StarTalk Podcast: Cosmic Queries – Planets and Stuff with Neil deGrasse Tyson

– This video is brought
to you by Storyblocks. – Hey, YouTube-iverse, Neil deGrasse Tyson here. StarTalk up next, Cosmic Queries: Planets and Stuff. (upbeat music) This is StarTalk and I’m your host, Neil deGrasse Tyson, your personal astrophysicist. And today is Cosmic
Queries: Planet Edition. But we don’t just stick to planets. This one is Planets and Stuff. (laughs) And today I’ve got Paul Mecurio with me. Paul.
– How are ya? Good to see you.
– [Neil] Welcome back! – Thank you. – [Neil] You’re damn near a regular. – Please, that’s all I want to do. – Now I didn’t call you irregular. A regular, did I pronounce that? Did you hear? – Actually I kind of am a little bit but we can get into that later. I have a couple of questions
about how I can fix that but we’ll deal with that later. – [Neil] Fix the irregularities? – Exactly. – [Neil] Great to have you on this. – Thank you, so glad to be back. – And our normal format is
that we solicit inquiries from our fan base on different platforms, and the questions come in, I haven’t seen them yet. This is not Stump Neil Day, but if I don’t know the answer I’ll say, “Next one please.” (laughter) – I’ve never seen you
have to say, “Next one”. – No, usually I’ll have
something to say about it, even if I don’t fully know the answer. – Right, exactly. – Just to tell people, did we
first meet at Stephen Colbert? – We first met at the
Stephen Colbert Show– – [Neil] ‘Cause you’re the warm-up guy. – Yeah, I warm-up on that show, I was a writer on the Daily Show. – Oh that goes even further back, yeah. – And then the Colbert Report and I just came to say
I was a big fan once, you were very nice, and then I came back the next time. I asked for a loan, you said no. Mister Big Shot doesn’t
have any extra money, okay. And then you were nice
enough to come on my podcast which has still gotten,
like, one of the top listens. It’s–
– Really? Excellent. – Yeah.
– Excellent. – Dark matter and all this other stuff. – [Neil] Mm-hmm. – And then you asked me for money for that and I’m like, that’s inappropriate. (laughs) I don’t have
any money, you have all- No, so yeah, so we go back. – [Neil] Yeah, yeah so that’s great. It’s great to have ya. And we are reporting now from YouTube, New York City in the Google building. – Yeah this is such a cool space. – At the YouTube production space. – Yeah. And so, they’re kind enough to… So I miss all my books behind me. Maybe I can have like a plastic version and we’ll just slide it in. – You could have them
Photoshopped in later. And it’s right above the Chelsea Market. I got like a ham sandwich in my pocket. – Oh, yeah, you can’t walk through there without buying food. – I know, exactly. – I don’t know why any skinny
people exist in this building. That’s not possible. – There’s actually a Weight
Watcher’s office here, that’s pretty weird. (laughs) But yeah, it’s great to be here, and it’s a really cool space.
I didn’t know this was here. – [Neil] Yeah, yeah. – And I always say, I’m
going to say it again, if I had you as a science teacher, I’d be doing science today. – Really, seriously? – I say that, I don’t, I don’t– right Carol? Yeah that’s my wife. Because you make it accessible, your personality it comes, it brims, you’re brimming with– you love it. – You know what Carl Sagan said? He said when you’re in love,
you have to tell the world. – Right. I had an 8th grade math teacher, this big hulking guy, he smoked in the class, and we made a battery. Like that was the big thing. “Now you put the thing over there…” He’s like this, it’s like he was one step away from going to off-track betting. And I just remembered
being intimidated by him, and I think people are very
intuitive from a young age and can sense if somebody
cares or doesn’t care. – [Neil] Oh, yeah. – And he did not. That’s why I think you’re so great at it. – Okay well thank you. And just– – Look at me. I love you, man. – I love you man. It’s not your fault. It’s not your fault. (laughs) – It’s me, it’s me. – Just a little bit back at you, I deeply respect your profession. – Ahh. – The people who take
information in the world, reshape it, hand it back to you in
a fresh perspective, and make you laugh at it. These are very special mirrors and I don’t know how bearable
society would be without them. Without the comedian who
occasionally shows up and says, “Do you realize this is
what you’ve been saying?” “Oh my gosh, oh wow!” – Right. – So this is why comedy is a
fundamental part of what we do on StarTalk. – Well thank you, when I started on The Daily Show, we were just this little show, and we were just doing jokes and didn’t really say, “Okay we’re going to have
an impact on the world.” Or whatever, right? And then things started to happen and we were always factually
based in our jokes. – [Neil] In the comedic– yeah sure, sure. – And so you have to start with a premise. So we were delivering the news with a non-biased point of view and just saying, “Does this seem a little strange to you?” So over time, people would come up to us and go, “I only get my news from The Daily Show.” Well first of all, we’re a bunch of idiots, I don’t think you should do that. Read some papers. – So you say, “What the
hell’s wrong with you?” – Exactly! (laughs) Read a couple of newspapers. It did end up becoming that, and then you know, from that The Colbert Report, The Late Show, The Jon Oliver Show, Sam Bee Show. – Yeah the whole universe. – Yes is all sort of
carrying that mantle of “Let’s call people to the carpet,” and so yeah, thanks. It was a nice by-product
of trying to have some fun. You get in so much trouble, too, because we would go too far with jokes, and the president of the
network would yell at us. But anyway, we’ll talk
about that at another time. – So what do you got for me?
