In today’s Lightning Round video, I answer questions about replacing the SLS with Starship, splashless urinals, holiday traditions and, yes, how scientists used Google’s Sycamore quantum computer to create a wormhole and prove a controversial theory about black holes that validates – and invalidates – Albert Einstein. It all makes sense, just watch it.


Welcome to the first lightning round video of 2023, and before I get into the questions, it might be a good time to do a little bit of housecleaning and fill you guys in on some channel stuff that’s going on.

If you’re not interested in any of this, that’s totally okay, feel free to skip ahead to the questions. It’ll be noted in the video timeline or just jump to here.

So I’ve been posting every Monday on this channel since the fall of 2014. Which means I am in my 9th year of doing this. And in case you’re wondering what 9 years on YouTube does to a person, this is what I looked like back then.

And this whole IKEA shelf background first appeared about a year later at the end of 2015. And it’s changed a bit here and there, different things on the shelves obviously, but basically I’ve been in front of this Brady Bunch background for a little over seven years.

It’s… time for a change.

So, in the next couple of months, I’m going to redo all of this. I’m getting an entirely new setup, new background, new tangent cam, new lighting… maybe a third camera for reasons, but this will be a different look.

And that’s going to require a lot of downtime so in February and March, I’m going to be posting a lot less on this channel. Normally I post about 5 videos a month, I’ll only be posting two a month in February and March.

I know some of you don’t like change and will groan a bit but you’ll get used to it.

The idea of course is to make everything better, a bit more professional, easier for me to set up and get recording in higher quality and everything… Everything better.

It’ll also give me the chance to evolve the channel a bit as we go forward. Nothing will change drastically at first but 9 years is a long time to be doing anything, and I want to be able to keep growing creatively.

Of course, I wanna say thanks ahead of time for your patience and giving me the opportunity to do more creative things. You guys have always supported me on this journey and it means the world to me.

Anyway, that’s what’s going on. I’m excited about it and I hope you are too. With all that out of the way, let’s get to the lightning round questions.

John Regel

What are your favorite holiday traditions? Do you guys celebrate an Us-mas weekend?

(Is that the one where the baby Us was born in a manger?)

Do you celebrate a Friendsgiving?

(No, friendship is its own reward)

Look forward to picking up the tree?

(Okay, I actually have something to–)

That 24-hour rerun circuit of Its a Wonderful Life or Christmas Vacation?

Uh. I have three movies I watch every year and that’s Christmas Vacation, A Christmas Story, and Scrooged, which is my least favorite because Bill Murray basically screams every line in the movie but anyway, back to the tree thing?

I actually did a TikTok about this and yes, I am on TikTok, go follow me there if that’s your thing, and if it’s not your thing… by all means we all want to hear about it in the comments.

But here’s what I said…

Anyway, I went on to say that (fake tree vs. real tree rant)

Cole Parker

If the SLS block 1B requires a new 2B+ mega rolling launch pad, and the Orion vehicle is the only crew rated moon  vehicle available has anyone thought to put a Orion inside a Starship sized faring and launch it on the Starship booster? What kind of engineering and NASA approvals would that require? Does the whole rocket need to be crew rated or just the capsule and abort tower? 

(See if I can get Tim to chime in on this)

NASA’s official human rating document (DRY)

So from what I’ve been able to find, it looks like in order to be crew rated a vehicle has to have less than a 1 in 500 chance of failure.

And from what I can tell, that applies to both the crew vehicle and the booster that takes it to orbit.

For example, SpaceX had to get both the Crew Dragon and the Falcon 9 crew-rated for the commercial crew program.

And ULA had to make modifications to their Delta IV and Atlas V rockets for Starliner. The Vulcan Centaur is being crew-rated as well.

So yeah, to your question about just putting Orion in a Starship-sized fairing and launching it on Starship, they would need to crew rate the Superheavy. That’s going to take some time. But obviously that’s the goal for the Starship so I’m sure they’re working on that.

But here’s the crazy bit… You wouldn’t need a “Starship-sized faring” for Orion, you could just put it… on a Starship.

Orion’s diameter is 16.5 feet, or 5.03 meters, Starship’s diameter is 29.5 feet, or 9 meters in diameter.

Plenty of room for Orion, the European Service Module, and other large payloads like your mom….s casserole. Because she’s a lovely lady and deserves your respect. Hashtag wholesome.

So, if we absolutely had to for budgetary reasons, we could launch Orion uncrewed on the Starship, launch the crew on a crew-rated Dragon, dock and transport them into the Orion in orbit and go to the moon from there. All that would be less expensive than an SLS launch.

Only thing is you still need the boost for the translunar injection which requires the Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage, which I don’t think would fit on the Starship so you might need a third launch to provide that… Of course at that point you could just use Starship to boost it out there… but then it would need to be crew rated…

There’s some kinks to work out in this plan, but I think when it comes down to it, getting Starship operational and crew-rated, even just the Superheavy booster, would be a game-changer.

As of right now, the Starship is fully stacked on the orbital launch pad with Ship 24 and booster 7… 24/7, that’s interesting…

These are supposed to be the ones to do the first orbital test flight, hopefully in the next couple months. We’ll see.

On a personal note I still have some concerns about the Raptor engines and the whole methalox configuration, I feel like the whole system has been more tricky than we all thought it would be. But I’m ready to see some stuff go up again.

If you have any ideas of how we could incorporate Orion into the Starship design, chime in in the comments.

