Science and Technology Guests on Late Night, Week of October 5

This marks my 3,000th post (combining what I posted on Prometheus and here at Pasco Phronesis).  I suspect as many as one or two hundred might be any good.  Feel free to (dis)agree in the comments.

This week the film Steve Jobs (not to be confused with the 2013 film Jobs) premieres in the U.S.  Michael Fassbender plays Jobs, and he will be on with Jimmy Fallon on Thursday.  The night before (Wednesday), Kate Winslet will chat with Jimmy, she is also in the film.  Aaron Sorkin wrote the movie (based in part on the Walter Isaacson biography), and he will be on The Daily Show Tuesday and talking with Conan O’Brien on Thursday.

Surprisingly (at least to me) there aren’t more promotional appearances tied into The Martian this week.  On Friday’s show, Jimmy Kimmel will repeat last week’s episode featuring the film’s star, Matt Damon.  It’s possible that The Nightly Show will spend some time on the film, but the program rarely tips its hand in advance of any night’s episode.

Stephen Colbert continues to bring it in terms of science and technology content.  On Thursday’s episode (which will be delayed by football in the eastern U.S.), he will have on the CEO of Airbnb and devote some time to an automated tackling dummy developed by researchers at Dartmouth.

I’ll close out this week’s entry by noting that former Tonight Show host Jay Leno is returning to television with a car show.  Jay Leno’s Garage seems geared toward serious automotive enthusiasts, but it’s hard to tell before the first episode airs how much Leno will get into automotive tech.  I suspect it will be at least a little.

Intel And TBS Looking To Make Some Maker Television

iIntel is working with the U.S. network TBS on a reality series focused on Makers.  Called America’s Greatest Makers, the program is currently reviewing potential contestants.  According to this casting notice, participants must be U.S. hardware startups that have received no more than $5 million in funding.  (More details are available here – October 2 is the deadline.)

Shooting would start in November, and possibly extend into February (contestants must be available in February).  There is no announced air date as yet.  Mark Burnett a noted reality television producer, is involved with America’s Greatest Makers.

The program is different from All-American Makers, which aired earlier this year on The Science Channel.  While both programs involve presenting a prototype to possible funders (like in Shark Tank), I get the impression that America’s Greatest Makers is a more focused program, with the inclusion of startups, an emphasis on wearable technology, and the participation of Intel.  That is said without a second of footage shot or aired on this program, so please take this with a shaker of salt.

The producers indicated that they plan a social media campaign to help promote the television show.  Keep an eye out for this once shooting starts next month.


Playing Catch-up On Late Night – Water And The Pope

A short technical note before proceeding.  I’m in the midst of an unplanned separation from my laptop.  While I suspected this, the last few days have confirmed that tablets – at least for me – are a very inefficient blogging tool.  I’m taking much longer to make lower quality posts, and it’s frustrating.  I appreciate your patience to date, and ask for your continued indulgence.

Bill Nye returned to The Nightly Show this evening, and I’ll have more on that tomorrow.  Wilmore also spends more time on the recent news about water on Mars.  Additionally, Dominic Wilcox is on tonight’s edition of The Late Show.  My listings credit Wilcox as an inventor, so I will be interested in seeing what he brings to the show.

But Mars and the evidence of running water there recently announced by NASA have featured prominently on the late night programs.  It was part of all three of the Comedy Central programs Monday night, and that would be a good way to learn the styles of The Daily Show, The Nightly Show, and @midnight.  Mars also featured in the monologues of other late night shows over the last few days.

Meanwhile, over at The Late Show, Stephen Colbert managed to include climate change into his material on the recent Papal visit to the U.S.  On the September 22 show, climate change and the Pope was part of his prepared pieces (as was a mention of the recent copyright decision on “Happy Birthday”).  And Archbishop Thomas Wenski, who was a guest on the September 24 show, is head of the environment committee at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.  Part of their conversation involved climate change.  Regrettably I cannot find a clip to include in this post.  That may change once my laptop is repaired.  Regardless, I’ll have more details on Monday’s regular late night post.

Science and Technology Guests on Late Night, Week of September 28

Tonight is the night.  Trevor Noah begins his tenure hosting The Daily Show tonight.  I’ll be watching to see what science and technology elements will be part of his show.  Tuesday night his guest is Whitney Wolfe, a co-founder of Tinder currently running a feminist dating app, Bumble.  Noah has been, understandably downplaying expectations, so I will be patient.

