24.5-A podcast of fire and ice

As the leaves change and temperatures cool, head inside, fire up your headphones, and get ready for hot-podcast fall as share stories about, well, fire. Join us over the next six weeks to hear stories about wildfires, volcanoes, fire in space, and on other planets, indigenous fire knowledge, and…fireflies! And today stick around for a preview of the weeks to come.

This episode was produced by Shane M Hanlon and Jason Rodriguez, and mixed by Collin Warren. Artwork by Karen Romano Young


Shane Hanlon:                                    00:00  Hi, Vicky.

Vicky Thompson:                            00:01   Hi, Shane.

Shane Hanlon:                                    00:03  Are you a fan of Game of Thrones or House of the Dragon or anything?

Vicky Thompson:                            00:08  No. Zero.

Shane Hanlon:                                    00:09  Oh. The faces.

Vicky Thompson:                            00:11    0% fan of that.

Shane Hanlon:                                    00:12    Just never had an interest in the books or the shows?

Vicky Thompson:                            00:18   No. The books. I didn’t know…

Shane Hanlon:                                    00:20  You didn’t know there were books?

Vicky Thompson:                            00:20  I didn’t know the books existed before the show.

                                                                        00:23   And then also, I’m just not interested in fantasy period kind of stuff.

Shane Hanlon:                                    00:29   Really?

Vicky Thompson:                            00:30  Well, I was trying to think of that.

Shane Hanlon:                                    00:32   So you don’t like Lord of the Rings or…

Vicky Thompson:                            00:35  No.

Shane Hanlon:                                    00:35  Vicky.

Vicky Thompson:                            00:36  I fell asleep. I went to see Lord of the Rings in the movie theater once and I slept the whole way through.

                                                                        00:42   It was right when they first started installing those good movie seats.

Shane Hanlon:                                    00:46  Okay. Thing one, fair. They are quite comfy.

                                                                        00:51   When I would create this prompt I was like, “Yeah, people don’t really Game of Thrones.” First off, your own choices. You don’t like what you don’t like. That’s completely fine.

Vicky Thompson:                            01:01    So violent, some nudity.

Shane Hanlon:                                    01:01    No again, I am not here to defend anything. Lord of the Rings though, man, that’s… you could say you don’t like the… No, I’m actually not even going to get into my preferred Lord of the Ring things.

Vicky Thompson:                            01:13     What? Tell me.

Shane Hanlon:                                    01:13     No, I think it’s all good.

Vicky Thompson:                            01:13     I probably won’t even know.

Shane Hanlon:                                    01:16     You won’t even know. It’s all good content. Oh, that’s funny. So I ask, because currently the House of the Dragon, which is the second Game of Thrones.

                                                                        01:30   This is also not a… We’re not promoting anything. I’m just talking about things that happened in my personal life. I just want to make that clear as a podcast of AGU.

Vicky Thompson:                            01:35    Wait a second.

Shane Hanlon:                                    01:38    This is just things that I personally like. I’m not going to say…

                                                                        01:42    I was just thinking because House of the Dragon, which is the next Game of Thrones thing, just had its –

Vicky Thompson:                            01:48    Finished?

Shane Hanlon:                                    01:48    This past weekend, first season, yeah, and it’s all about, obviously, politics and stuff, but dragons and fire. And it was really inspiring to me because we are here today to start a new miniseries on-

Vicky Thompson:                            02:02   On dragons.

Shane Hanlon:                                    02:03   … on Third Pod. Oh, you know what? No, but holy cow, would I love to do….

Vicky Thompson:                            02:11     That would be good.

Shane Hanlon:                                    02:11     Oh, we’ll have to think about… next year around Halloween, we’re going to do… We did Mythical Monsters a while ago, which was really fun.

                                                                        02:21    And ones that inspired that. So we’re going to add dragons to that list? No, not about dragons.

                                                                        02:26   This one’s going to be about fire. There was a Game of Thrones comp in there. We did ice before. This one’s fire, A Song of Ice and Fire. I’m making a bunch of things that you actually don’t know about, but some people will get. But as a preview, so in the coming weeks, we’re going to have episodes and stories about wildfires, volcanoes. Everyone loves a good volcano.

                                                                        02:50   Fire and space, like on space stations or shuttles and how-

Vicky Thompson:                            02:54   Scary stuff.

