On this edition of the podcast, we lead off with some seasonally-themed news in relation to the holidays, along with some questions about A.I., as a Google company has announced that one of its artificially intelligent programs is beginning to show human-like “intuition.” Then, turning our attention to the natural world, what is behind the formation of the famous “Mima Mounds,” a series of strange mound formations that are found in various parts of the world? The theories of geologists differ from those of others who think that rodents could be at work here (yet again).
Then in hour two, we are joined by Paul M. Sutter, astrophysicist and author of the new book Your Place in the Universe: Understanding Our Big, Messy Existence. Paul is the creator of the Ask a Spaceman! podcast, a contributing editor to Space.com, and the founder of Active Galaxy Productions, a company that blends science with art in groundbreaking ways. He has authored over sixty academic papers on topics ranging from the earliest moments of the Big Bang to the emptiest places in the universe, to prospective new methods for detecting the evidence of the first stars. Paul has given over 100 seminars and conference talks at institutions around the world, and we are proud to have him join us for a talk about the Big Bang, finding a sense of “purpose” in the universe, and other big questions.