Neil deGrasse Tyson – Joe Rogan Experience #919

The internet is a wonderful place and there’s no better evidence of that other than when Neil deGrasse Tyson goes on the Joe Rogan Experience. Tyson is an excellent teacher, capable of breaking down the most complex subjects into easily consumable bits of knowledge. Joe’s childish excitement to have Tyson on the show is quite evident, yet, he is able to steer the conversation in a manner that enables the audience to soak in all the information.
In an attempt to be more succinct, I will style my writings after lecture notes so it’s easier for you to follow along while listening to the podcast. Enjoy and share my blog if you like the content. Thanks!

Promos 0:00 – 5:18
  • – Use code word “Rogan”

Hats & Muscles

  • Determine what your hat size is by measuring the circumference of your head and then dividing by pi.
  • Neil used to be buff and wrestled for Harvard while majoring in physics.

Jesus’ Birthday Controversy


    • Neil was attacked for a tweet wishing Isaac Newton a happy birthday on December 25th.
  • Jesus was not born on December 25th. Although the exact day is unknown, it is speculated that Jesus was born some time in the spring. This site does some digging and puts Jesus’ birthday sometime in September.
  • December 25th was already a Pagan holiday and in an effort to convert more Pagans to Christianity, this day was chosen to be Jesus’ birth date.
  • Pagans celebrated the return of the sun on December 25th
    • December 21st is known as the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year in regards to daylight. The reason we have such little daylight is because the arc of the sun is very low.
    • Thinking that the sun was going to go away, the people were thrilled to see the sun beginning to rise a couple of days after the solstice.

Not All Infinities are the Same

  • Some infinities are bigger than others.
    • Math can be used to validate this fact.
    • For example, the numbers you use to count from 0 to infinity are known as regular numbers. Well, there are more irrational numbers than regular numbers.
    • And,there are more transcendental numbers than irrational numbers

NASA’s Announcement

Before this podcast aired, NASA had teased an announcement to come in weeks to follow. Given that I am posting this after the fact, I will assume you know what the announcement was about. However, during this conversation, Neil brings up some interesting facts:

  • A new method of finding life on different planets is to research a planet’s atmospheres. If the atmosphere has unstable chemistry it generally means that some life form is generating that anomaly.
  • 1995 was the first year that we knew of another planet outside of our solar system. Now we know of ~3000.
  • Neil says that the data surrounding Planet 9 looks convincing.
    • Scientists observed objects in the kuiper belt and calculated how they should be moving based on the laws of gravity. Because these objects do not move according to our understanding of gravity and physics, it is theorized that there is another planet out there affecting their movements. If it’s not that, then our theory of gravity must fall apart that far in space.
    • Neptune was discovered in this manner. They noticed Uranus moved strangely and calculated where the anomaly could be coming from and that’s where they found Neptune.
    • If it exists, Planet 9 is 20,000 times further from the sun than Earth.
  • Our moon has 5x the mass of Pluto.
  • Our space station and the Chinese space station are thousand miles away from one another.

Multiple Dimensions & Other Space Facts


  • There are multiple dimensions.
  • Physics are different at the smallest level than at the biggest level.
  • Scientist have never measured the size of an electron.
  • The smallest elements known to man are the photon, electron, quark, and neutrino
  • Other countries have photographed the moon landing.
  • We have a problem with space junk. Visit NASA’s site dedicated to orbital debri.
    • We could be limiting ourselves from space travel because of the dangers in hitting debris.
    • Launch windows have to take debris into account so they do not hit anything

Moon Craters & How Impacts Occur on a Gas Planet

  • Scientist used to believe that the marks on the moon came from valcano activity because they were all perfect circles.
    • In the 70s, these craters were explained as being kinetic impact zones for meteors. When something is moving so fast that its kinetic energy is greater than the energy that holds an object together, upon impact, all the kinetic energy is transferred back into the object causing it to explode. The meteor itself is not what creates the crater, it’s the kinetic explosion.
    • You can test by throwing a snowball up against a wall. The speed at which you throw the snowball is greater than the energy holding the snow together. So, no matter at what angle the snowball hits, it will leave a circular imprint.
  • Shoemaker Levy was a comet that smashed into Jupiter. How can something smash into a gas planet?
    • The comet was going so fast that the gaseous atmosphere was like hitting a brick wall.
    • The comet has to plow through more gaseous mass than its own mass before it blows up. Because it is moving so fast, it reaches this point instantly.
  • The meteor that hit Arizona was about 160 feet across. This type of impact would not be enough to end civilization on Earth, but it would cause major damage to nearby cities.


Stephen Hawking & Alien Life

  • Stephen is worried that aliens would enslave us based on the reality that we have done that to ourselves.
    • Any time a more advanced civilization comes across a less advanced civilization, the less technologically advanced civilization ends in enslavement.
  • Colonizing other planets is a self limiting endeavor because we will ultimately go to war with each other for parts of the universe that we do not have.
    • The type of civilization that could colonize other areas of the universe peacefully, would not be interested in colonizing other planets.
  • Hawking also believes that we need to be a multi planet species in order to protect ourselves from extinction.
    • Tyson believes that if we have the power to colonize another planet, we should have the power to maintain life on Earth.


2 thoughts on “Neil deGrasse Tyson – Joe Rogan Experience #919

  1. No, there are not more transcendental numbers than irrational numbers. In fact the transcendentals are a subset of the irrationals. Both sets have the cardinality of the continuum.


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