– This episode of Star
Talk is brought to you by Curiosity Stream. Hey YouTubeiverse, Neil
deGrasse Tyson here. Coming up is an episode of Star Talk where we tackle the
science of pop-fiction. (upbeat electronic music) This is Star Talk. I’m your host, Neil deGrasse Tyson, your personal astrophysicist and this is a cosmic queries edition on science in pop-fiction. Ooh, what does that mean? I got my resident geek in
chief with me, Charles Liu. Charles, welcome back to Star Talk. You’re like such a regular
– What a pleasure to be here. – On the show.
(Charles laughs) Because there’s certain
categories of expertise that you just plug that
hole and we just sit back and enjoy. – I live to serve. Thank you for having me. – [Tyson] Oh, there you go, and Chuck Nice. – That’s right. – [Tyson] As always, dude. – That’s right, always a
pleasure to be here, man. – All right, so, we solicited questions about science in pop-fiction. – [Nice] In pop-fiction. So, pop-fiction fiction is what? – It’s moves, television,
maybe comic books. – So it could be superheroes.
– It could be superheroes. It could be sci-fi.
– It could be sci-fi. – Sci-fantasy, or all of the above. – Right. – Whoever is putting
science in their fiction we’re gonna talk about them. – That’s right.
– Okay. – I think of pop-fiction
as the kind of fiction that you would watch while eating popcorn. – Okay. So pretty much anything else. – Okay, pop-fiction, popcorn.
– Popcorn. – Works for me. – All right, so Chuck, what do you have? – All right, you can call
me Charles if you like. – And you can call me Chuck. (laughing) – Interchangeable. – You were Chuck in college, right? – Yeah.
– Yes. – You were Chuck in college? – I’m still Chuck now. – By the way, I was Chuck in high school. – Awesome!
– How? – Yes I was. – How were you chuck in high school? – I hang out with a couple of friends who noticed that I was
always jovial and I– – Who, Peppermint Patty? (laughing) What the hell? – Big Ben, (chuckles) no it was, they noticed that I chuckle a lot. – Oh! – And so, they had their
own nickname for me that no one else had, and it was Chuck which was short for Chuckles. – How cute. – Yeah and then it
ended after high school. – All right, cool.
– Aww. – They didn’t stop laughing,
but no one really cared. – Right, and then you became Dr. Hippart. (laughing) – So we really have three Chucks. – We’re Chuck, Chuck, Chuck. – Chuck, Chuck, and Chuck. How much wood could a woodchuck chuck? All right, here we go. We always start with a Patreon patron because they support us
financially and we’re poor. So, this is from (laughs)
Mike Walterret on Patreon. And this is what he says, “On shows like The
Orville and many others, they often communicate with
people light years away. They never explain how they do it. Maybe there’s a wire that
passes through a tiny wormhole to connect earth. What I’m wondering though
is, if they were able to reliably share the same sense of time for the duration of their conversation, would one of them sound like a chipmunk and the others sound like
they’re in slow motion. What other weird effects might occur?” – That’s a great question. – That’s a really great question. – Because we are so distracted by that, it wouldn’t make noise
in the vacuum of space. – [Nice] Right. – And this person is thinking
deep about our conversations. – [Nice] Yes he is. We have this issue with communicating with the Mars rover.
– Right. – The Mars rover. – What is the delay on the Mars rover? – It’s on average about 20 minutes. – So is it so you, “Hello?” – Watch out for the
cliff, and it’s too late. – Right, so you gotta
make sure, (laughing) watch out for the cliff, Jesus. – That’s why the rovers
all have some kind of A.I. on them to know where they’re heading and how dangerous it might be. – Right. – Regardless of what command we give them. – Right, it’s like being a
lousy parent at the playground. (laughing) You know what I mean? – So, clearly they’re
communicating with people much farther away than just Earth to Mars. – [Nice] Right. – So, I’m thinking its gotta
be some wormhole channel. Charles, you got an opinion about that? – In Star Trek specifically, there is this construct called subspace. – Subspace, yeah. – Which transcends regular space and time. And basically anything
that happens in subspace, you can just assume it works just as if you and I were next door to each other, or in the same room. – In real time. – Yes, but that completely doesn’t affect the entire rest of space and time. – It’s really convenient.
– It’s really a false, entertaining, convenient construct. – It’d be cool if that
were a thing, right? – Yeah, right, it would, and perhaps some day that will be– – But if that were the case– – Wait, wait, wait, wait. So, (laughing) Verizon
Fios, eat your heart out. – The problem of course is that, if you can have this
transluminal communication, you really mess up causality. You could really have an issue. Like, let’s say I
somehow am magically able to tell that Mars rover,
“Watch out for the cliff,” in instantaneous time, then
the rest of the signal, somebody else is watching that rover. It takes 20 minutes for us to see that that rover avoided the cliff. And so, you’re really turning
into a strange opportunity to twist what’s causing
what, who’s causing things, and all of physics starts to break down under those circumstances. So, superluminal communication, or faster than light communication is approximately as challenging
as faster than light travel to our ability to understand
how physics works. – And in fact, if this
is just the movement of information, it has
tremendous consequences if not done according to the universe in which we have laid
down our laws of physics. – [Liu] Yeah, right. – But is there a coherent
set of laws of physics that will allow superluminal communication and not mess things up? – At the moment, no. – So lets say, if we’re
waiting for someone else to be born–
– Pretty much. Einstein Junior, all right,
take us to the next step. – Little Einstein.
– That’s right, yeah. So the comments about whether or not you sound like a chipmunk or
you talk really slowly, is – [Tyson] At low frequency. – Yes, is valid– – [Tyson] You could speak
slowly at a high frequency. – That’s right. Look, I speak slowly
at the high frequency. Sorry, but the idea is– – You know my favorite scene ever? (laughing) It was in, what’s that
Little Red Riding Hood movie? Hoodwinked!
– [Nice] Hoodwinked. – In Hoodwinked, the chipmunk, no one understood the chipmunk. The chipmunk was like (imitates chipmunk), and you just think it’s just
being a cute little chipmunk and then the detective says, “I think I know what’s going on here.” He records the chipmunk, then
plays it back in slow motion. – And then slows it down.
