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Hey, everybody. You're listening to Smart Lists hosted by Jason Bateman, Will Arnett and myself, Sean Hayes. I know. I wish my voice was more masculine, too. This show is about learning through laughter in the brains of people around the world who are far smarter than us. Three idiots. And each week one of us brings on a guest to the other two don't know about. So with that, let's jump into the Smart List, a rocket ship and let's blast off into the universe together.
I think I just turned myself on. Our show Smart Listeners brought to you by Auto Zone, America's number one battery destination. Get in the zone. Auto Zone. Now back to smartness.
I went to seventh grade with Janet Jackson. I'm serious. Did you at a school called Valley Professional. It was a perfect. Hold on. It was a school that was only from nine a.m. to 12 p.m. so that you had your afternoons free for audition for auditions. Yeah, it was sort of like the back of a gas station on Sherman Way and Vineland. And I'm not sure they were accredited. I think chances are high that they were not a credit.
I went to high school with with one of the kids. This is not a bit from from the original Degrassi Junior High.
So I went to college with I was piano majors with Craig Robinson from the office.
Really? Oh, I knew that. Wait. I knew that. Piano majors together.
What's a piano major? You major in piano and you don't minor. And I get it Major. Oh.
Are different ranks. There's a verb cause I was a piano colonel.
But then that is so dumb I can't thank this to the horse. You're going to laugh. I just watched you Hayes because I knew, I knew that would get so.
Anyway, Adès, who's our guest, whose guest is it today?
Whose guest is it today? Guys, today, my guest today grew up in the Bronx. He became interested in astronomy at the age of nine after visiting the Hayden Planetarium. And today, is this Derek Jeter? No, it's not Jeter cause he's now the director of that same planetarium. And after studying at Harvard here and his doctorate from Columbia University, he was awarded the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal. Sean, you've really done it this time.
He's known for his ability to make difficult concepts accessible to every audience Will. Sure. Yeah. So, guys, we have with us today my favorite astrophysicist of all Infinity, Neil deGrasse Tyson.
Yeah. Hey, guys. What an honor. Thank you so much for being on here. I know this is very nice of you to come and chat with us today.
I want to, you know, do people kind of like jump right in and ask you things about the universe in the same way one might, you know, after discovering some as a doctor and go, you know, having the pain in my lower back without hesitation instead of asking you about you first.
Yeah, no, I don't care about me. And as an educator, I don't think who I teach should care about me. That's a cult building. Really? Yeah. So could compare these two scenarios. Someone comes up to me, say, hey, aren't you Neil deGrasse? I said, yes. Tell me more about a black hole of this. So that's the perfect educational encounter, the one that tonight is. Are you Neil Tyson? I said yes.
Oh. What's your favorite color? What's your favorite? All of a sudden, I become the object of their curiosity rather than the universe itself. And in that way, I fail.
And you don't like that? No, it's it's it's a failure.
No, no, I'm just it's a failure of my educational effort. If I become the object of their interest, that's all. I'll do it and I'll accommodate it.
And, you know, on a certain level, you feel like you've failed in your objective. Must not have made the science interesting enough for them to come at the foot not knowing you.
I would think you know all. Why? All I ever see of you. And again, I'm I'm such a huge fan of yours.
And I could hear you talk about all of this crap which I love for hours.
But the stuff that he's spent his life studying, you've summed up his whole crap. Thank you, Sean.
This is the HD and Chris-Craft. This is why I don't have APHC crappers piled high. Indeed. This is the page. Do you know? But you don't.
I'm saying like I like I want to get into that.
Believe me, you will answer all of my questions. I'm here for you. Yes.
But like when I read that thing that you first became enamored with the universe at nine years old, going to the Hayden Planetarium, and now you're the director of the Hayden Planetarium. Like, most teenagers don't have that drive. You know, when you go because I read that you obsessively studied astronomy when you were a teenager. And so most teenagers don't have that drive. What was the thing that kept you going as like, oh, my God, the thirst for knowledge?
It was the it wasn't so much a thirst for knowledge, but the fact that I knew that when I looked up, I was completely steeped in ignorance and boundless ignorance. And so there's this quest.
Jason usually just looks in the mirror and that happens is so connected with that.
I actually sleep with my eyes open because they're, you know, the fact that there's something around us that we know about which we know so little became this infinite source of curiosity for me. And I've never been the same since since ajoint. And I didn't know that most people are still sort of amberleigh in college. Why did I go to Major? Oh, you majored in astronomy. Because it's early in the alphabet, you know, my stuff goes deep with regard to that.
And to that point, explain to people like us, idiots who don't know what the difference between astrophysics and astronomy as well.
