Tag: Lightning Round

Would You Upload Your Mind Into A Machine? (And Other Questions) | Lightning Round

Today’s lightning round questions deal with hot topics like what we’re going to do with trash on Mars, what direction dogs stand when they do their business, what kind of king Charles will be, and why it rains diamonds on Uranus.


Hey, before I get into this month’s lightning round video, I just want to say I just got back from doing some traveling, I was in New York for Educon and San Diego for Fully Charged Live and I think I got to meet and shake hands with more followers of this channel than I’ve ever had a chance to at any one single amount of time.

Hey, before I get into this month’s lightning round video, I just want to say I just got back from doing some traveling, I was in New York for Educon and San Diego for Fully Charged Live and I think I got to meet and shake hands with more followers of this channel than I’ve ever had a chance to at any one single amount of time.
For all of you that I got to meet, I want to say it was great to meet you, thanks for coming up and for all the kind words, but there was one sentiment that was reflected the most that really kinda put me on my heels a little bit.
I had so many people say that what they like about my channel is that I cover a wide range of random topics and let me tell you something, that’s my favorite thing about doing this channel.
It can get really easy to be pigeonholed on YouTube, the algorithm tends to put people in silos and say, “you can talk about this, and if you talk about anything else, we’re just not going to show it.” And I  can tell you right now, if I went by that alone, I would not enjoy doing this.

In fact the channel might grow a bit faster if I did focus on one thing… But it would be a lot less interesting wouldn’t it?
But I can only cover all the weird and wonderful things I do because you guys let me and keep coming back and trust that whatever it is I cover, you’ll dig it, or at least dig my take on it. So I want to thank you for having that trust in me and for coming along with me on this ride. It’s really only because of you that I get to do this.
Besides, I get a lot of my video ideas from you guys in your comments and social media posts… and Patreon supporters with lightning round questions like these.

Thomas Lovse – Patreon – September

What do you think the future of the British monarchy will be now that the Queen died? Will Charles be a good king?

I am wholly unqualified to speak on this.

What is the value of the monarchy? What is a “good king” in 2022?
Whenever I say that we don’t have anything like the monarchy in America, people always say the Kardashians. That reference is apt in a way, and I know a lot of Brits feel the same about the royal family, that they’re just freeloaders and famous for being famous. But I think there’s something about that link to 1000 years of history that people find comforting. That’s what I mean when I say we don’t have anything like that here. I feel like Charles is a fairly uninspiring figure but has garnered some sympathy. Whether he retains it is another thing.

I always kinda had a little bit of empathy for the guy, the fact that he was kinda forced to marry Diana even though he was in love with Camilla, kinda stuck between a rock and a hard place.

The Dr. Becky story

Meghan Betts – Patreon – September

Ok I have one more – I could have googled it but I’d rather hear it from you. Why are most celestial bodies/atomic structures round(ish)?

The short answer is gravity. When an object in space gets big enough, its gravity pulls everything in at a roughly equal force in all directions, lending it to a spherical shape. But gravity is actually a very weak force so objects that are smaller don’t form into these perfect spheres.

Then you have to factor in rotation because most objects are spinning, so planets in general aren’t perfectly spherical, they’re oblate spheroids. Saturn being very low density has a difference of 20,000km around the equator vs polar Then there’s asteroid Bennu, which has become kind-of diamond shaped (or shaped like a top) because it’s small enough that its gravity can’t overcome the centripetal force of its rotation that wants to fling the mass at the equator outward.

As for why atoms are spherical… The short answer is that they aren’t. Not technically. They have electrons in various orbitals with no solid boundaries so it’s not exactly a sphere. We mostly just visualize them that way. But they do have a vague spherical shape for the same reason planets do, the nucleus asserts the same force on electrons in all directions.

Fishtail – Discord – September

Please provide us your ponderances of the gamification of popular prominent pastimes.

For instance TopGolf https://topgolf.com/us/locations/
Go to TopGolf and get footage of hitting some balls

Brian Beswick – Discord – September

I don’t even have a question on this one, I just thought this was cool. Diamond Rain in Uranus… insert joke here.

I don’t want to insert anything into Uranus.
Read and riff on the article. Highlights: It’s done by firing lasers into cheap PET plastics – produces pressure that creates nanodiamonds It’s the pressure on gas giants that causes the chemicals to form into diamonds, but on gas giants the nanodiamonds can grow to “millions of carats” Ultimately those fall to the center and create a “bling ring” around the planet. Nanodiamonds have a very wide array of applications in drug delivery, medical sensors, noninvasive surgery, sustainable manufacturing, and quantum electronics. Joke about all the acronyms and “I don’t know why people find science so unapproachable”

Claudio f souza – Discord – September

Hey Joe , will you upload your mind to ~the machine~ once it’s possible: y/n? And why?

The old teleportation problem I struggle with this. It’s not as simple as uploading your consciousness to a computer because then you’re just creating a replica of yourself. I have two problems with that. One, I don’t actually get to experience it – my replica does. And two, I’m not sure having two of me in the world is a good idea. I did a video that tried to hypothesize a way to kind of turn the brain into hardware so that you could kind-of become a part of the “machine” and not have to rely on “uploading” or “replication”.

Meghan Betts

Meghan here! Do you think we’re living in a white hole? If so does that mean we’re not living in a simulation? Or does that mean that the black hole is the main processor for our simulation?

Hoo boy…
So if my understanding is right – and that’s a big if – there is the idea that the big bang and expansion of the universe was caused by a white hole, which itself might be like the outgassing of a black hole in another universe. It’s kind-of just another way to try to explain where all of this came from. It does kinda collide with the holographic theory, which says that information that falls into a black hole gets encoded on the event horizon and then radiated back out slowly over trillions of years through Hawking radiation.

What this has to do with simulation theory, I’m not quite sure…
There’s an idea that has been rattling around in my head lately, and this might be more science fiction than science science but here goes.
So there’s the whole question of where is all the antimatter, right? They say that when the universe was created in the big bang, it should have produced equal parts matter and antimatter. Which, in theory would have cancelled each other out in a massive explosion and left nothing behind.

Kinda gets to the whole question of why is there something instead of nothing.
But there is something. There is possibly an infinite universe of something, but we don’t see hardly any antimatter, that’s the mystery.
So one of the explanations for that is that there was by some fluke just barely more matter than antimatter when the universe was created, like one billion and one parts matter to one billion antimatter and what was left over was the universe we know of today.

Meaning the infinite universe we currently have is only a billionth of what should have been created.
But another way of looking at antimatter is that it’s regular matter traveling backwards in time.

So when you see a timeline of the universe like this, it maybe should be shown like this.

With our universe traveling in one direction on the arrow of time and an antimatter universe traveling in the opposite direction.Of course, the problem with this visualization is that time doesn’t move physically in one linear direction, it travels out in all directions so it might be more accurate to imagine a second, parallel universe (rotate the negative universe so that it lines up with the original one – maybe slightly askew so you can see both of them) exactly like ours, expanding right alongside ours, made of antimatter in a separate dimension of sorts, a dimension reversed in time.

So in this scenario, the idea of a black hole punching through to the parallel universe would mean that it wouldn’t appear to them as a white hole spewing that matter out into their universe, because they’re reversed in time, it would just be a black hole from their reference frame.
Also I think that would mean that the universe is deterministic because in this reversed time universe from our reference frame the future has already happened.

Earthbound Martian

As a creator, what do you think is the biggest thing you can bring to others lives? What do you feel it means to “create” in today’s world?

Judging by that last segment, it’s breaking people’s brains.
The simplest answer – the best thing we can do is help others feel less alone.
There’s a reason why you can find pretty much everything in the world on YouTube, because no matter how weird or unique you might think you and your interests may be, I promise you there are millions of other people out there that have the same interest.

Like we’re all living very unique and specific lives and have unique and specific perspectives, but we’re a lot more alike than we think.
And maybe you lived your whole life thinking you were different or alone because of this, maybe it made you feel ostracized or disconnected, and then you hear some random person from somewhere else in the world nerding out over the same thing and it’s like a magic trick, “holy crap, that guy’s into it too!”
In the earliest days of this channel, all my videos were more like this, where I would take questions from the comments and answer them, hence, Answers With Joe.

But after a while, I began to just kinda trust that if I was interested in something, you guys would be interested in it too. And that’s kinda proven to be true.
Not all of you like every video obviously, but that’s been a really interesting side effect of this whole thing.
The lesson I’ve learned is that if you just put yourself out there and be true to yourself as much as possible, you’re putting ripples into the universe. And you never know where those ripples will land and how they will affect others. And I think that’s true in life as well.

Cole Parker

One could say that Elon’s companies cover critical needs on Mars, But what about waste management. Humans produce tons of trash, literally. Will the second permanent structure on Mars be the first ex-terrestrial garbage dump or does Musk or others have some high tech solution to burning, reusing or reprocessing waste?

Cole, come on, it’s an entire planet, what could we possibly do to an entire planet?
I did a bit in a video a while back where I imagined how much waste would be created on a trip to Mars and joked that the way to Mars would become a giant skidmark. It was a joke worth repeating.