– Right. – Plays it back and it
says, “I was witness to–” (laughing) It’s this slow, deliberate,
low frequency voice. – That’s cool. – Translating the chipmunk. – Right, so that kind of effect is what we call the doppler effect. – Right. – Especially the doppler effect for sound and Neil, you and I
understand that very well. Just when we’re out on
the streets in New York, and the ambulance goes by
or something like that. – They go by too slowly to
have any doppler effect at all. (laughing) – Well in New York they do, yeah. As a matter of fact.
– In rush hour. – It’s one stuck in traffic, right? No doppler effect.
– Every time I see an ambulance in New York, I’m like, “That guy is dead.” (laughing) – Chuck! – Just sayin’. Its like sitting at a
light for 20 minutes. Woo, woo! – It’s behind ya and
nobody knows how to move. – Right, and nobody’s moving
and its trapped on the street. All right, sorry, go ahead. – You need drones to carry these folks. – And so, if you’re
going through a wormhole, you’re not having these doppler effects and so you’re not gonna
have frequency changes. – [Liu] That’s right,
it’s a different dynamic. If you’re close to a black hole, sort of like in the movie Interstellar, you do have things
change in terms of light and sound and those kind of things, but in order to really predict what’s happening in terms of
superluminal communications, I think we are well beyond normal science as we understand it now,
and like the Orville, we’re totally in fiction. – Okay, all right.
– All right, next one. – Hey Mike, what a great
question man, way to go. All right, lets go to Chris
Mangrum from Facebook. – So we’re done with the Patreons? – Yep, for now.
– Okay. – We’ll get back to ’em, you know. I don’t want to be that
much of a whore, you know. Buy me dinner first. (laughing) – Chuck! – Chuck, come on, man. Here we go. This is Chris Mangrum
from Facebook who says, “Have you ever watched
a superhero sci-fi movie that hadn’t made you cringe,
and if so, what was it? I think that, let’s frame that positively. Is there a superhero or sci-fi movie that you have watched and
appreciated the amount of science that was built in and the level of science accuracy. – Mmm. – Oh boy. I think, Chris, that’s
really what you’re sayin’. – You’re right, you just
put a positive spin on it. – Yeah I’m putting it in a positive frame. – Yeah. Let’s trade off.
– [Liu] Okay. – Give me a movie and
I’ll give you a movie and we’ll just go down the list. – [Liu] Okay. – Until we cry. – All right. (laughing) In terms of superhero movies that, maybe we can do like, how did it take before I started to cringe,
or something like that. – [Tyson] Okay. – The movie that made me cringe least? – Least. – It was interesting. The 1966 Batman movie. – The original Batman movie? – No, that’s the one
that had shark repellent in a spray can. – That’s right, no.
– Is that the one where they all became powder? – Yes, in the United Nation
– Yes, that’s the one. – And then they use heavy
water to bring ’em back? – That’s right.
– And it went (boing). (speaks indistinctly)
(Chuck buzzes lips) And they’re identical to each
other except they’re speaking each other’s languages.
– Each other languages, right. – Which by the way is almost as believable as the Tower of Babel. Anyway, go ahead. – The reason I did not cringe at that one is because–
– Wait, wait, wait. What fraction of our audience
even have seen that movie? – Well, you didn’t ask me that question. – You gotta be like 80 years
old to have seen that movie. No, I know that on college campuses, many college campuses,
there’s the annual watching of the Batman movie.
– [Tyson] Gotcha. – Holy AARP Batman! (hysterical laughter) – Okay. – Wheel me closer to
the screen. (laughing) – Robin, I do believe
that man stole my walker. – Wait, so Mike, my cringing was, okay. I even allowed there to
have been shark repellent in a spray can.
– [Liu] Yes. – Okay, this is pre– – But there was Bat Manta
Repellent and there was Bat Eel Repellent, whatever it was. – Here’s my thing. My issue was, how big is his utility belt to just always happen
to have shark repellent? – He didn’t have the bat shark repellent on him at that time. It was in the vehicle. It was in the Bat-copter. And the shark was attached to Batman’s leg as he was coming up on the rope ladder and he said, “Quick Robin, hand me the Bat Shark Repellent” (laughing)
And so, from the cabinet that had the Bat Shark Repellent, that manta ray repellent,
that whatever repellent. – A repellent for each
kind of bad aquatic– – Yeah. – It’s like a spice rack of repellents. – And he grabbed the
thing and then sprayed it and then it fell down and it exploded. – Okay, I thought it came
from his utility belt. Okay, so now explain. – So, the reason it wasn’t
cringe worthy for me is because I knew it was
totally goofy to begin with. – [Tyson] Campy, right, okay.
– And in a sense, I prefer movies of that genre, that don’t take themselves too seriously. – Like Mars Attacks. – Yes, if they’re obviously messed up, – Well, there you go. – Then I don’t really
worry too much about– – Ack ack. – What bothers me, yeah. – That’s Mars Attacks, I’m sorry. – Was that really? – That’s my Mars Attacks. (imitates alien) – Yeah, the aliens say, “Ack ack.” – Ack ack. – And they were destroyed only by– Ope, should we spoil the movie? – I don’t know if you should do that. – No, lets not spoil the movie. But it turns out– – You’re worried about
spoiling Mars Attacks? – Yeah, something completely
unexpected saves the world. – Now the kids have
something to go look at. Go look at it kids! – So, in that vein, my
movie where I just said, okay I’m leaving all the reality– – [Liu] Reality behind,
and no matter what– – [Nice] Suspending all disbelief. – Attack of the Killer Tomatoes. – Yes! – [Everyone] (singing) Attack
of the killing tomatoes! – So the tomato is just
jumping and smothering people. – [Liu] Yes! (laughs) – And I said, “Okay.” – Oh my God, I’m dying by deliciousness! (laughing) – It was like, okay I’ll give it to them. – [Liu] Right. – My only regret is I still don’t know if you’re a fruit or a vegetable. (laughing) – Yep, all right, same kind of genre. Okay, for current actual
Marvel, DC, whatever. – Actual, for-real superhero. – For current universe superhero things, the least cringe worthy
sci-fi superhero movie that I’ve actually seen is Doctor Strange. – Doctor Strange!
– Ooh. – And the reason that doesn’t cringe me, is that a verb, to cringe? – You just made it one. – No, an active verb. I mean, I cringe, but to cringe somebody. – You made it an active verb. Okay, all right. The reason it doesn’t is
because it’s all magic, because the premise of the
movie is that none of this is science anyways, or as say– – Yeah, supernatural. – Right, as Reed Richards would say, on his Fantastic Four comic series, he regularly would say– (Neil mumbles) The comic series. – Well that is the only real series. – [Tyson] Okay, fine. – This cinematic universe stuff, that’s all well and good.
– Its icing on a cake that was baked in the comic strips. – That’s right,
– Okay. – We know what the canon
actually comes from. Yes, he acknowledges, he’s
like the greatest scientist in the world, but he says, “I acknowledge that magic is a science
I do not yet understand.” – [Tyson] He did say that, yes? – That’s right. And so, as a result– – So did Princess Bubblegum, by the way. I’m sorry.
– Really? – Yeah. – In what movie was that? Well, its not a movie, its
series called Adventure Time. – Oh, yes! – Is that the one where
they don’t have elbows? – Yeah, that’s Adventure Time! They have, like, noodle arms. – Noodle arms! (laughing) – Yeah, like noodle arms, yeah. All she says is basically, magic is just science unexplained. Science we don’t understand. – Okay, so Arthur C. Clark said, right? – Yes. – [Both] Any sufficiently
advanced technology is indistinguishable from – Magic.
– Science. Oh, from magic. – Oh no, from science, no. – Any sufficiently advanced technology – [Both] Is indistinguishable from magic
– From magic. Yes.
– Magic. – Now, I don’t mean to boast. Okay, you can line up
for autographs later. – [Liu] Okay.
(laughing) – But I have a cameo in Sharknado 6 – Excellent! and I play Merlin.
– Do you get eaten? Oh wait, I can’t tell you. (mumbles) – I play Merlin. The plot line takes you
back to Medieval times. And I play Merlin. There’s a time warp that
opens in the vortex. – [Liu] Of course there is! – Okay, (laughs) and the sharks, as they go through the vortex,
they end up crossbreeding in this vortex with dragons. And so you have shark
dragon tornados back then. – [Liu] Wow. – Shark-dragonnados, and I play Merlin performing actual science
that everyone thinks is magic. – Because you’re still a scientist. – Yeah, because I’m a scientist, and I was true to my roots. – Now you do realize that you
can say no to these projects. (loud laughter) – Okay, Mom. Are we going to bring
this segment to a close? That was great question. – [Liu] Yeah, great question. – We had fun with that one. When we come back, more on Star Talk where we’re talking about
the science of pop-fiction when we return. – [Nice] If you like science fiction, and who doesn’t like science fiction, you’ve probably seen
sci-fi fandom communities. Well, Curiosity Stream has
an excellent documentary about the sub-culture of female fans. In Fanomenon, you will follow a woman behind a group of dedicated bands to John Shepard from Stargate Atlantis. She is on her quest to meet
the actor behind the character. Watch as she meets up with
other fellow fan girls and see if she gets a
chance to meet the man of her TV dreams. They also get in to
the economics of fandom and you’ll be amazed with
how much money is spent on these things. Subscribe to Curiosity
Stream now to watch. It’s just $2.99 to watch,
and for Star Talk fans, the first 31 days are completely free if you sign up at
CuriosityStream.com/Star Talk and use promo code: STARTALK. You’ll get unlimited access to
the worlds top documentaries and non-fiction series
with Curiosity Stream. Sign up now! – We’re back on Star Talk, Cosmic Queries. The science of pop-fiction. And we have decided, with the help of Charles Liu, my friend and colleague and resident geek expert. What do we call them? Geekspertise. – Geekspertise. – Yes, he’s our resident Geek in Chief. There it is. That these are things you might
watch while eating popcorn. Pop fiction. – Made in your science oven! (laughing) – By the way, I think popcorn is one of the most
extraordinary foods ever. – [Liu] Right. – How many things do you say, “Gee, I want to turn that inside out and then eat it.
– [Liu] Right, and then eat it. – Just every cow I see. (heavy laughter) I mean, but that’s just me! – Okay, all right, technically
you’re kinda doing that. But just if you look at
a kernel in one instant and then the next instant
its completely inside out. And if you didn’t tell someone
what had just happened, they would think its two
completely different foods. – [Nice] See, you’re absolutely right. – That’s my only point. – There’s nobody who
could look at a kernel and then look at a
popcorn, like flourished, and say, “Oh, that came from that.” – And it was specifically
designed by nature to be absorbent to butter. (chuckles) (laughing) Okay, so its the perfect food. – It is.
– And almost no calories. – Oh yes, well air! So you gotta load up the butter calories otherwise, what are you doing? Yeah I tried eating air
popped popcorn without butter. Its like, what am I doing? – I kinda like it. – [Tyson] Nah, you’re lying. – The question is, does it taco? – [Tyson] Does it what?
– What? – You guys don’t know this.
– Does it taco? – Yeah, it’s just this
young generation thing. Can you put this particular
food into a taco shell and eat it? – Oh!
– Does it actually taste good? – So, taco is a verb? – Yeah, does it taco?
– Does it taco? Yes, does popcorn? – Oh, taco. – Why not? It could fit many things.
– Definitely taco, especially if you put a sauce on it! – You know what else? Styrofoam also tacos. Packing Peanuts.
Now how somebody knows that, I don’t even want to know. – You don’t even want to ask. – Don’t even want to ask! – Yeah, don’t even, don’t go there. – How do you even know
that styrofoam tacos? – The edible kind, not
the polystyrene stuff. – Oh, you mean the starch popcorn. – Yeah the starch based
popcorns that don’t kill you if you eat them.
– Right. – Plus, you can put them I the toilet and they just dissolve. – Right, they’re designed to disintegrate. Do they taco? It turns out, they do. How about that. The same is true with popcorn – Is dissolving the
same as disintegrating, I don’t think so. They just dissolve in water. – Dissolution is a form of disintegration. – Ill give it to you. – [Liu] There you go, okay. – Nicely done. (laughing) I gotta tell ya, these
guys make eating a taco that much more exciting to listen to. – It is the joy of the geekiverse. – Wait, wait, wait. How would you know in advance
if you were a three year old, whether you’re eating the
polystyrene looking corn or the starch looking corn. – I have the answer to that. When you don’t end up in the hospital, (heavy laughter) you ate the right one. – Thank you, Chuck. – Biodegrades, as opposed
to the stuff that doesn’t. – Thank you Chuck. All right, give us another question. – All right, here we go. Lets get back to our queries that come from all over the internet. This is Bellamariani. Bellamariani says– – Is it Bella? – Its actually all one. – Oh Bellamoroni, one word. – Bellamariani, yeah it’s Bellamariani. – Oh Mariani. – Bellmariani. – Because Bella Moroni is
like a beautiful moron. – Right. (laughing) – However, moroni is
Swahili for warrior as well. – Excuse me. – But not with the Bella on it. (laughing) – All right, what do ya got? – All right, here we go, “Hey Chuck, will it one day be possible for entire societies
to disguise themselves in plain sight as Wakanda
did in the Marvel universe. How close are we to developing
invisibility technology? – So lets get the top
presentations of that. So you have the cloaking
device on Star Trek and also one of the James
Bond movies with Daniel Craig. I forgot which one it was called, but it has something
like adaptive camouflage. So, you can park it and
whatever it was in front of, it would bring that pattern to the car and you’d walk by it and you
just thought you were looking at a normal scene. So there’s that. There was also cloaking in Chicken Little. (laughing)
– Okay. – Excuse me, is my cinematic
repertoire to large for you? – Probably so! Anytime you’re referencing Chicken Little! – Okay, so sky– – is falling. – Was not a real sky. They were hexagonal tiles
that the aliens had put over the earth, and the
tile is an exact image of what is behind it. And when a tile fell down, it fell to the ground, and
Chicken Little looked at it and touched it and it immediately
became the floorboards. (wowing) And he put it on the table
and it became the table! And so, there’s five
minutes of this movie, doing experiments with
the hexagonal tiles. – Love it. – So basically, its cloaking
by not becoming invisible, but by becoming what is behind it. – Camouflage. – Camouflage, perfect camouflage. So that’s one kind of invisibility. – Sure. – And then you have, what else? – Un-notice ability
– Don’t forget. – [Tyson] Un-notice ability. As opposed to–
– That’s right – So, Harry Potter. – [Tyson] Charles is
inventing words today. – I can’t take credit for that. – [Tyson] Okay, so the cloak. – The cloak in Harry Potter. – The cloak in Harry Potter. You have the Invisible Woman,
the Fantastic Four character who can turn invisible – She can turn invisible as well as the– – Well there’s the Invisible Man.
– The Incredibles. The original Invisible Man. – [Nice] And the original Invisible Man. So what gets me is, just
because he’s invisible shouldn’t automatically mean
he can walk through walls. – No, he never walked through walls. – Why should is mean that at all? – What do you mean? – Yes, of course he did! – H.G. Wells Invisible Man
didn’t walk through walls. – No, the movie.
– He had to walk naked the– No, I’m talking about the guy
who was wrapped in a thing and they unwrapped it
and he was invisible. – Yeah, he couldn’t walk through walls. – He couldn’t walk through walls? – No. – You sure? – Not the original Invisible Man.
– I’m too young for this conversation. (laughs loudly) – No, no, no. His problem was also that he had to– – Oh I know, I’m confusing him with ghosts who go through walls. – Oh, yeah, well movie ghosts, yeah. – Why can you walk through
walls, but not fall into the basement? (chuckles) They almost leave that out. – [Liu] Right. – Right. – Why is the floor holding you up, but you can walk through a wall. – [Nice] Interesting. – It doesn’t make any sense. Okay, so who else do we have? Invisible Woman. – Invisible Woman, we got
the Harry Potter thing, we got the Star Trek as you already said. – Cloaking devices.
– Cloaking devices. – And then, you have the
entire city being cloaked. – [Tyson] Yes, so can
we cloak an entire city? – Well in Wakanda yeah, they did that. – Well, the answer at the moment is– – No! (chuckles) I’m guessing– – We can’t do a city. Going out on a limb.
– I’m betting. – Chuck, lets bet on that one. – Yeah, can’t do a city. – Chuck, can we cloak a whole city? – No, at the moment the
answer is that we can seem to be able to bend light
around objects in such a way that the object would not be visible to someone looking at it
because all they would see is the background. – And you don’t even know
the light is bending, you just see the direction
the light comes from at the last point of contact. – That’s right. – So the light can do a full
360, 180, it doesn’t matter and you look, it all the light coherently comes around the object. Again, you’ve rendered it invisible. – That is, at this moment, only doable in the laboratory under
very extreme conditions sort of at the subatomic level. – Okay, however Charles– – But I thought Darpa was
working on a cloak like that. – That’s the kind– – Is that it? Okay. – I’m not authorized to speak any further. (laughing) – But Charles, here’s the problem. The city is sitting on the ground. – [Liu] Yes. You can’t bring light from
behind the city around it. – [Liu] Right. – So that technology
wouldn’t work to hide a city. It would only hide objects
in front of other things. – In Wakanda they had, it was a dome that covered the city as well. There was some kind of like, force dome that then cloaked the city. – Right, the dome in
that case was really just almost a mirror. In a sense it projected upon itself. Think pastoral images of
goat herders and sheep. – Okay, so it didn’t disappear. It’s just a projection screen. – Its just a projection screen, and then you had to get through it and then you saw all the
marvelous technology. – Cool. – So that we can do. We’re already projecting
movies on to skyscrapers, aren’t we? – You know what got me about Wakanda? How is it that down in the town, this is with all this
technology and all this stuff. They’re still selling woven
baskets in the street. What’s up with that. – I believe it’s very simple. – What? – Because they realize they
essentially have infinite wealth and infinite technology. What makes them happy? Its not the toys. – Baskets! (laughing)
– It’s baskets! – Baskets! I totally get that.
– Straw baskets! I would much rather, like, make a basket, enjoy that basket.
– Look at the workmanship on this basket!
(chuckling) – Then like, you know, point my finger and I have this sort of virtual basket made of vibranium that’s gonna– – I want a basket made of vibranium. That’s what I want. – Well I would appreciate
that too if it were artistic and beautiful. – I’m gonna tell you the truth. I want a bowl. I want an actual bowl. I don’t want a basket. (laughing) – The baskets are beautiful. – Yeah, baskets are beautiful. – That’s the point. I think that it shows a
very interesting utopia. – Actually, in the song
There’s a Hole in the Bucket. – [Liu] Dear Liza. – Dear Liza. The solution to that is
to prepare it with straw. – That’s right. – And I’m thinking, why
would straw hold water. (laughing) I’m just thinking that
when I heard that song. – If its woven tightly enough. – That’s right. – You think so? – There are many waterproof straw things that the people, before
using metal or wood. – I was just thinking, is there any other way
you can plug this hole? Weld, I’m thinking technology, science. No, lets get straw, okay. – [Liu] Because the straw is right there. – I guess so. – Because if you gotta do the wood, you gotta hammer it
down or you gotta weld. – Okay, I just thought they would have a more permanent solution than just straw. And there’s a hole in the
bucket, dear Liza, dear Liza. – All Georgey wanted was
to carry a little water from here to there. Why bring out vibranium for that? – And then he said, “How
will I cut the straw?” and they said, “With an ax.” – [Liu] No no, with a knife. – Either, why do you have to, you know? I think the original song has an ax. – [Liu] An ax? – Yeah. – A little overkill for straw, I think. – No, that’s what I’m saying! The whole song didn’t make sense. I stopped listening to it. Okay, what were you saying Chuck? Last bit on invisibility
and then we can go to the nest question. – Last bit is that I
think that when we think about invisibility, we want
to be able to take it with us. The motion of being
invisible is more important than just being able to
render something not visible. – [Tyson] In a static plot. – In a static plot. And this is the value
that Harry Potter had. – [Liu] That’s right. – You go wherever the cloaking is. – And so, that’s really the
most important thing right now. The technology is not just to
make something not visible, but to make something not
visible as it moves around to everybody, from every point. – And in fact, the lab experiments
that you’re describing, it is only invisible
from one exact direction. – [Liu] Correct. – Because the optics only
conspire for that point of view. Not from the side. – [Liu] That’s where we start. Okay, we’ll start there. – [Nice] All right, there ya go. Oh and by the way, one other thing, militaristically invisibility just means you’re not reflecting a radar signal back. – Which we already have that, it’s called stealth technology. – That’s called stealth. So that is a kind of invisibility that accomplishes what the
Star Trek stealth things were doing, but in a militaristic sense. – All right, here we go. – Another Darpa project
that was, by the way. – [Nice] Stealth was a Darpa? – I think so. – [Nice] Nice. – Yeah we can verify that. We’ve got top crack researchers here. Yeah, Defense Advanced
Research Projects Agency. – [Nice] Are there any
other technologies– – And it was Lockheed that did that. – Yeah I do know that was Lockheed, but are there any other
technological applications for stealth technology, that’s redundant. But are there any other
applications for stealth technology outside of absorbing radar
that we might find in life? – Well sure. – Well its not just absorbing radar. Radar absorbs all electromagnetic rays. So whatever might be– – Anything you’re shooting at. – Shooting at, right. – And also, not all of
it, because some of it has to do with the shape of the plane too. – Everything has to do with the shape – That causes it to flow over. – Its the material, the shape. The V2 Bomber, which
looks like a bat plane. The shape is because, when
the radar signal does reflect, it doesn’t reflect back to the
direction it was sent from. – So it doesn’t reflect, it deflects. – It deflects. – Right. – And there are multiple reflections within the physical body. You don’t want any of
them going back to where. They now have stealth Navy ships. (gasps) And you look at their shapes and its like, oh that’s
a funky kind of shape. – Yeah, I’ve seen then. They are very cool looking. – And the masts have certain shapes just to minimize and reduce
the radar cross-section. – So it’s just like,
“Oh it’s a lost whale. Why is that lost whale
shooting a torpedo at us?” (heavy laughter) – All right, next.
– Cool. All Right, here we go. This is Yussel Lopez. – What’s the first name? – Yussel. – Yussel, okay. – Yeah, or Yus-sel. (laughing) – Ussel was the name of–
– Is it Jessie or Jussie? – Yussel was the name of the character– – The character in Dune by Frank Herbert. It was the nickname given by
the Fremen to Paul Atreides. – Damn. – Ussel. – You are too good Chuck. I’m telling you man. – We are unworthy! – Yes. – When are unworthy. I saw the movie. The book was too think for me to read. I saw the movie I the 80s. – I saw the movie first.
– I gotta tell ya, I didn’t read the book and
the movie was too damn long. (heavy laughter) – The movie should have been longer. – What I like was they have
their language translator. It’s this thing you put
in front and you speak and out the other side. But now our iPhones do that. – I know! – [Tyson] Yeah, mm-hmm. – That’s pretty wild. All right, here we go. This is what Yussel Lopez says. This is specifically for you Neil, but I’d like to know what Chuck
thinks the answer should be. “So a couple episodes
back, there was a reference to the Bat-Signal and a
guest jokingly mentioned that Neil should have a Neil signal. I’m curious Dr. Tyson. What would your Neil signal
look in the night sky be? – Oh that’d be, that’s easy. Yeah, we already have one of these. There’s a webpage on amazon
that sells sanctioned t-shirts that are designed by fans,
but inspired by my work or my words, or my image. But its all sanctioned and
fans get a fee and everything, and everybody’s happy. And one of them is just simply
a silhouette of my hair line and a mustache.
(laughing) That’s it. – [Nice] That’s the Neil signal. – That’s kinda me, right? – [Liu] Right. – Because I got this
sorta widows peak thing. – [Nice] Very Eddie
Munster, your hair line. – No but, Eddie Munster came to a point. – [Nice] Yours is natural though. – Yeah, and so it’s a, and I think when I see that,
I think of myself abstracted. So then, you want a simple
iconography for the Bat-Signal. So the Neil-Signal, in case
you get stuck in an argument with a flat-earther and
you need help. (chuckles) – You just send the
hairline and the mustache. And Dr. Tyson will not show
up to your house (laughs) but he will solve the argument for you. That’s cool man. – Yeah. – All right, Chuck, so what
do you think it would be? – I think it would be a ball in a box. The iconic structure of
the Haden Planetarium. – Oh the Rose Center for Earth and Space. – Ooh. – See, your silhouette is great but its a little too detailed. A little bit of clouds and you look like those are the clouds. – [Tyson] Yeah, you’re right. – So you have to have basic shapes that are immediately recognizable. – And if we do that, because the Rose Center
for Earth and Space is a glass cube and a ball inside containing the Haden Planetarium. That iconography would
mean, if I’m not available, we get some of our other staff! – [Liu] There you go, tremendous talent. – Its just that you need an astrophysicist to help settle your argument. It doesn’t have to be me. I
don’t have unique knowledge in this world. – Now I’m going back to the
hair line and the mustache. – What, what? – Because you know somebody is just like, “Lets call Neil,” and they put up the ball in the box, right, and all of
a sudden some intern shows up. (laughing) – Hey guys! Hey guys, what do ya need? (laughs) – But we got badass
interns, let me just say. – No, you do. This is true. All right, but I like the ball in the box, very, very thoughtful. – All right, hey Chuck,
what’s the next question? – Okay, here we go. This is Daniel J. Lay and he says, “This is for Chuck and Neil. What superpower would you like to have that could be theoretically
enabled by gene editing. (everyone exclaims excitedly) – Good one, very X-Files. I mean, very X-Man. – Yes! – On that one, I have an answer. Chuck, do you have an answer? – I do. – We don’t have time to give it. – Agh. – We gotta go to break. (chuckles) – All right, well go to break. – Take a break, and when we come back, Chuck and I will argue about
what genes we will edit to try to get some kind
of superhero superpowers when Star Talk returns.
(electronic music pings) This episode of Star
Talk is brought to you by Curiosity Stream. Star Talk, we’re back. Tyson here. Chuck Liu there. Chuck nice there. (giggles) Charles Liu, Chuck Nice. Chuck Liu and Charles Nice. – That’s right. (laughs) – Okay, you tweet don’t you, occasionally? – @chuckliu, at C-H-U-C-K-L-I-U.
– See, it does use Chuck. – Chuck Liu, L-I-U. – Yeah, that’s because
Charles was already taken, so. – Oh that’s too bad. – Well no, its actually better. It reminds me of my college roots. – [Tyson] Okay, and you are? – @chucknicecomedy. That’s my name and what I do. You actually have to tell
people you’re a comic. – Well you know, I’m not that good at it. – [Tyson] That means your
tweets were not– (chuckles) – I’m not that good at it. – Just in case you forgot. (loud chuckling) – Its like, “What is this tweet? Oh he’s a comedian!” – And by by the way, it
was originally Chuck Nice, black comic, but I figured
okay, they’ll figure it out. (laughing) – He also has another Twitter handle that he doesn’t publicize so much. It’s @ChuckNiceGoGoDancer. – Is that right? – No that’s not right. (loud laughing) – You know, I thought I saw that. That wasn’t you? – That was just for you. – Oh, I’m so sorry. (laughing) – All right, so read this question again where we left off.
– Okay, so right before we went to the break, Daniel J. Lay asked a great question
for Neil and Charles. “What superpower would you like to have that could be theoretically enabled (excitedly) by gene editing! – Okay, Chuck you go first.
– Ooh. Charles you go first. – I would say, and I know this
might seem a little goofy, but with gene editing, the best
thing that I could hope for for myself is that my genes
make it so that I will stay as mentally and physical in perfect health as long as I live. – That’s not a superpower. – It is, immortality! But its healthy immortality. – A superpower is somebody’s in distress and you go help them. – Yes, if I am immortal– – And he’s like this, “I’m
gonna stand here and watch you.” – Watch you die, while I live forever.
– While I live forever. (chuckling) – Charles. – If I am immortal, then I
will have the opportunity to learn all the medical
technology, all of the information over the centuries, the millennia. And that way, I will
be able to help people not by being some crazy guy in a costume. – Wait, medical knowledge
over the centuries includes like bloodletting, and this sort of thing. – Yes, well it depends on
whether that bloodletting is worth keeping or not. – Okay. – But for example, these
days medical people actually use leeches to help get rid of hematomas.
– Yeah, get rid of bad blood. – [Liu] That’s right. – Excuse me, hematoma, excuse me. (laughing) – I want to make it so
that I have great value to society without my having to stand out as some sort of a beacon or a flag post. Does that make sense? So I think it’s tremendous.
– No! But all right. – Okay Charles, no one is
making a movie about that. (chuckles) – Maybe not. Oh, well there was The Fountain. – It’s the man who reads! – [Tyson] The fountain of youth? – Yeah, that was the one
Darren Aronofsky put together, starring Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz. – Huge Ackman, that’s the
brother of Hugh Jackman? (laughing) – All right Neils, what was yours? So Charles is going to live forever. – I thought about this actually, and if gene editing is what is allowed, because the X-Men stuff is extreme. You’re not gonna edit
your genes and spit fire, that’s not gonna happen. But, what you’re allowed to do, is ask the animal kingdom,
what are the things that are exhibited in all
the animals of the world? Because we all have DNA in common. And I wanna say, give me some of that. – Animal man! – So, what I would do is I’d say, give me genes that a snake
has where I can open my mouth five times bigger than my
head so that I can finally eat the sandwich at the deli (chuckles) (laughing) Pastrami sandwich at the deli. Okay, but that’s not a superpower. That’s just, I wanna
throw that in there just for the hell of it. Snakes can detect infrared. Insets can see deeply in the ultraviolet, which is why bug zappers work,
because they’re ultraviolet. And they said, “I gotta
go to the ultraviolet!” And then then die. So I want to be able to see
infrared, see ultraviolet. Also, I wanna be able to
gene edit other people so that I can help regenerate
the limbs of veterans. The lost limbs defending this country. – Cool. And newts can regenerate limbs. Humans can’t.