So we're all in modern times, do astrophysics or astronomy is the traditional older name for it. But in the late eighteen hundreds, we figured out how to apply the laws of physics to what was going on in the universe. And this was births astrophysics before then. It's like, well, the star is over here. And it's this bright and it's that color. Oh, it might be moving. OK. So let's call it a planet or. It's got a tail.
So we call it a comet. Was descriptive in that in the 19th century we learned how to take spectra of stars and spectra breaks the into its colours like a rainbow. And when you do that, you learn things like how fast is it moving, how fast and rotating? What is made? How long ago was born? Yeah. Create models of that. And so all of a sudden the universe becomes our backyard.
Yeah. Because, you know, when I, I still do this, I mean I'm the dumbest level on this. And most, you know, simplest level, I there's there's places on earth and it's wearing thin where the air is cleaner and you can see more stars somewhere like Hawaii or whatever, and you lie there and you like a kid. I'm still act like a kid. And I look up. And the longer you look up at a clear sky to all the stars, you can't help but think about everything you're talking about, which is actually where we come from.
What how that light that we're seeing is like way older than the Earth and whatever.
That's the one that got me when I when I was about 12 years old, a teacher said to me, he said, look, I see you see that. You see that star. I don't know what I was doing, the teacher in the middle of the night. But he said the light that you're seeing.
That's the next that's another episode, a different episode. It's a whole different podcast. That one's called.
You Don't Want to know them on a very special. You Don't Want to know. So he said the light you're seeing right now left that star back in the Roman Empire. And I said, well, what is what does that mean? He says, well, the speed of light is correct me if I'm wrong here, one hundred eighty six thousand miles a second. You got it. So I don't know. Eighty six thousand miles a second. You just pull that out now.
I mean, he'd left a mark because your jokes hold your jokes.
Well. So. So if you travel at one hundred and eighty six thousand miles a second for a year, that's a light year. Yeah. So that's. So it's a measurement of distance. So he said so the light traveling at one hundred eighty six thousand miles per second since the Roman Empire.
That's how far away that that that white is only just now reached only to the right. Yeah.
And he said any he said he said, for instance, the sun, the heat that you're feeling on your face. This is this is after we woke up, he said. He said he said that you put down a cigarette, took it, put it out on my forearm. And he said that that is seven minutes old. That that the heat from the sun. So that's how far the sun is away.
And so I don't know how you got the speed of light. Correct. And that number wrong. Oh, so close enough that you're close to a long night. So it's not seven minutes away.
To give you the curriculum, get to know the speed of light to that precision and then get that other number wrong. That's a little weird, but it's eight minutes and 20 seconds. Five hundred seconds. I was so close. And by the way, it's not it's not only the light that takes eight minutes and 26. It was just so, too, does it take the sun's gravity. So if you're some giant pluck to the sun out of the middle of the solar system, we would still orbit.
We would still feel its gravity. We would not know any different for eight minutes and 20 seconds. And at that instant, we would plunge into darkness and fling out into interstellar space.
So so that is those moments. Those things, though, you know, a teacher telling Jason that I think those are mind blowing moments.
And I've had those mindblowing moments right here, these things which obviously throughout because of what you do throughout your life, you must have had a million mind blowing revelations and stats and things thrown at you and discoveries that you've made.
Have you reached a point where it doesn't blow your mind anymore, or what are the things that blow your mind about about the universe around us?
So everyone, I think, should have their mind blown at least once a week. OK. That's what that's the mind blowing quota I think is should be about that. And if I might as well I mean, you're not reading enough or you're not exploring enough because there's stuff out there. I'll give it. Here's a simple one. Ready? If you go to the flower of an apple orchard and count how many petals are on that flower. OK, there are five petals.
Then that flower shrivels up and then it becomes the fruit of the tree, the apple. If you cut the apple horizontally through it and you see the chambers, there are five chambers. So there's a correspondence between the number of seed chambers and the apple. And the petals on the flower that became the apple. I mean, this is just kind of if you don't notice that, start noticing it. And then there are places where and that's not even anything that's got nothing to the origin of the universe.
But it's something simple that's around you.
I've had a question that I've been waiting to talk with somebody like you to help me try to answer.
And it takes a cream, right?
You're looking for a cream or an ointment or a gel. The. OK. So if you look with a strong enough telescope, you can see further and further back in time. Right. Because you're seeing light that is older and or new. Well, you'll contextualize that for it. But basically, you could effectively look at the big bang. You know, the origin of the universe. Exactly.
So you are looking at the past and then.
But by the way, would just to be clear. Yeah. We're in a Corona verse right now. But if I was sitting across the table from you, you don't see me in your present. You see me in your past light at a hundred eighty six thousand miles per second goes one foot per nanosecond, one foot per billionth of a second. So we're like three feet across from each other. You see me not as I am, but as I once was.