So, one of the things we’ve been learning on the ISS over the last 20 years is how to do exactly this kind of thing, learning how to build and live in an enclosed system. Of course there are some things that we still haven’t quite gotten down.
Astronauts famously recycle their urine on the ISS, hence the phrase, “Today’s coffee is tomorrow’s coffee”
But solid waste and a lot of other consumables don’t get recycled, they just get put on cargo ships that burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere.

Earth, the ultimate landfill.

But this is not going to be an option on Mars, or on the Moon for that matter.
Now landfills are obviously an option, and it may come down to that but NASA’s working on some ideas to deal with waste in a more useful way.
In fact, earlier this year they launched a few challenges for the public to submit ideas along these lines.
Waste to Base Materials Challenge: Sustainable Reprocessing in Space seeks ideas to convert waste into useful resources, like propellant or raw materials for 3D printing. Participants are asked to share their ideas for managing, converting or processing a few specific categories of waste, including trash, fecal waste, foam packaging, and carbon dioxide. Trash-to-Gas Ash Management Challenge  seeks design concepts for an effective method of removing the ash from a full-scale Trash-to-Gas reactor in microgravity for later use or disposal.

Waste Jettison Mechanism Challenge, seeks concepts from the public for ways to safely eject materials from a crewed spacecraft. Jettisoned objects would safely orbit the Sun so as not to contaminate celestial bodies or interfere with future space missions.
The challenges have closed, and I tried to find the winners and what their ideas were but… I couldn’t. So NASA’s working on it.
As for Elon and SpaceX, I couldn’t find anything when I looked – I saw a lot of articles that were critical of their plans because of the waste issue – but if there’s something out there that I missed, feel free to share in the comments.

I imagine the most likely options would be plasma gassification to get energy out of it, or purposefully using consumable goods that break down organically or can be recycled for 3D printing or construction. And as for human waste, well… potatoes.

Robin Tennant Colburn

 A certain PBS You Tube broadcast mentioned a study found that dogs poop on a north-south alignment. All I can find on the internet seems to trace back to a study of 70 dogs.  How does YOUR dog do what she doo doos so well, ;-)?

Okay, I’m just gonna say that I don’t think this is a thing.
I will say though after reading this question I started paying attention to what direction my dogs poop and of the four times I saw them do it in our backyard… each time they were facing south.

Could SpaceX Beat Artemis To The Moon? (And Other Questions)

From the mystery of what cars birds poop on to an update on the Dear Moon mission, these are the burning questions from Patreon this month.


Hey today we’ve got a lightning round video, which is where I take questions from Patreon supporters above a certain level, that level being $50 a month.

Yeah, I know, that’s insane but those insane people are the ones who help keep this channel going, so I want to make them glad they made this insane decision.

And the whole “get a question answered” thing is one of their perks. But there are other perks at much lower levels, like interacting with me in live streams and zoom calls, and access to a private Discord server, this has now become a shameless Patreon ad…

Anyway, sometimes in these lightning round videos I get asked a question and the answer goes to a place I really wasn’t expecting… And today definitely had one of those. Actually 2.

So I encourage you to stick around to the end because it does kind-of spark a debate that I would really love to know your thoughts on. Anyway, let’s start this thing.

Brian Beswick
The first images from Webb are a big deal, but we also heard something big too. What’s your thoughts on the new FRB discovered?
So Brian sent me to this Space.com page where somewhere in this sea of ads is an article about a weird new FRB that was discovered last month.

FRBs are Fast Radio Bursts and they’ve been kind-of a mystery for a while now, I think the first one was discovered in 2009, and they’re basically extremely short, like millisecond-long but can release as much energy in a millisecond as the sun does in 3 days.

And the spooky part? Nobody knows what causes them!

The most likely candidates are pulsars or magnetars but it’s still not completely settled.


What’s interesting about this new one is instead of the burst happening in milliseconds, this one is 3 seconds long, so like thousands of times longer.

And it also happens in regular intervals so they’re saying it’s kind-of like a universal heartbeat.

So poetic.

They named it FRB20191221A and what’s cool about it is they think it could help shed some light on what these things are but it s regularity could be used to help measure the expansion of the universe.

By the way, the instrument that detected it is called CHIME, which stands for Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment. Love me some acronym porn.

Are you planning on doing a speaking tour?

I was actually just talking to someone about that the other day. It’s being talked about. Nothing concrete but… Yeah. Maybe.

John Regel
Have you ever been recognized in public outside of Creator-specific venues? If so, would you mind sharing an anecdote about it from your perspective?

It doesn’t happen a lot, but it happens enough for me to always be aware that someone might recognize me, so I try to be on my best behavior.

The most recent one that really surprised me was when I was in Ireland, I got recognized in Galway, and I’m sorry his name dropped out of my head but that was a nice surprise.

For anybody who bumped into me out in the world, I guarantee I walked away from that encounter second-guessing everything I said.

What’s even weirder is when people see me and they don’t say hi but then they send a tweet at me like, “I saw you at the mall today.” (shiver)

But feel free to say hi if you see me, it’s always nice to meet viewers in person because this is so impersonal.

What do you think about YouTube thumbnails that are intentionally designed to make you “rage watch” the video? Example: The Empire Was Right in Star Wars.

I hate them. And I hate even more that they work.

“Rageonomics” is a term I’ve heard lately.

I don’t think anybody wants this to be a platform where people have to resort to that to get people to watch their videos. But here we are.

Robin Tennant Colburn
A friend told me that someone at a local scientific institution told her birds poop on blue cars more than any other because “that is the color of water, and birds tend to drop their and their offspring’s poop over water.” I started searching the internet for corroboration but I keep seeing the number one “pooped upon” car color is red. Is there a truth out there? Or is it really maybe just random?

RobIn always brings the weirdest questions. And I love it, because weird is fun. But I also kinda hate it, because they’re really hard to answer.

So Robin, love ya… But hate ya.

So I found this article from a site called the Charm City Circulator, which I can only assume is out of Baltimore, but it’s all about car repair and maintenance, but anyway, according to this article, a study was actually done on this in the UK by an auto parts company called Halfords.

They looked at over 1100 cars in five cities and found that red cars got it the worst at 18%, blue cars at 14%, black cars at 11%, white at 7%, gray or silver got 3% and green only 1%.

Now, they don’t provide a link to this study, so I don’t know exactly what their methodology was, like did they count individual droppings or was it just by car? Like did a car with 5 turds count the same as a car with 1 turd?

Actually the percentages only add up to 54 so I’m guessing they looked at 1100 cars, and of the cars that had turds on them, these were the colors.

But there’s still a lot I can’t know like what locations did they pick because different socioeconomic areas are going to favor different types of car, some of which are more popular in certain colors…

I feel like I’d want to see an experiment where they take 5 different colored cars and park them under a balcony, or around a tree and see if one consistently gets more than the others.

Like this is one of those studies that could be done in a million different ways and could lead to a million different conclusions.

In fact, the British Trust for Ornithology pushed back against the study saying, “We do know that birds can be attracted to certain colors during display but droppings on cars is probably more to do with where you park; if you park where birds roost, then you are going to get more droppings on your vehicle.”

So there you go guys, scientists have proven that if you park where birds poop, you’re more likely to get pooped on. (The More You Know jingle)

The article goes on to say that birds might poop on red cars because they think it’s food, because it’s the color of blood, so they’re drawn to red cars and therefore poop on them more.

Another theory is that red is a mating color, so birds might seek out that color to use to attract mates. And one theory even suggested that clean cars get pooped on more often because the bird sees their reflection and it scares them enough to poop.

“Females would poop because they thought they saw a male they could mate with. But they’d defecate out of frustration when they realized they couldn’t mate since what they thought was an actual bird was only their reflection.”

I mean who hasn’t been so frustrated with the dating scene that they physically shit themselves?

I don’t know, I think this might be one of those things like the claim that red cars get more speeding tickets, therefore if you drive a red car, you’re more likely to get pulled over?

And people look for all these reasons why that happens, everything from profiling to the color red messes with the cops’ radar guns…

When what it really comes down to is red is a popular color for sports cars. And people who drive sports cars tend to drive faster… Because that’s what they’re made for. Hence, more speeding tickets.

I imagine this is something like that, maybe red cars are more popular in places that have more pigeons, or I don’t know, park under trees more or something like that.

Assuming that this was even a real legit study, it was done by a company that sells car wash accessories. So take from that what you will.
And I saw a butt-ton of articles that referenced this study from back in 2012, it looks like it was first reported in the Daily Mail and even they don’t have a source linked so I can’t find the actual study to save my life. If any of you can find it, feel free to share in the comments.

So yeah, there’s a chance this whole study could turn out to just be one of those internet things where someone says a thing and then it gets passed around and eventually becomes common knowledge.

If Zoe chews shoes, whose shoes does she choose?

She wasn’t picky. Thankfully she doesn’t really do that anymore.

John Regel
How many Lowe’s could Rob Lowe rob if Rob Lowe could rob Lowe’s?

Okay, what happened on Patreon this month?


Cole Parker
What’s the update on Dear moon and would you think about applying to go yourself and do a few Answers with Joe in orbit around the moon!

Well they closed down submissions a while back and I did think about applying – and chose not to.

