The BBC's flagship Natural History Series Planet Earth 2 has broken all records. More than that; It's undyingly wonderful. As such, it was with no little excitement that Andrew, Maddy and Steve welcomed two of the show's producers into the shed for an exclusive chat. Exclusive in the sense that only 5 of us can fit in the shed. Anyone can actually listen to it here.
Emma Napper and Chadden Hunter sit back in the shed and we talk about what it takes to make such a landmark television series. We talk about that cayman, that iguana, that fieldmouse, that music...and so much more.
Did Andrew enjoy it? To quote John Motson. "Look at his face! Just look at his face!"
As we've discussed SETI and life in the universe quite a bit recently, we thought we'd look at Supernatural Belief this time...following on from our Ghostbusters episode. A revelation about R2D2, Moses and a fair bit about Jesus followed.
Francesca mentions animals appearing to have rituals attached to an "afterlife" belief. As it happens, the BBC's Emma Napper was in the audience (and in the shed the next day) and has filmed an elephant funeral which you can see here.
Andrew didn't mention this in the episode but had this song in his head for most of the evening...particularly when Professor Francesca was speaking.
On a cold, frosty night in December a skeptical ghosthunter, a physics expert and a science communicator who believes in ghosts gathered in a crumbling garden shed somewhere in surburban Bristol where they found Andrew keen to chat to them about all things ghostly.
Just as the story in both film and book focus on Louise Banks (Amy Adams), a linguistics expert who has her worldview changed by experiencing the language and culture of an alien race, we're joined by Professor Dan Everett, a linguistics expert who has his worldview changed by experiencing the language and culture of an alien tribe. You can read Dan's book "Don't Sleep, There are Snakes" for the whole story.
We're also delighted to be joined by SETI astronomer Seth Shostak to discuss life in the universe and much more...including what makes him throw up all night long.
In the episode, Ti mentions the Q&A podcast which we highly recommend and Andrew mentions these episodes of the Reasonable Doubts podcast on Determinism and Free Will. Again, we highly recommend them and all other episodes of the Reasonable Doubts podcast but don't wish to waste any more of our lives worrying if we have free will or not.
Ti has an event coming up called Cancel The Trumpocalypse where you can join him in a pub in Bristol to watch 24 hours of monster movies to raise money for charity.
A warning about mankind's self-destructive nature? A Christ metaphor? Or simply a sci-fi classic?
After the success of our 50th anniversary Star Trek screenings, Bristol Sunset Cinema and The Cosmic Shed podcast are teaming up again for another sci-fi spectacular at At-Bristol's Bristol Planetarium, which will include a special HD screening of The Day the Earth Stood Still.
After the film, there will be a special live recording of the Cosmic Shed podcast. Obviously, we'll release that audio afterwards.
On the panel will be special guest Bruce Hood, Professor of Development Psychology in Society at Bristol University who will be discussing the psychology of supernatural belief. Professor Hood first joined us for our episode on Inside Out.
Update: We're delighted to announce a second special guest. Professor Francesca Stavrakopoulou will be joining us for this special event. Professor Stavrakopoulou is Professor of Hebrew Bible and Ancient Religion at the University of Exeter. You may have seen her on a number of television series including the BBC series The Bible's Buried Secrets.
There will also be an audience Q&A and several surprises!
We hear about turtles using the magnetic field to navigate the world and find their way back to the very beach they were born on, why an octopus will change its colour in the dark depths of the oceans and how a grown man can never have seen Star Wars...No, seriously!
Close Encounters in the Cosmic Shed as we consider what turns out to be one of Ti and Andrew's favourite films of all time...and left Steve, Maddy and Ben a bit less enthralled.
We are delighted to be joined by NASA's Lynn Rothschild, an evolutionary biologist and astrobiologist. Lynn spoke to Andrew about astrobiology, synthetic biology and life in the universe...and at NASA.
Ben pops in for a poem, Steve brings us news of the new Space Race and Maddy find parallels between the work she is doing on proto-life and the work taking place at NASA.
In other words, it's our first full, not live, proper Cosmic Shed episode since June. We're back!
In the show we chat about Yuri Milner, having misheard Lynn Rothschild when she was talking about Urey-Miller experiments. Fortunately, over on our Facebook page, one of our listeners pointed out our error. Thanks Rusty.
What's the Matter? is a theatre show described as "A quantum comedy about love in the subatomic world". In July of 2016, Tristan and Sidney performed the show at The Wardrobe Theatre in Bristol and joined Andrew in the Cosmic Shed beforehand to talk about science and storytelling.
You'll also hear from Alasdair Price and Euan Allen from the University of Bristol as they spoke to the audience after the theatre show about how quantum mechanics is involved a real word computing system right now.
Visit our Patreon page to see a video of us in the Shed, and think about supporting us. Many thanks to everyone who is already supporting us. Goodies coming soon!
Andrew was also fortunate enough to meet up with Prof Bruce Hood, Professor of Developmental Psychology in Society whose specialism is Cognitive Development. Bruce is planning his own podcast soon but joins Andrew to discuss the science of the brilliant Inside Out, a film about the brain and emotional life of an 11 year old girl.
In the episode, we share our emotional response to the film and Rachael and Bruce delve deep into the science of what we know about the brain.
We also find out whether it is normal to cry at the end of Terminator 2.