You got planet questions? – I got some planet questions. I’ve got some very good
ones, some interesting ones. Questions and answers I want to hear. So let’s start with
Patreon, his name is Ryan– – Oh, yes I keep forgetting we do this – He says– – We’re kissing up to the Patreon members. – Yes exactly. – Ryan you are so handsome. (laughs) That shirt you’re wearing
looks fantastic on you. Write a check. “Is it true that if one
had an ocean large enough, Saturn would float?” – So this is often said, I’ve said it, colleagues of mine have said it. Let me restate that in a more
scientifically-precise way. – Okay. – Alright. Because technically that can’t happen. You can’t get a bathtub– – It would be one hell of a bathtub. – It would, but I’ll tell you why that
couldn’t happen in a minute. So the scientifically
precise way to communicate that same information is that the average density of Saturn is less than the density of water. And anything whose density is
less than water will float. – [Paul] Okay. – So Saturn– so the technical way to say that is, if you scoop out a piece of Saturn, it will float on a puddle of water, or in an ocean, it doesn’t matter. So that’s the way to say it. – Okay. – It’s more fun to say, “Get an ocean or bathtub big
enough, Saturn will float”. And I’ve said that publicly, lamenting that when I was
a kid I knew this was true about Saturn. – [Paul] Hmm. – And all I ever had in the
bathtub was a rubber ducky, and I really wanted a rubber Saturn. (laughs) So later in my life, we come back to my office, someone mailed me a rubber Saturn. – Is that right? – Yes, so now I have a rubber Saturn. – That’s great. – And I can’t– I want
to leave it in my office, I don’t take it home to my bathtub. – “Honey, what’s a rock
doing in the bathtub?” “It’s a long story.” (laughs) – So I’ve got a rubber Saturn. So the problem is, if you had a lake bigger
than Saturn to put Saturn in, the whole lake would collapse into Saturn. – Wouldn’t the water just
spill over onto the shore, when you displace the water? – No, no, no. You’re thinking that they exist
independently of each other. Saturn will pull the bathtub into it, and it’ll become a part of Saturn. – Oh, it’s got the suction power. – Unless- Well, yeah, it’s called gravity. (laughs)
– Okay you didn’t need to– – It’s a little joke. – That’s a little condescending, you didn’t need to say it like that. – It’s an old joke, “There’s no such thing
as gravity, Earth sucks.” – Nice. – That’s the old joke. – That’s funny. (laughs) – So what was the- where was I? So the problem is, you can’t have a body of
water bigger than Saturn that’s flat, that you’re going to put Saturn in. Because the body of water
would become a sphere, and they’d collapse, they’d fall into each other. They’d each have mutual gravity, they’ll attract each other. It’s not a do-able experiment, but it does get the point across that Saturn is lighter than water. – Plus Saturn would need a life jacket in case something happened. – No, that’s what the ring is for. – Oh!
– Ahh! Gotcha on that one! That’s just a little life preserver. – I’m getting out of comedy now. (laughs) That’s great. – So it is in fact true, it is the only planet
for which that is true. Every other planet would sink. – And it would absorb all of the water. – And by the way Jupiter is very gaseous, and its density is close to that of water, but just a little bit above it. – Now how do we know this about Saturn? – That’s great. Do we go there? No. So you know how big it is. So what is density? It’s how much mass you have
in the volume that you occupy. So it’s literally mass divided by volume. Grams per cubic centimeter, pounds per cubic inch. That’s density, those
are the units of density. So we know the size of Saturn, and we know the mass of Saturn. We can measure it from its
gravity and other things. You divide those two numbers, you get a number that’s less than one. – And that means… – In the right units. The density of water is one. – [Paul] Oh! – Yeah, by definition, basically. – [Paul] Ahh, okay. – Yeah, yeah. – So we know. – Yeah, it’ll float. – Alright. – And, um, here’s something
that I figured out about myself just a couple weeks ago, I was swimming a couple weeks ago, and I was floating more easily than ever I have in my life. – Did you– you had a lot of hair? You needed a hair cut? – No. (laughs) No, I’m just a
little chubbier than I was when I was younger. Because fat floats and muscle sinks, that’s the thing. It’s about the density. How much mass are you
packing into a volume? – So why do you think– – You could say, “How
much does a whale weigh?” A whale weighs nothing, it’s neutrally buoyant
swimming in the water. You have to ask, “How
much mass does it have?” It’s why the biggest
animals that ever existed, exist in the water. They don’t have to hold
up their own weight against the gravity on Earth’s surface. The whale is the biggest
creature that ever existed in the history of life on Earth. – And yet it can float. – Because its density is
about the same as water. If you are less than water, it would have to use
energy to stay under water, because the water would
want to make it float. – Which happens to human beings. – Well if you’re chubbier, your body will float. Will float very well. And you’ll take energy to go down below. If you are more dense than water, you will sink to the bottom, it’ll take energy to stay afloat. If you’re about the same density as water, you can move through water with no- like the ease of a trapeze, or however that line goes in the song. So following up on that, here’s something interesting, ready? – Mmmhmm. – You know who the smartest
person in the world was? You’re raising your hand? No. (laughs) One of the most clever people in the world was the first person to figure
out you can build a ship and everything you make the ship out of is denser than water, and it can float. You can build a ship out
of steel and have it float. – That does blow me away when I see it, when I see a cruise ship– – It changed warfare. – And was it a specific
scientific experiment– – Can you pause on that sentence, please? It changed warfare. You don’t have to build
your boat out of wood. – Right. – Which is susceptible to cannonball fire. You can build it out of steel. How do you get it to float? Because the part of the
boat that sits below water is mostly air. The hull of the ship sits below water. So what matters is not that
steel is heavier than water and air is lighter than water, its what is the average density of that which you have
plunked in the water? It’s the total volume
divided by the total mass. It has less mass than you think, because most of it is air. An aircraft carrier, most of its volume is air. – So it’s able to float, because of the relation
