Science and Technology Guests on Late Night, Week of August 14

First, a scheduling note.  I will be focused on the solar eclipse next Monday, and the week’s listings will likely be posted either Sunday night or sometime on Tuesday.  As it is still the late August doldrums (for non-political talk that is), I suspect this won’t be an issue.

This week we have rare appearances of science and technology guests on the NBC shows.  Tonight (Monday) on Late Night you can watch an interview with Bryan Vogel.  Vogel directed the documentary film Icarus, which chronicles the Russian Olympic doping scandal.  Grant Thompson, best known for his YouTube videos, will appear on The Tonight Show Friday night.  He will likely have one of his science and/or technology demonstrations ready to go.


Science and Technology Guests on Late Night, Week of August 7

While The Daily Show is airing retrospective episodes on the Trump Administration this week, most of the late night shows are airing new programs this week.  Sadly, the relevant science and technology guests are to be found in the repeats on daytime.

On Tuesday, you can catch former doctor who plays one on television Ken Jeong on The Real.  It’s a repeat from February.  On Thursday you can see Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence talk with Ellen DeGeneres about Passengers, their film from last year that focuses on two passengers on a sleeper ship.

As I continue to catch up from my recent travels, I’ll note two other recent appearances of science and technology guests on late night.  Al Gore continued his promotion of An Inconvenient Sequel with a July 26 visit to The Late Late Show.  Adam Conover, who hosts Adam Ruins Everything, was on The Late Show on August 1.  Conover’s show assesses conventional wisdom and occasionally digs into scientific topics.

Science and Technology Guests on Late Night, Week of October 10

On this holiday in North America (Columbus Day for us in the United States, Thanksgiving for our neighbors to the north), several shows are off for the week.  Given the political hay made over the weekend, this seems like a multitude of lost opportunities (or an acknowledgement of weariness at the last 15 months of crazy).  Regardless, you can catch George Takei celebrating Star Trek‘s 50th with Stephen Colbert on Wednesday’s Late Show rerun.  Friday’s Late Late Show repeat features Silicon Valley actor Zach Woods from his September appearance.

Harry is a new daytime program hosted by musician Harry Connick, Jr.  This past Friday (October 7) he had on Chase Wiley, a teenager who prepares science videos, to do some experiments.  Wiley was on again today for more experiments with Harry.  Some video is available online through the show’s website and YouTube channel.  If you don’t have the show in your area, the E! network is repeating the show at 3 a.m. the morning after it airs.

I missed mentioning StarTalk last week.  That episode featured an interview with Philippe Petit, a wire walker who came to fame in the 1970s after crossing the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City.  Tonight’s new episode focuses on time travel, and the main interviews are with Christopher Lloyd and Michelle Gomez, who portray time travelers in the Back to the Future films and Doctor Who (respectively).  StarTalk host Neil deGrasseTyson continues to promote the new season with an appearance this Thursday on The View.

Tonight (Monday) Taraji P. Henson is on The Tonight Show.  Her television show Empire recently started its third season, but it’s possible that she will talk some about her upcoming film Hidden Figures.  She plays one of the human computers featured in the film who worked for NASA in the early years of the space race.  On Wednesday Bryan Christy, a conservation journalist for National Geographic, will be a guest on The Daily Show.

2016 National Book Festival Continues Trend Of Many Science Offerings

Earlier this month the National Book Festival organizers announced the full slate of authors scheduled to attend the Festival.  Those who will be in the Washington, D.C. area on September 24th can see the Festival at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

Once again there is a strong slate of science books featured at the Festival (more on them in a bit).  In addition, there will be a panel at the International Stage on the work of Italian scientist and author Primo Levi.  The Library of Congress – the main sponsor of the event – will have a number of special exhibits of note, including several on the Library’s digital projects.

The authors on the Science Stage are:

James Gleick – a science author who has covered information, chaos theory and Richard Feynman in previous works, tackles time travel in his latest work

Michael Hiltzik – a journalist and author has occasionally dealt in technology topics, with his latest work on Ernest Lawrence

Peter D. Kramer – an author and practicing psychiatrist, his latest book is on antidepressants

Janna Levin – an astrophysicist and author, Levin’s latest book deals with the quest for proof of gravitational waves

Joseph Mazur – a author and mathematics professor, his latest book addresses probability and so-called flukes

Amy Ellis Nutt – a reporter for The Washington Post, Nutt’s latest book covers how one family deals with the gender transition of one of its members

Mary Roach – a science writer who frequently writes about stuff that might be considered gross, is promoting her latest book, which focuses on science and technology developed to support the soldier

Eliezer Sternberg – a neurologist with training in philosophy, Sternberg writes about how what we know about the brain can explain how we make decisions

Eric Weiner – a reporter whose latest book combines travel writing with a history of creative places

Some other authors at the Festival tangle with science or technology matters.  Gene Lueng Yang’s latest Secret Coders work gets into computer programming.  Janet Nolan and Thomas Gonzalez’s latest children’s book covers shipbuilding.  Andrea Beaty’s latest book is about a young scientist.  Holly Robinson Peete co-wrote a book about living with autism.  I’m certain I’ve missed some work featured at the Festival.