– Exactly. – It is in the genome of the tree of life to regenerate limbs. And so, I want to be able to have that to then impart that in fellow humans and so that everybody
gets their limbs back. For me that’s, its not a superpower, but its a power that I think
would be great valuable. – Being able to regenerate limbs. I mean, that’s a pretty good power. – Right. – Its a great power, and again
no ones gonna make a movie out of that, but people
will take a look and– (laughing) What? You explained that no
one would make a movie out of my power. Its true, but notice that
the two of us were thinking about powers that like, don’t, yeah.
– Help humanity. Don’t like turn us into
these God like creatures that do stuff to people,
but rather allow us to be part of the society that matters. In a sense, that’s kind of
what the impulse of science is. I don’t know, do you? – Yes, I agree. – That’s what we’re thinking about. – Right. – And if there’s a way to
think about superpowers, maybe that’s the best way to do it. We can create the powers, you know, we have these folks going out and fighting cosmic villains
or anything like that. But why not take some of
that wonderful technology and heal people? Like in Black Panther for example, when the Black Panther’s
sister saves the life of that gentleman that
was working with them. You know, their super
technology was being used for good and used for a societal benefit. That’s the kind of we’re getting at. – Well, I’m going with super
strength and sprouting wings like a beetle so that I
don’t have wings all the time because, you know, that would
probably get on my nerves when I’m trying to sleep. (laughing) – Oh, so you want wings that
tuck in under an exoskeleton. – Yeah, tuck in under an exoskeleton, pop out when I want to fly, and then super strength. By the way, I’m not helping anybody. I’m going on a life of crime. (laughing) – So you’d be a super villain. – I’d be a super villain without a doubt. And then you guys could
figure out a way to stop me. – You would be called Kafka Man. – Kafka Man? – Yeah, from Metamorphosis.
– No, that was cockroach, not a beetle. – [Liu] You don’t think so? – [Nice] What? – If Kafka, that was a cockroach. Oh my gosh! That wasn’t a beetle.
– Well, that’s your interpretation. – Excuse me, that was
a cockroach, wasn’t it? – I don’t know Kafka Man. – I thought I read that– (laughs) You didn’t read the
story, it’s a short story. Like Franz Kafka.
– No, I don’t think so. – Everybody read that story! – [Nice] I don’t believe I have. – I thought you were an educated man. – No, I’m not. (heavy laughter) – Chuck, how can I fight? I’m trying to fight you, Chuck. You’re not supposed to agree with that. (laughing) – It’s an abstract commentary
on the dehumanization of man. – Okay, I’m gonna read it tonight. – Metamorphosis. – Metamorphosis
Definitely read it. It’s a short story. – I’m sure, yeah. – [Tyson] You read it in
like ninth grade, Chuck. – I probably read it and
don’t even know that I read it to be honest. Okay, well there you have it. All right, listen, that was interesting. Oh wait. – So a guy goes to bed and
he wakes up as a cockroach. And his thoughts–
– It’s a beetle. – Don’t make me. (laughing) And he has thoughts about what that means. Its a meditation. – And the reaction of
his family members too Is also very interesting
– Yeah, its a meditation on the thing. – Right, its an existential story. – Yeah, exactly. – That questions, what is your life? I get it. All right, here we go. Lets go to Von Murray. Actually, he is a patron on Patreon. – [Tyson] Ooh, okay. Sorry that it took this long
to get to your question. (deep laughter) – Oh, that wasn’t right. All right Von, here you go. This is what he says, “Dear Star Talk experts, and Chuck.” (loud laughter) – That’s cold! – That was cold. That was cold, man. Why you gotta do that, bro? Why you go there like that? – Why you gotta go there? – Damn, treat me like I’m Kafka Man. All right, here we go, “My friend and I got
into a space discussion about future star ship design. Sci-fi franchises like to make
use of the simulated gravity on star ships and space station’s by the way of centrifugal force or centripetal force.
– Rotating sections. – Which is rotation section, in a habitat section, and
we all know what they are. As earliest evidence in, what was it, 2001: A Space Odyssey, right? Okay, “Would it be
realistic to use this idea for long term space travel?” – Yep. – Yep. – Yep. And next question. (laughing) Von, there’s your answer. – The point is– – It works! – There’s all this research
on the medical effects of zero-G. None of which would be necessary
if our long term spaceships had rotating habitats,
and you don’t have to be in there 100% of the
time, but you go in there to get your sea legs back, you know? And you lift weights, you do whatever. – And your bone density stay
the same and everything. So now, how fast would it have to spin to give you one-G, which is where we are.
– It depends on the radius. – [Nice] So the radius of the system? – Entirely! – So the smaller the radius the– – [Nice] The faster
it’s gonna spin, right. – Correct. – And the larger the radius,
the slower it can go. – So you want to make
it as big as possible. – As big as possible. – Right, and remember in space, since there’s no air resistance– – But why do you have to
make it as big as possible? Who cares? It doesn’t matter. – If it’s small, then
your inner ear has issues with the rotation. – If you are large relative
to the size of the thing. But I’m saying, if it’s
still big relative to you, then the size doesn’t matter. – But its gotta get to that size. – But I’m sure there’s a particular size that’s gonna get me the one-G, right? For your size.
– No, any size. In fact, do this, right. – [Nice] Go ahead. – Take a bucket of water
and swing it fast enough over your head so that
it doesn’t fall out. – Right, that’s one-G? – No, it could be zero-G. It could be weightless up there
because that would be one-G. – That’s right, it could be.
– That’s right. So, I take that back, sorry, bad example.
– No, you’re right. – But I’m just saying– – Because that’s what
happens on a rollercoaster where you go. – Yeah, you’re weightless at the top. – The relevant formula is that
centripetal acceleration– – No, wait a minute, this would work. – [Liu] Its V squared over R. – No, no, no, watch. This would work, because
if it is zero-G at the top, and it’s not falling out. – Right. That would be one-G, if I were in zero-G. – Sure. – All right, you lost me, man. (laughing) I’m sorry. – No, so the force up is now
counteracting the force down. Because we’re doing
this experiment in one-G – Right, so the cancellation,
that is one-G in space. (drowns out Tyson’s voice) – [Tyson] But in space, it
would be one-G in space. – One-G, okay. – So the point is, it’s not
hard to figure out the speed. By the way, you wouldn’t even need one-G. You can do 0.8-G. You can get ready for the
next planet you visit. Mars is 38%. – [Liu] 38% of our gravity. – So you can change the
rotation and get accustomed to being on Mars. It could be a very fun,
interesting exercise. – The equation is centripetal acceleration equals velocity squared divided
by the radius of rotation. – Okay. – So all you do is measure how far it is and you figure out how fast your spinning. – How fast you have to spin, that’s it. – Jut push it and let it go.