of density to the water. – Correct. Anything that’s floating
is less dense than water, on average. Period. – And do you think that
that was by mistake? A byproduct of something else, that someone figured out
that steel can float? – No, they were making canoes out of wood, because wood floats, and why would you make
it out of anything else? – Right. But then the steel- the next step was steel. – In order for it to float, it has to have a significant
amount of volume under water. So that the air can represent this. – So the larger the vessel,
the deeper the hull, for the most part. – Generally. It’s not going to just be skimming, it’s going to sink in, it’s going to respond to the
fact that there is steel there, come down to the level that’s just right for what the weight is. If you look at container ships, they have these lines painted
on the side of the hull, depending on how much
gross weight it’s carrying. The more weight it’s carrying, the heavier the thing is, the total density goes up, and it’s going to sink a
little lower into the water. – Got it. They know when they’ve
reached their max capacity. – Yeah, so, ice is denser than cork. – That’s counter-intuitive in
looking at ice versus cork. – Well cork is from a tree,
so you know it’ll float, but it’s less dense because ice- evidence of that is the cork will float almost
entirely above the water. There’s hardly anything sunk below it, whereas ice, 90 percent of it is below the water. – Oh, which is why you have icebergs. – That’s why you have the iceberg problem. Yeah. And James Cameron in
Titanic, he did it right. Okay? – [Paul] Did he? – Basically. When they hit the iceberg, it’s this little thing in the water. It’s a little thing. – [Paul] Sticking out of the surface. – Just a little thing sticking- 90 percent of it is underwater! That’s what cut up the side of the hull. Oh my gosh. Whereas in the first Titanic movie, the black-and-white, 1940s, whatever, there’s this huge iceberg out there. “Oh my gosh!” (laughs) – Then it has a hand that
reaches out and cuts the hull. – [Neil] It cuts it! (laughs)
– [Paul] It’s got a knife. – It’s in a knife fight. – It’s like West Side Story in the ocean. ♪ Once a Jet, always a Jet ♪ (laughs) (sings musical notes in unison) – So if you do the physics right, you don’t need a big iceberg, and in fact this has contributed
to one of several reasons why it was so hard to notice. It was actually small. – Dark, it was foggy. – Dark, there wasn’t any moon. It wasn’t foggy, but it was- – Right, someone was watching
YouTube on their phone. (laughs) – We’re going to move
on, that’s fantastic– – Oh my favorite anachronistic quote? – [Paul] Hmm? – Is a quote from Abraham Lincoln, where he said, “Never trust anything
you see on the internet.” (laughs) It’s a meme, you’ve gotta find it. – That’s hilarious. – It’s so beautiful,
you’ve just gotta love it. – And coming from him, he’s
got a lot of credibility. – Yeah he does. (laughs)
– [Paul] I’ll give it to you- – That’s a man that knew what
the hell he was talking about. – The stovepipe hat, ehh, questionable choice there. That and a buckle on a hat. – [Neil] Yeah? – What do pilgrims need
a buckle on a hat for? – He wasn’t a pilgrim. Excuse me, this was 200 years later. Would you get your time periods straight. – [Paul] I understand that– – It was a top-hat without a buckle. – This is why my brain goes this way. Answer that question, smarty pants! Why do you need a buckle on a hat? Is somebody letting their head out? – Well no, you can squeeze it
down, in case the wind blows. – Ahh. But the wind and the density and the volume and the whale…
– Uh oh I taught you too much! (laughs) – You’ve created a- The student has become the master. Alright, you’re going to eat
that cookie later I gave you, right? – I got a quick one, since
we’re talking about hat brims. – [Paul] Okay. – Um do you know the size of
your own hat that you wear? – I have a pea head. I have
a pea-brained pea head. I’m like 7 1/2, small. I have a small head. – 7 1/2 would not be a small
hat, that’s a large hat. – Don’t argue with me about my hat size. – So you’ve got a fat head if
that’s your actual hat size. – No, no– – No, no no– – 6 and then- it’s
probably 6 1/2, it’s small. – 6 1/2 it could be, so here’s– – Your head.
– I have a fat head. – Yeah. It’s a building is really what it is. But anyway go ahead. – So I don’t know if you knew this, but that hat size has
mathematical significance. Okay? – Please tell me it’s not in
relation to my you-know-what? – No, it’s not. Not that I know that you know what I know with what you said you know what. (laughs) So here’s what you do. You take a tape measure and measure the
circumference of your head. Write down that number. Divide it by pi, that’s your hat size. – Oh! – Yeah. I just thought it was that! – No, no, no. – Oh you’ve gotta divide by pi. – If the circumference of
your head is 6 1/2 inches, you’re some other species. (laughs) You’re a Rhesus monkey, I don’t know! (laughs) – Well my wife would agree with you about some other species. You don’t want to see
me with my clothes off, it’s not pretty. Um okay, so I just learned another thing, because I just thought my head size was literally like you just measure– – No, no, no, no, no. You must have never really put
those two numbers together. So I was in a hat shop, because I always wanted to own a top hat that you could pop into– – [Paul] Oh yeah! – I always wanted one, and they make hats, so they measured my fat
head, and they wrote it down. They said, “You need a size eight,” or something. So I said, “Fine, do you know where
you get this number?” He said he didn’t know, and I told him. He said, “Really? Really?” And so we did it, and I’m glad he was skeptical so then you can do the experiment. We did it on his head, and his assistant’s head, it all came out! It was all perfect. He wanted me to write it out, so I wrote it out and I signed it, and it’s on the wall of his hat shop. – That’s fantastic! – Yes, yes. With the
pi and the arithmetic– – Can you imagine him going home, “Honey how was work?” “Well this dude came in, and
we did math problems all day. But I sold a $400 hat, so
I guess it was a good day!” That’s so awesome, you signed
it and it’s on his wall. – Signed it, it’s on his wall. It’s on the wall. – That’s better than like a diner that gets you to sign a
picture of yourself up there– – Why would you want a picture of me? No you want to put
something that can advance human understanding of the universe. – That came from your
giant, ghoulish head. (laughs) – Oh now ghoulish is
part of the adjective. – This is my last time
doing the show by the way. – Okay we ran out of time
to do a second question for this segment. – Oh, sorry.
