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A Geek Out with a real astrophysicist! Carl and Richard get giddy geeky with the amazing Dr. Amber Straughn who is part of the Project Science team for the James Webb Space Telescope. Considered the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope, Amber talks about how the JWST is bigger and different - with a six meter reflector and orbiting 1.5 million kilometres from Earth. The conversation digs into why the JWST is looking into the infrared spectrum, what the cosmological red shift is all about and a whole ton of other amazing concepts around what it means to look back in time to near the beginning of the universe!

Dr. Amber Straughn is an Astrophysicist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD, and serves as the Deputy Project Scientist for James Webb Space Telescope Science Communications. Follow her on Twitter: @astraughnomer

Amber grew up in the small farming town of Bee Branch, Arkansas, where her fascination with astronomy began under beautifully dark, rural skies. She obtained her B.S. in Physics at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville in 2002, and completed her M.S. and Ph.D. in Physics at Arizona State University in 2008. Amber has been at Goddard full time since 2008; prior to her current role, she held a NASA Postdoctoral Program fellowship. She has been involved in NASA programs since her undergrad years, beginning with flying an experiment on NASA’s microgravity KC-135 plane (the “vomit comet”) in 2001. During graduate school at Arizona State, Amber received the NASA Space Grant Fellowship for summer studies, and in 2005 was awarded the 3-year NASA Harriett Jenkins Predoctoral Fellowship.

Amber’s research focuses on interacting and star-forming galaxies in the context of galaxy assembly, where she uses imaging and infrared spectroscopic data mostly from the Hubble Space Telescope. Her broad research interests include galaxy formation and evolution, galaxy mergers and interactions, physical processes induced by galaxy interactions including star formation and black hole growth, and emission-line galaxies.

In addition to research, Amber’s role with the James Webb Space Telescope project science team involves working with Communications and Outreach activities. She participates in various public outreach efforts, and has spoken at numerous schools, astronomy clubs, museums, and research societies locally in the DC area and nationwide. Amber is also interacts frequently with the media, having done numerous live television interviews, media features for NASA (see http://www.nasa.gov/topics/technology/features/webb-faqs.html), and has appeared on the History Channel, Spike TV, and in the Late Night with Jimmy Fallon's "Hubble Gotchu" segment. She very much enjoys interacting with the public.

Amber lives in Glenn Dale, MD., with her husband Matt and her two Great Danes and one cat. Her love of all things air and space prompted her to become a pilot; she earned her Private Pilot's license in early 2013. She has been an active yoga practitioner for years, and teaches a volunteer yoga class weekly. Amber is very involved in community and volunteer work, and loves to cook.

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Running Time 54 minutes      Date Thursday, October 23, 2014     Comments Comments


Ready to be scared? Carl and Richard talk to Troy Hunt about the security concerns of the Internet of Things. Troy does what he does best - run down a series of scenarios with existing IoT devices like the LIFX Light Bulb and talk through how they can be exploited. Exploit a light bulb? Sure - to get access to your WiFi! The conversation explores key ideas for protecting your gear, why you need defence-in-depth and what a robust API really looks like - especially if you hack it first!

Troy Hunt is a Software Architect and Microsoft MVP for Developer Security. Troy has spent the last 16 years building web applications and currently oversees software architecture for Pfizer Pharmaceuticals’ Emerging Markets. He blogs regularly about security principles in software development at troyhunt.com and is the author of the OWASP Top 10 for .NET developers series and recently the free eBook of the same name. Troy is also the creator of ASafaWeb, the Automated Security Analyser for ASP.NET Websites at asafaweb.com.

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Running time 57 minutes      Date Wednesday, October 22, 2014     Comments Comments


Carl and Richard talk to Miguel Castro about his work building modern web pages for his clients. After a couple of years working hard on WPF applications, coming over to the web world was a challenge - but as Miguel discovered, the MVVM pattern he used in WPF apps works great on the web as well! Miguel talks about working with Knockout and other libraries on his way to discovering a comfortable pattern of development using AngularJS and ASP.NET MVC together. That's right, using ASP.NET MVC to do MVVM page design! Miguel talks about how his approach to web pages creates something testable and maintainable, which is what you look for in a great business web site.

Whether playing on the local Radio Shack’s TRS-80 or designing systems for clients around the globe, Miguel has been writing software since he was 12 years old. He insists on staying heavily involved and up-to-date on all aspects of software application design & development, and projects that diversity onto the type of training and consulting he provides to his customers and believes that it’s never just about understand the technologies, but how technologies work together. In fact, it is on this concept that Miguel based two of his Pluralsight courses, Building End-to-End Multi-Client Service Oriented Applications, which was #1 for several weeks, and Developing Extensible Software. Miguel is a Microsoft MVP since 2005 and when he’s not consulting or training, Miguel speaks at conferences around the world, practices combining on-stage tech and comedy, and never misses a Formula 1 race. But best of all, he’s the proud father of a very tech-savvy 10 year old girl, and a proud husband to the woman that homeschools her.

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Running time 58 minutes      Date Tuesday, October 21, 2014     Comments Comments

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