Pod Academy
The Expanse Science: How Can a New Planet Sustain Life?

The Expanse Science: How Can a New Planet Sustain Life?

January 6, 2020

In an offhand remark, The Expanse claims that other forms of life are possible, such as forms based on silicon rather than carbon. How plausible is that? And what else would need to be in place? You'd need liquid water, for one. In fact, a whole bunch of things would need to fall exactly into place. Things that are on the one hand rare - but given the enormous numbers of stars and exoplanets would still occur many times. So where are all the aliens?

In this podcast, Gil and Rutger talk about habitability and the origin of life. Rutger is an evolutionary biologist at the national natural history museum, Naturalis, and Leiden University, both in The Netherlands. He probably knows a little bit about the topic. Gil, on the other hand, knows a lot about watching shows and asking the right questions. Together they scan the popular culture for science and history topics.


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Rutger Vos on Twitter: https://twitter.com/rvosa

The Expanse vs History: Founding Belter Nation vs Founding of U.S.

The Expanse vs History: Founding Belter Nation vs Founding of U.S.

January 2, 2020

The Expanse might be set in the 2300s, but it is written by 21st century people and inspired in many ways from history and current political contexts. In this episode patron Omro Goldshtrom, history buff, joins Gil Kidron to find the very many similarities between The Expanse, the path towards the independent Belter nation and the histories of the United States and Israel. We will get into the founding of these immigrant nations vs the immigrant Belter nation, refugees, terrorism and more. 


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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 travels farther than ever before, to a new world - new evolutionary opportunities arise. And pitfalls. Evolutionary biologist Rutger Vos, from Leiden University and Naturalis Biodiversity Center, both in The Netherlands, joins Gil Kidron yet again to 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?


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Rutger Vos on Twitter: https://twitter.com/rvosa

The Expanse Season 4 Review: USSR Collapse, Wild West, Space Shooting

The Expanse Season 4 Review: 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 bioms and the sounds guns make in space.

Scientist and histoty buff Rutger Vos, an evolutionary biologist from Leiden University and Naturalis Biodiversity Center, both in The Netherlands, joins Gil Kidron to celebrate this season, its writing, acting, production value and pace, and complain a bit about the final two episodes.


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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. Dr. Rutger Vos, an evolutionary biologist from Leiden University and Naturalis Biodiversity Center, both in The Netherlands, joins Gil Kidron 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.


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The Expanse Belter vs Creole | Oppression, Nationalism and History

The Expanse Belter vs Creole | Oppression, Nationalism and History

October 28, 2019

One of the best things about The Expanse is the language spoken by the Belters, who live in the asteroid belt between Jupiter and Saturn. Belters are made up of Americans, Chinese, Russians, South Africans and more, and the society that they have created, under the oppression of Earth and Mars, is very much represented in their common language, that unifies people who live millions of kms (or miles) apart. Mallory Aler, linguist extraordinaire, comes back to the podcast and joins Gil Kidron to talk about the history of creole languages, the role of languages in forming new nation states and what we can learn from the history of our own world and project into The Expanse.

Follow Mallory on Twitter @mallort1


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The Expanse: Predicting the Year 2350

The Expanse: Predicting the Year 2350

July 22, 2019

In our Inaugural The Expanse podcast we take a look at the reality presented to us in The Expanse's year 2350 solar system. The evolution of human societies, cultures, languages, political establishments, media and religion. Dr Rutger Vos, evolutionary biologist from Leiden University and Naturalis Biodiversity Center, both in The Netherlands, joins Gil Kidron yet again, to dip our toes in everything The Expanse has to offer, with more yet to come. 


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Rutger Vos on Twitter: https://twitter.com/rvosa

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