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Gabatron Morning Briefing – 7-14-16: I For One Welcome Our Alien Overlords

A group of eagle-eyed YouTubers have uncovered evidence of the greatest conspiracy in history: Aliens are approaching Earth and NASA is covering it up. Apparently they have been shutting off the live stream from the ISS at strategic times to keep people from seeing it. I for one welcome our new alien overlords.

These candidates make me want to vomit in terror. There’s only one option that will make all of us happy: Sweet Meteorite of Death 2016.

Donald Trump will announce his running mate on Friday. Can you feel the excitement?

Pokemon Go continues to dominate the news cycle, cementing its place as the “Ice Bucket Challenge” of the summer of 2016. Senator Al Franken wants an investigation into what kind of info they are collecting through the app. Because he’s a serious United State Senator.

Hoping to capitalize on nostalgic millennials who now have some extra spending money, Nintendo is releasing a working mini replica of their original gaming system.

Nearly 8 of every 10 U.S. drivers admit expressing anger, aggression or road rage at least once in the previous year. I’m guessing this includes middle fingers. I just wish some of those people would use their turn signals.

Remember how shocked Disney was when an alligator ate a small child on their property? Firefighters at Walt Disney World were warned to stop feeding alligators at one of the resort’s fire stations two months earlier.

Gabatron Morning Briefing – 7-5-16: People You May Know

Every once in a while, another story surfaces that makes Facebook look even more creepy and big brothery. Now they were tracking users to see who they were in close proximity to in order to suggest potential new friends. The feature used to be automatic, but will now be up to the user to turn it on. I was wondering how some people seemed to be showing up in the “People You May Know” area, especially when I didn’t actually have any common friends with them.

There has been lots of speculation about what President Obama will do when he leaves office. He’s obviously one of the youngest people to take on the role of “former President.” There have been serious suggestions, like running for Illinois Senator again and actually completing a full term this time, and a few people have thrown out the idea of Obama serving on the Supreme Court. But it turns out he may have slightly less ambitious plans: He and Rahm Emanuel used to talk about moving to Hawaii and opening a t-shirt stand. In an effort to avoid having to make any tough decisions, they’d only sell medium-sized white t-shirts.

According to a new survey, more than 50% of Americans are now streaming content on their TV’s. A quarterly study of audience viewing habits by The Nielsen Company said that for the first time on-demand subscription services have reached a 50% penetration rate in American TV households. According to Nielsen’s Total Audience Report Q1 2016, the use of subscription-based services in the home has caught up to the number of households that use DVR devices to watch content on demand, both of which now show 50% penetration rate in the home.

Remember the guy last week who became the first person killed when their car was in “autopilot” mode in his Tesla? It turns out he was watching a Harry Potter movie at the time.

NASA’s Juno spacecraft arrived at Jupiter after a five year trip. Juno’s supposed to take a close look at Jupiter and hopefully give scientists an idea of how the planet was former, and whether it actually has any solid mass or really is just all swirling gasses.

The state of New Jersey has decided that being murdered is no reason to stop paying off your student loan. They’ve ruled parents have to pay for the loan they co-signed for despite the fact that their son was murdered.

A Minnesota man decided it was a good idea to stop on the interstate to allow a group of ducks to pass. He ended up causing a Blue Brothers-like multiple car crash. The driver and his teenage son were taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Interesting/Slightly Horrifying Stat of the Day: More than 5,300 U.S. water systems violated lead-testing rules last year.

Gabatron Morning Briefing – 6-27-16: Inevitable Robot Uprising

Google’s holding company, Alphabet, has a new robotic dog from its Atlas-making Boston Dynamics subsidiary capable of clearing up after its human masters.  The new small robotic dog has a articulating arm on its back, which is capable of lifting and holding objects as fragile as a glass. Robots cleaning up after us. This is literally exactly how the First Cylon War started in Battlestar Galactica.

A restaurant owner fired the bartender for insulting a customer on a credit card receipt as “fatty.” It was a significant move, because the bartender was his own son. He’s gone as far as banning him from the property altogether.

The Battlecreek Bombers minor league baseball team decided it was a good idea to hold a “bring your gun to the game” night. They officially called it “2nd Amendment Education Night.” As my colleague Garry Meier says, “timing and good lighting are everything.” Maybe they should have rescheduled that after the Orlando terror attack. That reminds me of the time I won a gun rack at a Huntsville Stars game… I was 11 years old at the time.