There really hasn’t been a lot announced, especially this year, but if you haven’t been following it since the first announcement, here’s some of the broad strokes…
It was first announced in 2018, it was the brainchild of Yusaku Maezawa and the original idea was he was going to invite 8-12 artists and entrepreneurs to fly around the moon on the SpaceX Starship so that they can share that experience with the world.

Actually, it was originally going to be on a Crew Dragon in 2018, but it would have required going up on the Falcon Heavy, and it hadn’t been crew rated yet. Eventually SpaceX decided not to crew rate the Falcon Heavy and focus on Starship.

So he upgraded the plan for Starship and set it for 2023.

In March of last year, Maezawa announced that he was going to open up 8 seats to the general public and encouraged people to apply with videos detailing why they wanted to go. Apparently they got over a million entries from all over the world.

They did close down applications later on last year and haven’t really made any announcements other than to say that they have narrowed down the finalists and are doing medical checks and testing qualifications and stuff.

And it hasn’t been publicly announced, but there are rumors that the crew has been picked… But I don’t know who those people are.

The only name that’s been floated around is filmmaker Damien Chazelle, he shot the movie First Man with Ryan Gosling and apparently in an interview Maezawa invited him to join if he wanted.

To my knowledge he hasn’t accepted. But they’re being super secretive around it so who knows.

Asking if I would ever want to do something like that… I mean… I’m probably not American Hero material but no, I’m not gonna be first in line to do something like that.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s absolutely a dream of mine to go to space someday and I hope space tourism becomes so commonplace that it becomes like taking a cruise or something, I would totally be up for something like that, but no… I’m not gonna be one of the pioneers.

I’ll just talk about it on my channel.

As for timelines and how realistic they are, it’s still being planned for 2023 from what I can tell but since SpaceX still hasn’t gotten it to space yet… Consider me super doubtful.

Now something I keep saying ad nauseum is that I think it’s going to be a while before they’ll be flying people on a Starship that involves propulsive landing, especially if the landing involves catching it in the chopsticks.

It’s just such a brand new thing that’s never been tried before (riff)

I know this is a private flight so it’s outside of NASA’s authority but I don’t know if they still have to be approved by the FAA… I’ll confess to ignorance on that.

So I think it’s more likely to get pushed to 2024 at least but if it does, that brings up a really interesting debate… Who’s gonna get there first? Dear Moon or Artemis II?

Because Artemis II is scheduled to go up in 2024, and it’s going to have almost the exact same flight plan.

Just sit with that for a second… if SpaceX sends a dozen artists and poets and dancers around the moon in a fully reusable ship BEFORE NASA can send 4 highly trained astronauts in a single-use ship that costs $2.2 billion… (shrug) I mean, I don’t think we’ll ever see SLS again.

BUT… And this is a big butt (sir mix-a-lot flash) that’s only if SpaceX can develop the Starship fast enough. Because as of the day this video goes out… assuming everything goes to plan… NASA will be ahead. Their vehicle will have gotten into space.

Of course, SpaceX could be right behind them, they might be doing their first orbital test in a month or two, so… Yeah. 2024 could be really interesting.

I’m curious to hear who you’d bet on in the comments but yeah… I guess we’ll have to wait and see.



Is SpaceX REALLY Bringing Down Launch Costs? (And Other Questions)

In today’s Lightning Round video, I talk about whether SpaceX’s reusability is actually bringing down launch costs, discuss deep ocean research, consider how fecal transplants could reverse aging, and other equally weird things.


Hey gang, summer’s here and I’m gonna be doing a little bit of traveling, maybe to places where it’s not 100 degrees at 3am

But don’t worry, the videos are still coming your way. We planned ahead of time and some videos, like this one might be a little bit more abridged than usual.

So this is a lightning round video, these questions come from Patreon supporters who support the channel above a certain tier, this is a perk that comes along with supporting at that level.

And I want to take a second to sincerely acknowledge and thank everybody who supports this channel on Patreon or in the channel memberships – I know I always shout people out at the end of the videos but I wanted to do it here at the beginning where everyone can see it.

Truth is, the YouTube algorithm has been not nice to the channel lately. It’s not showing my videos to nearly as many people as it once did. And I’m trying really hard to not go full clickbait monster just to get YouTube to show my stuff to people. Having said that, I might be changing things up around here, we’ll see.

The point is Adsense revenue is all over the map, there is no way I could keep this going based only on that, so people who directly support this channel and the channel sponsors are why I’m still able to do this. And I know I don’t thank you enough.

If you don’t or can’t support directly, I still love ya – I just appreciate you watching. Hell, if you’re still watching me right now and have not skipped forward, you’re a hero in my book.

I’ve been doing this for 7 years and the only reason I’m still able to do it is because of the support you guys have given me. It truly means the world to me.

But anyway, that’s all I wanted to say, just wanted to get that out there. Let’s get on with this video. Roll that beautiful logo animation.

Cole Parker
I’m very curious how much money SpaceX has saved reusing the Falcon 9 compared to non-reusable companies like ULA or Ariane Space. Is it really moving the needle on the cost of space flights?

This is a good question actually. And it gets complicated.

Launch costs are actually very difficult to compare because just like the supply closet of a nursing home, there’s a lot of “depends” involved.

For example, are we talking low Earth orbit, geostationary orbit, is it a private or government customer, because different entities will have different regulatory requirements that change the cost, etc.

So I could point to various prices points but we’re really just looking for a general pattern here.

I’ll link down below to this article from the Visual Capitalist that charts the launch costs of various launch vehicles and as you can see, Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy are significantly less expensive per kilogram than the other rockets listed.

This is not a complete list of options, obviously, there’s no Arianne Space or Rocket Lab on here but clearly the cost of launching has gone down over time.

I think to me, the best sign that SpaceX is shifting things in the space industry is the fact that renewability is now something many other companies are pursuing.

Blue Origin’s New Glenn will reuse the booster, Rocket Lab’s Neutron will reuse the first stage, and ULA’s Vulcan rocket will recover the engines, making it partially reusable.

And of course if they pull off Starship, that would push launch costs down to insane levels, I’ve seen it as low as $600 per kilogram. Even the lowest Falcon 9 numbers I saw were around $3500.

Which is why an anonymous space lobbyist told Politico back in February that his space industry clients are, “shitting the bed” over Starship.

So as closely as all us space nerds are watching for the first orbital Starship launch, I guarantee you, the other space launch companies are watching even closer.

John Regel
In futurism, is poo the answer to life extension?

And in history, MegaRaptors… thank goodness for extinction events?

Mark Hoffman

Do you think an adequate amount of resources are being allocated to oceanic floor/deep sea exploration and documentation? Clearly there is so much more “out there” worth exploring and many oceanographers advocate for more intensive research, and for valid reasons. Would you agree?

You know, they say we know more about the surface of Mars than we do about the ocean floor on our own planet. Probably true.

Do I think there’s adequate resources being directed at ocean floor exploration? I mean, what are you trying to do?

If it’s just about learning everything there is to learn about the ocean floor, I’m in favor of that. Not sure if it’s as important as, say, spending on clean energy and plastic cleanup.

One compelling reason to study the ocean floor is to look at how life evolves in extreme environments like we might find on other planets; might give us a better idea of what kind of life there could be outside of Earth.

There’s probably a lot we could learn about geologic processes that we can’t observe from the land.

We could probably learn a lot about how we’ve polluted the oceans and how it’s affected life way down there.

Also, I mean let’s face it, there’s a ton more ocean floor than there is dry land on this planet.

But don’t worry. Some day they’ll find oil below the Marianas Trench and we’ll suddenly be spending a lot of time down there.

Mark Hoffman

What likelihood do you think the war in Ukraine will have on instigating needed advancements in renewable energy implementation? Personally I feel that it will result in a greatly missed opportunity that enacts only token changes 😥.

Oh, Mark, Mark, cynical Mark… Yeah, you’re probably right.

As I record this, I finally got solar on my roof, and there’s 2 takeaways I have already, one is that the app that connects to the system is awesome.

It shows how much energy you’re generating, how much is coming in from the grid, and how much you’re consuming. And brother, this is a game-changer.

I’ve known other people who got solar and talked about how they immediately became kilowatt nazis and were just obsessed with how much they were pulling out of the grid – and I’ve started doing that already.

I feel like every home electrical system should have this, even if you don’t have solar, just being able to visualize how much energy you’re using is just so helpful.

Like without this all you can do is look at your energy bill, but it doesn’t tell you exactly what you’re doing and how it affects your bill.

This real-time feedback is awesome, the A/C comes on and I can pull it up and see it happen and how much it’s pulling – it’s kinda fascinating. Anyway…

The other thing is the feeling of relief that comes with being energy independent.

My energy bills aren’t going to go up or down according to the whims of a global energy market – at least not to a level that affects me that much.

I talked recently in an OLF podcast about how I’ve felt that way about my EV with the gas prices going through the roof. Knowing that global conflicts and industry shenanigans don’t affect me…  Guilt. A lot of guilt. That’s what I do with happy emotions.

All that was a very self-congratulatory way of saying… Maybe?

Maybe this is the thing that shakes people up, that gets across the fact that… maybe we should have a different energy system than the one where authoritarian strongmen can spin every industry in the world into chaos on a whim.

