The Incomplete Map of the Cosmic Genome is a paid subscription-based online popular science magazine, produced by Robin Ince and Trent Burton. Each issue is made up of short videos (and complete transcripts) with various high profile guests: renowned scientists, comedians with an interest in science, and other science popularizers. By purchasing a subscription, you not only get access to every issue that comes out during that year but also access to the back catalog of every previous issue. With more than 280 videos to date, that’s well worth your $15! (The prices vary depending on which subscription you get–three months, six months, year, iPad and iTunes edition, or browser edition–and also the exchange rate, as it is in pounds.)
First of all, I’m jealous of the format. I wish I’d thought of this when I was doing video podcast interviews. Each clip hits on just one topic, and these topics reoccur over different issues. So, for example, in one issue, you might have Dr. Simon Singh talking about Darwin’s “Chaos of Delight” and Fran Scott talking about restarting civilization, and in the different issue, you have Dave Gorman talking about Chaos of Delight and Prof Max Tegmark talking about restarting civilization. You get the same questions answered from people all over the field. The videos are also short to fit with the attention span of the average internet-user, which is a large part of the Cosmic Genone’s audience. It isn’t just for the real sciencey people, but also for people with a casual interest. That is, it’s extremely accessible. There are even some videos with puppets in them.
In every issue you’ll find so many different scientific topics, including neuroscience, mathematical biology, medical physics, bio physics, paleontology, computer science, engineering, genetics, ecology, astrobiology, biochemistry, dental anthropologist, astrophysics, psychology, oceanography, and even the science of Santa. In every video, you’ll find a gem. You get Richard Dawkins talking about how he coined the term meme. Grace Petrie sings a song about Darwin. We get celebrities talking about scientists of yesteryear: Stephen Fry talks about Stephen Jay Gould, who said there should be two non-overlapping magisterial realms, of science and spirit; Phill Jupitus talks about Mendle, a scientist monk who worked for five years on peas. Dr. Dean Burnett debunks a bunch of brain myths, like how men and women are supposedly wired differently and how we supposedly use ten percent of our brains, and Dr. Richard Wiseman debunks the myth that eye movement can indicate whether someone is lying. If you’re into astronomy, check out Chiara Mingarelli, who studies black holes, or Dr. Jim Al-Khalili, who talks about dark matter and dark energy. You also get a lot of good book recommendations, from In Search of Schrodinger’s Cat by John Gribbin to Adam Spencer‘s Big Book of Numbers to Simon Singh‘s The Simpsons and their Mathematical Secrets.
Some of the many, many guests include Prof. Sophie Scott, Tony Law, Alexei Sayle, Ben Goldacre, Professor Brian Cox, Baba Brinkman, Alice Roberts, Josie Long, Billy Bragg, Simon Munnery, Lee Mack, Alan Moore, Chris Addison, Helen Arney, Omid Djalili, Stewart Lee, and Richard Herring, to name just a few.
Free bonus content includes the Cosmic Shambles podcast, an advent calendar of videos, Brian Cox and Robin Ince puppet videos, and sample videos for those of you who are not sure yet if you’d like to subscribe.