Monday, February 18, 2019

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Burst 31 Beyond the SETI Paradigm

Released: 6 February 2019
Duration: 16 Minutes, 51 Seconds

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Avi Loeb
Abraham Loeb and Shmuel Bialy kicked up a kerfuffle when they wrote a paper suggesting that one possible explanation for ‘Oumuamua was that it could be an artificial object, in other words, an alien spacecraft—specifically, a lightsail. The two have been praised for their boldness and condemned for their recklessness, but little has been said concerning the possibility of detecting a lightsail as a technosignature in comparison to detecting a “conventional” technosignature such as the radio and laser beacons that SETI searches for. When we look out into the universe for signs of intelligence, if there are technosignatures to be seen, what technologies ought we to expect to be the most common?  


Stagnant Supercivilizations and Interstellar Travel
Could Solar Radiation Pressure Explain ‘Oumuamua’s Peculiar Acceleration?” Bialy and Loeb
 Predictably, online media go nuts over ‘Oumuamua and Harvard scientists; “Scientists are perfectly happy to publish an outlandish idea.” by Eric Berger
Breakthrough Starshot
lightsail (Wikipedia)
The Interstellar Age: The Story of the NASA Men and Women Who Flew the Forty-Year Voyager Mission by Jim Bell
NASA Voyager 2 Could Be Nearing Interstellar Space
The Great Filter—Are We Almost Past It? by Robin Hanson
SETI as a Process of Elimination


Written and Presented by: Nick Nielsen
Postproduction: Paul Carr
Music: DJ Spooky

This podcast episode is released under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike license

Friday, November 30, 2018

Come join our chat on Discord

I might show up on Discord almost any time, but especially late at night on the East Coast of the US (UTC - 5 hours), and am all for voice chat as well. There is a special channel for Patreon supporters, where I will deliver the early scoop and thoughts on podcast plans.

The purpose is a space for informal discussion of the kinds of topics we talk about on the podcast and the future plans and guests of the podcast. 

Friday, September 14, 2018

I owe you an update, I know.

This podcast, as you know, is tightly linked to a blog, and since I have been neglecting the blog unjustly, I have also been neglecting the podcast. You are entirely justified in ascribing this to flaws in my character. I can probably think of a dozen excuses, but I can understand why you would not be interested. Truth is, I am just a terrible procrastinator.

I started this podcast almost 6 years ago, and I still think it has something unique to offer.

I will correct this, I promise. I really enjoyed the cycle of reading, poking around through data, writing, speaking, and interviewing. I will get back to this.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Burst 30 - The Gaia DR2 Release and Boyajian's Star

Released: 24 April 2018
Duration: 10 minutes, 1 second

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Paul Carr talks about today's much more accurate distance estimate to Boyajian's Star from Gaia Data
Release 2, and what, if anything, this rules out.


Clemens+ (2018) - Proper Motion of the Faint Star near KIC 8462852 (Boyajian's Star) - Not a Binary System
Boyajian+ (2015) - Where's the Flux?
Interview with Brad Schaefer
Ben Montet Makes a Star Weirder
Castelaz and Barker (2018) - KIC 8462852: Maria Mitchell Observatory Photographic Photometry 1922 to 1991
Gaia DR2


Host and Producer: Paul Carr
Music: Jason Robinson

Monday, April 23, 2018

Burst 29 - Caral Supe and Evangeline

Released: 23 April 2018
Duration:12 minutes, 21 seconds

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Los Cumbres light curve from

Paul Carr reviews what has been happening over the Winter and early Spring with respect to Boyajian's Star. We review the Winter observations, the Castelaz and Barker paper, and the two surprise March dips, Caral-Supe and Evangeline. We also talk about the upcoming Gaia Data Release 2 and what it might mean.


Burst 24 and Burst 25
KIC 8462852: Maria Mitchell Observatory Photographic Photometry 1922 to 1991
Where's The Flux?
Bruce Gary's Boyajian's Star Page
Boyajian's R
Gaia DR2


Host and Producer: Paul Carr
Music: Jason Robinson