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  • Pressure Chief

    • 6 out of 10
    • Cake
    • Pressure Chief, Cake's latest album, didn't immediately grab me. In fact, it took perhaps half a dozen listens before I started truly enjoying it. Any

  • Abnormal Anonymous

    • 8 out of 10
    • Congo Norvell
    • Very few albums manage to capture snapshots of a quality of life in the manner that Congo Norvell's sophomore record, "Abnormals Anonymous," does.

      Comparisons to the Velvet Underground are

  • Another Day on Earth

    • 10 out of 10
    • Brian Eno
    • In his first proper solo release since 1996's relatively cold "The Drop," Brian Eno has constructed a whimsical and ecclectic masterpiece which is arguably one of the year's strongest records thus fa
  • Every Day: The Best of the Verve Years

    • 8 out of 10
    • Joe Williams
    • Joe Williams was Figure Two in my three-man education in singing. A brilliant vocalist, scatter, and interpreter of jazz and blues, Williams produces music that's totally unique, yet sounds so effortl
  • Music Has The Right To Children

    • 10 out of 10
    • Boards of Canada
    • This one will haunt you. From the first notes to the last, their sound surrounds you. BOC has put out a fantastic catalogue, and this album is a great starting point for a new listener. Jump straight

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NOVA, Wired Science, Battlestar Galactica, And More

True to my geeky roots, I tend to enjoy science shows. Nearly any show will do as long as it offers up something new and interesting in any of the scientific disciplines.

A big favorite of mine when I was a lot younger was NOVA, a show that shunned pretentiousness and doled out science in layman’s terms like it was candy from a pocket. The show has a rich history and has won a gazillion awards, which only points out how well received NOVA is.

It used to be that you could only find NOVA on UHF public broadcast channels. You remember UHF right? Those are the channels that required that weird bow-tie antenna to receive, but seldom came in clear enough to bother with.

Now that everything is digitized, cable-ized, satellite-ized, or Internet-ized public broadcast channels look every bit as good as the commercial channels -- and that perennial favorite, NOVA, looks better than it ever did.

If you haven’t seen NOVA lately, or have never had the pleasure of watching, then you’re in luck. There’s a huge selection of NOVA shows available as podcasts on the iTunes Store. It tends to concentrate on video podcasts so I’m going to point you to the NOVA Vodcast Series.

There are over 30 episodes available at the iTunes Store, ranging from a bit more than a minute to over 12 minutes long. Each cover some interesting aspect of science in our everyday lives.

One of my favorites in this series is called The Marathon Stories. These episodes are taken from the NOVA Marathon Challenge series; a NOVA reality show that takes 13 non-atletes and trains them to run the Boston Marathon. The Vodcasts only focuses on four of the 13, but these are really interesting to watch.

I can’t recommend this series enough. Even if you only have a passing interest in science I think you’ll find this podcast well worth your time.

And if NOVA’s vodcasts aren’t enough then you might take a look at Wired Magazine’s new video podcast, called ( appropriately enough) Wired Science Video Podcast.

There are only two episodes available at the moment, but if the rest are like these two then this should be a good series.

Host, Alexis Madrigal, seems at ease chatting up Stephanie Stone from the California Academy of Sciences. The podcast isn’t as polished as some of the others I’ve seen, but I like it because Alexis comes off as being a real guy having fun with the podcast.

Both episodes are centered on the new California Academy of Sciences Museum under construction in San Francisco. It’s a cool building and well worth the attention.

Check it out.

OK, from science to science fiction, which, I suppose, are close buddies in a nerd’s world: The new Battlestar Galactica series really has come a long way. When I watched the pilot and a few shows in the first season I thought it was a bit too dark and moody for my taste, but I liked the visuals and the storylines, and I thought Edward James Olmos was worthy of the role of Commander Adama, played in the original series by Bonanza’s Lorene Greene.

I didn’t keep up with the series, but a while ago I happened on a DVD release of Battlestar Galactica: Razor, a made-for-DVD mini movie that covered some of the happenings in the other Battlestar, Pegasus. Again, very gritty stuff, but I watched it and really enjoyed what I saw.

Now, heading into its fourth season, this Sci-Fi epic seems to be hitting on all eight cylinders. The season’s premier episode, He That Believeth In Me, is available for free download on the iTunes Store and it’s a doozy. After not watching the show at all since the first season I thought I’d be lost, but the storyline is easy to pick up. The action and dialog is as dark as ever with Olmos’s Adama growling his lines and everyone else is either crying, angry, scared, or about to be. I guess that’s to be expected if you are part of a rag-tag fleet trying desperately to stay one step ahead of your murderous robotic progeny while searching for a myth that might not be a myth.

The religious references in Season four’s graphic is obvious, but it makes me wonder who is the last supper for: the Humans or the Cylons?

It doesn’t matter. Battlestar Galactica is excellent stuff, though you’ll likely need a good laugh after watching. Check out the season’s opener while it’s still free at the iTunes Store.

Note: You will need Quicktime 7.5.5 to watch, and that upgrade requires a reboot.

OK, that’s going to do it for this week.

Before I go I want to point out that Pangea Software, makers of Cro-Mag Rally and Billy Frontier, both for the iPhone, is having a sale on iPhone apps. For a limited time (I’m not sure how limited) you can get Cro-Mag Rally for a fantastic price of $1.99.

If you don’t have a racing game on your iPhone or iPod touch then you need to go grab Cro-Mag Rally. It’s loads of fun and shows off your iPhone or iPod touch like few other apps can. Serious fun!

Until next week...

More free stuff at the iTunes Store (with direct links):

Vern Seward is a writer who currently lives in Orlando, FL. He’s been a Mac fan since Atari Computers folded, but has worked with computers of nearly every type for 20 years.

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