The energy independence that comes with renewables is something that I don’t think gets talked about enough, both on a household and societal level.

But I hear ya, dude, we’ve seen a lot of crises like this over the years and… well we’re still in the same spot. So enthusiasm is dampened a bit.

Is A Lunar Crew Dragon Possible? (And Other Questions)

In today’s lightning round video, I explore questions like whether Falcon Heavy could launch a Crew Dragon around the moon, whether or not pool covers could help save water in drought regions, and really important stuff like pineapple pizza and um… mushrooms.


Mark Hoffman – Patreon – May

Main question: What’s your take on these anomalous areas known as blue zones?  

Expanded question: It seems the phenomenon of blue zones don’t get much attention beyond pushing some sort of diet. Yet the commonalities seem much more complex than that. There seem to be five “officially” cited, yet emerging data could suggest more. Thoughts?

Robin – Patreon – May

During my landing approach to  beautiful Scottsdale last month, I was not surprised by the vast number of swimming pools I could see throughout the Phoenix area.  I was, however, surprised that I was seeing few pool covers.  In an area threatened by severe water shortages, is this just a “drop in the bucket?”  Does it matter or not?  

You know for someone who was always so bad at math, I do love this kind of thing.
Because I bet I could actually answer that. I want to work that out.
So of course this sent me down a rabbit hole and I think I have a solid answer, let me show you my math. It’s at the bottom of the rabbit hole.

So first I had to find the number of pools in Phoenix, she mentions Scottsdale and Phoenix, I went with Phoenix for this thought experiment but anyway according to this from the Morrison Institute at Arizona State University, they say that 2/3 of homes don’t have pools. 

That means 1/3 of them do. Okay, so I look up the number of homes in  Phoenix, according to the United States Census Bureau the number of homes is 626,977, that would make the number of homes with pools 208,979.
So now we have to figure out how much gets lost to evaporation from the average pool, for that we need to find the average pool size, so I started looking around for that and got a bunch of charts of different pool sizes.

And this website that says, “the average size of a rectangular pool is 10 feet by 20 feet at the low end of the scale, to 20 feet by 40 feet at the larger end.” And that shakes out, I saw that pop up a lot on the size charts so we’re just looking for an average here, split the difference and you get 15×30′.

By the way, I know everybody in the non-America parts of the world are cringing right now, but these were the units they were found in, and I’ve already got enough math to do.
In fact I got it to liters as fast as I could but then I realized it wasn’t about now much water was in the pools it was about how much it was evaporating.
So that’s when I happened on this site that says, Water evaporation rates vary based on water temperature, air temperature, wind speed, wind volatility, sun exposure, and humidity levels. The average pool water evaporation rate is about a quarter of an inch of water per day or more than two inches in a week, which on a 33′ x 18′ swimming pool (an average pool size) This checks out with what I was speculating before…is more than 2500 liters or approximately 600 gallons a week; this may vary depending on your climate and the factors listed above.

Okay so here comes the caveat, the website where I got this from is for a company called Katch A Kid, and they make pool covers. They are using this figure as part of their marketing basically and I don’t see a source for it here. With that in mind, there’s every possibility that this is inflated or on the high end.https://katchakid.com/pool-evaporation/
But Phoenix is possibly the hottest and dryest city in North America, they would be well above average so I think maybe the high end is where we should be.
So there’s some wiggle room in this one but I’m going with it. I think my logic is sound enough for this.
All right, here comes the math and I did look ahead to see what units I needed to get this in and it needs to be in acre-feet, which is an absurd volume of water one squared acre wide and one foot deep. It ranks number 5 on the list of most American units of measurement.

Cole Parker – Patreon – May

Hey Joe, this might need to lean on your space friends like Tim and Scott to answer but could they launch the dragon on the falcon heavy and send it on a fly by of the moon? Or could they add two more boasters to get stuff into lunar orbit? 

Fishtail – Discord – May

What are some of your pet peeves about what science educators, like yourself, do? 

Not throwing shade
“You see” Cadences bother me, the spooky pasta guy Science creators especially can get into the word salad

John Regel – Discord – May

This may be too hot to touch, but what is your stance regarding pineapple on pizza?
Honestly… I’ve had the Hawaiian pizza – don’t hate it. I never order it but maybe that’s because whenever I eat pizza I’m with other people who would never get near it
But I haven’t had one in years… Kinda want one.

John Regel – Discord – May

In futurism, is poo the answer to life extension?

And in history, MegaRaptors… thank goodness for extinction events?

Mark Hoffman – Patreon – May

Additional question: Do you think an adequate amount of resources are being allocated to oceanic floor/deep sea exploration and documentation? Clearly there is so much more “out there” worth exploring (by surface area, even in our own system, there is vastly more to explore than what the ocean floor covers). However, many oceanographers advocate for more intensive research, and for valid reasons. Would you agree?









Could The Tonga Blast Lower Global Temperatures? (And Other Questions)

In today’s Lightning Round video, we cover such subjects as cosmic spiders, shrimp with guns for hands, the Tonga blast (Hunga-Tonga actually), and new energy sources. Thanks to the Patreon supporters who submitted questions!


Once a month, I take questions from Patreon supporters who support above a certain level and I answer those questions.Once a month, I take questions from Patreon supporters who support above a certain level and I answer those questions.

There are many questions in this world to be answered. Most people do so privately, on their own time, in their own way…
Unless they run a YouTube channel where they take questions from supporters and then you get a lightning round video like this.

Wow, what an intro!

As always, lightning round questions are submitted by Patreon supporters at the Solar System level and above, so if you think you’ve got a better question, get in there and prove it.
And if you want to see a full video on any of these topics, let me know in the comments.

Mark Hoffman – Feb – Patreon

Wouldn’t it make more sense if we used a base 12 numerical system?

Sounds like someone didn’t do well in math class.
“It’s not me, it’s base 10!”
Actually I would have used that as an excuse if I was clever enough.
Would it make more sense? I mean, I guess depends on what you’re using it for.
We do have a bit of a base 12 system in how we keep time, with 12-hour day and night cycles so I guess you could argue that a civilization that was more time-based would stick with base 12.
It’s actually an interesting question, you know, we landed on base 10 because we have 10 fingers and I’ve always wondered what things would be like if we had more or less fingers…

Like if canines became an intelligent species, would there be a base 8 system?
The Mayans actually had a base 20 system, and it’s thought – I really don’t know if it’s true, but its thought that since they were in a warm climate they didn’t have to cover their feet so they had 20 digits to work with.
That sounds a little crazy but I read that somewhere.

The Babylonians had a base-60 system, they were also the first to divide the hour into 60 minutes and minutes into 60 seconds. I don’t think those two facts are unrelated.
There are also 360 degrees in a circle, which is divisible by 60, so there’s a base 60 of sorts used in navigation.
But Base-60 is also kinda base 12 because 60 is divisible by 12.
And one of the arguments that a base 12 system is more useful is that 12 is divisible by more numbers. For example, you can divide 12 by 2, 3, 4, and 6, but you can only divide 10 by 2 and 5 – without getting into decimals and fractions.

The Egyptians are the most well-known civilization that did actually use a base-12 system.
So, yeah, Base-12 has its uses but if you ask me, base-10 stuck because of the whole 10-finger thing, which made it easier for non-mathematicians, just normal people like farmers and craftsmen to trade with each other and conduct transactions.
In other words, commerce. Money.  It’s always the money.

Thomas Lovse – Feb – Patreon

Can you please, more in depth, explain quantum superposition? I still don’t get it.

Mmmmm no.
The nature of a lightning round video is that I don’t go in-depth on things and I have covered quantum theory in other videos about as in-depth as I a capable of, I’ll link those down below.
But really, don’t sweat it, most people don’t get quantum mechanics, or as Richard Feynman once said, “If you think you understand quantum mechanics, you don’t understand quantum mechanics.”
And he was kinda paraphrasing Neils Bohr, who said, “Anyone who is not shocked by quantum theory has not fully understood it.”
So if those two heavyweights struggled with it, I think it’s okay for us to as well.

Cole Parker – Feb – Patreon

What new hybrid or advanced energy sources are out there? You covered micro nuclear, what about tech that is solar hot water and photovoltaic, or hydroelectric that pumps water uphill for later release or other creative clean energy.

Okay so… I’m sorry, I’m gonna be really pedantic for a second because you’re asking about energy sources and then you describe pumped hydro, which is energy storage and those are two different things.
I know, I’m that guy right now.

But it does matter because there’s a LOT of different energy storage options and ideas out there but energy sources… there’s not really anything new on the horizon… until we can make fusion happen.
Like there’s a lot of different ways to collect solar energy and transform it and use it but the source of that energy is still the sun.
But you mention solar hot water, I wouldn’t call that new, necessarily, but that’s a type of solar thermal energy.
Interestingly, I was reading something about this, about how for a long time most solar energy was solar thermal energy, either the concentrated solar that heats oil in a tube that then boils water – steam – turbine, that whole bit, or the molten salt solar thermal that focuses a bunch or mirrors on a tower and then, you know… water/steam/turbine…

It was more popular because it was cheaper but now photovoltaic panels have gone down in price so much, that’s more popular and is producing the the majority of solar energy.
But yeah there are systems that use solar water panels to heat up water that you can then use as hot water in your house, or you can store that hot water and later draw energy out of it using a heat exchanger.

