Monthly Archives

December 2023

Dan Levitt

By Author, Education, Science No Comments

This week on the Here’s What We Know Podcast, host Gary Scott Thomas had a mind-bending conversation with Dan Levitt, the author of What’s Gotten Into You: The Story of Your Body’s Atoms, from the Big Bang Through Last Night’s Dinner. From contemplating his daughter’s vegetarian diet to delving deep into the history of scientific discovery, Dan took us on a ride from the Big Bang to modern biology. He also shares something enthralling about Robert Oppenheimer, Georges Lemaître, Fred Hoyle, Martin Kamen, Sam Ruben, Einstein, and all things geeky.  So, join us to hear more discussions about extensive research filled with fascinating stories that may blow your mind!

This episode is sponsored by:

(Use code “GST” to enjoy an exclusive 10% discount on your favorite shoes!)

(Be sure to tell them Gary sent you so you can save 20%!)

In this Episode:

  • How questioning Dan’s daughter’s vegetarian diet led to an intriguing path of scientific discovery.
  • The eye-opening revelation that every particle in our bodies originated from the Big Bang.
  • Hear stories and tales about science history, controversies, DNA discovery, tragedies, triumphs, and many more!
  • Discussion about the human complexity, mitochondria story, and challenges faced by scientific pioneers.
  • Reflections on life’s wonders and geological disagreements regarding evolution due to limited evidence but constant reinterpretation lead us closer to truth over time.

Quotations:

“History of science. I love it.” ~ Dan Levitt

“We are puzzle-solving creatures and the satisfaction of puzzle-solving drives us forward.” ~ Dan Levitt

“Many times the scientific breakthroughs don’t come with Eureka. They come with, oh, that’s weird.” ~ Dan Levitt

“No one had any idea how life could have evolved, and no one thought that you could even study it.” ~ Dan Levitt

“One of the things that is incredible that scientists have been able to do is reconstructing how we got here from the Big Bang—from this crazy, just random explosion of these tiny sub-subatomic particles and an energy package. Uh, it doesn’t necessarily explain why we’re here, right? Cause, you know, who knows what went before? Uh, but it certainly does explain why we’re here and it’s incredible—just incredible that we can do that.” ~ Dan Levitt

“One of the interesting things that I found when I was writing my book because I traced so many different kinds of discoveries is, you know, a lot of discoveries were brilliant insights like Einstein and relativity and Lemaître and the Big Bang.” ~ Dan Levitt

“It’s interesting because, you know, you have to also come up with new ideas and then defend it when people say you’re nuts.” ~ Dan Levitt

“That’s a large part of the scientific process, is, you know, coming up with an idea, and if you find the evidence and you believe in it, you know, you’re going to have a lot of skeptics, because scientists are trained to be skeptical, and that’s why science works because people are constantly saying, well, yeah, that sounds nice, but couldn’t it be this, or couldn’t it be this, or couldn’t it be that, right?” ~ Dan Levitt

“As our instruments get more powerful, we’re going to learn all kinds of things that we had no idea about.”  ~ Dan Levitt

Guest’s Bio:

Dan Levitt is the author of What’s Gotten Into You: The Story of Your Body’s Atoms, from the Big Bang Through Last Night’s Dinner. The book brings together a lifetime of discovery and research that led to a sweet spot where history meets science. He fondly recalls a chemistry kit his parents gave him when he was seven; he had a great time recording his results in a small notebook. He still misses those musty cards that he used to browse as he researched assignments as a student in Philadelphia’s public schools. In high school, his favorite class was chemistry, and that’s what he thought he would study, but then he found cognitive psychology at Swarthmore College.

In the Peace Corps in Kenya, Dan taught high school physics, biology, and world history in a remote village. Living close to Mount Kilimanjaro, walking by anthills as tall as people, and seeing snakes, hippos, and other wildlife gave him an intense curiosity about the natural world. He returned to Philadelphia to take a job developing exhibits and videos at the Franklin Institute Science Museum. That led to an interest in documentary filmmaking. After getting an MFA, Dan moved to Boston and started his career writing, producing, and directing documentaries for Discovery, Science, National Geographic, History, HHMI (Howard Hughes Medical Institute), and others. His productions include films on dinosaurs; how Galileo, Newton, Einstein, and Hawking made their greatest discoveries; the archeology of Custer’s Last Stand; and scientists’ efforts to uncover the cause of Malaysia’s Nipah virus. His work has received numerous awards, including two Cine-Golden Eagles, Emmy Award nominations, and the coveted Spur Award for scriptwriting from the Western Writers of America.

While dreaming up films, Dan was seized by an idea for a book and decided to go for it. What’s Gotten Into You: The Story of Your Body’s Atoms, from the Big Bang Through Last Night’s Dinner, published by HarperCollins, is his first book.

He considers himself lucky that his career combines science, history, and writing, all of which he loves. He lives in Cambridge with his other loves: his wife, two kids, and their dog, Maxwell Smart.