Shane Hanlon:                                    02:54   … very, very bad that is. Fire on other planets or comparable to what we consider fire on our planets.

Vicky Thompson:                            03:01   Okay. Fascinating

Shane Hanlon:                                    03:03  Indigenous knowledge about fire, which I’m really, really stoked for and fireflies.

Vicky Thompson:                            03:09  Fireflies.

Shane Hanlon:                                    03:10   I know.

Vicky Thompson:                            03:11     I love that.

Shane Hanlon:                                    03:12    I know. I’m super stoked for that. I really love a good fire. Do you call them fireflies? Do you call them lightning bugs? What do you call them?

Vicky Thompson:                            03:21    Both. Lightning bugs.

Shane Hanlon:                                    03:24   For me growing up, it was lightning bugs. In rural Pennsylvania, that was the lightning bugs.

Vicky Thompson:                            03:29   New Jersey probably the same.

Shane Hanlon:                                    03:30  Yeah, probably.

Vicky Thompson:                            03:32   Regional.

Shane Hanlon:                                    03:33   Our lovely regional dialects and sayings that we get in into so often here.

                                                                        03:38   So that is what is coming up and so for this episode, we are going to hear a little preview from most of the upcoming episodes. So I hope y’all enjoy.

                                                                        03:53   Science is fascinating, but don’t just take my word for it. Join us as we hear stories from scientists for everyone. I’m Shane Hanlon

Vicky Thompson:                            04:03  And I’m Vicky Thompson.

Shane Hanlon:                                    04:04  And this is Third Pod from the Sun.

Augustin Guibaud:                         04:12    My name is Augustin Guibaud. I’m an assistant professor or lecturer at University [inaudible 00:04:16] London. So I teach and do research at the same time. I study Fire Safety in complex environments such as spacecraft or history buildings or even in the wild land, the open interface.

Sara Whitlock:                                   04:29   Just to make sure that everybody kind of is on the same page, what sort of conditions do you need for a fire to start?

Augustin Guibaud:                         04:35   So you might be familiar with what we call usually the fire triangle, which is a simplistic, but very, I think, very useful way of understanding what you need. For a fire to happen, you need something to burn. So you need a fuel, you need an oxidizer if you need oxygen, and the last thing you need is a source of heat.

                                                                        04:57   But if you think about when you start a fire, which you just ignite anything around you or you have a pyromaniac friend, you can see that nothing really happens in the first couple of seconds. It’s really hard. You need a certain amount of time for a fire to develop and to reach a steady state of something that can be studied more elaborate once such as sounding rockets, space station and space modules, which is kind of experiment NASA has conducted in the past few years with an experiment called Sapphire, where very large samples that you would not really in a very safe conditions burn inside the ISS. You burn them in a module that is actually ejected or flying away from the space station. That way you’re in a safe environment. And there’s now plans and talks of dropping an experiment on the moon to be able to study what happens at [inaudible 00:05:43] gravity.

Jim Kauahikaua:                               05:48  My name is Jim Kauahikaua. I was born and raised in Hawaii. Currently, I’m a research scientist with the US Geological Survey stationed at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

Finn Illsley Ke…:                                 06:02   My name is Finn Illsley Kemp. I’m a research fellow at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand.

Jim Kauahikaua:                               06:10   Green Lake. The actual name is Ka Wai a Pele, which means water of Pele. So it’s about 20 feet deep, six meters deep, really. It’s less than a hectare area or was I should say. And so it took 90 minutes for lava to burn off the summit Lava Lake, summit Water Lake. This thing went in a flash, probably seconds as a whole lava flow went into that lower the lake interior of that crater and took it out. I was in the air at that time right around and I could see the plume come up and by the time we made another round, it was gone.

Avery Cook Shinneman:           06:55  The lava going into the lake was so fast that it was just gone before anyone realized. That’s pretty incredible.

Jim Kauahikaua:                               07:01    Except for the steam. A lot of people saw the steam plume.

Avery Cook Shinneman:           07:04   I spoke in the other part of this podcast to someone in Hawaii and looking at sort of the phreatic eruptions that happen when the lava comes in contact with water. It’s a very different eruptive style here, but what would be sort of the primary hazard of having that eruption take place into this massive volume of water, potentially?

