Prepare for the Perseid Meteor Shower

perseidThe Perseid meteor shower has been observed streaking though our night sky for over 2000 years. In early to mid-August, Earth passes through the debris stream of the Swift-Tuttle comet. As space dust hits the atmosphere it creates extremely bright meteors know as the Perseids. The best nights to view the shower this year are August 11th and 12th, with meteors starting as early as 10 pm and increasing in frequency until dawn. Grab a lawn chair, head outside and enjoy the show!

Want to know more about the bright lights above? Check out UCSD-TV’s Astrophysics, Cosmology, Astronomy, and Space Sciences programs.

The Pivot to Asia with Kurt Campbell and Susan Shirk

Kurt Campbell, Former Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, visits his Alma Mater, UC San Diego, to share some insight and some anecdotes from his political career.

Campbell, who is now Chairman and CEO of the The Asia Group, sits down with Susan Shirk, the chair of the 21st Century China Program and Ho Miu Lam Professor of China and Pacific Relations at the School of International Relations and Pacific Studies (IR/PS) at UC San Diego, to discuss US relations with Asia and how that continent has garnered more attention than it has in the past.

When Campbell worked with Secretary Clinton in writing a statement predicting that the 21st century would be largely focused on Asian countries, their piece coined the phrase “pivot to Asia.” This phrase caught the attention of the international media, with some unintended consequences.

Hear Campbell explain the controversy and intentions behind the “pivot towards Asia” as well as the relations between China and Japan in “The Pivot to Asia with Kurt Campbell and Susan Shirk.”

See what other programs are available on International Affairs.

The Legendary Leopards of La Jolla Shores

In celebration of National Shark Week, UCTV visits the Birch Aquarium to hear from an expert on leopard sharks, Andy Nosal, a Ph.D. student of Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

Leopard sharks are a special species of shark found only along the West coast of North America, their territory spanning from Washington to Baja California. A distinctive characteristic of these creatures is their mild temperament. Unlike most sharks, which will bite anything that might be food, leopard sharks are timid and have such small mouths that they pose essentially no danger to humans. In fact, a leopard shark bite on a human has never been recorded by the International Shark Attack File.

Every Summer La Jolla Shores is the gathering site of hundreds of leopard sharks. A common misconception of this behavior is that these sharks convene here to mate or give birth, but in fact scientists are not quite certain what they do at this annual conference.

Watch “Local Legends: The Leopard Sharks of La Jolla Shores” to see what Nosal has determined about why these sharks flock to La Jolla Shores and what they do there.

Check out more programs about sharks.

See what other programs are available in the Perspectives on Ocean Science series!

Behaviorally Modern Humans: Interbreeding with Archaic Humans

There are many theories as to how humans evolved to who we are today.

Fossils tell us that there once existed many human-like species, such as the Neanderthals, that had similar yet archaic skull shapes. Some people believe that there was just one ancestor of our modern species who evolved into the species we are today — but that straightforward trajectory seems too simple to be evolutionarily possible. Another theory suggests that there were many variations of our ancestors, but whose lineages did not persist as ours did. Eventually, modern humans replaced those sub-human species — but not before our ancestors interbred with them to create the variations of humans we have today.

In this episode of the latest CARTA series, Behaviorally Modern Humans: The Origins of Us, Chris Stringer of the Natural History Museum of London takes us through his analysis of the fossil record to present his theory on how humans and our ancestors evolved and dominated the globe. Then, Michael Hammer from the University of Arizona discusses the possibility of interbreeding of human subspecies to create the species known as modern humans. Followed by Richard “Ed” Green of UC Santa Cruz who also talks about the possibility of interbreeding, but with species even outside of Africa.

Watch “Behaviorally Modern Humans: Interbreeding with Archaic Humans” to see what you really know about your family history.

Don’t miss other episodes in this new series!

New Series! Behaviorally Modern Humans: The Origin of Us

This latest CARTA series, Behaviorally Modern Humans, the Origin of Us, explores the questions of when, where and how humans evolved into the modern species we are today and what set us apart from the other human species on the planet that we replaced.

This first episode in the series, African Climate of the Last 400,000 Years, East African Archaeological Evidence, and South African Archaeological Evidence examines the latest evidence from multiple disciplines to answer these questions about our origins.

First, Rick Potts of the Smithsonian Institution introduces an analysis of the climate in which our ancient ancestors lived 400,000 years ago in Africa. His talk is followed by Alison S. Brooks of George Washington University and the Smithsonian Institution, who discusses what archaeological evidence can tell us about our past in East Africa. Then, Lyn Wadley from University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg discusses what clues are hidden in the archaeological finds of South Africa.

See what you might learn about your history and stay tuned for more episodes in this series!

Discover more anthropology videos from UCSD-TV.