Better BBQ, ambitious LEGO builds, and other stuff to file a


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Boo at Nintendo's new NYC flagship store

Ahhh, the joys of a long weekend. Labor Day may be behind us, but the prospect of an extra day off before the work week rolls around is enticing enough to already look forward to.

An extra day to yourself might mean a roadtrip opportunity, like hopping a quick bus or train into NYC to see Nintendo's new flagship store. Or, you can invest in a bit of learning and master a new card game like Artifact, the first Valve title in quite some time that happens to be a trading card game designed by the mastermind behind Magic: The Gathering. Heck, even a little extra time to swirl some wine helps stimulate the scientific mind.

So even if our next free Monday or Friday may be a bit away, we're already dreaming of what to do on such an occasion. And for this week's Orbital Transmission, we've got a few ideas accordingly.

Orbital Transmission 09.04.2018

Better BBQ through science

We can't all be Aaron Franklin, Rodney Scott, or Tootsie Tomanetz, but there are a few secrets science can share to improve our backyard 'cue. Boston College professor Greg Blonder serves as the science advisor for Amazing Grilling, and his experiments on evaporative cooling within the common smoker say wrapping meat in tinfoil—after a first few hours (usually when the internal temperature hits 170°F), along with a splash of apple juice, beer, or even Mountain Dew—can go a long way for us amateurs.

A letter from a NASA scientist

Tell a scientist they rule sometime

Email may still be the bane of most of our existence, but the analogue version carries a certain charm in 2018. So the next time you notice someone particularly pumped about anything from Astrobee to Europa, encourage them to put pen (and maybe crayon) to paper and tell a scientist about it. The results may be spectacular.

In the film Kin, 14-year-old Eli finds a space weapon.

Laptops and lasers for an afternoon matinee

While there's never a bad time for a film, a free weekend afternoon at the theater continues to be one of life's great pleasures (popcorn and M&Ms don't hurt, either). Luckily, plenty of compelling sci-fi and tech thrillers hit the big screen recently: Kin takes a fun premise (kid finds space weapon) but doesn't skimp on the real world drama; Searching takes place on a laptop but does it better than anything similar you've seen before.

Bust out your LEGO bricks, build a Bugatti

It takes us forever to put together a complicated LEGO set (see the Saturn V, for instance), so we admittedly might have to leave this one to the pros. Luckily, the folks at LEGO went ahead and made a functional LEGO Bugatti vehicle for the world: it makes 5.3hp (3.9kW) and tops out at 12.4mph (20km/h) if you're wondering.

Is that Chuck McGill?

Bonus: If you need something to watch, the Tech on TV S1 finale is here

In our final season one installment of Tech on TV—our video series examining the real-world science and tech powering our favorite TV—we turn our sights to the electric McGill brothers and all the action in Albuquerque for Better Call Saul. A few trips down a certain crystal blue-lined memory lane may happen, too, but rest assured there's plenty to focus on in the latest chapter of creators Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould's ongoing saga.

If you've missed Tech on TV previously, S1 also included looks at Westworld, The Americans, Mr. Robot, and Stranger Things. Queue up whichever episode highlights a series you love, and prepare for host Nathan Mattise to don disguises or cowboy hats to explain just how grounded in reality even demogorgon-filled worlds may be. (And after binging these five, let us know if you have feedback or shows you wish we'd focus on in a future season. Send us your thoughts via e-mail or hit the comment section below any episode.)

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