Blog

Editing Episode 15 - The Reluctant Technologist

Why? What possible reason could I have to go and stand in a field in Wales for two days? It’ll be raining and there’ll be sheep and hippies and people who haven’t bathed, and there’ll also be Action Dan and Science Brian (aka. all of the above). You are kidding, right? There is no way on Earth that I would ever, ever, produce a live podcast at Green Man festival.

Screenshot of AST's page on the Green Man website

The evidence…
(screenshot gratuitously stolen from greenman.net)

Wait – how did I get here? Ergh – get that unwashed science hippy-sheep away from me…

*sigh*

King Water vs the Nazis

Francis-H.-C.-Crick-Nobel-Prize-Medal-1Gold is a Noble metal. What this means is that it’s particularly tough, that it doesn’t corrode very easily. Which is one of the reasons we humans have been using it as a precious metal for a long time – your gold ring will stay nice and shiny and attractive for a very long time. So when they were deciding what to make Nobel prizes out of, well, it’s the obvious choice. We like the nice things in our lives to have permanence, and gold delivers while being shiny at the same time.

But what if your shiny gold medal was about to get you killed. What then?

This is the problem renowned scientist Niels Bohr had.

The Odyssey of AST

Arizona State Route 98

This is NOT, repeat NOT the way we went.

What a merry band, were we,
Who set off in the name of AST,
On stage, we were set to perform,
In foreign lands, to invite scorn.

Producer Dan was the first to go,
His tiny car heavily laden, and slow,
Shortly followed by Science Brian, and partner,
Action Dan, girlfriend and dog were there, not long after.

How to fall and miss the ground

One day Isaac Newton sat under a tree and watched an apple fall (or probably he didn’t, but let’s not dwell on that just now). He thought to himself “I wonder if an apple at the bottom of the tree feels a stronger pull towards the earth than an apple at the top of the tree?” – so perhaps the force something feels due to Earth’s gravity changes depending on how far away it is from the Earth. “Now I come to think of it,” he continued, “I’m hungry for apple pie,” and he went on his way, for all we know.

Editing Episode 13 - Aah, Robot!

It seems that my last tirade about Science Brian’s ludicrous sound effects has borne fruit. He has now started inserting apologies into his scripts to pre-empt my wrath. Well, sort-of apologies…

A snippet of AST script showing the sound effect "PUNCHING A ROBOT NOISE. SORRY PD, SORRY. I’M NOT SORRY."

OK, so it’s not really an apology, but I’ll take what I can get

But the thing is, ‘punching a robot’ is not a particularly difficult sound effect to create. It’s just a case of mixing the ‘cartoon punch’ effect that I’ve used in many previous episodes with any of the 272 hits* produced when you enter ‘metallic clang’ into the Freesound search engine.

So that’s that dealt with. Now, what am I going to fill the rest of this blog with?

Oh, I know – let’s talk about equalisation.

A very closely described mess

Pick an animal. Any animal. Somewhere in the world is a very special, carefully stored, individual of that species. Meticulously described, it is as well preserved as we can possibly make it. We’re trying to keep this one individual, above all others of it’s species, perfect.

It is what’s called the “Type Specimen”, and it is the chosen representative of its entire species. And we need one of these, for every single living thing, because if the world is going to be so very untidy, we at least need to be able to keep straight what it is we’re talking about.

The Idea Machine

Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci (or Leonardo Da Vinci as he is more commonly known, thank you Wikipedia) was a man of many and varied talents. Artist, designer, scientist, musician, his talents stretch out before you in a way that makes you want to punch him in the face. But he’s dead, so that would be distasteful.

Leo, as he was known to people whom he’d never met, was a man never short of ideas. He invented the helicopter, the parachute, the concept of painting Jesus on walls, and the Rubik’s cube (one of those isn’t true). Just when you’d be thinking, “he must be done now”, out popped some other work of genius kicking and screaming into the world. Before the nurse could wrap it in swaddling and clean the gunk off it, someone would hail old Leo as a genius once more. One can only assume Leo’s ego was so big he must have grown that enormous beard to cover it up.

Editing Episode 12 - An Apology

And it was all going so well…

Every now and again, I am persuaded to string together a few musical notes on some instrument or other. The ‘jaunty’ (©Action Dan, 2013) Action Science Theatre theme tune, for example. So, when we needed some music to underscore the exciting alien-hunting montage in Episode 10a, I duly obliged. And people were generally very kind about it.

They won’t be doing that again.