Three billionths of a second to go. We don't make a big deal of that because human lifespan is much longer than billions of a second. But if I start getting farther and the moon is one and a half light seconds, the sun, five hundred light seconds, the nearest star, four light years. You keep going farther and farther away. You get two significant timeframes back into the past of the object you're observing. And that's why that's where cosmology comes in.
It's how we decode the record of the universe, because it takes light so much damn time to reach us.
And Sean, you're going to take cosmology right at one point just for my skin scan.
Yeah. That's why glow. That's why I glow like a star. Beautifully. Yes. So. So if you're looking back at something that happened a long time ago, i.e. the Big Bang, somewhere in that big bang is our planet is is the earth and therefore everything you see the Earth before anything has ever happened on it. No. So if you can see it, so if you can see Balliett, you continue. But the eye should really stop you there.
But I'll let you continue.
Well, so let's let's make an assumption. The Big Bang was the start of everything. So at some point, whatever were were rolling around on here on this this rock was in there. So my my point is, if you can see all the way back that far, then is there a a theory because it would be impossible to actually construct where you could set up a series of mirrors, where you could look back and forth and back and forth and back and forth enough times theoretically, where you could see yesterday.
Yes. If we believe we can already see the big bang. That's got to be harder than seeing yesterday. But if you if you constricted that in two or contracted that, rather, into a series of mirrors, then maybe you could eventually see last week, last month.
So if you put a mirror one light day away from you. And you look at it, you will see yourself yesterday, right? OK. But that requires a mirror. The Big Bang is not a mirror. So when you see evidence of the big bang that far out, you're not seeing us go through the big bang. You're seeing another part of the universe go through the Big Bang. If they looked to where we are, they don't see our light from you right now in this podcast.
No, they see Earth and our galaxy 14 billion years ago when we were going through the Big Bang. So you have to be that distance away to see that far in the past.
So there is no way to construct a a window into the past. By setting up a series of of of well tuned mirrors.
Well, if someone else set that up for you. Yeah. So you can set up a mirror or a seven light days away. And then you look at it, you'll see yourself two weeks ago because it's seven days out. Seven days back. So.
So in theory, like, Jason could apologize to me for certain things that he did. In theory.
Do you think we could set enough mirrors in a row so that we could look far back enough to see the start of Jason's question?
No. That's the top top scientist still true to her.
Hey, Jason. Yep. You zoning, bro? I am zoning. I am zoning a little bit.
I could see it in one of your eyes. Is my iris just spinning like a mad mag? Yeah. It's the zone I it's the auto zone I. So I went ahead and tapped in auto zone dot com and saw batteries. So I bought one of those. It's, it's bad ass car battery. Can you order that online. I can, yes. From Auto Zone. They've got a great Web site, AutoZone dot com. I mean, you just put in your car.
It tells you what batteries fit and then you can buy it and go pick it up. Same day, huh? Can you ordered online. Were you not listening? Did you just. Yes. You just said I just set it up after the last batteries you ordered from auto zone dot com. You can pick it up same day at over five thousand eight hundred locations. You can also get your battery tested or even charged for free. So you can order it online.
Oh, sweet Lord. Yes. You can order during last batteries, the batteries. More consumers choose online from Auto Zone, America's number one battery destination at AutoZone dot com. OK, got it. I got it. Jeez. Well, I definitely pulled a muscle in my brain a little bit song and I have to lay down. Tell me your name one more time. It's Sean, huh? Chin. Got it.
I want to go back again. A lot of don't ask you about you. And I'm interested in you as well as all the other stuff, and I still want to get to that.
But you're you have two kids, right? Mm hmm. Did they ever follow in your passion or do they have are they on tick tock and that's it.
There was there was never that expectation or obligation. And they had freedom to think what they want to study what they want. And they're each doing different things right now. But I can tell you that by the time they were 12 or 13 certified scientifically literate. Oh, wow.
Oh, yeah. You don't have to tell us. But are they in that world of science? No. No.
But they're scientifically literate. So the difference is, if you say I believe it means your brain is wired for inquiry, it's wired for thought. So that at a young age, I'm happy that they were also polite when they did this because otherwise we'd be embarrassing if you were a Grown-Up, walked into the room and you said something, oh, I'd check my horoscope sign today. And my 12 year old 13 year old kids heard that they would say, well, what did you find?
Yeah, they would start asking questions. And what are you basing that on? And have you tested it? And I'm just calmly sort of ask the questions to drive you into the corner that you really are in because you have no foundation for those thoughts. That's the science literacy that I'm talking about that anybody can and should cultivate for themselves whether or not you become a scientist.
Aha. Neal, if you could pick one subject that you would have an equal level depth of knowledge about what what would it be? Is it is there another or another area?
Thanks for that question. If I had a if there's a parallel universe, I'll have I'll it at an alternative. Not in this universe, but another universe in another universe. I would be writing songs for Broadway musicals. Why do you write?
