Skip to content

Podthoughts: The Titanium Physicists

Vital stats:
Format: topics in physics explained by physicists, to web comic artists and podcasters
Episode duration: 30m-1h20m
Frequency: one or two per month

The science podcast The Titanium Physicists [RSS] [iTunes], it may not surprise you to hear, sometimes references the web comic xkcd. The enterprises share not only a sensibility, catering to the now-proud “geek” culture, but, seemingly, a business model: xkcd creator Randall Monroe supposedly makes the lion’s share of his revenue by selling themed T-shirts, and The Titanium Physicists host Ben Tippett often pitches garments similarly branded in accordance with his own intellectual property. He comes right out and calls them “a little expensive” — $22.99 to $27.99, turns out — but then underscores their durability. I may have a weak grasp on most if not all of the ideas of physics discussed on this show, but I do know a thing or two about higher-quality and thus pricier yet long-lived garments costing, in the long run, less than cheaper ones. Witness my essays on the matter for Put This On.

Admittedly, I also don’t know who actually buys the T-shirts that keep all this internet content afloat, from web comics to podcasts to vlogs to MP3 albums to multi-user dungeons. I myself seldom have occasion to wear a T-shirt as my outermost, visible layer when not actually asleep, no matter how inflated my enthusiasm for the logo, joke, or URL emblazoned on its chest. Yet even now, thousands of human beings just like you and me order the T-shirts, and even hoodies, that subsidize the things we like to watch, read, and hear. I have similar questions about other supposedly popular wearables, such as Teva sandals: people buy them, obviously, but which people? Not that I claim total ignorance. We’ve all noticed that Tevas have achieved a strange prevalence in the science and engineering communities. In fact, I’d bet folding money that some The Titanium Physicists’ regular panelists — the Titanium Physicists themselves — have on Tevas even as they record. Don’t ask me how I know; at this point, I simply feel it in their voices. And that aside, I think even cold, hard Vegas odds would back me up, given the correlation between the percentage of a person’s life dedicated to the natural or applied sciences and the likelihood of that person’s wearing Tevas — or podcast- and web comic-branded T-shirts, for that matter.

Read the whole thing at Maximum Fun.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *