Science and Technology Guests on Late Night, Week of July 6

This week there will be plenty of reruns on the late night programs following the Fourth of July holiday.  Add to that a shifted schedule for Conan, who will be broadcasting new shows from San Diego Wednesday through Saturday, in connection with this weekend’s Comic Con International.  Saturday’s lineup is intentionally a mystery cast, so it’s possible that people from The Big Bang Theory or another science and Comic Con friendly show will show up.

In fact, aside from some of the daytime and morning talk shows, it’s all repeats this week.  Even with Jon Stewart leaving in just over a month, The Daily Show will be off the next two weeks, along with The Nightly Show and @midnight.

Here are the science and technology guests of note you can catch again this week.  The actors are from the usual shows.

Tuesday: Lizzy Caplan (Masters of Sex) on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Kumail Nanjiani (Silicon Valley) on @midnight.
Wednesday: Thomas Middleditch (Silicon Valley) on The Late, Late Show.Thursday: Simon Helberg (The Big Bang Theory) on Last Call.

The new programs of note are the Thursday and Friday editions of The Talk.  On Thursday, Michael Sheen will be on to promote the new season of Masters of Sex, where he plays sex researcher William Masters.  On Friday Chi-Lan Lieu, the show’s technology correspondent, will make another visit.


Science Goes To The Movies In Your Head

The City University of New York continues its series Science Goes to the Movies with two episodes focused on movies with psychological themes.

The fifth episode is available online, and covers the movies Force Majeure and RosewaterForce Majeure is a Swedish film that deals with the aftermath of a decision a father makes out of fear.  Rosewater is based on the memoir of an Iranian-Canadian journalist who was detained and interrogated by Iranian authorities following the 2009 elections in that country.  Ira Flatow joins co-hosts Faith Salie and Dr. Heather Berlin to discuss the effects of fear in Rosewater and how fear can affect people’s judgment.

The sixth episode premieres on CUNY television July 17th, and should be available online by the end of the month.  It will focus on post-traumatic stress through two recent films directed by Clint Eastwood: American Sniper and Gran Torino.  The first film focuses on an solider in Iraq and at home, and the other film chronicles the life of a Korean war veteran decades after his service.  Salie and Berlin will be joined by guests from the Marine Corps and The Headstrong Project, a program at Weill Cornell Medical College aimed at healing veterans.

Gilbert’s Signature To Get PBS Treatment

Elizabeth Gilbert, best known for her book Eat, Pray, Love, will see another of her works adapted for the screen.  In this case, the screen is small, and the book is The Signature of All Things.  The novel follows taxonomist Alma Whitaker through her life as a female scientist in America, before the word became a part of the language.

PBS has optioned the book for adaptation, and Origin Pictures will develop the film for television.  No date has been announced, but with a script to write before shooting can begin, I wouldn’t expect it before 2017.

Robot Stories Are Still A Thing

I suppose this could be traced back to the reboot of Battlestar Galactica over a decade ago, but robots and androids have become an increasing presence on film and television, particularly in the last 2 years.

In the movies, the new Terminator film comes out next week, and the previews suggest we will see a new generation of killer robots traveling through time and space.  Chappie is now out on your digital medium of choice (and I’ll post about any science fiction science policy/SciFiSciPol once I see it), so you can compare its robot police to those from either edition of Robocop or the 2013 series Almost Human.  Robots also have a role in the recent film Tomorrowland (of which I’ll have more to post later this week).

Starting tomorrow on AMC is Humans, a series focused on an alternate present where people can purchase a robotic servant, called a Synth.  The program has already premiered in the UK on Channel 4 (which co-produces the show with AMC), and is based on a Swedish program called Real Humans.  Episodes are supposed to be available on various digital platforms shortly after premiering on AMC.  The program is also cross-promoted on the Good Men Project, where you can read essays prompted by the issues broached in the show.

Early numbers from the UK airings are strong, and if they are replicated in the U.S., the show may run longer than the eight episodes airing this summer.  Once I get a few episodes in, I may have something to say here.

Science and Technology Guests on Late Night, Week of June 15

Tonight’s StarTalk episode will focus on space and space exploration.  NASA Administrator Charles Bolden is the interview guest, and Neil deGrasse Tyson will be joined in front of the audience by Bill Nye (who usually just has a taped minute toward the end of the program) and astrophysicist Michael Shara.

The Daily Show spent part of its June 10th show on the California drought, and touched in part on the lazy coverage emphasizing some of the state’s water conservation measures (water recycling).  On the same night, The Nightly Show spent part of its program on flibanserin, the drug for female libido recently considered by the Food and Drug Administration.  Thankfully there were few mentions of ‘lady Viagra’ or ‘female Viagra,’ which is a gross oversimplification of the matter.

The offerings this week are thin (though the Thursday guest for The Daily Show hasn’t been announced).  Today on The Talk there was another appearance by the show’s technology correspondent, Chi-Lan Lieu.  Wednesday former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer visits Conan O’Brien, but talk may focus on his ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team.

Science and Technology Guests on Late Night, Week of June 8

Tonight’s edition of StarTalk features Biz Stone, tech entrepreneur and co-founder of Twitter.  Discussing the interview with Neil deGrasse Tyson in front of an audience will be comedian Eugene Mirman, sociologist (and Dean of Social Science at Columbia) Alondra Nelson and science and technology journalist Clive Thompson.

If you missed last week’s Carson Daly interview with Pete Docter, director of the new Pixar movie Inside Out (which takes you inside people’s heads to examine their competing feelings), it will be on again late Friday.

This week the cast of Silicon Valley continues to promote their show on the late night programs.  Thomas Middleditch appears on The Late Late Show with James Corden tonight (Monday).  Kumail Nanjiani visits Conan on Wednesday.

Also making a promotional push this week are the stars of Jurassic World, which premieres Friday in the U.S.  Chris Pratt will be on with Jimmy Kimmel Tuesday night, and with Conan on Thursday.  On Wednesday he joins his co-star Bryce Dallas Howard on The Late Late Show.

In other guest listings, Christian Slater is part of the new series Mr. Robot premiering on the USA network later this month.  He plays the leader of a hacker group.  And on Friday The Talk will have a visit from Dr. Gadget.  He strikes me as more gee whiz about new technology than most morning or daytime show technology correspondents, but you can view that for yourselves.

Science and Technology Guests on Late Night, Week of June 1

Tonight’s edition of StarTalk on the National Geographic Channel features Chris Hadfield, Canadian astronaut who most people may recognize from the online presence he generated while in space.  Neil deGrasse Tyson will be in front of tha audience with comedian Eugene Mirman and another astronaut, Mike Massimino.  Most of the episodes are now available in podcast format, with a few minutes of extra material.  The intention is that all of the television episodes will eventually make it to podcast.

This week the NBA Finals will start on the ABC network in the U.S., meaning that Jimmy Kimmel’s program will be airing on a slightly different schedule, though this week there do not appear to be any science and technology themed guest bookings.

Two films coming out later this month tackle science and technology related topics, though both will likely take liberties.  The newest Pixar film, Inside Out premieres June 19 in the U.S.  Its director, Pete Docter, will be on with Carson Daly late tonight (Monday).  Jurassic World, the fourth film based on the Jurassic Park book, premieres on June 12.  Part of what makes the dinosaurs very angry this time around concerns a new species, wholly engineered (as opposed to the modified dinosaurs of previous films.  Bryce Dallas Howard is in the film.  She was on Live with Kelly and Michael this morning, and visits with Jimmy Fallon on Wednesday night.

In what may well be a new trend, a cast member from Silicon Valley will be on a talk show.  This week it is Thomas Middleditch on Wednesday with Conan.  An older trend is an appearance from a cast member of The Big Bang Theory.  This week that role is taken by both Jim Parsons and Kunal Nayyar.  Jim will be on The View Tuesday, and Kunal will be on Thursday.  That’s not all we’ll get to see during the day, as The Talk‘s technology correspondent, Chi-Lan Lieu, will appear on Friday.

As usual, there is stuff to catch up with on the Comedy Central programs.  The Nightly Show revisited the California drought during its May 27th program.  That same night The Daily Show ran a segment about the trend of seeing stories every year claiming the worst pollen year ever.  There is actually a twist to the story that is worth watching.  There’s even a scientific society guest involved.