– So when we come back, we will continue with Startalk Cosmic Queries: Planet Edition. – [Male Voice] Hey you’re all
fans of space and science, and many of you are creative. If you’re looking to make a
video about space exploration, Storyblocks has all the stock
footage you could ever want. With their unlimited video plan, you even get NASA archival footage. I mean, it’s got the Hubble! And the Space Shuttle! And Apollo 10 footage! And this eye, that turns into space! It even has freaking Neil Armstrong. Storyblocks also has templates like this to make it look like you actually know how to make your broadcast-quality
animated graphics. Check out the link in the description to learn more about Storyblocks video. That’s Space, the Final Frontier. – We’re back, Cosmic Queries. Second segment of three. Paul Mecurio, always good to have you. Do you Tweet? @-what? – @paulmecurio One R in my last name, M-E-C-U-R-I-O. Yeah. – Okay so good, there are no other Paul Mecurios
in the the Twitterverse. – Well I had to change
the spelling in my name, because no joke, there’s an Australian actor Paul Mercurio and he got in the Actors
Union before I did. So you can’t have the same name– – [Neil] Still? – So I dropped the first R in my name. – [Neil] So Mecurio. – And people still
think I’m him sometimes. He’s hosting a reality
beer show in Australia. – [Neil] That’s a thing, okay. – And so, yeah, he makes like
craft beer, and so every–. – Craft or crap? (laughs) Missed the last syllable.
– No, there’s an F in there. Craft. – Craft. – And I get, every two weeks or so, I get beer recipes from people thinking I’m him. I’m like okay that’s not me- so anyway, @paulmecurio is my thing. – Alright, go for it. – Robert Weaver, also Patreon. “Thanks very much for continuing
to educate and inspire us. What news in science do you
find the most interesting or important? Is it the private space race?” – No, I know too much about
the private space race for that to be uniquely interesting to me. Things that interest me are
things I know little about. And so- that I want to know more about. I love watching the
progress of neuroscience. I think the brain, our inner universe, in its attempt to contemplate
the outer universe, presents one of the greatest
intellectual challenges of our modern times. – And what advancements
are we making right now that either surprised you or– – My view of the field, which is a very unpopular
view among psychologists, is that the day will come when- I’m hypothesizing this- that the day will come when we understand the
neurosynaptic phenomena in the brain with such precision, that no one will ever have
to lay down on a couch and spend an hour with a psychologist. – Because I do that. And I, seriously, there’s a lot
of stuff I gotta figure out, work out. – Right, and some of it- maybe there’s- – Let me tell you about my mother, so- I’m joking. – So there may be things where people just need someone to talk to, that’s one thing. But if you have some trauma, or some issue that you can’t shake, or some addiction you can’t overcome, I’m imagining there’s a day we’ll find the exact spot of the brain
that’s responsible for it. That prevents you from pushing
that next glass of Hi-ball away from you. – Or to go into depression,
or whatever it might be. – Oh, depression! Especially depression, or anything else that
lands you in one of these– – [Paul] Funky states or whatever. – One of these hospitals, in these mental hospitals. So you say, “That’s the
spot that’s misfiring.” – So what are we doing to the spot? Are we going going in and operating, are we taking a medication– – At this point, who knows? Is it too much firing or
is it not firing enough? There has to be another path into it that connects to this other brain center that helps modulate it. I don’t know. I’m imagining that a future will arrive where we have that much
knowledge and control of what’s going on in the brain, so that you can just nip and tuck and fix all of these problems. – Why wouldn’t psychologists
welcome this theory? – Because they’d all go
out of business overnight. Because you don’t go into
anybody’s office for an hour and talk to them. No
excuse me, not for an hour. For a whole suite of sessions
that could go on for years. That gets resolved in an afternoon. – I think my psychologist
is making up a lot of stuff. I think I’m fine. (laughs) I really do. – It’s just a whole community. There’s counselors, and
psychologists, psychiatrists, this sort of thing. We’re kind of almost there. There’s a lot of depression
that is not cured but addressed by medication. We know what chemicals will
leave you in a depressed state, which ones don’t. And why. Is it the production of those chemicals? Well lets go in, adjust your genome, or you neurosynaptic drivers, in such a way that you’re
producing your own chemicals so you don’t need the pill. – Right, because the problem
with some of these pills, is they’re just sort of
Whack-a-Mole, you fix one problem, and then there’s sort
of byproduct symptoms of problems– – Correct, because the pill gets ingested and it goes into your whole system, whereas if you surgically go
into one part of the brain– so now, one of the challenges to that future is the brain is highly
interconnected to itself. – [Paul] Okay. – So an ability expressed
in one part of the brain, some of that is also in
other parts of the brain, which is how you can compensate for- Some brain injuries– – It’s not compartmentalized. – Not as compartmentalized
as we’d want it to be for it to be a nice clean thing. – [Paul] Right, right, right, right. – Right, right. And while we’re on the subject, did you see the movie… What’s the one with Scarlet
Johansson, where she- where her brain power’s increased- – Yeah I can’t remember the name. – [Neil] Is it Lucy? – I think it’s Lucy, yeah. – Lucy, yeah. So the entire premise of that film is that she takes some drug, turns out by accident, but it boosts her brain power. Not to something she didn’t, or any of us, don’t already have. It just enabled her to
