Space Exploration / Strange Stories

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Date Host George Noory
Guests David Livingston, Charles Reichblum

Dr. David Livingston is the founder and host of The Space Show, which promotes education and understanding about space topics. People "used to laugh at the concept of space tourism," but now we are "knocking at the door" of making that a reality, Livingston pointed out. He is disappointed by the lack of manned space exploration by the United States since the shuttle program's demise. Yet, he remains hopeful since private companies like Blue Origin and SpaceX have been at the forefront of getting us back into space and even to Mars. He did affirm, however, that "NASA's planetary science program is spectacular."

Livingston said that China is "really good at copying and learning from others," but believes that the presence of Chinese nationals in American colleges and universities is "a big national security issue." China is now sending probes to the Moon, which Livingston emphasized is the starting point for going to other planets. The most significant issues he sees facing us as a potential spacefaring race are that "we need artificial gravity" and "nuclear propulsion" in order to counteract the effects of space travel. These effects on the human body include radiation and loss of muscle and bone mass. Livingston is also interested in the UFO issue, and lamented that "for some reason, we're not allowed to know about UFOs and aliens."

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Charles Reichblum, nicknamed "Dr. Knowledge," has built one of the largest collections in the world of fascinating facts and stories. In part two, he shared facts about US presidents, Christmas trivia, and other little-known information. Even though many think that the upcoming inauguration which the sitting President will most likely not attend is the first time this has happened, Reichblum cited three other occasions: John Adams did not participate in Thomas Jefferson's because of political differences; his son John Quincy Adams refused to attend the swearing-in of Andrew Jackson; and Andrew Johnson (Lincoln's VP) was in his home state campaigning for the Senate when his successor was installed as President. John Quincy Adams was also noted for his habit of skinny-dipping in the Potomac River "almost every afternoon" Reichblum said, "when the weather was good."

The custom of decorating Christmas trees was unknown in America, Reichblum revealed, until German immigrants brought the tradition with them in the mid-1800s. Another Christmas tradition comes from 4th century Turkey and the original Saint Nicholas, whom Reichblum recalled put silver coins in a poor family's stockings. The story was so popular it eventually "spread to other towns and then around the world", he said. He also recounted the story of the most famous and reprinted Christmas letter ever written: to an eight-year-old girl named Virginia O'Hanlon from the editor of the New York Sun in 1897, which included the immortal line, "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus." Irving Berlin wrote "God Bless America" as a patriotic song in WWI, Reichblum said, but a "yellowed copy" of the sheet music sat in his desk until a chance meeting with popular singer Kate Smith in 1938, when she made it nearly as famous as the "Star-Spangled Banner."

News segment guests: Dr. Joel Wallach, Dr. John Curtis

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