Do you play anything? Oh, no. She writes another universe. That's why I said this is this is so I don't have musical ability, but I do I, I like to write. I like knowing the effect that words have on your emotions, on your thoughts and your enlightenment.
I'd like simplifying phrases and good songs or are not complex stories. Go read a book if you wanted a complex story. It's got to hit you emotionally. So I and my family, we go to a musical theater. Often I will tear up at a simple Broadway Boy meets girl musical or or nowadays boy meets boy. Girl meets girl. Any of those where there is the expression of human emotion.
Well, thank you for checking out the 2010 smash hit on Broadway. Promises Promises starring Sean Hayes and Kristin Chenoweth. Oh, that's so nice of you. Oh, that's incredible. Way to go backstage now. Yeah. Oh, that's so.
So if I had an alternative universe, so I'd like to write. And so when I write my books, each sentence, each phrasing, each turn of the syllables of a word, I'm thinking about how that lands in the reader. And I, I think if it's done well, that's what it should be like. Because then you'll just want more of it. So if there is another universe, that's what I'd be doing in that universe.
I have an idea and this is I'm not being snarky here at all. What what if you wrote a space musical? Like, if you I could see that would be really interesting if you somehow. I mean, would anybody think to make a musical about Hamilton? You know, like, that's just bizarre.
Yeah. The fascinating fact about Broadway musicals is that they have been on every possible subject you couldn't ever have imagined. But not Hamilton Katz. The prime minister of of Argentina. You know, just just make the list. How does that. So why don't you. So why don't you do that? Because that's another. You didn't. How do I start this? I said in another universe, you.
But you could be the creative console. You're saying he could write the book and someone else could write the music?
Yeah, I think so. I would need I would need a I do have some ideas and I'd have notes in my book, but that's not I got all shy. I got the chance.
But we're making deals here.
But, you know, it's funny that you say, Neal, that you say, you know, that they've they've there are Broadway musicals based on every conceivable subject to the president of Argentina with a veto. They're, you know, whatever it is.
And that kind of reminded me of this whole conversation, reminded me of somebody one time explaining to me the idea of infinity. And they said, imagine infinity is imagine a room, imagine a library that is filled with books on every possible subject, including me describing that library to you. There's a book on about me describing describing that book to you. There's on every possible go the mirrors again, the effect of me describing that comfort, you know, to you.
Oh, we got an effect that has on butterflies, like whatever. Understood. Moving forward, then imagine that they're stacked in every direction. Yeah. As far as you can see, they said that. Infinity is. We got it. No, no, no. The libraries themselves end it with a question. Well, can I talk to you for a sec?
My, my my question is this.
I got one for you. Let's let's have I'll get your starter infinity. Right. Cause it's not really infinity, but it is something to think about. So if consider that if you open a dictionary, every word used in the definition of every word is in that same dictionary. Yeah. That's kind of mind blowing. Yeah, that is interesting. I never thought about that, OK? No, no, no. The other things that are sort of transcend comprehension, Pinocchio.
OK. Here's a sentence that Pinocchio utters. Ready? My nose is about to grow. What will happen? It's going to grow. It's going to grow. Probably not going to grow. It's not. He's a liar. Let me finish. It's not going to grow.
That means he was lying.
That's right. So it's not going to grow? No. That means he was telling the truth.
OK, so let me get you some other questions I have. So my my my point is that sentence has no meaning in Pinocchio's universe, even though the nouns and verbs are all in the right place. It transcends the world that you have set up to understand Pinocchio's statements and his actions. It's a very simple sentence, given that we agree upon the rules of Pinocchio. Yes. Yes, we all of course we agree. Because we agree. Given those rules, this is a sentence that cannot even be uttered in his world.
OK, so infinity is something that is not fundamentally accessible to the wiring of our brain because our brain evolved on the plains of the Serengeti to not get chased by a lion. OK. I get eaten by a lion. This is so that the tools we need to not die in our evolutionary past do not include infinity now.
So based on that. So. So, Neal. So our brains are not wired to understand the concept of fundamentally. To understand the concept of infinity.
Yeah. There's an absence of logic in which we are logical creatures relative to other lifeforms. Sure. But our capacity to not be logical knows no bounds.
But the fact is, you know that. And so you have to make certain leaps in order to try to. How do you hack that in order to make, you know, discoveries and things that you have to do? What is.
Do you know and are you just aware of your own inability to do it at the same while simultaneously it comes from the math.
So you do the math long enough, then you absorb the math as part of your intuition so you can think intuitively about what the math equations would have done, rather than relying solely on how you would have not getting eaten by a lion and the wiring that that provides. So you start building up other wiring in your brain that empowers you to think in these other ways. And this high thinking, the quantum the quantum world is really weird, particles popping in and out of existence, particles simultaneously existing as a wave.