access the “90% of the brain that you’re not using”, okay? Where did this whole premise come from? And by the way there are
whole scenes in this film of rooms full of psychologists, studying her as a phenomenon. Okay. It comes from some guy a
hundred years ago or so, I forgot his name, forgive me, who through brain injuries
and other aspects of- cause you can’t just go
in and start poking around in someone’s brain– – You can’t? (laughs) – You sound like you have been. “I’ve got to stop that. Cross that one off my list.” – I’ve got a guy in my basement. – You’ve got a guy. – I’ve got to probably
let him go now, alright. – So what he said was, what he published was, the brain is so complex, we know only what ten
percent of it is used for. – But how is he– – Excuse me! That became- “We only use ten percent of our brain”. – But how do we know he’s right? It’s a theory. – No, no. You’re in the wrong room right now. – Alright, I’ll leave then. – No, what he said– – No I’m done, I’m leaving. – “I can’t work like this.” – There’s a band playing downstairs. – There is! The YouTube music space. It doesn’t matter whether
or not he’s accurate, and he probably was accurate. He said, “Well there’s
the language center here, and there’s another-” All he said was, “The brain is so complex, we only know what ten
percent of it is used for.” That’s all he said. A completely innocent comment. We have much more to
learn about the brain. It got re-quoted as, “We only
use ten percent of our brain.” – Oh, so that’s how I know it. – This is my point. You weren’t paying attention to what I’m- Okay– – Sorry teacher. – If you think we use only
ten percent of your brain, this is the mantra for
teachers with students. It’s very hard thing to correct, when saying it incorrectly
is what you want to hear. – Why do you think we want to hear that? – Because we want to believe
that we all have potential we can grow into. – Oh. – Okay, here’s the underachieving student. “You’re just using ten percent. Keep working on using more of your brain, you have vastly more potential.” – [Paul] Right. – We’re into potentiality,
especially in America. – Okay now I’m going to teach
you how to tie your shoe again and you’re six and seven years old, you can do more. – So that then became the
premise of this entire movie. “She’s now using 40
percent of her brain…” “She’s now using 60 percent percent…” And at 80 percent she’s,
like, flying through webpages learning whole dictionaries
in a matter of minutes, and she’s even changing her
hair color with her brain, and starts doing- telekinetically. Which is weird, like, why should a smarter person
be able to move things with their mind? That’s not an obvious
next-step for being smarter. – Maybe the object feels
intimidated by the brain power, and just wants to get out of the room. – It just seems to me,
you solve problems faster. That’s all. Smarter people don’t
have telekinetic powers. Right? – That’s really true. – Right! All of the movies do this. – I am so smart! Toaster come to me! (laughs) – There’s no- it’s not a thing! – I was in Best Buy the other day, and there was a guy making
tvs fly, it was crazy. – He was a really smart guy. – Right. So but with all of our abilities– – So I’m intrigued by
that branch of science. – It’s fascinating. – That’s what started the question. – So a hundred years ago, a
hundred years is a long time, why haven’t we been able to get to know more than ten percent of the brain? 12 percent, 15 percent, 20 percent? – Two reasons. It’s hard to study the thing
that is giving you the thoughts to study the thing. – Oh. – It’s very recursive, right? – You just blew my mind, man. – You want to hear another recursive- Recursion is very mind-blowing. You ready? Because I recently got a word into the Oxford English Dictionary. – Did you really? – Did you know about that?
– No! – Yeah, yeah, yeah. The Manhattanhenge was in there. It says, “First used
by Neil Tyson in 2003.” I said, “What took you so long? 16 years later, but I’ll take it.” – That’s the word again? – Manhattanhenge. You know, Manhattanhenge. – Oh? – Those are the two days of the year the sunset aligns on the Manhattan grid, and now thousands of
people flood the streets blocking traffic. It’s great. – Oh my gosh. – Think about all the other reasons traffic had been blocked. You know, if there’s an
accident or construction, or Con Ed is digging, you know New York’s electric company. Now we stop it for the universe. – Ahh.
– I’m loving it. So anyway, so I get a word, you ready? Every word in the Oxford
English Dictionary used to define every word is also in the Oxford English Dictionary. – Okay so if I look up a
definition of something, it’s– – All the words they
assemble to define that word are themselves, each one of those, is in the Oxford English Dictionary. – So it’s not possible
to have a word in there that is not in the dictionary but is indeed a word. – Because then, that’s why it
would be in the dictionary, defined. – But how do we know that
they have it covered? – We don’t, but what we do know– – I’m not even being funny there, you know what I mean? You got a limit– – We don’t, but we know
that they have it covered better than anyone else. It is their singular mission in life to record every use of every word– – But you’re biased,
you’ve got a word in there. You’re gonna kiss their rear-end all day. (laughs) “Oh you’re so smart
Oxford Dictionary People. Ooh!” – I didn’t say they succeed at this, I’m saying this is
their mission statement, to have every usage over every word ever in the English language. So if a word first appears, they have the first
appearance of that word. If you use that word slightly differently, pivoting its definition, that usage is then given.
