StarTalk and Baba Booey Rock Comic-Con (Part 2)

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About This Episode

In part 2 of our show from San Diego Comic-Con, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, Gadget Gary (Baba Booey of the Howard Stern Show) and The Bad Astronomer Phil Plait turn from gadgets that exist to gadgets we dream about. From Star Trek and Star Wars to Doctor Who and James Bond, the guys expose the coolest fictional technology to the harsh light of science. Could the Starship Enterprise travel faster than light? What would happen if you beamed a person from one place to another using a transporter? What are the practical problems with the lightsabers in Star Wars? Could the Death Star really blow up a planet? How possible are Doctor Who’s sonic screwdriver, psychic paper and TARDIS? And are they any less plausible than James Bond’s vehicular cloaking device or bullet-deflecting magnetic pen? Join StarTalk at SDCC and find out for yourself.

NOTE: All-Access subscribers can listen to this entire episode commercial-free here: StarTalk and Baba Booey Rock Comic-Con (Part 2).

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  • Brian

    I wonder if Jupiter has the same effect as NDT was explaining the sun has. Jupiter is quite large. Does Jupiter rotate faster at the equator for any reason? Does it rotate faster in an particular point at all?

  • Elizabeth

    On self-driving cars, we should all refer to New Zealand scientists who have developed amazing dog-driven car technology. But really, I wonder why we haven’t developed that yet. I’m sure Google is working on it.

    • David

      I live in S.Korea and I actually have to use a fingerprint scanner to get through the main apartment door. 🙂

  • Bob

    I’m still fascinated by Asimov’s moving beltways in his Foundation series. Imagine a series of moving sidewalks side by side each moving 2-3 miles an hour faster or slower than the one on either side. Within a couple of hundred feet you could walk across to up to 60-80 miles an hour and then walk back down as you approach your destination. No cars, no parking, no pollution (electric) and open to everyone!

  • Noah

    the light saber is a beam of charged plasma not light, and the emitter plate is oppositely charged making the beam “stop” but it does fold back up on itself, and also making the “blade” adjustable if desired

  • Sandra

    It wasn’t a magnetic pen, it was a magnet in a watch (Live and Let Die).

  • Tobias Green

    Neil… Please come back on the Joe Rogan Podcast

    You blew my f***ing mind…


  • Re my comment currently in moderation: I meant “satanic” rather than “demonic”, of course (demonic didn’t sound right but I didn’t think it important enough to check).

    And as a postscript combining Doctor Who with James Bond — I’ve always thought “He Who Wins Shall Lose” (from Rassilon’s inscription in The Five Doctors) sounds like a title for a James Bond movie, and wonder what the title track would sound like.

  • Jeff — agreed. I take it as axiomatic that any time a fan of one science fiction series bashes another, it is always, ALWAYS, intended in good humour.

    • Jeff

      Adrian, absolutely. To outsiders, it might seem like we’re being vicious or insulting, but to geeks, it’s just conversational thread #6b. Right up there with who’s stronger, Hulk or Thor.

  • Adam Bruce

    The Concord was a terrible aircraft prone to a large array of problems for almost no gain. Supersonic speeds might sound cool, but the implementation of that idea embodied by the Concord was a strange mutation quickly ‘breeded’ out by the aeronautics community. For a more complete discription, see “The Simple Science of Flight” By Henk Tennekes


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