Last week, I mentioned the story of the guy who was released from prison after years when it was proven he did not do it. I somewhat tongue-in-cheek asked if you’d take the $30 million he’s asking for in exchange for spending 13 years in prison. This week there is a guy who has served 20 years in prison for a murder he apparently didn’t commit. Rather than having the charges against him thrown out, he wants to stand trial again to prove in a court of law that he did not do it and the prosecution did not do its job. That’s strange, because it leaves the murder conviction in place until the trial proves his innocence. He’s that set on making a point about the job the prosecution did in his trial. Also, at this point is there anyone in prison who is actually guilty?

Say what you want about special interest groups, but a new poll says Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are less popular than the NRA and Planned Parenthood.

In science news, NASA has authorized five more years for the Hubble Space Telescope.

Geek/CounterGeek – #49: The Battle Of The Stormtroopers and The Red Shirts

The first Ghostbusters trailer has finally dropped. Keith thought it was a little paint-by-numbers, but loved the special effects. He and Elliott are both excited to see the latest iteration.

Scott Kelly is back from serving a full year on the International Space Station. The mission paves the way for humans to one day go to Mars. If we ever decide that we actually want to do that, of course.

Plus, Elliott and Keith tackle the thought experiment to end all thought experiments: If stormtroopers and red shirts were fighting each other, who would win? Is it possible for either of them to win?

Each week Keith Conrad and Chicago’s Top Geek Elliott Serrano debate a controversial topic in contemporary geekery: Kirk vs. Picard? Was Douglas Quaid dreaming in Total Recall? No topic is off limits.

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Gabatron Morning Briefing – 2-22-16: I For One Welcome Our Alien DJ Overlords

A new TV special suggests that the Astronauts on Apollo 10 heard strange music coming through their radio when they were on the far side of the Moon. That’s spooky, because the Moon would have been blocking any signals from Earth, so the music had to come from out in space. The Astronauts debated whether or not to tell NASA about it and decided not to, but it was in their tape dump so eventually NASA did hear about it. The official NASA explanation is that the radios on the CSM and LEM were interfering with each other and that’s what the Astronauts heard. They had all flown in space before though, so it seems likely they would have recognized the sound of two radios interfering with each other.

The city has seized the old Post Office building through eminent domain and will be looking for a new developer. Apparently the existing developer wasn’t moving quickly enough for the city? It’s been abandoned for so long that it might make a good place for some sort of zombie apocalypse role-playing adventure. Other ideas?

Donald Trump has now dropped the allegation that Marco Rubio is ineligible to be President of the United States because he’s “not a Natural Born Citizen.” Once again, the discussion started because he decided to retweet someone mentioning the idea. George Stephanopolous brought up the retweet on This Week, and Trump said he’s “not sure” if Rubio is eligible. He is, BTW. Rubio was born in Miami.  I would have thought that there were unique circumstances behind the personal histories of both Barack Obama and Ted Cruz that led to Trump making those birther allegations, but it turns out that’s literally his campaign strategy against EVERYONE. Are we sure Trump is eligible to be President? Where do Oompa Loompa’s come from?

The Chicago Tribune has found a photo of Bernie Sanders being arrested during a civil rights protest in 1963. It was back when Sanders was a student at the University of Chicago, protesting segregation. He ended up being fined $25.

Finally ready to find a fellow socialist and settle down to raise an army of little socialists to help in the revolution against the capitalist running dogs? Now there’s a dating website just for Bernie Sanders supporters. It’s really only a true Bernie Sanders dating website if you force someone else to pay for your date.

A lock of John Lennon’s hair sold for $35,000 at an auction on Saturday. He got his hair cut for his role in the movie “How I Won The War” in 1967. Cool or stalker-level creepy? Get ready for the debut of Clone John Lennon.

A little girl burst into tears when told President Obama will be leaving office soon. Her grandmother posted the video, and naturally it has since gone viral. President Obama has actually responded, telling her that when he leaves office he won’t go anywhere, he’ll just be a normal citizen just like her.

What Are We Going To Call This Thing? – (The Lost Episodes) #11: Ethiopians Screwed Up My Laptop

Keith explains why there hasn’t been a podcast in a few weeks. It’s an amazing and bone-chilling story.

If you’re looking to make a career change, NASA is taking applications for a new crop of astronauts. Dave and Keith worked on their applications.

Plus, Dave had one hell of an adventure at the dentist, which brought on some medication-induced fever dreams.