And the wave particle duality, you might have heard of this. All of this is fundamental. And the mathematics describes it. The experiments measure it. The brain cannot comprehend it.
I know we don't have a lot of time. I have tons of questions.
So let's do like not a rapid fire, but lightning round. I'm good. I got you. OK, let's do it. So how hackers are great.
And by the way, my lightning answers need to be matched with your lightning questions, just to be clear in order for that to work.
Now, where you're. We're here to listen to you. If you guys have, like, something far. But these are really I wrote I wrote these down. I'm doing it now. Are we ever going to get to Mars? And why do we want to.
We will if it has geopolitical priorities. But otherwise, I think it's a very distant dream. So if China says they want to put military bases on Mars, we're there in nine months. If not.
Really. Really? Yeah. Yeah, we're going to the moon again.
Is that right? Did I just read that? Yeah. Because other countries are gaining power over what's called cislunar space. The space between Earth and the moon. And that's the new high ground. So there are geopolitical forces that make all of that happen. The business cases come later. The tourism than all the rest of this and the space X, that all comes after the first Vought forays out. There are countries who have geopolitical interests in mind. When Columbus came to the new world, was that it did.
Did Queen Isabella say, oh, is a take, take pictures and bring them back and tell us no. It was like, here's a satchel of Spanish flags. Plant them wherever you go and find a short a trade route to India. It's always been the driver of humanity. Always. Always.
So because I'm obsessed with the speed of light, how soon will we be able to travel the speed of light?
Because so many scientists never, you know, through the through the next day.
But wait, they've informed us of certain laws of physics. I'm just wondering, when do we start applying them?
So breaking the light barrier is not the same thing as breaking the sound barrier. Right. When you heard people say, oh, we'll never fly. And they're just idiots. You know why? Because birds fly. Right. And they're heavier than air. You just haven't figured it out yet and can never go faster than sound. Rifle bullets went faster than sound before we had planes. So we can make things faster than sound. Just figure it out.
The speed of light is not just a good idea. It's the law of the universe. And if you want to go faster, you have to like tunnel through space time or for have warp drives, which is what all the science fiction ones do. They don't just actually travel faster than light. They try to find some plausible scientific accounting for how they can travel faster than light. And I applaud them all for that. Right.
So why then, after what seems like a hundred years is the only means of fast travel an airplane? Because doesn't it seem like by now there should be some kind of improvement on the plane? The only improvement is, you know, the shonto get pissed off.
I know he sounds aggro today. I am. Because because I'm frustrated that the lightning round.
Right. I'll go tell you. Oh, sorry. God. Here it is. So somebody else is angry.
Some of your old enough to remember that the Concorde SSTO supersonic. Right. So that's like the next leap from an ordinary airplane. Do you know something? We didn't have a supersonic commercial plane, but France and England did. Right. I was the Concorde, and I always wondered why they stopped making them. Oh, you know why? Oh, well, wait a minute. Why can't they fly to Los Angeles? Oh, we're not going to let them because they'll have a sonic boom over the continental United States.
So we cut them off at their kneecaps and said, you can fly, but you can only cross the ocean. Is that greatly limited the growth of that supersonic industry?
And why don't we want a sonic boom over the country? Because it's too scary.
What else can shatter dishes and things and knock from the space shuttle dead at, though? Well, that's good. It's coming in. Or Florida. And it's over. Low density area and mostly ocean.
So you can do it. You have to. You have to understand, Neal, who Sean's theory is that if you're high enough, anything's OK. It's so stupid.
So what we really want is hypersonic transportation, where you get to Tokyo in an hour and a half. This would be suborbital. I want that right. OK. That's even faster than just the Concorde. I you know, if you go suborbital, you not you're not farther than 45 minutes from any two places anywhere on Earth. Here's the problem. What does it mean that to an hour and a half to drive to the airport at another 45 minutes and TSA.
So it took you three hours and then you got to park the car. Three hours to take a 45 minute trip to Tokyo. There's a point where just put me on an airplane where I have Internet and movies and I'm fine. And I don't need to get there faster.
So correct me if I'm wrong this that this is what suborbital is. The earth is rotating in a thousand miles an hour.
Right. And at the equator. At the equator. So so it's it's spinning around, let's say, a thousand miles an hour. A plane, really. Let's for interest in math or what. Easy numbers. It goes five miles and 500 miles an hour. Right. So if you're going the direction the earth is rotating, you're never going to get to that Destino because you because you're inside this three mile gravitational bubble. Right.
Neil, you should know that the teacher told them that on the second night he stayed for a second night. We had a wonderful time. Wonderful time.