It’s not a bad option, especially if you have a large place or you’re out in the country off the grid kind of thing, but as the price of battery storage comes down, it’s becoming cheaper and easier to go that route.
But yeah I’m going to be a stickler on the use of the word “source” in this question and just say that I’m not aware of any new energy sources outside of solar, wind, combustion, geothermal, nuclear… Again, unless I missed something, let me know.

Joe Scotts Beautiful Hairline – Feb – Patreon

How does the pistol shrimp claw work, does it really reach temperatures close to the sun?

Yeah… the pistol shrimp is pretty cool.
To those who might not be wise in the ways of the pistol shrimp, it’s a type of shrimp that can basically snap its claw so fast that it causes a cavitation bubble in the water that creates a shock wave that stuns its prey. And then it gobbles it up.
And when the vacuum of the cavitation bubble collapses, it does produce a tiny flash of light which itself is crazy AF because it’s a very, very rare case of sonoluminescence, which is light that’s created by sound waves.

Yeah, light created by sound waves. Just sit with that for a second.
But that tiny flash of light is created by a plasma that for a very, very… very… tiny amount of time, is as hot as the surface of the sun.
Sounds like clickbait. But it’s totally true.

As for how it does it, it’s a combination of the type of joint in the claw and the shape of the claw.
So there’s two types of joints in shrimp claws, they’re both called slip joints but the pistol shrimp has a cocking slip joint. (Nature video above)
The basic gist of a cocking slip joint is when the claw muscle is pulled, it holds open until it reaches a certain level of resistance before it gives, and that’s what makes it snap shut instead of just opening and closing.

And as you can see, the sort-of forearm area of the claw on these shrimp is huge because the muscle that operates that claw is crazy strong.
So that’s the type of joint, but then there’s the shape of the claw.

Inside the stationary part of the claw is an indention, a little cavity that holds water, and when the claw snaps shut, it forces this water out at an extremely high velocity.
And you might know this but the higher a fluid’s velocity, the lower its pressure. This is how airfoils work on airplane wings, it forces the air going over the top to go faster than the air below, higher velocity means lower pressure, so the air below the wing has higher pressure than the air above it, and that pushes the wing up.
Well in the case of the pistol shrimp, that velocity is so high that it makes the pressure go so low that it’s actually lower than the vapor pressure of water.
As you may know, water boils in a vacuum. Which is why if you were doing a spacewalk and your helmet sprung a leak, the last thing you would experience before you lost consciousness would be the fluid on your eyes getting all fizzy. Fun!

So yeah, the speed of the water coming out of this snap kinda boils the water and creates a cavitation bubble that’s filled with nothing, just a straight-up vacuum, when this vacuum collapses is when all that energy is released.
Energy that creates a tiny bit of light and for a very brief moment, a temperature of about 8,000 degrees. (4427 degrees Celsius)
And… it creates one of the loudest sounds in nature, at 218 decibels.
So yeah, pistol shrimp are insane but I think my favorite thing about the pistol shrimp is… They don’t know any of that.
They don’t know velocity and pressure and cavitation and all that, they just know that if they snap their finger, the other guy goes down. Like they’re just walking around with a superpower like what are you gonna do about it?

Joe Scott’s Beautiful Hairline – Feb – Discord

Will you make anymore history topic videos in the future


Fishtail – Feb – Discord

With your “Conversations with Joe” podcast, what do you look for in guests? Are they interesting people apart from their field of study? Do they need a certain amount of visibility?

Chase E – Feb – Patreon

Hi Joe! With the recent explosion in tonga, is it true the blast was larger than the largest bomb tested? What was the scale and extent of the blast? Could it have possible positive changes on our climate or was it just not large enough?

First of all, it’s actually Hunga-Tonga, which is the most fun-to-say name I’ve ever heard so I’m never gonna stop saying it.
(Technically guy walks up in the room)Technically, it’s Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai

To answer your question, NASA said that Hunga-Tonga equalled between 4-18 megatons, which would make it hundreds of times stronger than the bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima.

But Hiroshima, despite all the deaths it caused, was actually a very small atomic bomb, especially compared to some of the ones that were tested later on, which I believe is what you were asking about when you mention the largest bomb ever made, which if you are talking about the largest bomb ever made, you are talking about the Tsar Bomba.
By the way, the only thing more fun than saying Hunga Tonga is saying Tsar Bomba vs Hunga Tonga.
The Tsar Bomba by the way, was ridiculous. It created a pressure wave that circled the world 3 times and shattered windows 480 miles (780km) away. It’s just so much bigger than most people realize.
That would be like a bomb going off in New York City and breaking windows in Raleigh North Carolina.
Or a bomb in Chicago breaking windows in Nashville.
Or one in LA breaking windows in Tuscon.
Or one in Houston breaking windows in Oklahoma City.

Yeah the Tsar Bomba was estimated to be between 50-58 megatons, so much bigger than Hunga Tonga.
…If you’re going by megatons. There is another metric that makes it more complicated. And that’s the strength of its shockwave.
Okay, so in 1996, the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty was signed and part of that treaty was it set up an organization to monitor nuclear weapons tests around the world and that organization created by the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty was cleverly named, the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization.
Anyway, they operate a global array of stations that measure atmospheric pressure, and according to them, Hunga-Tonga was stronger than the Tsar Bomba.
When Tsar Bomba went off, it measured .5 to .7 hectopascals at their station in New Zealand, about 10,000 miles away.
But Hunga Tonga measured at around 2 hectopascals in Austria, which is roughly the same distance away.

That would make Hunga Tonga nearly 4x stronger than Tsar Bomba.

Now, I don’t know, maybe those are two totally different measurements, megatons vs. hectopascals but yeah… I don’t know. Depends on how you measure it I guess.
But your question about how it would impact the climate, that has nothing to do with how strong a blast it was, that has to do with what got blasted out.
And Hunga-Tonga definitely put a lot of ejecta very high into the atmosphere, in fact Oxford University research fellow Simon Proud said on Twitter
“Based on analysis of data from global weather satellites, our preliminary data for the Tonga volcanic cloud suggests that it reached an altitude of 39km [24 miles],” Proud said. “We’ll refine the accuracy of that in the coming days, but if correct, that’s the highest cloud we’ve ever seen.”

But… scientists don’t think it’s strong enough to lower the global temperature.
Because Hunga-Tonga released a lot of ash but not a lot of sulfur dioxide, and it turns out that’s what actually produces most of the cooling effect.
For example, Mount Pinatubo in 1991 was the last volcano to affect the global temperature and it was way heavier on the sulfur dioxide.
Hunga-Tonga released about 400,000 tons of sulfur dioxide, that’s about 2% of what came out of Pinatubo.
And Pinatubo’s effect only lasted for a couple of days anyway.
So, yeah. Maybe bigger than Tsar Bomba, but not going to cool off the globe.

Chase E – Feb – Patreon

With SpaceX’s star link those satellites surely will deorbit within a few years due to atmospheric drag. But is there any risk if they happened to have any collisions while still in orbit that debris can hang around causing the feared Kessler syndrome?

I feel like I… JUST talked about that.
No, this is clearly a response to my recent video on satellite internet, and this is actually something I was going to put in there but it was running long and this just didn’t make it in.
But yeah, Kessler syndrome, I’m very worried about that – when I see these governments testing anti-satellite missiles and creating debris fields it infuriates me, it’s just so irresponsible.

But… someone might say that SpaceX is being just as irresponsible for putting tens of thousands of satellites in orbit for Starlink. I mean, what’s the difference between 40,000 pieces of debris from a collision and 40,000 satellites?
And that’s a fair question. And here’s how I think about it.
There are 19,500 incorporated cities in the United States. Imagine if each city had only one car. What’s the chance that one of them would hit another car? Pretty low, right? These cars are all tens, maybe hundreds of miles away from each other.
Now, spread that out around the entire planet. The US only makes up 1.87% of the Earth’s surface, so these cars are all thousands of miles away from each other now. The chance of any of them hitting each other are exceedingly low.
Then keep in mind that satellites don’t all orbit on the same plane, you’ve got a third dimension to play with now, and there are hundreds of orbital levels going up thousands of miles.

The point is, there’s a lot more room up there than our brains probably think. And just to put that 19,500 number in perspective, it’s 4x more than the number of active satellites in orbit (4500), and a bit less than the pieces of orbital debris that we’re aware of and tracking (27,000). And, about half of what Starlink is eventually planning to be (40,000).
So I think as long as the majority of these are in a very low Earth orbit that will decay pretty quickly and they’re all managed by the same company that can keep track of them on the same system, that’s about as safe as you can hope for.

Brian Beswick – Feb – Patreon

How scary is the title of this article?! #AstrophysicsClickBait

All right, let’s see, what are we looking at here, Cosmic Spider Found To Be the Source of powerful gamma rays. Cosmic Spider! (playfully fall out of chair)
This is just proof that the universe was produced by Jon Peters.

