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276 – Linguistics, Conlangers and Game Of Thrones’ Dothraki

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Conlangers are people who design human languages, either just for fun or for use in works of fiction, often TV series or movies. My guest, David Peterson, has designed several languages, including the the Dothraki language featured prominently in Game Of Thrones. In this episode we use Dothraki (and English, and a bit of German) to introduce the basics of linguistics, i.e., the science behind natural (and in this case, designed) languages. We also discuss a few specific of Dothraki, and how it gets used in Game Of Thrones.

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274 – The Shuttle’s Achievements for Space Exploration



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(average: 4.54)
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This episode is a continuation of the two previous episodes (132, 133) with Davide on the Space Shuttle. Based on his new, second book we talk about the contributions the Space Shuttle made to space exploration in general. These include advances in space suits, the construction of the ISS, satellite servicing, its use as a science platform as well as military operations.

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270 – Nuclear Weapons



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(average: 4.58)
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In this episode we chat about the science and engineering involved in nuclear weapons. Our guest is Alex Wellerstein of the Stevens Institute of Technology. We talk about atomic bombs as well as hydrogen bombs, how to refine the necessary fuels as well as a little bit of history.

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267 – The Quantum Tron UAV



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(average: 4.63)
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Quantum Systems designs, builds and sells unmanned air vehicles for professional use. Their particular specialty is VTOL designs, i.e., UAVs that take off and land vertically, but then switch to airplane mode for airplane-like speed and range. In this episode we chat with Quantum’s CEO Florian Seibel about their primary drone, the Tron. We focus on the motivation for developing the aircraft, the use cases, as well as design decisions and technical aspects.

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266 – Secondary Surveillance Radar

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(average: 4.48)
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Secondary surveillance radar (SSR) is the radar technology used in aviation to query transponders; it forms the backbone of today’s air traffic control infrastructure. Our guest in this episode is Mike Sharples who has been part of the development of the technology and is intimately familiar with the details. We discuss the importance of SSR today, the details of the protocol, the difference between and evolution from Mode A/C to S as well as the relationship to ADS-B.

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