No, no. So. So if you launch your plane at the equator. Yes. And you stay in Earth's atmosphere because it's flying through the Earth's atmosphere. Earth is turning as a thousand miles an hour. The air is moving at a thousand miles an hour. The plane is moving at a thousand miles an hour. An hour goes 500 miles an hour. So it's going fifteen hundred miles an hour through space.
But if you go straight up and you leave this three mile sort of bubble, you then leave gravitational pull. And you can take advantage of that thousand mile an hour speed.
They want that thousand miles to get a little extra boost to go into orbit around the Earth. And orbital speed is 18000 miles an hour. So you get a little get a little boost by doing that. If you go back the opposite way, you've got to make up 2000 miles per hour's worth of speed, even if you just went straight up like a rocket does.
And you don't know that. The fact that they don't.
I'm saying if. But if most. But just be clear. Just some people don't know. Yeah. Most of the energy of a rocket launch is not to go up. It is to go down stream and give it enough sideways speed so that it doesn't fall out of the sky. Wow. So that's so the space shuttle, the space that they're all going 18000 miles an hour sideways. That's why Mission Control your now go through that. Execute the role program.
And this is the space shuttle now going sideways, down stream were down. So that's. So they're not going up there going sideways. That's most of their energy. We think space is up. You know, high up they go. But when you guys live. We live in L.A., okay. Yeah. Yeah. They are less above Earth's surface than the distance of San Francisco from Los Angeles. OK. In fact, they're half that distance.
What's it. What? How many miles every year. It's like four, three.
Three hundred miles. 350 miles. Yeah, it's about three. Yeah. Yeah, about 350 miles. So two thirds of that. That's the height that the space shuttle flies. So you can drive that in a few hours. That's not even what the rocket is doing, OK? It's just getting up above the atmosphere because it doesn't have to plow through air. By the way, if we didn't have an atmosphere, it would just go sideways, just launch it sideways.
So once you're above the atmosphere, you're outside the gravitational pull right up. Tall is the atmosphere.
The last we checked, Earth is orbited by the moon. The moon feels Earth's gravity. So all astronauts are deep within Earth's gravity. The difference is they're weightless, not because they've left Earth's gravity, but because they are falling towards Earth. So here's the brilliance of Ising and one might some mind blowing. Here it is. Isaac Newton, he said. There's the moon in orbit around the Earth and I drop an apple and a fall straight to Earth.
Is this the same thing or is it two different things going on? And then he had a thought experiment. This is why he's Isaac Newton and where the rest of us, he said, Suppose I have a mountain and have a cannon and I fire a cannonball from that mountain horizontally. It'll go out a few hundred yards and hit the ground. Right. Suppose I fire it faster. It'll go farther along Earth's surface before it hits the ground.
Let me keep. Increasing the speed and it falls farther and farther away from you. There must be a speed where full so far away from you. It completely goes around the earth and hits you in the back of the head. Well, at that point, just duck and the ball continues in what we call orbit. And that entire time it was falling towards Earth. The difference is it fell by the exact amount that Earth curved away from it.
I try to throw knowledge at Jason from a distance and I had never hit him in the head. Now I never get out of her head.
So just think about this is what this is profound. Think about this. Yeah. It was going sideways so fast that when you dropped a foot, when you dropped a foot, Earth's curvature curves away from you by a foot.
So you never catch. You never catch up to it. You never catch up to the right. This is the definition of an orbit. And you're in freefall the entire time. Like cutting the cables of an elevator falling straight down. Except you're happen to have sideways motion. And so falling straight down means you never hit the earth.
Neil, there's a lot of debate about this because I know you've got to go. There's a lot to be done. Do you agree? A lot of people say that the best season of Will and Grace was season five.
Do you think that's true? Because. OK, wait. I know you have to go, but I really. This is the biggest one I wanted to talk to you about. And you can we can just plow right through it. I want to talk about aliens. I love them. I want to meet them.
If nobody doesn't love the aliens, I'm OK. Sure, I would be with them. Are they real? Have we been visited by them? And if not, will we? Because. Because it is the other foul up thing I watched. You know, I'm like obsessed documentarian about aliens and space and all that fly. Area 51. So Bob Lazaar has this documentary. Did you see it? Was it. It was about he. He claimed he had or has some element that is not of this earth.
Which alien craft is made up of. Is this. Do you know this?
Yeah, I've heard of these claims, but they don't offer to laboratories to me. I mean, here's the thing. If if we're visited by aliens, why. Maybe we've been visited. OK, maybe. I think we have.
OK, let me offer you countervailing. I thought regarding that. Do you realize we collectively upload a billion photographs and videos to the Internet per day? Per day. Every day we upload more photos and videos to the Internet that existed in the world in the first hundred years of photography. We we have photos of extremely rare phenomena like buses tumbling and in hurricanes, I mean, or in tornadoes in the day, you wouldn't say, oh, that's interesting.