If you don’t get that reference, Kevin Smith tells this amazing story of working on a Superman script with a producer named Jon Peters who was obsessed with giant spiders.
All right, let’s see about these giant space spiders.
“A bright, mysterious source of gamma rays has been found to be a rapidly spinning neutron star — dubbed a millisecond pulsar — that is orbiting a star in the process of evolving into an extremely-low-mass white dwarf. These types of binary systems are referred to by astronomers as “spiders” because the pulsar tends to “eat” the outer parts of the companion star as it turns into a white dwarf.” Yeah, that’s some serious clickbait.

Brian also asked:

Also, with what seems to be an exponentially growing mountain of scientific discoveries, what things from science fiction do you think might become science fact within our lifetime?

Okay, so I swear I’m not just trying to promote the podcast here but I do actually have an episode on the way with a sci-fi writer and we talk about that very thing. So… wait for that.


Just How Screwed Are We If Thwaites Glacier Collapses? | Lightning Round

Wanna hear something crazy? This is the last day of January and… this is the first video I’ve recorded in 2022.

Yeah, I went on a recording spree in early December so that I could enjoy the holidays but also so that I could do some upgrades on my studio here, I’ve got a new camera, a new switcher, a few other things that there’s no way you care about and if I’ve done my job, there’s no way you can tell I did any of it.

I’ve also got a lot of new production equipment to shoot better sketches, which I had one last week and you guys gave me a lot of great feedback on that, which I appreciate.

Point is, this is the official start of 2022 for me, and I’ve got a lot of exciting things in the pipeline but first I’m going to kick it off with a fun little lightning round video featuring questions from Patreon.

As always if you want a deep dive video on any of these topics, just let me know in the comments and that could totally be a thing. Either way, let’s do this.


John Regel – December – Discord

Wouldn’t life be objectively better if we started daylight savings in March and never “fell back” in the fall?

Dude. Yes. I am completely with you on this.

Daylight Savings Time is one of those things that we started doing a hundred years ago that made sense then, but not so much now. Like…_____

It was originally meant as a way to save on fuel and energy costs during the war years in the early 20th century, the idea being that if we pushed the time back so the sun would be out later in the day, people wouldn’t need to use as much power to light and heat their homes.

But this whole switching back and forth thing… It’s actually kinda dangerous.

It messes with people’s sleep cycles and this is kind-of a crazy fact but apparently heart attacks go up 24% in the week following time switches in the spring. It goes up in the fall as well but not by as much.

I’m not a morning person but it’s kinda wild that just changing your sleep pattern by one hour is enough to kill some people.

But if you’re more of a money guy, the financial markets usually take a hit in the week after a switch too.

So some people have started proposing getting rid of daylight savings time but, as John points out, there’s also a movement to make it permanent.

Like it’s January when I post this so basically we just wouldn’t “spring forward” in March.

There’s a lot of good reasons for this, first of all going back to the energy savings, the fact of the matter is, more people are awake to take advantage of that extra hour of sun in the evenings than in the mornings.

It would make the evening rush hour less fatal because people wouldn’t be driving home in the dark. A study by Rutgers said we could save 343 lives per year.

Crime would go down because more crimes are committed in the dark of night than in the dark of morning.

And it would give an extra hour for recreation, which helps not just mental health but physical health.

So yeah, I’m on board. Of course that’s easy for me to say because I’m a night owl. Morning people might disagree. But I mean… (scoff) morning people.


James Younger, DDS – January – Patreon

How do we actually know the observable universe is expanding at its edges?

I mean, information can only travel to us at the speed of light, so any images/information

we receive at the edges of the observable universe are of course billions of years old.

I get the idea of red-shifting – but if you can imagine an astronomer in 1000 years, peering out, how do we know they won’t suddenly start detecting blue-shifting at the edges – like the edges are starting to rush towards us instead of away from us?

Or how do we know that, at the edges there isn’t a galactic monster chomping away at those distant galaxies?

You know what I mean? I keep hearing everyone say with certainty “The observable universe is expanding….must be dark energy pushing this!” But I just can’t find out the basis for this certainty when all the information we receive from the edges is really really old.


Okay, so that was only a small part of his overall question, but to save time I’m just going to flash it up on screen and you guys can pause the video and read the rest of it. Here you go.

(post full question above)

So there’s a lot to unpack here and not a lot of time to talk about it in this video so let me start with my best understanding and we’ll see how this goes.

Dr. James mentions red-shifting in the question, that of course is the phenomenon where light that is traveling away from us shifts red on the light spectrum, light coming toward us shifts blue, sometimes called negative redshift.

And we’ve learned from looking at thousands of galaxies over the years that the further away from us they are, the more they are redshifted, so the further away they are, the faster they are moving away from us.

By the way we know this because of a supernova called a type 1A supernova that explode in very predictable ways and produce light with a specific wavelength so we can use that as the baseline when we find one in these galaxies. Depending on how redshifted the supernova light is, we know how fast the galaxy is moving away from us.

So as we look deeper and deeper into the universe, that light redshifts so far it slides into the infrared spectrum, which is why the Webb Space Telescope is designed primarily for infrared.

And the best explanation we have for why more distant galaxies are traveling away from us faster than closer ones is that space itself is expanding everywhere in all directions.

You can imagine two pieces next to each other on a checkerboard, if the size of the squares doubled, the pieces right next to each other would only move a little bit, where the pieces on the other side of the board moved really far away because all the squares between got bigger.

And it’s thought that past a certain point, galaxies are moving away from us faster than the speed of light. Relatively speaking, they aren’t moving through space faster than light, but the expansion of the space in between is pushing them away from our position faster than light.

Meaning their light will never reach us. And we will never know they are there.

Now the question mentioned the possibility of maybe seeing that light blue-shifting and moving back towards us. That sounds a lot like the Big Crunch, the idea that the universe would eventually collapse down on itself due to gravity, but the math seems to show that the universe has already expanded past the point where the mass in the universe and the gravity from it could possibly do that.

But, maybe as Webb and other big telescopes come online, we’ll get a better idea of what’s exactly going on out there on the edges.


Fishtail – January – Patreon

I was talking to an associate who has run in a couple of unsuccessful bids for Lieutenant Governor on an independent ticket.

He told me that the 14th amendment protects our privacy. The 14th amendment prevents the government from making laws that reduce our liberties.

I honestly don’t know if there is a written definition or set of statutes that define privacy as a liberty. Regardless of whether privacy should or should not be a liberty, is it currently defined as one?


This is way outside my expertise. This is like hiring a plumber to ask him about 18th century French poetry.

No offense to the plumbers who are also Jacques Autreau fans. Sorry, Larry.

But based on a very limited amount of research on my part, it looks like privacy isn’t specifically mentioned in the constitution but the 14th Amendment has a clause known as the privacy clause that has been used in cases involving privacy.

The full text of the 14th Amendment contains 5 sections, the privacy clause is in the first section and reads No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law

The privacy clause of the 14th amendment has been used to make judgements in the Supreme Court relating to whether you can teach children foreign languages (Meyer v Nebraska – 1923), whether married couples can use contraception (Griswold v Connecticut – 1965), whether it was legal to view pornography in your own home (Stanley v Georgia – 1969), whether you have the right to refuse life-saving treatments (Cruzan v Missouri – 1990), or whether you have the right to engage in homosexual activity (Lawrence v Texas – 2003).
And if I may opine for just a moment, we hear a lot about how our freedoms are being taken away these days but I think it’s worth remembering that once upon a time, somewhere in the United States you could be arrested for doing any of these things.

Yes, you could get arrested for being gay in the United States until 2003.

So yeah, this clause has been used in many wide-ranging applications but the one you’re probably thinking of is privacy in the age of the internet, and that’s still something that’s being worked out from what I can tell.

There was a landmark decision in 2018 where a guy was arrested after police tracked his location info from his phone without obtaining a warrant. This was ultimately ruled unconstitutional in Carpenter v US.

Of course law enforcement agencies have been getting around this by just buying your data from data brokers the same way marketing companies do, because in the age of social media, we are the product. And the customer is whoever has the money to buy it. Even the government.

I know there are stricter rules on the books in Europe, whereas China is going the other direction and is basically a surveillance state.

So which direction we go, I guess we’ll see. But like I said I’m not an expert here.

By the way, you may be hearing about the 14th Amendment a lot these days because it was one of the amendments passed at the end of the civil war and Section 3 has a provision saying any elected officials that engaged with rebellion against the United States would be prohibited from serving in congress after that, and some are using that against congressional members who helped incite the capitol riot on January 6th last year. It probably won’t go anywhere though.


John Regel – January – Discord

Our eyes evolved to be sensitive to a narrow band of light we call the optical band because that represents the Sun’s peak output.

With the drastically different-looking cosmos in other wavelengths, what societal implications could you imagine if the Sun was 10% more massive (optical band shifted toward the UV) or 10% less massive (optical band shifted toward the IR)?

(Sorry joe, I know we touched this in a video once but I’m convinced we’d have religions worshiping the thing in the sky 6x larger than the full moon that we call Andromeda. Color me curious about what you can imagine.)


This is a super interesting question but it’s kinda impossible to answer without knowing how we would experience those things.

I did a video a while back about what it would be like if we could see all the wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum if you want to go check that out but to me one of the most interesting possibilities would be if we could see infrared light because then we could see heat signatures coming off each other.