– Oh wow, I didn’t know. – [Neil] If you pivot
it again, it’s gonna- There it is. – And this gets back to
the point about the brain, because the brain, we can get only to ten percent, because the thoughts that you need– – No, no, forget the ten percent. It was misinformation
from the very beginning. – No I understand that, but when I asked well why can’t we, with all this advancement–
– Well one of the challenges, how do you study the thing that is the thing that’s
studying the thing? A. B: You can’t just sit
there and operate on people for scientific experiments. You know, Paul, I want
to know how you think. So can I remove your
top part of your skull, and put electrodes in your brain, just for my science experiment? – How much would you give me? (laughs) Would you take over my mortgage? I’d very happily have
you open up my skull, my tiny skull, just– – Size 6 1/2, we got it. (laughs) – Exactly. – Another question. – There’s a follow-up to this,
which I think is very good. – Follow-up, go. – “Why doesn’t the matter
in Saturn’s rings accumulate like the matter in a protoplanetary disk?” I know the answer to this. Because it gets cleaned once a week by a guy with a ShopVac. Anyway, go ahead. – No, that’s not it. So Saturn’s rings are very thin, and they’re small particles, and they’re very thin. And the matter does collect. It collects into certain zones,
clearing out other zones. So in fact, Saturn’s rings have gaps in them. – Which you kind of see, right? – You can see with a
medium-power backyard telescope. In fact it’s not just simply a gap, you can see the ball of
Saturn through that gap when it’s at the right angle. So you know there are no particles there, or at least very few. So they collect, not in a sphere, but they collect orbitally. Because they have stable
orbits around Saturn, and there’s not much
mass there to begin with, they’re not gonna overcome this orbit and then coalesce into
one moon, for example. When our moon was created, we had a ring. That whole ring collapsed into a moon, because of huge chunks of
material that were there. Whose gravity wins? It’s winner takes all. If you have slightly more
gravity than this other object, you will attract slightly
more material than this will. – And those larger objects, in what was the ring around the moon, came from just sort of meteors– – Earth had a collision. We were side-swiped by another planet. – Right. – And our Earth’s crust got
spewed into orbit around us, into a ring. And that ring then
coalesced into the moon. And so there you have it. So one of the most depressing
things that I learned, because I’m not an Orbital Dynamicist, so I’m reading some papers
from some colleagues, was to learn that Saturn’s ring system might just be temporary. – [Paul] Why? – Well because they track the orbits, and the orbits are not stable. You’re losing them down
into Saturn itself. – Getting sucked in. – Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Suck, this is the second
time you’re using this word. Suck. (laughs) – Is that– – [Neil] Gravity is pulling them in. – Gravity is pulling, I’m sorry. – Bring a new sentence to your– – Wait a minute. – Saturn sucks. – Why cause suck’s not
in the Oxford Dictionary, is that why? (laughs) And when do they anticipate, when that might happen
that those rings disappear? – Well so they suspected that it’s a ten million
year or so lifespan. Which would mean, the dinosaurs if they had telescopes, Saturn would not have rings for them. Because they were 60 million years ago. They were longer ago than
Saturn’s rings would have, yeah. – Right. So the rings develop into– – [Neil] I feel sad. – Yeah.
– [Neil] I’m just saying. – I’m going to miss those rings. (laughs) Those times we had together. – In ten million years. Okay next question. – Okay, here we go. This is from Ceracella Bonisseur, sorry if I’m butchering that, this is from Twitter. “Since Jupiter is 90 percent hydrogen, can we tell if it’s a failed star?” – Oh, yes we can tell
if it’s a failed star. But you won’t learn that
until after this break. – Wow!
– See what I did there? – There you go. – Was that good? That’s how the pros do it,
right, right? When we come back, we will find out whether
Jupiter was a failed star on StarTalk. – [Male Voice] Are you
obsessed with planets? Do you want to look at
beautiful footage and animation of foreign worlds? With story blocks and
their unlimited video plan, you have access to an entire
universe of 4K footage. There’s Jupiter, Earth-like planets, Uranus. That’s right, you heard me, UR-anus, not ur-ANUS. Artsy stuff and so much more. They even have pluto, and obviously I’m talking about the dog, because there’s no reason
to talk about Pluto when you’re not talking about the dog because you wouldn’t
be talking about Pluto if you were actually
talking about planets. Right? Create like a pro with the
newest, highest quality content. Sourced from a select group of artists that Storyblocks partners with. Check out the link in the description to learn more about Storyblocks video. That’s – We’re back. Cosmic Queries: Planets and Stuff. Paul, we last left off, yes? – Yes, we had a very interesting
question from Twitter. And this is from Ceracella Bonisseur. “Since Jupiter is 90 percent hydrogen, can we tell if it’s a failed star?” – So she knows that the
sun is 90 percent hydrogen. So these big gaseous things out there basically have their
birthday elements in it, the universe’s birthday elements in it. 90 percent of the universe is hydrogen, 90 percent of the atoms of the
universe are hydrogen atoms. About eight percent are helium atoms. When you see that ratio
in big gaseous things, they’re mostly made of stuff
the universe was born with. So if stars are made of 90 percent gas, and Jupiter is, could Jupiter have been a failed star? Sort of? – Why, because it was on
Dancing with the Stars? (laughs) – Is that where all the failed stars go? Does that joke still have currency? People still talk about that? People whose career, they need a boost, so they go on Dances with Stars? – I kind of think so, yeah. – I’m asked all the time to be on Dances with Stars. – You have to go!
– No, I’ll tell you why not. – I want to see you in tights, and the mass and the volume. (laughs) – You want to check out my density, that’s what you’re saying? – But I remember talking
about this on my podcast. You danced professionally- you were like a trained
dancer when you were younger. – I was a performing member
of three dance companies, but they were like college troupes, they were not- It’s not the Bolshoi.