Let me go home. I get my camera and film this. So everybody's got a camera, right? Until we head, until everybody had a camera. You had all these reports of people getting abducted. Where's the photo of the craft? Where's the horn? Why is it that you're your best evidence for aliens visiting? Is fuzzy Navy video. I know why. Why is that your best ever?
What do you think? What do you think about the Navy video? Neil, what do you think? I don't know what it is. That's why it's so you. Unidentified flying much in this documentary.
They say, you know what you're saying. Why? Why wouldn't aliens come down and greet that greet us? And why don't they say. Because and the explanation is they are afraid of us and they are afraid what we would do to them.
So the common denominator of all conspiracy theorists is when they don't have the data. They have to invent something to bridge the gap in their data. So I'm not bridging any gap. I'm saying everybody is a recorder. Where's the evidence of these visitations? Why is it that crop circles only happen when nobody's looking? All right. Well, why are the aliens just shy? OK, aliens are shy. Then maybe they don't want to be disturbed by us.
Fine. OK. But when the aliens finally come. Who are not shy. I don't think they're only going to show up in fuzzy Navy video.
So let's let's close with this. First of all, we do have one thing in common, you and I. You have over a dozen honorary doctorates because of all the knowledge in your brain while I have over a dozen doctors treating the condition of my brain. So what are the scientists? What are the scientists getting right right now? And what are they getting wrong as far as colvard and global warming? OK, so one of the challenges is when you model climate that is very messy, there's a lot of heat from the sun.
There's the uptake of carbon dioxide in the ocean. There's the spewing of carbon dioxide. It's very complicated. And so what we need is training on how to think about models presented by scientists because every model has an uncertainty range. And so you present the model and the uncertainty range to lawmakers and to policy people and say, here's the best available knowledge. Now, find a political solution to this. You don't say take the politics or say, oh, we deny what your scientists are saying.
What is that? What what are you doing? What? What? This is a recipe for disaster. As I've said, I think I tweeted this recently. Every disaster movie begins with what? People ignoring the warnings of a scientist. Right. Right, right.
Of course. But it goes to what you were saying before, as we know. And whether people want to admit or not, we are constantly driven by geopolitical goals, et cetera, personal.
And I accept that. But just don't don't put those in front of objectively true scientific information source, because then what then your argument. You're arguing a house of cards and nothing good will ever come of that. So where we need to retrain people to understand what science is, how and why it works, what is an objective truth? What does it mean to be convinced by something? Why do we have people who think Earth is flat? Why would I know it's crazy?
Where is the failure?
Do you think global warming is the next, quote, pandemic that we're gonna be dealing with? Look, it's it's an existential crisis that's happening on a longer timescale than the pandemic is. So the timeframes over which things have been happening with regard to the pandemic are rapid. They're happening outwardly. All right. Right. And we all need to behave coherently to fight it. It's like saying, oh, well, some states wants to open for other states.
And the my favorite analogue to that is that's like opening a peeing section of the pool.
OK, just go to that section of pool and pee there. Here's the problem. The virus is not visible, OK? If, by the way, if your pee turn purple in contact with the chlorine, everybody would be called out for that. Okay. Right. Instantly. But you can't see the virus. And so people think they were somehow immune to it.
But if a monster came out of the woods, grab people at the rate that Kofod deaths are happening, grabbed them and bit their head office, build their bloods in the streets. The coordinated effort in the world to get rid of this creature would know no bounds. OK. So here we have a virus that you can't see. And somehow you think it's not going to affect you. This is a problem with human cognition and human. Again, it's relates to the Serengeti is a big and it can eat you.
I'm scared of it. Otherwise, I don't know. I'm not scared, OK? Even though if I should be.
It's amazing the resources at that the government uses and the money and the power to to solve this problem almost immediately when they could do that with anything.
Very good point. And so for me, it was a shot across our bow. Think of if hostile aliens came and visited. We should all coordinate. Put down your weapons against each other because they're after humans and we are all human. And it could be the greatest peace inducing force there ever was for all humans to realize they have a common enemy. So my point is, this is a practice run. Global warming is happening on a slower timescale than weeks.
Yet we all have to coordinate. You can't say, well, if China's not going to fix the air, why should I? When air molecules don't renew passports to go from one country to another. Neither do water molecules and pollution molecules. So at some point, we have to think globally as one species. And I don't see that happening anytime soon.
You know, we did. There was an initial big response to this pandemic. And when people were, you know, everybody's like down, all of a sudden nobody knew what to do. But it's about that sustained interest in it. And it's a. I remember somebody saying it's such a we're experiencing such an American lockdown that eventually people are like, no, I'm kind of bored of it now.