Guest’s Contact Info:

Al Pitrelli

By Music No Comments

This week on the Here’s What We Know Podcast, host Gary Scott Thomas had the opportunity to have a fascinating conversation with one of the most innovative guitarists of our time, Al Pitrelli of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Join us as he shares his personal and professional experiences in the music industry, from playing rock with Alice Cooper to making history with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. We also delve into the heartwarming anecdotes about Paul O’Neill and how seemingly insignificant life events led Al right into Paul’s path, leading them together toward creating magic.

This is not just any other podcast episode; it’s an emotional exploration of artistry, resilience, and legacy! So don’t miss out on this captivating narrative where every note tells a tale!

 For additional information, visit:  www.trans-siberian.com

This episode is sponsored by:

In this Episode:

  • A look back at Al’s unexpected path in music that started with Alice Cooper and eventually led him to Paul O’Neill, creator of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.
  • Discover how working alongside Alice Cooper shaped Al’s understanding of theatrical presentation in rock ‘n’ roll.
  • Sharing a heartwarming encounter years later with Paul O’Neill.
  • Navigating the loss of Paul O’Neill and keeping his art form alive.
  • Diving deep into music, inspiration, and influences.
  • Discover how Al celebrates Christmas in different cities.

Quotations:

“The Trans-Siberian Orchestra that was created by Paul O’Neill 28 years ago has a universality to it that I didn’t see on the radar, and I’m so proud of what it’s become and what it’s still becoming every day.” ~ Al Pitrelli

“The more yesterdays that I have,  that I have, uh, tomorrows to come, in theory, uh, it’s those little left and right turns and those moments that happen in your life that cause you and I to be sitting down right now, having this conversation.

If one of us wasn’t fired and one of us made a left instead of a right, this conversation is null and void, not going to happen.” ~ Al Pitrelli

“Just life being life and fired, hired, whatever. But it’s a very peculiar, circuitous journey. And if you change one thing, dude, we ain’t here together today.” ~ Al Pitrelli

“That I would rather miss somebody than to have never had them in my life,  you know? And I will miss Paul forever.” ~ Al Pitrelli

“Sometimes it makes you sad. Sometimes it makes you smile. That’s life. It’s the journey. This is a forever process.” ~ Al Pitrelli

“The only time I’m ever nervous is if I’m unprepared.” ~ Al Pitrelli

“You have to be very, very in opinion to be extremely vulnerable to bear your soul and play something meaningful or to create something meaningful.” ~ Al Pitrelli

“I just love that way of thinking and the older I get I whistle melodies. I don’t whistle solos.” ~ Al Pitrelli

“If you want to see a little extra sparkle in my eye, that’s because I just saw my daughter.” ~ Al Pitrelli

“Nothing really makes me much happier than looking down into the audience and seeing a four-year-old little girl on her granddaddy’s lap. She’s standing on his lap and they’re nose to nose, and every time the pyro goes off, she grabs his neck a little tighter. And then they both, you know, make the metal sign in the air.” ~ Al Pitrelli

Guest’s Bio:

Al Pitrelli is one of the most innovative guitarists of our time and has been an active and vital part of TSO since its inception. Currently, he is the lead guitarist and musical director of TSO West and the co-musical director for studio recordings.

Long before he entered the TSO realm, Al set the stage for his work in the band thanks to an impressive musical pedigree. After leaving Berklee School of Music in Boston in the early 80s, Al’s versatility led to recording and touring work with musicians and groups such as Alice Cooper (where he served as the band’s musical director), Asia, Megadeth, and numerous others.

In the mid-’90s, he joined the progressive rock group Savatage, where he began working with producer Paul O’Neill. Paul’s vision of creating a new type of band that would do anything to allow their music to have the maximum impact on the listener led to the eventual formation of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Al’s edgy guitar playing and vast musical lexicon merge perfectly with TSO’s passion and intensity.

“I really didn’t want to do anything else, no side projects,” declares Al. “I could care less, and he kept me working literally around the clock, like 10 or 11 months a year. It was Paul’s world. And it is. I’m just happy to be part of it. I loved working for the man. I love working for his family. I loved to help him bring some of his ideas to life. I loved him guiding me, I loved throwing ideas at him. It was just the greatest quarter century in my life, musically.”

Al is very aware of the musical legacy he is upholding in TSO and how Paul wanted the music to live on.

“For those of us doing it now,” declares Al, “I’m going to make sure to the best of my ability that it continues to a younger generation of people who are getting involved. It’s like any other art form or anything else that you want replicated for decades and centuries—we’re going to do our best. I owe everything to O’Neill and the O’Neill family.”

Guest’s Contact Info:

Shawn Inmon

By Author, Personal Growth No Comments

This week on the Here’s What We Know Podcast, host Gary Scott Thomas had an exciting episode featuring Shawn Inmon, the renowned talented full-time author behind the captivating book series “The Middle Falls Time Travel.” This incredible conversation is filled with intriguing insights on work ethics as they dive into a shared history in radio and the exciting world of storytelling. But the most interesting part? Their in-depth discussion about Shawn’s books and a sneak peek into his unique writing process.

