Episode #25: Doomsday comet, a diamond planet and Bianca Verlinden

Bianca Verlinden, scientist

The 25th episode of Consilience is out! You can download the mp3 here (21.4mb) and the file’s page on Archive.org is here.

Teaching Angela to appreciate history

On August 30th or 31st, 1909, Charles Doolittle Walcott discovered the Burgess Shale fossil bed. Gould’s Wonderful Life is a popular – but controversial – source of information.


Comet Elenin is on its way into the solar system. Cue silly conspiracy theories. (Aside: Gravity is the law). But a recent Coronal Mass Ejection may signal the beginning of the end for Elenin as amateur astronomers report a dimming of the comets coma that suggest an imminent breakup.

The South African police arrested a Ugandan man named Frank Mukase, aka Prophet Hamza, peddler of a herbal penis cream. Not for the right reason, though.

An entire planet made (potentially) of diamond.

Very bad news on the James Webb Space Telescope.


This week we interview Bianca Verlinden, Ph.D candidate at the University of Pretoria. We interviewed her following a public talk she gave on GMOs at the SciBono Discovery Center.

Sci-Fi Quote 

“God does not play dice with the universe; He plays an ineffable game of his own devising, which might be compared, from the perspective of any of the other players, to being involved in an obscure and complex version of poker in a pitch dark room, with blank cards, for infinite stakes, with a dealer who won’t tell you the rules, and who smiles all the time.” ~ Terry Prachett & Neil Gaiman, Good Omens


Johannesburg Skeptics in the Pub: 7 September, 19:00, Brazen Head Pub, cnr Linden Street and Anne Crescent, Sandton.

Cape Town “A sceptically sceptical event for sceptics“: 9 September, 18:30, A Touch of Madness, 12 Nuttall Rd, Cape Town.


About Michael Meadon

Michael Meadon is a graduate student in cognitive science at the University of KwaZulu Natal in Durban, South Africa. When he's not procrastinating online or propitiating his wife, he investigates the effects of rapid & unreflective facial judgments on political elections. He expects to graduate any decade now. When he was an innocent undergrad Michael studied Politics, Philosophy & Economics at the University of Cape Town. Unfortunately, he had to find out for himself that "social" and "science" often don't go so well together.
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One Response to Episode #25: Doomsday comet, a diamond planet and Bianca Verlinden

  1. Thanks for the announcement of the CT Sceptics in the Pub event, Angela.

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