– Once you got it, you got it. (laughs) – But that was a chapter
of my life, long gone. – Okay. – I’m not thinking of my
present and future and saying, “Gee, I should dance again.” These are not my thoughts. When I was dancing, I
was not writing books. No one was publishing my essays, okay? (laughs) So, Paul, take kindly
the counsel of the years. Gracefully surrendering
the things of youth. (laughs) – I think you should dance. (laughs) – After all that I just told you, that’s the best you could– – Just listen to what I tell you, please. So you have a, possibly a failed star. – Oh sorry, that’s what
we were talking about. Thank you. – Yeah. – So Jupiter, had it been- and, you know, I forgot
the latest numbers on this- had it been maybe five times more massive, somewhere around between five and ten, it would’ve been a star. We would’ve had a double-star system. – Why does that size
suddenly make it a star? – Because the bigger you are, the higher the pressure is in your core. Because there’s more mass, there’s more weight, there’s more pressure. When you have pressure in the core, the temperature rises. As the temperature rises
there’s a threshold where you start fusing nuclei in the presence of heat. Thermo-nuclear fusion. That’s where you get that word from. The sun is undergoing
thermonuclear fusion in its core. The high pressures, high temperatures, are squeezing together hydrogen atoms, and out the other side comes helium atoms, and the helium atom has less
mass than the hydrogen atom. Where did the mass go? E=mc2, it became energy. And that energy is sustaining the star. Jupiter didn’t have enough. It didn’t hit that threshold. – And forgive me if this
sounds like a silly question, and I’m being serious. If Jupiter’s 90 percent hydrogen– – [Neil] Yes. – Is it just this ball of gas? Could I fly through it, or would I hit? – Yeah, so there’s no surface. Right, so you fly straight into it and you just keep plunging down, but you would start feeling higher and higher gas pressure above you, and eventually you would get squashed. Or vaporized, depending on whether you hit a hot zone sooner than a high-pressure zone. So it depends on how
resistant to pressure you are that could get you to deeper- if you have a vessel for example- that could get you to deeper
places where it’s even hotter. So Jupiter did get hot at it’s core, oh don’t get- let’s not be unclear about this- it did get hot. It just didn’t get hot
enough to hit that threshold of thermonuclear fusion. It would’ve been fun
to have two suns though in our solar system. – What would that have been like for us? – [Neil] Bad. (laughs) – A lot of sunscreen. – As you go around the suns, you’re closer to one at one point, and not so close to the other. That can wreak havoc on the
stability of your climate. Also it wreaks havoc on the
stability of your orbit. Where is your orbital allegiance today relative to yesterday? Never good for orbits. Your orbits go unstable, and you fall into one of the
two stars or you get flung out. – I say that all the time, it’s never good for two orbits, never good for orbits. (laughs) – Next question. – Next question, okay. This is Ulysses Lindblad, Twitter. “Do you get high and low tide on the northern and southern poles?” – Ooh very good question. You know I never thought about that. So let me think about it
now for the first time. And I’m thinking no. – [Paul] Why? – Because the bulge- Well, excuse me, you wouldn’t, definitely wouldn’t, in the first day of spring
and first day of fall. Because on those two days, the poles are sideways to Earth. And the tidal bulge is
a bulge of the ocean, of the water mass of the Earth, and the tidal bulge it bulges both towards the
moon and away from the moon. So it bulges in both directions. – Moving this way. – This way, correct. That’s why there are two
high tides in a day, right? Do you know, did you ever– – Oh yeah I know, we go boating. – [Neil] You go boating. There are two high tides in a day. – Why, why- I didn’t even know that. – Because it has two bulges. One- so here’s the moon off to the side, there’s a bulge that’s
closest to the moon, and a bulge that’s opposite the moon. So you say, well, if the moon is tugging on it, how could it bulge the other way? Here’s what’s happening, the moon is tugging on the
water and on the Earth. So it’s tugging- the closest water gets pulled the most. – Makes low tide. – Only on the sides of this, because the water got sucked
out of the intermediate places on Earth. The point that points towards the moon, that’s closest, it feels the moon’s gravity the greatest. Then it’s Earth that
feels it next-greatest. Then there’s the side of the water, on the other side of the Earth, that feels it the least. So there’s an elongation
of the entire system in the direction of the moon. – And that’s called– – These are called tidal
forces, tidal stretching. Earth has tidal- goes through tides. They’re not as high as the water, but Earth, the solid mass of Earth, actually stretches in this way. As Earth turns once a day, it goes through two high tides. Now these bulges come out from one side of the Earth and the other. Okay. So the size of your tides are
affected by several things. But also, your latitude, yes. On Earth. I’m expecting that the
equator will have higher range between high and low tides than other latitudes would. But there are other
factors that affect it. You know the highest swinging tides is the Bay of Fundy. – Why? – Bay of Fundy, because there’s a long- is it a fjord? It’s a very long track of land that two sides of the
land that has a long- I think it’s a fjord. And what happens is, the tide comes in and the
slope is very shallow. So if the tide goes up a foot, it goes in a half a mile. – Oh! – It’s really cool, you can like run alongside the tide as the tide is coming in. – Because it’s so shallow. – It’s so shallow, and so the tide, when it goes up a foot, it’s going to go up a foot. But if to go up a foot, it makes you have to go down-shore a mile, that’s where it’s going to
be when it goes up a foot. So the movement of these tides creates friction against- between the waters and the Earth. And the height of the tide
I think is not so important in that case, as much as how much the tide moves, how much friction Earth feels against it. You know, this friction