So you’d be able to see at a glance if someone has a fever, or is lying or embarrassed.

Like the way we blush, it’s a subtle thing now but if we could see infrared it would be glaring and obvious and I feel like socially that would change a lot of things.

Like would we all be equipped with a kind of lie detector? Would lying and deception be basically impossible? Or would we evolve to control our body temperature to counter that?

What if we evolved to send signals to each other by rushing blood to the surface of the skin in patterns that send messages like human cuttlefish?

But to your point about belief systems, I imagine the constellations in the sky would have totally different names and shapes because we’re seeing other stuff that we can’t see now, obviously that would have affected at least ancient religions.

It’s an interesting question, like I’ve always wondered what kind of religious beliefs would have come about if the Earth had rings, because depending on where you are on the planet, you would experience the rings very differently.

Like the further north and south you go, the more they become an arc across the horizon, but if you’re at the equator it would just be a line that bifurcates the sky.

There would be calendar days that relate to when the sun crosses the rings or reflects off of them in certain ways, there may be long periods of darkness or at least reduced light when the sun goes behind the rings, this might cause different seasons… It’s fun to think about.

Brian Beswick – january – Patreon

Did MIT discover the physical dividing line between the quantum and classical physics?


So Brian pointed me to an article from MIT dated January 5th titled, “Physicists watch as ultracold atoms form a crystal of quantum tornadoes” (beat) Imma repeat that slowly.

Physicists watch. as ultracold atoms… form a crystal… of quantum tornadoes.

Sure, I’m qualified to talk about this.

Basically, if I’m reading this right, the researchers were wondering if quantum particles would behave differently at ultracold temperatures, by that I mean down to like 100 nanokelvin.

So they did that with a cloud of about a million sodium atoms, and then confined them with an electromagnetic field and spun them, and what happened was they immediately formed into a long, needle-like structure.

And then, according to the article, “The needle began to waver, then corkscrew, and finally broke into a string of rotating blobs, or miniature tornadoes — a quantum crystal, arising purely from the interplay of the rotation of the gas, and forces between the atoms.”

Do you know what this means? (beat) Because I don’t.

Richard Fletcher, one of the researchers on the project said, “This crystallization is driven purely by interactions, and tells us we’re going from the classical world to the quantum world,”

So basically these atoms were in a state where classical interactions should have been suppressed and it should have behaved in a quantum superposition, but they didn’t.

And this makes us have to rethink where the line is between quantum and classical physics. I’m sure someone in the comments has a better educated explanation of this. Please enlighten all of us.


Mark Hoffman – January – Patreon

Where does “hardware” end and “software” begin?


Doesn’t anybody want to know my favorite color? It’s teal. Obviously.

I mean, maybe I’m using the wrong definition of hardware and software but I think of the hardware as the actual physical parts of the computer and the software is the code, the ones and zeros that are stored on the hardware.

I guess in that way software is more of a concept than a physical thing. Like a story is made up of words and letters and a book is what those words and letters are printed on…

Is this basically a question about how information is stored in a computer? Like physically how that works? Because that is definitely something we never think about but has a big impact on our lives. (think about it)

I may have to get back to you on that one…


Robin Tennant Colburn – January – Patreon

If Thwaites lets loose, has anyone created models for the immediate coastal impact when the “breach” occurs?

How fast, how bad, how soon could it happen and is there a good chance it won’t or won’t soon? Is there a “plug-in” model to crunch the numbers?

So to answer your specific question about plug-in models, no I couldn’t find anything like that but if somebody knows of one please share it in the comments.

But yeah, we’ve been hearing a lot about the Thwaites glacier lately and for good reason, let me give a quick primer for anybody that’s not familiar.

The Thwaites glacier is a massive glacier in Antarctica about the same size as Florida and it’s dangerously close to collapse, possibly in the next 5 years.

Scientists recently sent a submarine under the ice shelf at the foot of the glacier, this is what bumps up against a continental ridge and basically acts like a doorstop holding the rest of the glacier back.

And yeah, what they saw was way worse than they were expecting, it was thinner than they thought, there were obvious fracture points, this is a process that’s already started.

So if this ice shelf breaks apart, it would basically set the rest of the glacier in motion and send it pouring out into the sea. All of this ice set loose in the ocean could raise global sea levels by 1-2 feet.

That wouldn’t happen overnight, it’s a glacier, it moves at glacial speed, but losing the ice shelf would speed it up big time.

For example they used to think it would be 2100 before we saw that level of ocean rise but this might make it closer to 2050 or 2060.

And one to two feet is bad enough, but once that glacier ice melts into the ocean, that could raise the sea level 6 to 8 feet. Which we could see by 2100.

And just to add an extra dash of yikes to the whole thing, just like the Thwaites ice shelf is holding back the Thwaites glacier, it’s thought that losing the Thwaites glacier could trigger a loss of most of the entire West Antarctic Ice Sheet.


And this could add up to 11 feet of sea level rise when all is said and done.

Considering that 40% of the world’s population lives in urban areas near coastlines, that will be a massive problem.

So basically the fate of 3.2 billion people are in the hands of this relatively small strip of ice holding back this massive glacier, which is holding back an even bigger ice shelf… and that strip of ice is crumbling before our eyes.

Now again, this isn’t a next year kind of thing, even if the ice shelf falls apart tomorrow, it would take decades for the glacier to fully flake off into the ocean and even more decades to melt.

But once that ice shelf goes, it’ll basically set forth a series of events that can’t be stopped. It’ll be an event that affects our descendants for hundreds of years.

Unless we manage to drastically lower the global temperature, meaning removing greenhouse gasses from the atmosphere, and do it in the next couple of decades, which not only are we not removing them, or even slowing their growth, we are in fact still accelerating our emissions. 2021 was a record year.

So it’s not like this shelf could collapse and trigger a global tsunami or anything, though some headlines make it sound that way, I saw one headline that described it as a “don’t look up-level event”. That’s a bit of an exaggeration.

But it’s a tipping point. One we don’t really have any way of coming back from. And just another reason our great great grandkids are gonna just really hate us.

I think that’s how we know that time travel will never be possible because if it was, they would be zapping over here and slapping each and every one of us in the face.




Scientists Have Discovered The Largest Structure In The Universe

In today’s Lightning Round video, I answer questions from Patreon supporters on topics such as the Giant Arc – possibly the largest structure ever discovered in the universe, how autonomous cars will change industries, geopolitical instability, and whether phones can actually disrupt commercial aircraft.


It’s almost Christmas, so it’s time for Christmas lights-ning round.

And because it’s the 6th day of Christmas, I’ve got 6 geese a-layin’, meaning 6 questions. Because geese are very inquisitive animals and they’re laying questions…

Nothing about this analogy works. I’m not even sure if it’s the 6th day; where do you start counting from?

Apparently all of the different “gifts” in the song represent something and the partridge in a pear tree is supposed to mean they’re having an affair? That’s what my wife told me anyway. It’s all very weird, I’m sure the Victorians came up with it.

It’s probably all just hallucinations from arsenic and lead poisoning washed down with cocaine wine.

Anyway… Let’s get to the questions!

Like always these Lightning Round questions were gathered from Patreon supporters who are supporting at the solar system level so big thanks to them for the support as well as the questions.

Robin Tennant Colburn

Do cell phones really interfere with commercial airplane cockpit equipment?

Seems pretty hard to believe they don’t confiscate phones if it is true or wouldn’t a lot of planes have come down?–I think this falls into the category of “An Abundance of Caution”

According to pilot and author of Cockpit Confidential, Patrick Smith, ““Can cellular communications really disrupt cockpit equipment? The answer is potentially yes, but in all likelihood no,”“Even if it is not actively engaged with a call, a powered phone dispatches bursts of energy that can, in theory, interfere with a plane’s electronics. Aircraft are designed and shielded with this interference in mind, however, and this should mitigate any ill effects.”

So airplane mode is just an extra layer of protection when the plane is in the air, but it’s on takeoff and landing that it’s the most important, this is when most airplane incidents occur.

This is when it’s most important for pilots to communicate clearly with the tower and really, this is the only time the pilots actually do any flying, the rest is just done on autopilot with the pilots there to keep watch and make sure everything’s working correctly.

It’s the same reason they want you to put away large electronic devices at takeoff and landing, should something go wrong, you don’t want those flying around. It’s very unlikely to be necessary, but it can’t hurt to be cautious.

I for one don’t care. It’s a tiny price to pay. Commercial plane crashes are down to almost nothing, thanks to this overabundance of caution, so I’m kinda fine with that. Flying is a modern miracle. Smartphones are a modern miracle. Must we have both at the same time?

Also this: 

Plus, as Business Insider notes, the sheer effort of hundreds of in-flight cell phones attempting to connect to on-the-ground towers can put a major strain on cellular networks.

On the ground, your phone connects to one cell tower at a time (the closest one to you), switching to a new one as you move. But, as Travel + Leisure reports, when you’re far from the towers at 10,000 feet in the air traveling at hundreds of miles an hour, your phone connects to multiple towers at once.

That congestion can potentially make it more difficult for people on the ground to connect.


