Episode 152 – A Strong Tail Wind

00:00:00 – Dave Hone talks to Patrick and Ryan about his research into tail length. Turns out there is a lack of consistency and it just might throw everything into a tizzy. Ryan seems fixated on mammals like a jerk. Plus we get an update on the state of his various web project including the ever-entertaining Ask a Biologist, of which Ryan is a proud contributor.

00:37:06 – Drinks are a lot like tails, they vary in length and strength. Jacob touts his “perfect” margarita. Charlie and Ryan take issue. Jacob loses. Charlie is ready for fall, thus forcing down a Sierra Nevada Tumbler Brown along with the appropriate autumn sountrack, whatever that means. And Ryan celebrates the Pacific Northwest, friendship, and a tasty brew with Eylsian’s The Immortal IPA.

00:43:26 – Trailer Trash Talk makes Jacob feel like he’s been pegged into a stereotype, much like the main character in the nostalgic upcoming CG-film Wreck-It Ralph.

00:56:00 – Someone finally had the good sense to ask if wind power was worth it. It is. And then some. The Paloepals discuss the current state of alternative energy and why this obvious answer was worth not one, but two, studies.

01:13:56 – PaleoPOWs are a lot like wind energy; there’s plenty of them, but are they worth your time? Ryan recounts the discovery of a botanical subspecies of the Brachiolope found by Thomas B-L. Charlie touts symbiosis with the Beta Nerd blog wherein Mike B. writes about discovering Robot and Frank via our infamous Trailer Trash Talk segment. And finally Jacob calls upon Ryan’s high-school level physics to help answer a question about speed from Steve B.


Discuss this episode and other podcasts from the Brachiolope Media Network on our forum!


Music for this week’s show provided by:

Long Time Coming – The Zutons

Margaritaville – Jimmy Buffet

One Man Wrecking Machine – Guster

Black Wind Blowing -Wilco


Image Credit: CheezBurger

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4 Responses to Episode 152 – A Strong Tail Wind

  1. moe 27 September 2012 at 9:02 am #

    Hi guysn thanks for another great episode. Your discussion of wind power reminded me of another great podcast “omega tau” (be careful half of them are in german) he put out an interview a few episodes back. The idea this guy was talking about was using kites instead of turbines. Anyone who has flown a kite knows that the angle to the wind will determine how hard it pulls. Their idea was to use the hardest pull to generate enery, flew the kite to an easier angle and real it back in, repeat. This would reduce the “ugly turbine” it would allow for harvesting higher in the atmosphere, and would be relatively mobile and cheap. Cool interview, check it out.

  2. Josh 20 October 2012 at 9:07 pm #

    re: Speed and the universe

    I was under the impression that physicists were able to make at least a fairly good approximation from the frame of reference of the universe by looking at movement relative to the cosmic microwave background.

  3. Geoffrey Tolle 30 May 2015 at 5:01 pm #

    I realize that I’m a bit late listening to this episode but I had a question related to Dr. Hone’s research on dinosaur (and others) tail length.

    Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to read Dr. Hone’s article (stupid paywalls!) but I had a question. Using his dozen or two complete tails and hundreds of complete modern tails from reptiles, birds, and mammals, has Dr. Hone considered developing regression models based on key measurements from individual vertebrae?

    Given that there are a number of genetic and biomechanical constraints on the development of tails, it seems to me that there ought to be some modelling that would reasonably predict tail length even with missing vertebrae. Even when vertebrae numbers vary within a species, subtle variations in key biomechanical parameters should be able to point to vertebrae progression that would, in turn, provide statistically reasonable estimates of vertebrae numbers and tail lengths.

    I suspect that such modelling would generate a whole fascinating field of tail structure variation based on function. With a large data base based on modern animals, a much smaller data base based on fossilized animals, and a small to middling data base based on whatever vertebrae do remain from dinosaurs, it seems to me that one could generate some fairly good models. Leaving the modelling open to accept new data would make for an ever-refining model that might, in 20 years, look very different than when it started.

    Has Dr. Hone considered looking at tail length data in this fashion?

    Also, it occurs to me that many skeletal remains distort over the fossilization process. Does Dr. Hone have any estimates on how severely vertebrae distort? This would, obviously, limit the modelling accuracy but some degree of correction should be possible from symmetry analysis.


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