between the Earth and the tides is slowing down Earth’s rotation. – Latitude. – We’re in the Stuff
part of this broadcast. (laughs) – Why is it slowing down the rotation? – Because Earth- oh, I left something out. This tidal bulge that I
said aligns with the moon? It doesn’t. – Don’t lie to me, man. (laughs) – Don’t play with me. – I have to lie to begin the explanation. Otherwise there’s too- it’s TMI. (laughs) Do we understand what I just told you, that the moon stretches this whole system? – First of all, stop yelling at me. No, I’m just kidding. Um yes, and can I just
say it quickly for my own- So we’re on the East
coast, the Atlantic Ocean. And we’re in New York City. So when this side of
the Earth that we’re on is sort of aligned with the moon, that’s when you’re going to get low tide, because it’s pulling– – No if we’re aligned with the moon, it pulls it and we’re
going to get high tides. – I’m sorry, it’s pulling it, right. Okay I got it. – Now, you want to know
something interesting? When you’re at the beach, you say, “Oh the tide’s coming
in, tide’s going out.” That’s not what’s happening. The tide is just always there in space. You’re on the solid Earth
and you’re rotating through the high and low tides. – Oh! So if I picked a spot in the ocean, the tide is always that level? – No, not a spot in the ocean. You pick a spot in line
between the Earth and the moon, pick that spot, that will always be water
at a certain height. It’ll just be there. And so, that whole system, and Earth, the solid
Earth, is rotating in that. – And so when we’re in it,
it feels like high tide, and when we’re not– – When we’re in it, we say
it’s tide coming in and out, but it’s Earth rotating
into a high-tide bulge and out of a high-tide bulge. – [Paul] Wow. – Yeah. – Does the water get– – Pretty cool. – Does the water get displaced– – It’s the illusion that something’s coming towards
us and away from us. It is- you are rotating into it. And so now, I said it aligns with the moon? It doesn’t. It’s ahead of the moon. – And why is that? – Because the Earth is dragging the tide. This whole bulge wants
to align with the moon, but Earth is not letting it. It’s pulling it in front. So the tidal bulge is ahead of the moon. – It’s gravitational pull right? – [Neil] Uh, it’s– – See, I didn’t use the word suck! (laughs) – It’s the friction between
Earth and all of this water that is shoving the water
ahead of where the moon is. The moon is trying to
resist this by pulling- “Come back to me tides!” “No, I’m pulling it ahead of you.” This battle between Earth and the moon is slowing down Earth’s rotation. It is the source of the
occasional leap-second that is thrown into the calendar. – Because it’s slowed
down by this process. – Because the moon is making the tides, and the tides are resisting
what Earth is trying to do. – And what would Earth be
like if that did not happen? – [Neil] If we didn’t have tides? – If we- if it didn’t get slowed down by this friction that’s happening? – Uh, if we didn’t get slowed down, then the duration of
a day would be stable. But it’s not. The length of the day is increasing. Very slowly, you’re
not going to notice it, and you’re not gonna care. But clocks care. GPS satellites care. That matters. – A day isn’t 24- Every day isn’t 24 hours,
is what you’re saying? – No, not anymore. It’s slightly longer than 24 hours. And rather than increase
the length of a second, which would create it’s own problems, we just say, “Wait ’til that increase
accumulates a second, then we just throw one in.” – [Paul] That’s the leap-second. – So on the leap-second years, the last minute of that
year has 61 seconds in it. Just to make up for things. Because of the tides. Because we are dragging ourselves through high tides and low tides in space. – This explains why I’m always late. The tides, thank you. I
got to the bottom of it. – Did we only get through four questions? Quick one, quick. I think we’ve actually run out of time. – [Paul] Okay. – I’ll give a sound bite answer. Ready, give it to me. – Okay. This is from @TropicalTroy68, Instagram. “Hello there, guys. I love the show. Can you tell me what U.S. taxpayers gained by going to the moon six
times from 1969 to 1972 other than a bag of rocks?” – Oh. Ooh. – This throw-down time. – Hold me back! (laughs) Hold me back. – I can give you another question. – No, I said I was only going
to give a sound bite answer. Here it is, ready? I could speak on this
for an hour, but I won’t. I’m going to speak on it for one minute. When we went to the moon, to explore the moon, and turned around and photographed Earth, we discovered Earth for the first time. All major environmental legislation that exists in this country is traceable to the years that
we were landing on the moon. We went to the moon to explore the moon, and we discovered Earth. Oh my gosh, Earth, not as you schoolroom
globe showed it to you. No. Not with color-coded countries. No. Earth as the universe
intended you to see it. With oceans, and land, and clouds. And we’re all down there together. It is the greatest of the
gifts of the cosmic perspective that we have ever received. Only when the photo of Earth
from the moon was published, people said, “Hey, maybe we should ban leaded gas.” “We should ban DDT.” “Maybe we should clean up the Earth.” “Maybe we should clean
up the water supply.” “Maybe we should clean up the air.” “Maybe we should protect species.” There was some versions of
those acts that existed earlier, but the comprehensive version, where everybody’s behind them, that all happened 1969, ’70, ’71, and ’72. The Environmental Protection
Agency was founded in 1970. We’re still going to the moon. So I ask you, what is the universe and the
cosmic perspective it provides worth to you? – I am intrigued and
frightened at the same time. (laughs) – [Male Voice] It’s such a pain to fill your videos with engaging visuals. Especially if you’re like
StarTalk with a small crew, making an engaging video is a non-starter unless you have Storyblocks. Let’s say you want to produce
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description to learn more about Storyblocks video. That’s God, I’m hungry. – I’ve been your host,
Neil deGrasse Tyson. Paul Mecurio, co-host. – Nice to be here.
– Thanks for being on. – Absolutely. – As always, until next time, I bid you to keep looking up.

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