With The Martian premiering in the United States on Friday, there are some promotional appearances this week.  Matt Damon, whose character must ‘science’ his way to survival on Mars, appears tonight/Monday on Jimmy Kimmel Live! and Tuesday he will visit with Ellen DeGeneres during the day, and James Corden that night. Chiwetel Ejiofor, who plays one of the space agency scientists is on with Seth Meyers tonight/Monday.  Michael Peña, who plays another astronaut, will visit with a Jimmy Kimmel on Tuesday, followed by Kate Mara on Thursday.  She also plays one of the astronauts in the film.

I’ll mention Ken Jeong this week because he was a doctor, and will be playing a doctor on his new show, Dr. Ken.  It’s a comedy, so I’m not sure how much actual medicine will feature on the program.  He’s on Jimmy Kimmel’s program on Wednesday, talking with Seth Meyers on Thursday, and with Kelly and Michael on Friday.

in other guest news, this week’s appearance by a cast member from The Big Bang Theory playing a scientist on Wednesday, when Kunal Nayyar appears with Conan O’Brien.

Finally, if you are not sufficiently entertained, The Late Late Show will rerun its recent epushed shot at YouTube in Los Angeles on Friday.

Friday is Manufacturing Day

October 2 marks the fourth annual MFG Day (or Manufacturing Day).  Started in 2012 by a collection of industry and government bodies involved in manufacturing, MFG Day is a way for manufacturing companies to promote what they do, what jobs are available, and the need for people to join the skilled trades that makes up a large percentage of these jobs.

This year one of the organizers, the Science Channel, has been promoting the day pretty heavily with spots during its programming.  They have scheduled a marathon of How It’s Madea program that shows the manufacturing involved in a number of different things, for Friday.  2015 apparently is the 10th anniversary of the program airing on the Science Channel (it is a Canadian production), as the first episode dates to 2001.  I’m hard-pressed to come up with a program more apt to use in cross-promotion with MFG Day.

If you are interested in participating in MFG Day, check the website to see what you might participate in near where you live.

DNA-inspired Sculptures To Sit On Auction Block

As part of a fundraising project for a building at the Francis Crick Institute, Christie’s will hold an auction for 30 double-helix sculptures on September 30 (H/T ScienceInsider).  The sculptures, prepared by a variety of artists and a town councillor, were on display in London during the summer.  Here’s a video highlighting some of them in production (Benjamin Shine’s is probably my favorite, but I’d understand if you favored Kindra Crick’s – even if just for the family connection.)

The sculptures were spread around town in an art trail, not unlike similar art projects meant to raise civic awareness as much as provide artistic experience.  I would hope that those who come away with these helical works of art see fit to have them displayed where others can still see them.

An aside – my output of late has not been the most…insightful, which I have to tout up to recent health matters.  They are on the mend, but if you become aware of human trials for 3D bioprinting, please give a holler.  I may now qualify.

Can You Learn To Drive A Combine From The Luxury Of Your Couch?

I’ve occasionally seen ads for a Farming Simulator video game available for your computer.  Given how much time I spent on flying simulator software as a young kid, I can’t be that surprised that you can simulate many different things in a game.  (Even for recruiting purposes.)  Apparently the game is quite popular in Europe, and may grow even bigger now that you can buy the game for popular console systems.

Part of the recently announced expansion of Farming Simulator is the development of a very realistic controller for home play (H/T STEMdaily News Net).  For almost as much as a game system, you can purchase a steering wheel, side panel and pedals to drive your virtual combine.  This may sound a little ridiculous, but given how farm equipment can be guided very precisely with GPS-enabled systems, the simulator may be put to use to help recruit farmers.

That’s in part because the game is more than just driving a harvester or other insanely large piece of farm equipment.  The player must manage all aspects of farm operation, including transporting and selling the crops, and determining how best to diversify the operation – if you chose to do so.  The game developer is presently concerned with connecting with equipment manufacturers to get the rights to use their vehicles in the program.  But it might also think about reaching out to agricultural extension services and other support organizations to see how its long-term game play can help train future farmers (and how current farmers might improve that game play).