Karate at the 2017 Islamic Solidarity Games
Karate at the 2017 Islamic Solidarity Games

Cosmic Queries – Nerd Olympics with John Eric Goff

President.az, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
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About This Episode

Do athletes use artificial intelligence? Is freestyle really freestyle? On this episode, Neil deGrasse Tyson and co-hosts Gary O’Reilly and Chuck Nice answer patron questions and get into a nerd fight about the Olympics with physics professor and martial artist John Eric Goff.

What can we expect from the incorporation of Karate in the Olympics? Why did it take so long? What put other martial arts first? We discuss Eric’s book, The Physics of Krav Maga, and the different fighting styles present in each martial art. Is there one karate move that is particularly devastating? We break down Ronald McNair’s stroboscopic physics of a karate punch. When is a punch at its maximum velocity?

Next, we get into our patreon queries where we explore why freestyle is the fastest style of swimming. What does freestyle even mean? Find out why there are limits on how long you can dolphin kick. In a freestyle event, should swimmers be able to do anything? We discuss what the most physically demanding sport is and why, and you’ll learn some anecdotes from Neil’s wrestling days. If a sport doesn’t produce sweat, should it be in the Olympics? 

Are there unique ways that athletes can train their minds to not choke? Do some sports need more mental focus than others? How the heck is golf in the Olympics? We debate whether the horse should get the medal in equestrian events and the differences between golf and baseball. Are there athletes taking advantage of artificial intelligence? What new tech is being used at the Olympics. Should there be rules? What’s an unfair advantage? Discover the top speed of a human being and the different running strategies of Usain Bolt and Sha’Carri Richardson. All that, plus, does weed make you faster? 

Thanks to our Patrons Dave Armstrong, Jamie Ferns, Sam Arnold, Jesse Pinette, evan stegall, Sam Couch, and Payton Hawk for supporting us this week.

NOTE: StarTalk+ Patrons can watch or listen to this entire episode commercial-free.

In This Episode

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