Join us to hear more of his brilliant stories, and be ready to immerse yourself in the world of Shawn Inmon’s books!

This episode is sponsored by:

(Use code “Gary” to get $89 off any Mike Counsil Plumbing and Rooter service!)

In this Episode:

  • Shawn’s Career History
  • Las Vegas Trip Down Memory Lane
  • Insight into Shawn’s Creative Process
  • Diving into Shawn’s captivating Book Series
  • Reminiscing Early Days on the Radio
  • The Story of How I Got Fired

Quotations:

“I have just never been afraid of just opening a mic and speaking. That’s never been my problem. You put me in front of a microphone and I’ll tell you a story or I’ll think of an anecdote or I’ll tell you a horrible joke or something.”  ~ Shawn Inmon

“I’m one of those people who needs to be doing something. I don’t like to just take days off and sit around the house. I like to work.”  ~ Shawn Inmon

“I hear this voice in my head, which I’m a typical writer, I hear voices,  and the voice said, I have a story.”  ~ Shawn Inmon

“Everybody’s needs are different, and I want to kind of focus on all the different ways we can find healing and we can find family.”  ~ Shawn Inmon

“I think the day I die, there will probably be a half-finished Middle Falls story on my computer.”  ~ Shawn Inmon

“I’ll tell you the hardest thing, the hardest thing is faith and trust in yourself. Uh, a lot of writers suffer from what’s called imposter syndrome, thinking I’m not really good enough.”  ~ Shawn Inmon

“So I gotta continue to have faith to stop listening to that voice that says, Sean, you’re a crappy writer; you’re never going to write another good sentence.” ~ Shawn Inmon

Guest’s Bio:

Shawn Inmon is a small-town kid who dreamed of being a writer. Today, he is now a full-time author who lives in Tumwater, Washington, USA. He worked several dozen jobs—retail, real estate, traveling with the Unlimited Hydroplanes, crabbing in Alaska, morning disc jockey and station manager, and many others he can’t remember to list. These jobs gave him a wonderful base to write what he knows because he knows a little about a lot. He achieved his dream of becoming a full-time writer in 2016 and has never looked back. One reviewer called him “The King of Redemption stories.” Shawn says he doesn’t feel like a king of anything, but he does love a good tale of second chances.

He is the author of the ever-growing The Middle Falls Time Travel series, 18 books and counting, and The Alex Hawk Time Travel Adventure series. He is also the author of Feels Like the First Time, a bestselling memoir of growing up in a small town in the seventies, falling in love, and messing everything up.

He lives with his high school sweetheart—now wife—Dawn, two happy-go-lucky Chocolate Labs, and a slightly schizo cat named Georgie.

Guest’s Contact Info:

Joy Drive for Boys & Girls Clubs of Silicon Valley

By Community, Leadership, Personal Growth, Sponsor No Comments

The Boys and Girls Clubs play a vital role in shaping the lives of children and youth by providing support and opportunities for them.

Join us for the Joy Drive supporting the Boys and Girls Clubs of Silicon Valley!

Gift JOY this season!
December 7, 2023
4 – 6 p.m.

Three locations:
Levin Club
4955 Edenview Dr.
San Jose, CA 95111

Alviso Club
5040 N. First St.
San Jose, CA 95002

Morgan Hill Club
17666 Crest Ave
Morgan Hill, CA 95037

In this episode, we hear inspiring stories of the enormous impacts made by the Boys and Girls Clubs. You’ll hear from Adam Hernandez, Isaac Romero, Helen Sustarich, and Franco Finn.

The Boys and Girls Clubs offer our youth so much:

Safe Haven: Under the guidance of caring adults, these clubs offer a safe and supportive environment where kids can learn, play, and grow, serving as a sanctuary away from potential risks or negative influences in their neighborhoods.

Educational Support: Boys and Girls Clubs offer educational programs that supplement what kids learn in school. They provide homework help, tutoring, and diverse learning experiences contributing to academic success.

Mentorship: Through positive role models and mentors, these clubs foster personal development, self-esteem, and confidence. Mentors provide guidance and inspire children to reach their full potential.

Health and Wellness: They promote healthy lifestyles through fitness activities, nutrition education, and access to sports programs. These clubs instill the importance of physical and mental well-being.

Community Engagement: Boys and Girls Clubs offer opportunities for volunteerism, community service, and leadership development. They teach the value of giving back and actively creating positive change.

Opportunity Equalizer: These clubs can act as an equalizer, offering opportunities and resources that may not be easily accessible to all children. Irrespective of their background or economic status, kids have access to resources that help bridge gaps and level the playing field.

Life Skills Development: Children are taught crucial life skills, such as communication, teamwork, problem-solving, and decision-making, to prepare them for success in their future endeavors.

Boys and Girls Clubs are critical in shaping well-rounded, resilient individuals with the tools and support to navigate life’s challenges and pursue their dreams.

Visit their site to see how else you can spread joy this season:
https://bit.ly/BGCSiliconValley

www.GaryScottThomas.com