Ep 278: Vacuum tubes, with a side order of steampunk



Vacuum tubes, with a side order of steampunk

We talk about vacuum tubes, how they work and how they made radio and telephone work so much better. We also spend some time talking about the very first computer programmer, the mother of steam punk, and enchantress of number—Ada Lovelace.
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Ep 277: Phil’s hundredth episode!



Phil’s hundredth episode!

It took a little over two years, what with the one episode a week format and all, but this is Phil’s one-hundredth time as our co-host extraordinaire! We share some of the things that we couldn’t squeeze into previous episodes, become baffled by Benford’s law, and otherwise relax and shoot the breeze.

Take that, you filthy air currents!
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Ep 276: Binary boats and wireless



Binary boats and wireless

We spend some time with the ships and subs of the American Civil war, take our hats off to George Boole, and watch the beginning of radio.
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Ep 275: Telegraph and tabulation



Telegraph and tabulation

After the battery was invented, people began using electricity to do things like discover new elements and create new and better materials. Meanwhile, the punch card became a way to record information so that a machine could read and write it. Companies such as IBM were founded to keep track of it all. Wires stretched around the world to send messages fast enough to coordinate the new railroads, and new machines were invented to read and write faster than any human operators could manage.
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Ep 274: And the wheels keep turning



And the wheels keep turning

From water wheels to steam engines, to the taming of electricity, join us for another instalment in our episodes about where computers came from.
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Ep 273: building bones and binary



building bones and binary

We rewind slightly to cover the beginnings of automated logic. Then we have a look-see at the mechanical calculators of the 17th century, and the people who made it happen. Along the way, we find the birth of binary.
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Ep 272: The fall of Rome and the rise of zero



The fall of Rome and the rise of zero

We’d planned to get a bit further, but there was just too much nifty history. Water wheels, paper mills, the fall of Rome, the golden age of Islam, and the spread of the number zero, more than enough for one episode.
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Ep 271: which numbers count?



which numbers count?

If you want to come up with a machine that computes, (a computer,) you need numbers with which to compute. Before we had the numbers we know and love, several other numbering systems were tried. Today we take a look at some of them and how they worked, along with their historical context.
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Ep270: Stone age computers



Stone age computers

We decided to spend a few episodes telling the story of how we got computers. This episode, in typical “Lab With Brad” fashion, we’re going all the way back to the beginning of the story. And by “beginning,” we mean slightly before we were human beings.
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Ep 269: It’s the end of the world as they knew it



It’s the end of the world as they knew it

The Permian period began with lush forests. new bugs arrived to feed on the succulent plants, strange sharks still swam the seas, and the first large plant eaters and their predators walked the increasingly dry earth. At the end of the period was the most devastating mass extinction in our planets history.
Continue reading Ep 269: It’s the end of the world as they knew it