Podcast: The Space Race | Starting Gun
By: American History Tellers
Werner Von Braun was a key part of the Nazi V-2 Rocket Program. Near the end of WW2 he and his team were deliberately captured by the Americans and settled in Huntsville Alabama to prevent their knowledge from going to the Soviets.
The thought was that rockets combined with atomic weapons would give the host nation an insurmountable lead in the years to come.
Von Braun’s potential degree of involvement with pretty horrific war crimes under Nazi rule was ignored and deliberately glossed over. Supposedly he just wanted to build rockets to get to space.
Because of his German background he wasn’t fully trusted by American politicians and military figures.
This led to his projects not being allowed to put a satellite into orbit, and allowed the Soviets to take the lead with Sputnik. This created a huge fear in America about ceding space to the Soviets.
Podcast: The incredible shrinking city
For decades, Memphis annexed wealthy suburbs around the city as a way to increase their tax revenue.
After studying the effects of this, they found that these suburbs required more public money than they were generating, essentially being subsidized by the poorer neighborhoods in the center of the city.
Memphis is now undergoing an effort to de-annex some of these suburbs.
Podcast: The Age of Jackson – Manifest Destiny
By: American History Tellers
After the Mexican War of Independence in 1821, the United States considered the territories of Texas and California up for grabs even though they were considered by the Mexican government as part of Mexico.
American settlers began settling both territories.
The Wilmot Proviso was an attempt to ban slavery in the newly acquired lands from the war with Mexico, although it’s intent wasn’t for moral reasons, but to ensure that poor whites wouldn’t compete with slavery for jobs and opportunities.
Part of the Compromise of 1850 was the Fugitive Slave Act which required Northerners to report and assist with the tracking down of escaped slaves, which further solidified anti slavery sentiment.
During the European revolutions of 1848 there were groups that supported the existing governments rather than side with the liberal revolutions.
The presidential election of 1848 is considered the first modern election where all states electors voted on the same day. It also saw three main political parties, including the Free Soil party which was founded on the eradication of slavery but also split the Democratic party vote.
There seem to be quite a bit of parallels between the arguments made for the wars and subsequent annexation of Texas/California by the United States and the arguments made for the wars and annexation of Crimea/Ukraine by the Russian Federation in 2014. Both seem to be making the statement of “Citizens of our country who live in the territory claimed by a different country want to be a part of our country, and we’re just honoring their wishes and protecting them from threats from the other country”
Video: Life on an Eyeball Planet? It’s Possible
By: SciShow Space
Eyeball planets are a nickname for planets that are tidally locked to their parent star., meaning the same side always faces the star. This name comes from the way the side facing the star would be a baked desert, the side facing away from the star would be a frozen wasteland, and there could be concentric circles of in between zones.
An example of a tidally locked celestial body is our own Moon.
This concept is pretty inhospitable to life, however it’s possible that a Eyeball planet orbiting a Red Dwarf, with a strong magnetic field, in the habitable zone, and with water and an atmosphere, could support life with temperatures between 50 and -50 celcius.
For these planets, life could exist in the area between the two sides. However, it would need to be able to deal with very little light, and very strong winds. Also, there would be no day/night cycle, something on which almost all life on Earth has some kind of reliance.
46% of all Americans report feeling lonely
Loneliness can be thought of as analogous to hunger for social interaction. It’s an evolutionary product where humans who were part of social groups were much more likely to survive than those living alone.
The enlightenment and industrial revolution stressed the importance of the individual and deemphasized the importance of social groups.
In the modern world we move away from the social groups of our childhood and have more troubles forming strong bonds as adults.
Chronic loneliness is extremely unhealthy, more so than obesity or smoking.
Podcast: Denmark’s paternity leave problem
Denmark has a child leave policy where the family is given one year of paid leave to split any way they want between the mother and father. While many companies there will offer fairly generous policies of several months, after that the government will subsidize pay at a percentage of normal pay.
They’re finding that the mothers take a majority of this time. There seem to be two main reasons for this: cultural and economic.
Culturally it’s viewed as a woman’s job to raise a child and care for the house – men don’t want to ask their bosses for leave or have to deal with their coworkers ridicule. The act of getting their partner pregnant causes them to have to bake a failure cake for their coworkers as a indication they have made a mistake.
Economically men make more income than women, so it makes sense for the women to use the leave policy.
However, this perpetuates the cycle that women are going to be taking a lot of leave for child care and men aren’t, which significantly contributes to the gender pay gap. Employers are less likely to want to hire women in their 20s and 30s assuming they’re going to take at least two years off on leave.
Iceland has addressed this problem by making a policy of obligatory 4 months of leave for each parent. The hope is that this reduces the hiring/pay discrimination against potential mothers by treating both genders equally with the obligation of child care and leave.
Video: Has Saturn Had More than One Ring System?
By: SciShow Space
Data from Cassini shows that Saturn may be losing it’s rings at a rate of 5k to 25k kilograms per second. This phenomenon is called ring rain and at that rate the rings will be gone within a 100 million years.
It’s also theorized that perhaps the rings are less than 100 million years old. This is troublesome because many theories about how they formed require them to be much older.
It’s possible that we’re seeing a cyclical behavior where the larger planets destroy and recreate ring systems.
Even after the rings have disappeared, Saturn will still have some rings that are the result of other processes.