I recently stumbled across Time Scanners, a tech-heavy, pop-science reality show. And, get this you guys, I learned things. I know. From TV. It's crazy.
Shows in this genre have a bad reputation for vapid coverage of science, overuse of bad CGI, wild speculation in the name of drama, and (possibly the most obnoxious part) repeating the same facts and even the same sentences over and over and over for an audience that the show assumes is not really paying attention.
Time Scanners — show about the use of Light Detection and Ranging (or LiDAR) technology in archaeology — manages to avoid all of this, for the most part, while also being really interesting. LiDAR is a pretty cool tool that can produce detailed, 3D models of ruins, including features that really aren't easily visible to the naked eye. Time Scanners gets big points in my book for showing how scientists use this technology while simultaneously emphasizing that the technology doesn't just magically work without the interpretation of skilled researchers and while also showing the audience some really cool discoveries that were made without the aid of LiDAR. That last bit is all the more impressive given the fact that the show is covering archaeological sites we've all heard a lot about before. I watched episodes on the ancient city of Petra (of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade fame) and the Great Pyramid.
Here's one of the fascinating things I learned about Petra from the show. The whole city was carved out of the rock walls of a canyon — and it was carved from the top down. How do they know that? Because there's actually an unfinished building at Petra where you can see how the workers must have begun the construction of all the city's buildings. I'd never heard of it before, or seen it. (I wasn't able to find a good Creative Commons shot of Petra's Unfinished Tomb, but you can see several fantastic photos of the place on Flickr.) Definitely a TV series worth checking out.
Texas State University’s Body Farm (AKA Forensic Anthropology Center at Texas State University or FACTS) is a 45-year-old facility where the corpses of medical body donors are left to decompose so that researchers can observe the rate at which human remains are consumed by the elements, scavengers and microbes, allowing them to accurately date the […]
A better understanding how a sperm swims its way toward an egg could help inform new treatments for male infertility. Researchers from the University of York have now come up with a mathematical formula to model how large numbers of moving sperm interact with fluid they’re swimming through. From the University: By analysing the head […]
Dr Gale Ridge is a public entomologist at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, where an average of 23 people a day call, write or visit; an increasing proportion of them aren’t inquiring about actual insects, they’re suffering from delusional parasitosis, and they’re desperate and even suicidal.
When you can’t wait for the world’s longest meeting to end, the mindless leg bouncing makes your boredom obvious and just annoys everybody else. Everyone knows the TPS reports need the damn cover sheet, but some sadistic colleague keeps forgetting, probably on purpose just to eat into your lunch hour. Enough is enough!While serving a […]
What could be more fun than a slingshot that shoots tiny airplanes? A slingshot that shoots tiny glowing airplanes of course! These toy planes are outfitted with ultra-bright LEDs, so you can fly all night without losing them in the trees.Whether you are a regular-sized child, or an overgrown adult one, these light-up flyers offer […]
You know the drill. You go to the dentist and they ask you how often you floss. You lie through your teeth and say, “every day!” (Bonus points if you have some cilantro or chives stuck in your gums from lunch). You don’t want to keep up the charade any longer, but rubbing that tiny strand […]