Sunday Lectures | Cyberattacks, Saturn, and Underground Fires

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Sunday Lectures is a weekly roundup of the internet’s most interesting educational videos. Get smarter without getting out of bed.

How to Get the Public to Believe in Climate Change

Communicating science to the masses isn’t easy. The research has to be parsed correctly — a difficult task — but it also has to hit home. What good is strong data if nobody cares? The trick to grabbing the public’s attention, as the U.S. Geological Survey’s Science Advisor for Risk Reduction Lucy Jones puts it, is to fold science into stories.

How DNA Unties Its Own Knots

Like earbuds in a backpack, DNA strands have the tendency to tie themselves into knots, rendering them pretty useless. Cells can’t survive when their instructions are tangled up, but fortunately, years of evolution have taught DNA how to unravel itself.

Why We Should Prepare for a Cyberattack on the Power Grid

Remember how screwed the Northeast was during the great 2003 blackout? Power outages are so debilitating that we should consider them potential weapons, says Emmy Award-winning journalist Ted Koppel, who doesn’t think we’re taking the threat of cyberattack on the grid seriously enough.

How a Fire Can Burn Underground for Thousands of Years

Is anything more metal than nature? Centuries-old underground fires spanning hundreds of acres have been discovered all over the world — some beneath actual towns, like the now-defunct Centralia, Pennsylvania, which DNews describes here as hell on earth. St. Louis, apparently, could be next.

The Epic Story of the Cassini Mission to Saturn

For almost a decade, the Cassini mission has been collecting data on the ringed planet, sending home photos from Saturn itself and its mysterious moon Titan. Speaking at the Silicon Valley Astronomy Lectures Series, Dr. Carolyn Porco, the imaging leader for the Cassini team, waxes philosophic about the magnificent images the spacecraft has sent home.

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