Orion = 16.5ft diameter – 5.03m

Starship = 29.5ft diameter – 9m

SLS thrust = 9.5 million pounds (Block 2)

Starship thrust = 17 million pounds

Claudio Souza

What do people think about this? Are we approaching the 

Unified Theory before anyone could predict? 

Claudio linked to an article from Quanta magazine which has a video in it that I’ll link here, it’s worth watching so go check it out but this might need to be a video of its own because this is bananas. (Gwen Stefani song) You had to do it, didn’t you, Nick?

This actually kinda piggybacks off of last week’s video about quantum entanglement so if you haven’t seen that one, there’s some context there.

If you have seen that one, you might remember how in 1935, Einstein published a paper along with Boris Podolsky and Nathan Rosen that was about quantum entanglement and “spooky action at a distance”. Came to be known as the EPR paradox.

This sort-of illustrated the difference between the quantum world that’s defined by probabilities and the relativistic world that’s defined by gravity.

And really ever since then physicists have struggled to find a common link between those two types of physics. Or, quantum gravity as it’s come to be called.

Well that very same year, he published a paper with Rosen about black holes that theorized that two black holes could be connected by a wormhole, or Einstein-Rosen Bridge.

This became known as ER, for Einstein Rosen and it basically says that wormholes could form as a natural artifact of general relativity.

And these two papers that came out that same year, had nothing to do with each other. One was about quantum mechanics and the other was about general relativity, and never the twain shall meet.

Until 2013, when the twain shant meeted. Shunt met… (beat) something happened.

Physicists Leonard Susskind and Juan Maldacena of warp drive fame published a paper that became known as the ER = EPR conjecture, which suggested that those two papers from 1935 were describing the same thing.

Basically that the wormhole connection described in ER and the entanglement connection described in EPR were two manifestations of the same phenomena.

Well long story short, a team of scientists started exploring how to test this using a field of study known as holographic duality, which I would explain that to you… if I understood it.

I don’t.

But the guy who kinda cracked the idea was Daniel Jafferis who theorized that you could create a wormhole in a quantum computer and blast the wormhole with negative energy.

This negative energy would hold the wormhole open long enough to pass a qubit through the wormhole, thus proving ER = EPR.

The team was made up of Daniel Jafferis, Alexander Zlokapa, Maria Spiropulu and Joseph Lykken, and they brought the proposal to Google to use their Sycamore quantum computer, which is pretty much the most powerful quantum computer in the world.

It took a couple of years to get the experimental protocols down just right but in January of 2022, just about exactly a year ago, they performed the experiment.

And yeah… It worked.

They created a tiny wormhole and sent information through it.

Now there’s a lot of details I’m leaving out here, a lot of the effort went into shrinking down the number of entangled particles that would be needed to create the wormhole from over 200 down to 7, lots of math there.

But, this not only provides experimental proof of a fundamental scientific concept, it opens up a whole new use for quantum computers.

And as they get bigger and more powerful, as other physicists expand on this experiment and think of new boundaries to push, this could lead to some crazy new understandings of physics.

Maybe next they’ll pass an atom through a wormhole, then multiple atoms, then molecules… maybe someday your great grandchildren.

And even bigger, maybe we’ll finally have an understanding of how gravity works at a quantum level. That’s super exciting.

But go check out that article in the description to learn more.

Brian Beswick

Yeah Science!

And then he linked to an article about a splashless urinal, but… you know, I really need these to be in the form of a question so let me make that into a question for him.

Brian Beswick asked: Joe, I have an extreme case of Peyrones Disease and it causes my urine to splash whenever I use a urinal. Like it splashes all over me. I literally leave the bathroom soaked head to toe in pee. Is there a way to make a splashless urinal?

Oh, Brian. I’m sorry to hear that. That sounds terrible. But it’s so brave of you to come forward with that, especially in such a public place, where hundreds of thousands of people will know about it. Thank you for your question, and may God have mercy on your soul.

Luckily for you and for all of us, some scientists have created what they believe to be a completely splashless urinal. As you already know. Because you sent me the link.

It was presented back in November at the 75th Annual American Physical Society’s Division of Fluid Dynamics meeting in Indianapolis.  In a session titled Drops: Impact, Bouncing, Wetting and Spreading IV.

Which is the sequel that answered all the questions left open from Drops: Impact, Bouncing, Wetting and Spreading 1-3.

Available on Pornhub.

Presented by Kaveeshan A Thurairajah and his team at the University of Waterloo…

Waterloo. Water… Loo… You ever get the feeling that the universe is pranking you?

According to their abstract: “We found that when a liquid jet or droplet train impacts a rigid surface below a certain critical impinging angle, almost no splatter is generated. Thus, a surface designed to always intersect the urine stream equal to or smaller than the critical angle prevents splash back.”

And their design looks like this. It’s the second one from the right.

They say that this was inspired by nautilus shells which… I don’t see it? But maybe something about the angle of the nautilus shell curve.

In all seriousness though, it’s not just about keeping droplets from splashing back on our clothes, there’s a sustainability angle to it as well.

Get it, angle?

According to the abstract: “Our new urinal designs will keep bathrooms cleaner and reduce the labor, water, and chemicals required for periodic cleaning to promote more sustainable bathroom maintenance.”

And the length of the urinals will provide plenty of room for high schoolers to scribble some killer limericks on there.

All of this of course will deal a major blow to the urinal screen industry so look out Kaveeshan, you might come under attack by Big Foam.

25% of my audience has no idea what I’m talking about.

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