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The Expanse Science: When Species Discover New Habitats

The Expanse Science: When Species Discover New Habitats

December 30, 2019

In this episode, we dive into The Expanse season 4 and its many layers. As humans travel farther than ever before, to a new world - new evolutionary opportunities arise. And pitfalls. Rutger and Gil break down the evolutionary opportunities and pitfalls that await organisms that move to new habitats. In our own world, new environments sometimes open up either because they suddenly appear - like volcanic islands rising up from the ocean floor - or because key innovations in the evolution of a lineage make the environment accessible. For example, when a lineage evolves the ability to fly and the skies open up. In The Expanse, a whole universe of different planets has suddenly opened up. What might that mean for humans if they radiate outward into this vast space? And what about the organisms they might bring along? What do bats have to do with it? And jellyfish in the Mediterranean?

The Expanse: USSR Collapse, Wild West, Space Shooting

The Expanse: USSR Collapse, Wild West, Space Shooting

December 19, 2019

The Expanse season 4 has been out on Amazon Prime since December 13, and it is the best season of this scifi story, rife with historical elements, such as Mars collapsing after reaching a truce with Earth in the same vein that the USSR collapsed after the end of the cold war, the expansion out to the American west or Age of exploration elements, all the way to compelling scientific questions such as new biomes and the sounds guns make in space. Rutger joins Gil to celebrate this season, its writing, acting, production value and pace, and complain a bit about the final two episodes.

The Expanse & Game Theory: Earth v Mars, US v USSR

The Expanse & Game Theory: Earth v Mars, US v USSR

December 5, 2019

The Expanse is a political story about a society set 200 years in the future, led by humans who are making the same sort of calculations leaders today make - weighing options, trying to figure out what other people will do in all kinds of situations. Rutger joins Gil to talk about game theory, the thinking behind it and its applications in all walks of life, including when dealing with a trans-planetary conflict with several factions, and the sub-factions within them. The conflict between, Earth, Mars and the Belt is shaped by the decisions, assumptions and misjudgments of its leaders, and exploring game theory through this Amazon Prime show is a great way to learn more about The expanse and game theory.

Epidemics and Pandemics in Movies

Epidemics and Pandemics in Movies

September 23, 2019

In this Science in Movies podcast Gil again welcomes Rutger, this time to talk about how global epidemics (known as pandemics) have been portrayed in movies. We talk about Outbreak (1993), Contagion (2011), Philadelphia (1993), and Black Death (2010). We discuss the scientific aspects of these epidemics, fact-check their movie versions, how they have affected society in the past or will affect us in the future, and how the depiction of pandemics has evolved in the past few decades.

Natural Disasters in Movies

Natural Disasters in Movies

July 8, 2019

In this Science in Movies podcast Gil again welcomes Rutger - this time to talk about natural disasters on an unprecedented scale: asteroids, sudden climate change, and the eruption of a supervolcano. We break down the science, fact check it and review the way movies portrayed these disasters at the time they were made. The movies are Armageddon (1998), The Day After Tomorrow (2004) and Supervolcano (2005).

 

HBO’s Chernobyl: Historical, Political and Scientific Analysis

HBO’s Chernobyl: Historical, Political and Scientific Analysis

June 10, 2019

HBO's Chernobyl mini-series has been a smash hit with audiences and critics alike, lauded for its brutal realism, historical accuracy, cinematography and great acting. In this podcast, Gil and Rutger break down the main political messages in Chernobyl, the depiction of the USSR in light of the (mis)handling of the disaster, relate it to current politics and geopolitics in the age of climate change, and talk about the state of nature in and around Chernobyl today.

Human Evolution in Movies

Human Evolution in Movies

May 21, 2019

We launch our new series of podcast episodes - science in movies! With Dr. Rutger Vos, an evolutionary biologist from Leiden University and Naturalis Biodiversity Center, both in The Netherlands. In our inaugural science podcast episode, we talk about the evolution of humans from apes, and how this theme is portrayed in movies. Our movies of choice: the original Planet of the Apes (1968), 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) and Altered States (1980). What do these movies say about how we view ourselves? Our predecessors? Our evolution? And what do they say about the scientific thought when they were made.

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