Yeah. Right. It's not headlines anymore. It's not really. Yeah. It's not really that interesting to me anymore. And the problem is, is that what happens is once again, certain interests, special interest, they start to outweigh the value of this sustained interest in overcoming this.
So let me let me be devil's advocate here for a moment. So you're a restaurant worker and now restaurants are closed by law. OK, you're a busboy. You're. Whatever. And so the problem is we didn't go into this with a plan to give people hope and expectations for how they will return to normal. Right. OK. So that the governmental handling of this scientific information, you know, in hindsight. It's easy to say that it was botched.
I don't know how to done it differently. I don't have a silver bullet here, but I can tell you the next time this happens, we got to have a rollout plan and the factory floors factory, you go into into virus mode and people separate the production goes down a little, but it doesn't go to zero. Okay. And you have people shifts and people work this eight hour shift and that eight hour shifts so that they're not right on top of each other.
We didn't have any of those plans. And that's what you need.
Do you think that we need to get ready for this happening? Not necessarily with Corona or different Corona or whatever it is that this this is our new reality. It's called disaster preparedness. And the problem is no one wants to spend money on it if it's not an obvious threat. And let me get back to the CO2 warming the planet. If CO2 were purple and you'd walk by a car and you saw purple stuff coming out of hurdles, too pretty if it was sludgy brown and you see this coming out and you see coming out of smokes and you see that and it just stayed in the air.
Right. You would say, we've got to stop this. This is hurting. This is killing. But it's invisible and you can't smell it. And so we're very ostrich's like in this regard.
Yeah. Well, Neal, I know you got to run. I'm a huge fan of science. I'm a huge fan of facts. And I'm a huge fan of the good people.
And you are all three of those things. So thank you so much.
I. You had you've had like three or four fax machines in your life. Yeah, for sure.
And I and I just I still use it. I get like audition's from it and like, yeah, your show is coming. I've got to refill it actually. Oh no. Neal, thank you so much.
Yeah. Please keep sharing your your your your knowledge in the in the generous and interesting way that you do and.
Well thanks for that. And I'd love to come back on. I mean, when you read all your other guests say, no, I'm never doing that again. Call me back.
Listen, I was going to say I can't speak for the other guys, but I can I would say we I know that we that we would all be delighted to have a part two with you. Yes. Our show, if you'd be willing to do it, cause the universe is vast. And I also want to say, just if I could spend just one moment fan boying, you guys make really fun movies. And they're just, for me a little bit a little bit of escapism in a movie.
Well, thank you. So just keep it. Keep it going. We need it. We need the diversion levitating. You have to love it. Thanks, man. Which would be the opposite of gravity live. Oh, levity. Yeah.
Where to bring it back around a hold. Right there. Well, thank you very much. Thanks. All right, guys, very much better by.
Isn't he like for me? I don't know why I have that chip in my brain that is endlessly fascinated by that stuff.
I could talk for hours and hours and hours about all of those topics.
Same same here. I'm I'm incredibly the one thing I wanted to ask him and I could ask you guys the same because I don't know what my answer would be about it either. Do you think if you went up to space and then you came back down, if you just did one lap and you came, would you be like exhausted the rest? Oh, wouldn't you just literally to get up so high to, like, look back down at the earth, then come back down?
Everything would be so anticlimactic. I wonder if it would be I think more people need to think like that. Like you're saying, Jason, is it.
Well, any astronaut I've heard in an interview, I think they said the exact same thing you're saying. You go up there, you get a picture and an image of the world we live in and you realize how small it is. And every astronaut that has experienced that has said you realize that we're all the same and that why can't we figure out how to get along here? And I mean.
And and I think every astronaut always says as like, what is that experience when you're up in space and they say it's out of this world?
How nice. Well, you just dropped for a little. I'm sorry. What happened?
There you are. You're back. Trust me, it was pretty good, Sean. Well, did you guys learn anything today?
So much now. How badly do we need to have him? He should be. We should have him on, like, once every three months just to keep us. You know what's going on with the Kosma? What's happening? Right.
Right. When Neil said. Every single day we upload over a billion photos. Wilkos You mean the four of us. Yeah. He loves to post. Will's a real poster. I just get posted like. Yeah well do you tweet still.
He does have a Wil's with a very frequent. It's like compay lines are long. It's starting to shut up. Well, it's my right to call it star biz.
I wanted I wanted to ask Neil if he starts his day off at Star Bucks. Wow. Wow.
He probably pays with Starbucks. Do you guys get that?
Do you guys get that? Yeah. No, I got it. Sean, do you get your own joke? You even get your own. Let's let our listener get to dinner or wherever. I like the idea that all or anybody who listens to our podcast is going is rushing to a meal.
We have to book our sole listener at some point. I'm saying. That's what I'm saying.
Thank you, Sean. All right. Love you guys. Love you guys. Love you, too. Bye. Bye.