U.S. And U.K. Team Up On Antibiotic Resistance

On Thursday the U.S. and the U.K. announced a bilateral public-private partnership to address the challenges of antibiotic resistance.  CARB-X (Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator) is a joint effort of the following organizations:

From the U.K.

  • Wellcome Trust
  • AMR Centre

From the U.S.

  • National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
  • Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Agency (BARDA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
  • California Life Sciences Institute
  • MassBio
  • Boston University Law School
  • Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard
  • RTI International

The accelerator intends to support at least 20 antibacterial products, with funding for the project coming primarily from BARDA, Wellcome and the AMR Centre.  BARDA has committed to providing $250 million over 5 years, and Wellcome and the AMR Centre will provide additional funds.  NIAID will provide in-kind research and technical support.  Additionally, the private sector partners will provide research and/or business support for projects selected by CARB-X.

There is a two-stage application process for CARB-X support.  Interested projects will need to submit an Expression of Interest form, and if selected, will complete a fuller application process with one of the CARB-X accelerators (Wellcome, AMR Centre, MassBio or the California Life Sciences Institute).  Expressions of Interest are being accepted through the end of October, though it is possible that there will be future funding cycles.

Late Night Science and Technology Guests Addendum – Now On Netflix

Two items that should have been included with the regular Monday post.

First, one of my readers (thank you very much) pointed me to the May 26th edition of The Tonight Show, with model Karlie Kloss as one of the guests.  While likely best known as a model, Kloss has, among other things, learned to code and established a coding camp for girls from 13-18 years old.  There are three camps scheduled for 2016 (Los Angeles, New York and St. Louis) and Kloss discusses them in this (abbreviated) clip from the show.  (Apparently it is available only on the NBC website, and not on the show’s YouTube page.  I don’t think that makes any sense.)  Kloss has scholarships available for women seeking more extensive coding instruction.

The other item has to do with a new late night entry.  Chelsea Handler has returned to the format, with a thrice-weekly program airing on the streaming service Netflix.  The show, called Chelsea, premiered last month, and Bill Nye the Science Guy was a guest on the episode that premiered June 2.  Unlike Last Week Tonight (another program viewable on a subscription service), there do not appear to be segments from Chelsea available online.


America’s Greatest Makers Has A Start Date

America’s Greatest Makers is a series from noted reality show producer Mark Burnett and co-sponsored by Intel and the TBS cable network.  Intel announced the program last year, and filming took place over the last few months. The show will premiere on TBS April 4th at 9 pm Eastern (check those local listings).

It’s a more targeted competition program compared to All-American Makers, which is broadcast on The Science Channel.  That program is a variation on the Dragon’s Den/Shark Tank style where product developers pitch their wares to an investor and two product testers.  The products are then tested against their product claims and run through focus groups to determine their market potential.

America’s Greatest Makers will start with 24 teams of makers and work its way to one finalist over the course of the program.  The 24 teams will be winnowed down to fifteen during the first two episodes, then to five finalists over the next five weeks.  Those finalists will compete for the million dollar top prize.  Experts will hear the initial pitches, and a panel of judges will be joined by celebrity guests to make decisions later in the process (I’d guess one guest judge for each week the competition goes from 15 to five teams).  Those judges are:

Brian Krzanich, CEO of Intel
Kevin Pereira, host of Hack My Life and an angel investor
Carol Roth, CNBC television personality, former investment banker

There will also be several guest judges:

Massimo Banzi, co-founder/CEO of Arduino
Mayim Bialik, actress and neuroscientist
Shaqullie O’Neal, TBS/TNT basketball analyst
Mike Rowe, host of Somebody’s Gotta Do It, Dirty Jobs, evangelist for the skilled trades
Kenny Smith, TBS/TNT basketball analyst

The same channel airing the program will be broadcasting several of this year’s NCAA men’s basketball tournament games, including the championship game on April 4.  Two of the guest judges are part of the TBS coverage of the tournament, and reruns of The Big Bang Theory, where Mayim Bialik plays a neuroscientist, air on TBS frequently.  The synergy is there.

There is already a digital channel for the program, including several videos featuring makers and their work.  It is hosted by Cara Santa Maria, a science communicator and journalist.

It’s possible that the nature of how this show was created will make the criteria for success a bit different.  This Turner press release notes the development of a ‘native advertising’ aspect of their networks, meaning that what makes the future of the show could be more about how happy Intel is with the program rather than simple numbers of eyeballs (and whether those eyeballs were in desirable demographics).  Should the show be renewed, it would be useful to check to see how many people watched it.