This is another thin week for science and technology content in late night. The summer blockbusters are dominating the guest lineups, and even the science and technology people appearing on the shows aren’t necessarily their for that expertise. To wit, both episodes of Join or Die that aired last week featured scientists, astronomer Derrick Pitts (History’s Greatest Gangster) and astronaut Mike Massimino (History’s Greatest Unexplained Phenomenon). But arguably science only featured in the episode on unexplained phenomenon, and then not that much. (Megan Amram, who wrote the humorous science textbook Science…For Her!, was on the unexplained phenomenon episode as well.)
Another guest I missed from last week was Science Bob Pflugfelder, who was on Live with Kelly on Friday. I’m kind of surprised that Science Bob doesn’t seem to get much talk show exposure outside of Live and Jimmy Kimmel Live.
As you might guess, the recent news about a penis transplant surgery in the United States was tailor made for the late night programs. It was featured heavily on the May 17th edition of The Nightly Show. That same edition of the program had another of the show’s regular reports on the horrible state of lead poisoning in the U.S. This was a more historical perspective on the use of lead in the U.S., and how it contrasted with the global trend of decreased lead use in the 20th century.
As I noted up top, the guest list this week is thin on science and technology guests. Lizzy Caplan stars as sex researcher Virginia Johnson in the show Masters of Sex. She is on with Stephen Colbert this Thursday, but she is probably promoting her upcoming movie in which she plays an illusionist. Colbert also welcomes musician Neil Young that night, but he will not likely be discussing the high definition portable audio device he was instrumental in developing.
Finally, Tuesday on TBS is the finale of America’s Greatest Makers. It will see which of five remaining teams has sufficiently developed their product to convince the judges to award it $1 million. These products include a toothbrush game, a sensor for real-time concussion tracking, exercise tracking gloves, a glove that translates American Sign Language, and a fishing float that can be remotely adjusted. One of the guest judges is Mike Rowe, host of Dirty Jobs and Somebody’s Gotta Do It (the latter program is on CNN, a sister network to TBS). He was also featured on this weekend’s edition of the NPR radio puzzle program Ask Me Another. He will be the only judge for this round who hasn’t been previously exposed to the products.