Cole Parker

While one might debate the when, the if of self driving cars seems settled. When level-4 unoccupied driving becomes available what business and services types are the most effected? Taxis seems obvious but what about parking lots or gas stations?

Gas stations I assume would be more affected by electrification than autonomy What even is a gas station anymore? Isn’t it all convenience stores with self-service gas pumps (except in some places) Because drivers will no longer be pumping gas themselves, gas stations won’t be needed at major intersections and fueling and recharging will likely take a place in out of the way locations where real estate is less expensive.  However, some observers believe the spread of AVs could be boon for convenience stores as long-distance trips will become more popular and replace air travel. Even if the nature of filling stations change, passengers will still need to stop to use the bathroom or to get something to eat or drink, so it remains to be seen if business at roadside convenience stores could increase.  Insurance companies Warren Buffet: Buffett told CNBC, “If they’re safer, there’s less in the way of insurance costs, [and] that brings down premiums significantly.”
Trucking/logistics Hauling more goods for less money could lower prices on everything. long-haul trucking will become more efficient which could put pressure on railroads;


Beyond these five, many other industries will be affected. For example, the need for parking spaces will be gradually relieved, which will also affect the way real estate is used;  more cellular data and entertainment services like Netflix will be consumed during car trips; package and food delivery will become more efficient and cheaper, accelerating the growth of restaurant delivery and e-commerce; driving schools will become obsolete; 

Brian Beswick

Can you talk about The Great Arc?

Is the Cosmological Principle dead?

This was interesting, I wasn’t aware of this one.
So the Giant Arc was discovered thanks to the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, so let’s start with that.

The Sloan Digital Sky Survey, or SDSS, is a 2.5m wide optical telescope that conducts multi-spectral imaging and red-shift surveying. It’s based out of Apache Point Observatory in New Mexico.

It’s been through many iterations over the years but first started operating in 1999 and its job is to survey as much of the sky as possible.

Like most telescopes zoom in on a tiny point in the sky or a single star or there’s that famous Hubble Deep Field photo where they pointed it at a tiny patch of sky and found all these galaxies, this is the opposite of that.

This telescope wants to capture the entire sky every night and just chug away collecting massive amounts of data, like it collects 200 gigs of data every night.
Anyway, all of this data is made available for astronomers to use and cosmologist Alexia Lopez found what might be the largest structure in the universe.(Alexia Lopez, University of Central Lancashire in Preston, England)

It looks like this, and they’re calling it the Giant Arc. So, just to explain what you’re looking at here, all the little blue dots are quasars, basically primordial black holes which I’ve talked about in a previous video but they’re super old and therefore really, really far away. And the gray blobs are galaxy clusters in between the quasars and us. And what Lopez and her team were looking for were specific signatures of light coming off of those quasars that would indicate that the light was passing through matter, in this case they were looking at magnesium.

In other words, magnesium atoms in the galaxy clusters were absorbing specific frequencies of light, or electromagnetic radiation. Now, we can’t see these galaxy clusters, but the magnesium in the stars and dust clouds were absorbing that particular frequency of light in those spots, so that’s how you know there’s something there.

And this something, this massive supercluster of galaxy clusters stretches across 1/15th the distance of the entire observable universe. If you could see it in the sky, it would be 20 times wider than the moon.

Which might not sound like much but that’s 9.2 billion light years away so yeah, it’s huge.

Now Brian also mentions the Cosmological Principle, and this is where things get pretty interesting.

The Cosmological Principle is a hypothesis that the universe is homogeneous at large scales, that in a big-picture view, stuff should kinda be everywhere, which is why things like the Bootes void is so weird.
So if this is an actual structure that’s that big in the universe, it kinda breaks that hypothesis.  And that would be a big deal. The question, basically, is are we seeing an actual structure or is it just a random collection of galaxy clusters that just happened to line up, and we see a structure because we’re pattern-seekers?

But there are other large structures that have been theorized lately too, including the Sloan Great Wall, the Giant Gamma-Ray Burst Ring and the Huge Large Quasar Group.

Maybe I could do a video on the largest objects in the universe? Just saying…

Matt Herring

Hey Joe, it’s been a while, hope all is well! Question: what technology are you the most excited for and why?

For me it’s mRNA if for no other reason than potential cancer vaccines.
Okay, first of all, guys, Matt Herring was one of my very first Patreon supporters, and he is still going strong on there, which absolutely blows my mind, total legend.

But when it comes to your question, I’ve gotta be honest, the mRNA thing is way up there for me.
I spend so much time worrying about cancer, especially the ones like pancreatic cancer that by the time you know you have it, it’s pretty much too late.

I actually lost an uncle to that a couple of years ago. Like literally he was diagnosed and 6 weeks later he was gone. Just unreal.
So yeah, anything that could take away that always-there anxiety about stuff like cancer would be a huge deal, for mental health reasons if nothing else.

I actually went to a conference on aging and longevity recently (text on screen: Thanks Chris!) and there were some great speakers talking about stem cell therapies and research into reversing aging which appeal to me for


I’m old, I’m getting old.

There was another speaker there (James Mault) who had come up with this thing called the BioButton that can regularly monitor your health signs so you can stay on top of things and fix them when they’re small.
He talked about how we don’t really have healthcare, we have sick care, we just do our thing and go see the doctor when we’re sick but just like anything else in this world, we need regular maintenance to keep problems from coming up.

Maintenance, and monitoring so you know when big problems are still small. Like we have that light on the dashboard in our cars to tell us something is wrong and we need to do something before the engine overheats or whatever, we could have that for our bodies. And we may be on the brink of new wearable devices that can do that. And I find that pretty cool.

Other things I find exciting are energy breakthroughs, all these fusion companies are making progress here and there, a thorium reactor I believe just went online in China, I’ve covered Small Modular Reactors on my channel.
And yeah, to me electric cars and energy storage is a big part of that as well, those get me excited.

I’ve been dipping my toe into VR stuff recently and starting to see the potential for that. If someone really does nail smartglasses, I think that would be a huge gamechanger. I’m ready to see something like that coming.
JWST, I’ve got every digit crossed for that over the next 6 months.

Yeah, some exciting stuff on the way. I’m sure I’m forgetting something, feel free to leave what you’re excited about in the comments.

And now, a less inspiring topic.

Maasman (Colton Maas)

What do you think the next 10 years will look like Geo politically?

Colton went on to talk about China and Russia and some of their more aggressive moves lately, like apparently Russia has started amassing troops on the border of Ukraine which is not encouraging.
I am not remotely qualified to answer this question so I’m just going to touch on a couple of things.

We’ve been seeing a rise in authoritarianism lately and I know it’s probably too simplistic but I do think the internet has a lot to do with it.

The internet is still very new from a historical perspective, and web 2.0, with the social media landscape, is only, what, just over 10 years old? And we are basically a tribal species that is struggling to be a global species, and it’s caused a lot of chaos and upheaval.

And in times of chaos and upheaval, people look to strongmen and cults of personality to guide them through. And I think that’s what we’re seeing.

I really hope that the upcoming generation will probe to be more saavy about that since they were brought up on the internet, and I think there’s some reasons to thing that might be the case.

Plus there are always pendulum swings, there will be anti-authoritarian movements that push back against the current trends, but whether that happens in the next 10 years is a big question.

So these authoritarians are going to grab as much as they can while they can, they’re going to continue to use social media to tear apart the US, who has kinda been the world police for a while now.
I don’t want to be a total downer but I do think there are going to be some difficult times ahead. I don’t think the worst is behind us. But again, this is the opinion of a very non-expert. So, make of that what you will.

John Regel 

If you could go back 5 years but only had enough energy in the time portal machine to shout a single statement at yourself through the time tunnel, what would you say?

You know what, honestly, I would just say, “Keep making videos, it works out!” Five years ago was a very interesting time for me because I’d been doing weekly videos on this channel for about 2 years and was just over 10,000 subscribers.

I was still working at the job at the newspaper and had just been picked for the YouTube NextUp program, which was a big motivator to try to do this full-time but I was nowhere near making enough to live off of.

But I had a chance to take another job, one where I would be managing youtube channels, and it was a big pay cut actually, and I took it. It was a crazy leap of faith and most people thought I’d lost my mind. I thought I’d lost my mind.

And then 6 months later my entire department at my last job got canned. Getting out when I did was one of the luckiest breaks I’ve ever had.
So yeah, it was rough for a while but I kept at it and things started to grow and here we are… But those were REALLY stressful times, actually it’s funny you picked 5 years ago because I really didn’t know how all this would turn out.

So yeah, a little validation at that time would have been nice.

BUT… if I knew, would I have worked as hard, butterfly effect, etc.?

John Regel

Have you ever noticed that dogs train us to a lesser degree?

About a year ago, my dog began walking up to my wife and I and stretching. We always found it so cute that we’d scratch his sides. It took us about a month to realize he was shaping our behavior as well. Is this owner bias (I.e. my dog is super smart because he’s my dog) or has he modified our behavior with positive reinforcement (doing something we find cute)?

As always with these lightning round videos, if you’d like to see a deeper dive into any of these subjects, please let me know in the comments. It could be it’s own video.

Subscribe to YouTube Channel

Subscribe to Podcast

You can be canker sore free in only 6 weeks!