Cosmic Queries: Monsters with Bill Nye

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About This Episode

Who are you going to call when you need a little science to chase away the things that go bump in the night? Bill Nye and Chuck Nice, of course! In our Halloween episode of Cosmic Queries, Bill and Chuck answer fan questions about monsters of all kinds. You’ll learn whether physics can explain the existence of ghosts, or if we could create a real live wolfman via gene splicing, or if zombies would make the perfect space travelers. Could we actually transplant a human brain into a reanimated body the way Frankenstein did with his monster? Is there enough nutrition in blood to support a human vampire? Could a zombie fungus evolve to control a human host? You’ll hear Bill’s thoughts on why we create monsters, and why, separated by centuries and continents, they seem to take similar forms across cultures, from sea monsters and dragons, to ghosts and werewolves. Finally, find out what really scares Bill and what Chuck says Halloween is all about.

NOTE: All-Access subscribers can listen to this entire episode commercial-free here: Cosmic Queries: Monsters with Bill Nye.

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  • maddhater
  • George Walden

    That TV episode with the monsters under the sand eating astronauts was an Outer Limits episode, “The Invisible Enemy” with Adam West!

  • sepiae

    1 of 2: Hugely enjoyable. Regarding apossible cultural explanation for the belief in werewolves – I can pour you one better, and it also covers human control by a parasitic invader: in their book ‘Rabid, A Cultural History of the World’s Most Diabolical Virus’ Bill Wasik & Monica Murphy discuss the possibility that rabies are co-responsible for the myth. A person who develops symptoms suffers severe cramps and spasms, which might look to another as if s/he is physically changing. The symptoms appear some time after a bite. Often months after; if it is 1 month and the bite occurred around a fullmoon… The violent behavior has most mammals in such distress use their mouth, but a restrained human might also resolve to the use of teeth. The cries of agony do often indeed resemble howling. Postmortems have revealed that the brain isn’t actually damaged, it’s now believed that the virus *overstimulates* the brain. Not only does the mammal in question become unpredictable and violent, it is also made to develop hydrophobia, an intense fear of water, while going thirsty. Any time water is seen the fear has the throat clamp up (‘throttling’) and the patient cannot swallow. The virus collects in the salivary glands, and without swallowing there’s the infamous frothing before the mouth – remember most mammals will bite. In short, the virus transforms its host, making it its tool to get passed on by severe modification. And the result is truly frightening. Excellent book, by the way.

  • sepiae

    2 of 2: Regarding the listener’s question whether zombies would ‘survive’ the vacuum of space (it’s a lil duh, what’s there to survive for the dead?) – s/he might or might not have read Tony Burgess’ (of ‘Pontypool’-fame) novel ‘The n-Body Problem’, which is about the waste disposal problems caused by getting rid of zombies by putting them into orbit around the Earth, which eventually causes light getting scant and people suffering from all kinds of mental problems… 🙂

  • sepiae

    2 of 2: Regarding the listener’s question whether zombies would ‘survive’ the vacuum of space (it’s a lil duh, what’s there to survive for the dead?) – s/he might or might not have read Tony Burgess’ (of ‘Pontypool’-fame) novel ‘The n-Body Problem’, which is about the waste disposal problems caused by getting rid of zombies by putting them into orbit around the Earth, which eventually causes light getting scant and people suffering from all kinds of mental problems… 🙂

  • Mark Jaypee Gonzales

    Great episode! Thanks Bill!

  • new hope

    Hello,

    I really enjoy the podcast; terrific topics! However, it is very difficult to hear the guests/ responses to questions, when Mr. Chuck Nice
    (consistently) either talks over them, or interrupts them. Enjoy his enthusiasm, but I would enjoy the show a lot more if I could hear everyone speak. Thank you.

  • Douglas Winschief

    I’m late to the party on this episode but Bill Nye and Chuck Nice always have the best chemistry. They need a spin-off podcast.

  • Guest

    Thanks for recommending The Message, you guys! I really enjoyed it!

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