– And by the way, I did the calculation for
the rotating section in 2001, – [Liu] Ahh! and they rotated that
three times too fast. – Really? – [Tyson] Yes. – So people were really bulking up? – No, no, no.
(laughing) – It was a heavy gravity spaceship. (laughing)
– They’re just getting ready to get to Jupiter. – No, here’s the thing. Okay, they surely knew what
speed it would have to be to be one-G. It was already rotating slowly. – Right. So it was too boring for the camera. – [Tyson] Too boring for the camera! – That’s really what it is. – It’s too boring for the camera.
– You want to be stately, but still doing something. So this rate, where they match
the rotation of the shuttle, to go into the station, that’s three-G. – [Nice] Right. – And I said to myself,
if you slow this down by a factor of three or whatever the number is.
– You’re not doing anything. You got a terrible, boring shot. – Its a slow boring movie. So I gave it to ’em. – Yeah, gave it to ’em. – All right, I just
thought they were trying to get some extra–
– No. (chuckles) – Resistance work in, you know, while they were heading to the moon. – That’s cool.
– All right, next question. That was actually a really cool question. All right, here we go. Ooh, Greg Von. We went from Von Murray to Greg Von. Coming to us from Instagram. – Oh, one other thing, sorry. – [Nice] Go ahead, before we get back. – Yeah, so if you don’t
have rotating sections, then you need to invent
something that shuts off gravity. And we know of no such thing, okay. – [Nice] Okay. – We’re not even close
to knowing such a thing. – So, any sci-fi film where they go, “Enact artificial gravity.” In order words they’re
saying, “Enact the BS.” (heavy laughter) “Turn on the BS so that
we don’t float around.” – Now, I don’t mean to boast– – Captain, the BS is not working. (laughing) – I don’t mean to boast. – Go ahead. – But I had a cameo in Ice Age 5. – All right. (laughs) – Wait, in Ice Age 5– – That’s definitely not a boast, sir. – That scrat, that little… – That little squirrel lookin’ thing. – Squirrel, chipmunky thing. He’s on a ship! There’s a scene, it’s a throwaway scene. Its not relevant to what’s
going on down on earth. But he accidentally hits
the gravity changer knob ’cause he’s just accidentally doing stuff. And there’s like a scene,
where there’s like 20-G and he’s flat on the ground
and he’s lifting up his top jaw and he can’t. I mean, they’re very creative
about how it would be as you change the Gs. But anyhow, just wanna say.
– [Liu] I love that. That’s great. – So guys, we got only one minute left. Chuck, you got a fast one. Okay, go.
– Okay, here’s the fast one. Greg Von wants to know this, “Is there a real quantum realm?” – Oh, that’s a reference to Ant Man. – Yes it is.
– [Tyson] Okay, okay. – Can you shrink down so far that you have a whole new universe which
doesn’t follow the laws of anything and you get
trapped in there for decades. Well, there is a quantum realm. The question is, can you
function as a normal person in a quantum realm? – The answer is you can’t of course. (laughs) – Why you gotta be like that? – No, no, no. – Why you gotta be like that? – But the bottom line is,
yes there is such a thing as the quantum realm. Whether we can actually
do something in it, completely different story. – So the Tompkins in Wonderland series. Did you know the Tompkins and Wonderland? – [Liu] No. – Written by George Gamow. So George Gamow wrote a series– A famous physicist. – [Nice] Okay. – Mid century, twentieth century. – Helped to figure out the
theoretical underpinnings of the Big Bang Theory. – Okay, all right.
– Yes, yes, yes. Made the first prediction of the cosmic microwave background. And he said it would be five degrees. Ended up turning out to be three degrees. Idiot.
– Wow. (laughing) What a loser. (hysterical laughter) – George is rolling in his grave like, “Way to go Neil.” All right, okay. – So, anyhow, he had a series of stories where he changed the physical constants of nature in those stories. So in one of them, the speed
of light was 60 miles an hour. – [Nice] Wow! – So there you were driving on the street and then he describes how things change. – [Nice] That’s cool. – And in another one, he
can change planks constant. – [Nice] Ooh.
– [Liu] Ooh. – And so then, as you walk– – [Liu] The quantum realm changes. – The quantum realm changes. So, you walk through a
door and you defract, walking through a door. All the things that happen to particles, happen to you.
– Happen to you. Wow. Okay, that’s cool. – That’s very cool, but Ant Man, I think that they had to
make up a bunch of stuff in order to let that story roll. But I’m glad they used the word quantum. – Yeah. – Oh, okay. (laughing) – And they almost used it right. – Almost. They write enough to get
you to go see the movie. – [Nice] Exactly. – It shows that they have some concern for this.
– [Nice] Some concept. And, more broadly, the
Marvel universe, as we know, many of those superheroes
were once scientists. – [Liu] Correct. – Dr. Banner, even Spiderman,
he was in a science class. – Well, they all screw themselves up while they’re doing an experiment
that goes horribly wrong. (laughing) – I’m just sayin’, that
science matters there in ways that it doesn’t seem
to matter in the DC universe. – [Everyone] Ooh. – Oh, blood drawn. All right, we gotta wrap this up. This is Star Talk. Chuck, Charles Liu, thanks as always. for being on the show.
– My pleasure. – Chuck Nice. – Always a pleasure. – My man.
– You know it. – I’m Neil deGrasse Tyson, your personal astrophysicist. We are signing off Star Talk. As always, I bid you to keep looking up. (electronic pings) – [Nice] Thanks to Curiosity Stream for supporting this episode of Star Talk. Are you a sci-fi fanatic? Then you gotta watch
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