Cosmos - With Neil deGrasse Tyson

Discussion in 'TV & Media' started by Ancient Mariner, Jul 23, 2013.

  1. intrinsical

    intrinsical Commodore Commodore

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    I love the annual Royal Institution Christmas Lectures ever since I first saw them as a 16 year old. No one else in my community here in Singapore seems to know about it, so I'm glad Cosmos has mentioned them. Maybe now I can influence some of my nieces and nephews to watch it with me this year.

    These days, its as easy as visiting the RI's christmas lectures website where you can even watch Carl Sagan's lecture from 1977.

    I think its a good thing not to give all the answers. Doing it this way encourages young minds to discover the answers on their own. At any rate, the answers to these questions are something any competent science teacher will be able to impart.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2014
  2. Ancient Mariner

    Ancient Mariner Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Thanks for the links! Now I have something to watch this evening after work! :techman:
     
  3. tighr

    tighr Commodore Commodore

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    My girlfriend had the same concerns as you. It seemed like "magic" because they didn't accurately explain WHY his actions succeeded where others had failed.

    For the simple motor that he created, he just used a different application that Davy. Davy didn't recognize that the magnetic fields are circular, he only saw the attraction the magnet caused. Farraday discovered that he could apply an electric field to the wire and get it to rotate AROUND the magnet. The rotation is what creates "work", and allows motors to generate mechanical from electrical (or electrical from mechanical) work.

    As far as the glass, they neglected to mention that it was dielectric glass made from lead silica; when a magnetic field is induced on the glass, it forced an alignment in the glass that allowed polarized light to pass through it. Since the experiment was to alter the polarization of light, the glass was the key to relating electromagnetism to light (i.e., proving that light itself is electromagnetic and can be acted on by the same processes). The key was the dielectric properties of the glass.

    Fun fact, polarization is the same process by which stereo ("3D") movies work. Your eyes are receiving two perpendicularly polarized images, and one eye sees one image, the other eye sees the other. The phase shift in the light prevents the other lens of the glasses from seeing the image. Also explains why 3D movies are darker; you're only getting half the brightness.

    Fun fact, orthogonality is how stereo FM radio works, too. Phase shifted audio is sent across the same frequency carrier, each as a left and right channel of the audio.
     
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^Thanks. Including those explanations would've enhanced the episode a lot.
     
  5. Robert Maxwell

    Robert Maxwell Comfortably Numb Premium Member

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    What I found disappointing was how the line was never drawn from Faraday and Maxwell to satellites, broadcast TV, and radio. It was just like, "Faraday discovered electromagnetism, Maxwell mathified it, now today we have mass media!" Wut. Feels like we're missing a few steps there. Granted, they only have an hour, but if you can't bring it full circle in that span of time maybe you need to shrink the radius a bit.
     
  6. Mister Fandango

    Mister Fandango Fleet Captain

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    I'd just rather hear more about the what than the who. They, unfortunately, seem more focused on the who than the what.
     
  7. Trekker4747

    Trekker4747 Boldly going... Premium Member

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    I find the show fascinating but, as Christopher noted above, it would be nice if some of the "magic" of what is happening was expanded upon and explained. Like the thing with the glass twisting the path of the light rays. I just assumed it was a prism-like effect with the glass as it was never really explained on what happened and why.

    Still a fascinating series and I really enjoy it.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2014
  8. tighr

    tighr Commodore Commodore

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    They did reference "polarization" multiple times, but yeah, the point is they never went into depth on what polarization is or why/how it works.

    FWIW, as an Electrical Engineer, I'm waiting for an episode entirely devoted to the harnessing of radio waves. He touched on it last night, but mass communication is what sent our civilization on a meteoric rise in the past 100 years. It's arguably the most important human achievement we've ever had.

    I read a list once on a forum (might even have been here) talking about mankind's greatest invention of all time. Radio was like #1 or #2. The transistor was up there, as well.
     
  9. Mister Fandango

    Mister Fandango Fleet Captain

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    I didn't mean to imply that I didn't want to hear about the who. I just think focus should be on the what and why; I'd simply prefer if it was a show about the science rather than mini-documentaries about the people who discovered/developed the science. Talking about Faraday, what he went through, and how he came up with his discoveries is great, but that could be covered in 10-15 minutes. I'd rather have the rest of the time on what his discoveries were and why they were as awesome as the host implies they were but never actually demonstrates.
     
  10. Ancient Mariner

    Ancient Mariner Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^ That's a fair assessment, I think. As much as I love the show, and this particular episode, I certainly would have preferred a different emphasis between the "who" and the "what". Considering the stated purpose of these episodes is to show that science is intricately related to our lives, showing that connection a bit more explicitly would only strengthen the message - and I think that can be done better with the "what" rather than the "who".
     
  11. Trekker4747

    Trekker4747 Boldly going... Premium Member

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    It's possible as the show goes on and expands if gets more episodes and seasons we could see more diversity in the focus of the episodes probably creating a better balance between the whos and the whys/hows of topics.
     
  12. Coloratura

    Coloratura Snuggle Princess Premium Member

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    There won't be any more seasons. There are 3 (I think) more episodes, and then that's it.
     
  13. Trekker4747

    Trekker4747 Boldly going... Premium Member

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    The show was just a one and then done?
     
  14. Mister Fandango

    Mister Fandango Fleet Captain

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    Where on earth are you coming up with that?
     
  15. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Why not? The original series was only 13 episodes.

    In theory, I could see the ratings being strong enough that FOX ordered more. But it took years to get this made, and it was probably very expensive. And FOX has announced its schedule for next season, and Cosmos isn't on it. If there were more, it would probably have to wait a couple of years.

    Even if this doesn't come back, I hope it prompts the creation of more science-oriented shows on commercial TV. And really science-oriented, not the pseudoscience stuff that's metastasized across the formerly science-focused cable channels.
     
  16. Ancient Mariner

    Ancient Mariner Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The original Cosmos was only thirteen episodes and this version was based on that model. And considering they spent roughly six years shopping, developing, writing, shooting, and producing these 13 episodes, it's unlikely that we'll see another "season" any time soon.
     
  17. Trekker4747

    Trekker4747 Boldly going... Premium Member

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    Well, that's kind of frustrating and disappointing. Seems like a lot was set-up over the series to not go back to elaborate on it or expand upon it. (Like the Halls of Extinction.) Regardless of the run of the original series, it'd be nice to see this one come back on occasion, mid-season or summer replacement or whatever. I've really enjoyed these episodes as I really like shows of this nature. Knowing there won't likely be more after this last few?

    Ugh. Makes me mad, it's like a tiny appetizer at a restaurant and then being told you're not getting your main course.
     
  18. Coloratura

    Coloratura Snuggle Princess Premium Member

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    Cosmos is a 13 episode mini-series, just like the original Sagan work. Still, you don't have to take my word for it:

    [​IMG]
     
  19. tighr

    tighr Commodore Commodore

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    They went back a few episodes ago. The answer was it is our current epoch, and the missing "Hall" hasn't been "built" yet but will tell the story of the extinction of humans. We can choose to change the course of history through our actions.
     
  20. Mister Fandango

    Mister Fandango Fleet Captain

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    I'm definitely confused by their focus on the who over the what/why now, then.