction author The first reported case of a person being cured of HIV through a blood cell stem transplant Vaccines are often made from weakened versions of the viru...

27 MIN2013 JUL 31
Comments
Episode 14: Nanotechnology

Episode 6: Statistics, Philosophy, and Science (Re-Release)

Originally released four months ago, Episode 6: Statistics, Philosophy, and Science took the information from the first five episodes of Miniseries 1:"What is Science and How Does It Work?"and build on their foundation. We covered all new informationincludingstandard deviation,when scientists were allowed to say they had "discovered" the Higgs Boson,the largest object in the universe, andthe half-life of facts. Refresh your memory or give it a listen for the first time. (We'll be back with new content on July 30th, 2013.)Without further ado, here's the culminating episode of miniseries 1. Corrections/Clarifications: The feedback episode for miniseries 1 has already been recorded; thanks to everyone who sent us feedback! "The Gender Paradox" is also called "The Boy or Girl Paradox" Links: Still one of our longestShow Notesyet (Bayesian vs Frequentist,Gender Paradox,Modelling, 5-sigma, and the null hypothesis,Bias, Error, and Simpson’s Paradox Redux,More than 1% of the universe,Stati...

30 MIN2013 JUL 17
Comments
Episode 6: Statistics, Philosophy, and Science (Re-Release)

Episode 13: Quantum Computing

Quantum Computing was only discovered in the past forty years even though quantum physics was born about one hundred years ago. During these past forty years, scientists have tried to understand how we could use it and what benefits it would bring us. It's a completely different way of computing, and makes a perfect addition toMiniseries 3:The Technologies of Tomorrow. Links: OurShow Notesfor the episode (Binary in Classical and Quantum Computers,Qubits and Bits,Deutsch’s Problem, andObstacles) Double Slit Experiment http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double-slit_experiment Photoelectric Effect http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photoelectric_effect Blackbody Radiation http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planck%27s_law How to count in binary The four conditions required for quantum computers to be dramatically faster than classical computers The World Community Grid is one example of how distributed computing is making the world a better place Folding@home’s website How to break our standard, large ...

21 MIN2013 JUL 4
Comments
Episode 13: Quantum Computing

Episode 12: Artificial Intelligence

Over the past two miniseries we've discussed how to conduct good science and how humans make mistakes. In this miniseries we wanted to look ahead at how technology could completely transform our world and revolutionize our lives. In this episode we discuss artificial intelligence, how it could come about, the impact it would have on our lives, and how we're on the path to achieve it. So sit back and take a trip to the future with us in our first episode of Miniseries 3: The Technologies of Tomorrow. Links: Our Show Notes for the episode Tic-tac-toe Number of possible chess positions Deep Blue Google Self-Driving Cars are accident free How driverless cars work Watson and understanding Jeopardy clues Strong AI Episode 6 and Netflix Prize Evidence of Machine Learning Watson and Medicine Watson and Customer Service

35 MIN2013 JUN 19
Comments
Episode 12: Artificial Intelligence

Episode 11: Processing the Inputs

The brain is our most complex organ and does an amazing job of processing all the sensory information we perceive. In Episode 7 we talked about tetrachromacy in women and this episode we discuss why there might be so few recognized tetrachromats. Following up our discussion in Episode 8 on the structure of the eye, we dive into how language can affect what we see, even if our eyes are unaltered. Then we covered how itch and pain are different senses in Episode 9 and we explain how our brain interprets them in this episode. Finally, we continue our discussion on how neurons work from Episode 10 by explaining why brain freeze happens. Join us as we fill in the pieces in this, the last episode of the first half of Miniseries 2: "How Humans are Fallible". Links: Our Show Notes coveringPain vs Itch,Complimentary Colours and Afterimages,Colour Consistency,Language and Seeing Colours, andDivergent Buildings and Ice Cream Headaches The difference between itch and pain How our eyes see after...

25 MIN2013 JUN 5
Comments
Episode 11: Processing the Inputs

Episode 10: Sensational Transmission

We celebrate our tenth official episode in our fourth part of Miniseries 2:"How Humans are Fallible". The transmission of information from you fingertips to your brain is incredibly fast but a complicated journey that can be altered by what you eat, drink, how much you exercise, and even how much sleep you've gotten. Some information travels 50 times faster than others, meaning you will know how hot something is before you know how much it hurts. React fast and click below to listen in. Links: Our Show Notes Information on nerve transmission speed The different types of neurotransmitters For more information on neurotransmitter release, look into Dale's Principle The Wikipedia articles on electricalsynapses, the synaptic cleft, and voltage-gated calcium channels Inhibitory neurotransmitters Perineurium General information on neurons and their size Conduction velocity of neurons The Wikipedia articles on cocaine, treating depression, paralysis, anesthesia, and depressants

27 MIN2013 MAY 22
Comments
Episode 10: Sensational Transmission

Episode 9: The Sense Census

With the eye taking two episodes to cover, we wanted to discuss the other senses in this, the third episode of "How Humans are Fallible". Our hearing allows us to detect threats from far away, our sense of smell tells us about threats that we can't hear or see, touch includes pain and heat perception, and taste is a complicated tangle of sensations. In researching this episode we discovered that we don't have just five senses, but an entire multitude. Use nearly all of them in this episode. Corrections/Clarifications: In the episode Travis says it takes 0.2 seconds for a sound to hit our left ear and then the right ear. In actually it's only 0.2 milliseconds between the two ears detecting the same sound. Links: Our Show Notes for the episode coveringHearing,Smell,Touch (and How We Have More than Five Senses),Taste,Caring for Your Human: The Senses,Miracle Berries, Alcohol on the Skin, and Wrap-up How our two earsdetect the source of sounds Sound intensity and logarithmic hearing Her...

28 MIN2013 MAY 8
Comments
Episode 9: The Sense Census
the END