You always were a slacker, McFly

Contributed by
Apr 12, 2005
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So I've got this astronomer friend named Aaron who works for the American Association of Variable Star Observers, and one day he says to me, "Have you ever heard of podcasting?".

My immediate response was to back away slowly and see if anyone could help me restrain him. Come to think, that's my normal reaction to anything he says.

Anyway, podcasting is pretty cool. It's like an on-demand web broadcast. People record a show of some kind (topics range from -- you guessed it -- sex to food to just random silliness) and put it on a server. You can then subscribe to their show on your PC or iPod and it will automatically download a new show when it comes online.

This idea may revolutionize the web, and radio. It's an audio blog!

Aaron and me during the podcast, showing my lame self-timer camera abilities

There are a few astronomy-related podcasts. One of the first (maybe the first) is the one my friend Aaron does with his friends Pamela and Travis (also astronomers). They call it Slacker Astronomy, with the tagline "Because if you aren't going to care about something, you may as well not care about astronomy."

Pamela and me, showing that I can learn how to frame things better if I try.

It's a fun podcast, full of real astronomy and really cheesy jokes. So naturally they asked me to be on, knowing my propensity for fromage. We got together at a meeting of the AAVSO in Las Cruces New Mexico, and rambled on for an hour or more about the badness of astronomy. They condensed this down to about 13 minutes, which does not speak well of my conciseness. But it's a pretty good 13 minutes. The whole hour-long ball of wax is also available from their site as well.

My friend Fraser Cain who runs the great website Universe Today is also starting a podcast, and has some interviews with astronomers up on his podcast page.

So the obvious question is, why don't I do a podcast? Well, for one, it would take effort. More than blathering into a blog, say. And second, yet another friend of mine who podcasts, NASA Janet, told me how much it would cost (in $$$ and time) to do one. Personally, I think she doesn't want the competition. Either way, her stratagem worked. I'll stick with blogging, though I might appear on the random podcast or two as time permits. I'll mention it here when I do.