Earlier this year I visited the European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, a European organization that produces global weather forecasts and performs research on how to improve those. The episode has three parts. First, Hilda Carr gives us an overview of the organization, its purpose and its history. Then I talk with Peter Bauer about weather and climate modeling and about encoding these models efficiently in software programs that run on supercomputers. Part three is a conversation with Tony McNally about where the ECMWF gets its data and how it is continuously fed into the “running” model.
In July I visited the NATS tower at Heathrow Airport to interview my guest Adam Spink. We chatted about some of the mechanics of air traffic control at Heathrow and the unique ways of optimizing throughput. A few days later we met again on the tower of Fairford during RIAT 2019 and chatted about the specifics of ATC’ing during an airshow.
I am interested in societal change: how can a complex society with lots of emergent (perhaps unintended) behaviors make a conscious change, such as transitioning to a more sustainable economy? We discussed this from an engineering perspective in the episode on Modeling Socio-Technical Systems, and we’ve looked at it historically in the episode on Societal Complexity and Collapse. In this episode we look at the topic more from the perspective of civil society and politics. Our guest ist Maja Göpel; she heads the German government’s Advisory Council on Global Change and has also written a book called The Great Mindshift on the topic.
A few months ago, a collaboration called the Event Horizon Telescope presented the first direct image of a black hole; or more specifically, of the radiation created by accelerated particles at its event horizon. The EHT is a Very Large Baseline Interferometer, in which radio telescopes all over the world are computationally connected to obtain resolutions that are not possible with one telescope. In the episode I chat with Heino Falcke, the chair of the EHT science committee, about the science, the telescope, what it took to get it going, and image reconstruction.
In June 2019 I had the pleasure and honor to fly in an F-16D with the USAF Thunderbirds. The episode covers the medical briefing about how to prevent motion sickness and how to deal with Gs, suiting up with flight suit, g-suit, harness, helmet and mask, the briefing with my pilot Maj. Jason Markzon, the flight itself with commentary, an interview about the Thunderbirds with Jason, as well as a reflection on what the flight meant to me, recorded together with Nora.