Tang, Sputnik and Audio Nerdvana

50th Anniversary of Space Exploration. Tang is not for cleaning dishwashers. Network Music Players: The $2000 Transport plus two options that won't break the bank. Sputnik and Science Education. Airfoil makes the Airport Express run audio from anywhere.

It's the 50th Anniverary of the launch of Sputnik, which makes it the 50th anniversary of space exploration. Can you imagine what it was like to listen to Sputnik as it passed overhead? We're talking about a serious rush of technology, and it's not just Teflon and Tang.

$2000 for a network music player? Yes, Slim Device's Transporter is expensive. It also sounds amazing, and has a ... delightful ... interface. Don't bother if you don't have an amazing stereo system and lossless audio files.

If you like the audio of a network audio player, Slim Device's Squeezebox has some excellent audio for $299. You'll have to mail order the Squeezebox, but you can find Roku's SoundBridge in stores everywhere. It's also cheap, $149, but some folks have some issues with the audio it pumps out.

We got a little excited about having Tang on the show: what better bevvie to toast space exploration? Tang took off when NASA began using it on Gemini flights in 1959. We've got some drink recipes for you. They should definitely be mixed with a Titanium Spork.

Space and science education go hand in hand, so we took a road trip to the Exploratorium, an amazing hands on science museum here in San Francisco, and chatted Dr. Dennis Bartels about science education, how it was pushed forward by scientists after WW II, and how Sputnik pushed it to new heights. Then we get hands on in the museum.

Looking for some serious expertise on getting the most out of your audio files? From lossy to lossless, fights over formats and tips on compression settings, the forums at HydrogenAudio.org have a ton of information to help you get the most out of your digital music.

The downside to Apple's Airport Express isn't that it's a music player and a print server and a WiFi extender. No... it's that Apple designed it only to work with iTunes. Rogue Amoeba's Airfoil fixes that, so you can run audio out from any application on your Mac or PC. It also lets you run audio to more than one Airport Express at the same time. Cool!