Dave Stripling and Keith Conrad are producers for rival Chicago morning radio shows, but that doesn’t mean they can’t get along. This forbidden friendship is a lot like West Side Story, except with less finger-snapping.

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Geek/CounterGeek – #43: Is The Robot Uprising Inevitable?

NASA has announced that they’ve opened an office that will focus exclusively on making sure that we find any space rocks that might obliterate life on Earth as we know it. Elliott and Keith both agree that’s a wise investment.

An eight year old girl from Evanston took on the mighty Hasboro toy empire and won. Carrie Goldman wrote a letter to them for leaving the character of Rey out of their Star Wars The Force Awakens Monopoly set. Rey is basically the most important character in the film, so it’s a little perplexing why they’d leave her out. Carrie wrote in adorable eight year old handwriting that “boys and girls need to see women can be as strong as men.” Hasboro says that a new version of the game with Rey will be available later this year.

Plus, a sci-fi author says that by the year 2040-2055 there will be so many artificially intelligent lifeforms out there that a robot uprising is inevitable. Elliott thinks that may be overly optimistic, and it will happen much sooner than that, while Keith believes we will never have to worry about our robot overlords taking over.

Each week Keith Conrad and Chicago’s Top Geek Elliott Serrano debate a controversial topic in contemporary geekery: Kirk vs. Picard? Was Douglas Quaid dreaming in Total Recall? No topic is off limits.

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Gabatron Morning Briefing – 1-7-16: Would You Pay $100,000 To Clone Your Dead Dog?

A British couple sent some DNA from their dead dog and a certified check for $100,000 to a South Korean company and got two clones of the little rascal. Everyone loves their pets and are devastated when they lose them, but would you spend $100,000 to bring them back?

Interesting Stat of the Day: 99 percent. That’s the amount of the vote Ken Griffey Jr got when he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame on Wednesday.

A science fiction author says that the war with the machines will happen by 2040-2055.

Star Wars The Force Awakens has officially passed Avatar as the highest grossing movie in domestic US history.

In science news, NASA’s Kepler spacecraft has found 100 more exoplanets. It’s up to about 1,000 in all.

Plus, Someone decided to build an igloo around a street light on Upper Wacker here in Chicago.

Each morning Keith Conrad will give you a few stories useful for starting conversations around the water cooler at work. Assuming that your office actually has a water cooler.

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Gabatron Morning Briefing – 12-31-15: America’s Dad Gets Busted

Bill Cosby was arraigned on a sexual assault charge and is free on $1 million bail.

Interesting Stat of the Day: 32 degrees. A big mass of hot air made it all the way to the North Pole, where it was actually above freezing on Wednesday.

The mom of the Affluenza teen is coming back to the US. She and her son have both been deported from Mexico, but he has filed a writ to stay there so she’s coming back alone for the time being.

A bill making the rounds in California would require legislators to display the logos of their top ten contributors on their clothing.

In science news, remember a couple of weeks ago when Congress gave NASA little extra something something in their budget? It turns out the budget also included a requirement that they develop a deep space habitat for future Mars missions.

Plus, scientists say that a massive solar eruption could hit Earth on New Years Eve.

Each morning Keith Conrad will give you a few stories useful for starting conversations around the water cooler at work. Assuming that your office actually has a water cooler.

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Gabatron Morning Briefing – 12-23-15: Early Release Program

As many as 3,200 convicted offenders were mistakenly released too early from Washington state prisons. Apparently they made a mistake in calculating good time credit.

Interesting Stat of the Day: 18 percentage points. Donald Trump may be polling at 30 percent among Republicans nationally, but he has the support of just 19 percent of Republicans with a college degree, and 37 percent of those without a degree, a whopping 18-point difference.

A British Muslim family heading for Disneyland was barred from boarding a flight to Los Angeles. No US officials have given any reason for why they were barred from coming into the country.

What’s bothering you, America? New data says that Americans are drinking themselves to death at a faster clip than ever before.

In technology news, on Monday night SpaceX did something no one else has ever done before: They flew the first stage of their rocket back to Cape Canaveral and landed it. It’s meant to be the first step to making rockets reusable.

Plus, British Astronaut Tim Peake just arrived aboard the International Space Station a few days ago. He is actually the first British Astronaut to fly in space in about 20 years. He decided to give his parents a call, from the space station, but they didn’t answer. He got their voicemail.

Each morning Keith Conrad will give you a few stories useful for starting conversations around the water cooler at work. Assuming that your office actually has a water cooler.

Follow Keith Conrad on Twitter
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