Finn Illsley Ke…:                                 07:23   The interaction between that water and magma would tend to make the eruption more explosive, certainly in the early stages. And we do see that when we look at the deposits from past eruptions. So for example, the last eruption from Taupo was about 1800 years ago and that eruption had multiple sequences in it. If you go into the field and look at the deposits from that, you can see that some of the early stages have been altered by water interaction and that would change the explosivity. We actually see from that eruption was so huge that it seems that later on in the eruption we see no interaction with water, which suggests that either the water was completely thrown out or evaporated or that there was the explosion. The eruption was powerful enough that it was just pushing the water aside and the magma was coming to the surface with no water interaction at all.

Orit Peleg:                                             08:23   My name is Orit Peleg and I’m faculty at CO Boulder, bringing backgrounds that are somewhat diverse in the fields of computer science and physics and math. And I’m using them as tools or lens to look at natural history and specifically animal communication in nature. In my lab, we’re really interested in communication in very large groups, and fireflies are a really wonderful example of that in nature. Their signal is almost digital on/off zero/one, probably as close as it gets to computer language in nature and we’re trying to understand how they do it.

Anupama Chandrasekaran:   09:12    So why is this light flashing happening and what are the peculiarities of this?

Orit Peleg:                                             09:19    It’s really a fascinating system, for most of these forms that we work with the males are flashing, they’re flying around just above ground. They’re advertising themselves for mating purposes and the females are most stationary on the ground. What’s happening for these kind of swarms that the males produce a particular flash pattern that is, again, very specific to their own species. The females kind of observe and they seem to have preference for very punctual males. Males that produce a punctual sequence that is identified with their own species and then if they see a male that they would want to continue the mating conversation with, then they would respond back with their female species specific flash pattern. And then some of the males would land close to the females and they continue this conversation. It’s really just a temporal on off to some extent, almost like a MORSE code. We know with MORSE codes that the way they were designed, at least some of them, were to minimize the lengths of the message. So the letters that are the most common in the alphabet were also associated with the shortest MORSE code. And so what are these evolutionary constraints for the fireflies? So we are using the fireflies as a model system basically for communication, signal evolution and these very “basic languages”, which I’m doing air quotes to illustrate that it’s a very, very basic type of language.

Shane Hanlon:                                    11:01      All right, Vicky, are you ready for Hot Podcast Fall?

Vicky Thompson:                            11:06     I can’t even respond to you. I can’t.

Shane Hanlon:                                    11:11       There are times when I write these scripts and I think I’ve even gone too far sometimes. It’s going to be fire Vicky. It’s going to be great.

Vicky Thompson:                            11:22     It’s going to be fire. Oh my gosh, you are so young. At heart, not in reality.

Shane Hanlon:                                    11:30     The funny thing is, when we do compare our ages, you always say, “I’m not that much older than you are.” And then you just flip the script, “Shane, you’re a child.”

Vicky Thompson:                            11:38     You’re a little boy.

Shane Hanlon:                                    11:40     I’m a child with dad humor. It’s an interesting combination.

Vicky Thompson:                            11:44     Hot Podcast Fall is also just a really hard thing to say.

Shane Hanlon:                                    11:48     Well, here we are and to spare everyone our continued banter and whatever the heck is going on right now.

Vicky Thompson:                            11:55     Whatever this is.

Shane Hanlon:                                    11:59     We’ll call it. So that is all from third Pod from the Sun.

Vicky Thompson:                            12:02    Thanks so much to Jason Rodriguez and you Shane, for producing this episode and to Collin Warren for Audio Engineering, artwork by Karen Romano Young.

Shane Hanlon:                                    12:11      And for this upcoming series, we want to thank our rotating cast of amazing producers, Anupama Chandrasekaran, Molly Magid, Sara Whitlock, Katrina Jackson, Avery Cook Shinneman, and Jessica Zandy Boozer.

Vicky Thompson:                            12:26    We’d love to hear your thoughts on the podcast. Please rate and review us and you can find new episodes on your favorite podcasting app or at Thirdpodfromthesun.com.

Shane Hanlon:                                    12:34    Thanks all, and we’ll see you next week. All right, let’s see what you got here.

                                                                        12:43    All right, Vicky. So are you ready for Hot or I guess Fire Podcast Fall now. Hot podcast fall. This is terrible. I need to redo this. I was trying to make a –

Vicky Thompson:                            12:51     I don’t like any of that.

Shane Hanlon:                                    12:52    I was trying to make it better. I’m going to redo it, but it is still going to be bad. It is still going to be bad.


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