Oh! Oh! I know! I know! Pick me!
Anyone who has been paying any attention and who has two or more working synapses?
“Where did we come from?” Nye asked the crowd at one point. “What was before the Big Bang? To us this is wonderful and charming and compelling. This is what makes us get up to go to work every day.”
What you mean ‘us’ Kimosabe? Would that be comedians, television hosts, actors, writers, or mechanical engineers? You know, the stuff you’re actually trained or experienced in? That ‘us’? You can’t mean ‘scientists’ because a) you aren’t one in any sense that doesn’t also include, for example, me; and 2) scientists who actually think about things like the Big Bang *scientifically* are pretty sure that is represents a knowledge barrier of sorts, in the sense that all the stuff we can actually study *scientifically* began with the Big Bang – as far as we know, according to current theory, etc.
Let me help you out, here: when you talk like this, you’re not waxing spiritual – you’re waxing stupid.
It is a great condemnation of the current state of science popularization that guys like Nye get to be the poster child. Sagan may have set the bar for overreach and the vapid confounding of science with everything else – that’s what we refer to here as “Science!” – but Nye is a worthy keeper of the flame.
How about a real scientist popularizing real science? Feynman’s “6 Easy Pieces” is good if you’d like an example of what the real deal looks like.
Note: these comments have nothing to do with the ‘debate’ which generated them. That’s a separate issue.
Merely want to mention that “Siberian Traps” would be a pretty good band name. Interesting article. Hardly qualifies as Science!, except maybe the opening sentence:
The mass extinction that wiped out the majority of marine and land species on Earth took less time than previously thought.
Fairly petty complaint: Why would it be news that some unnamed thinkers think something took less time to happen than they previously thought? Could there be less interesting information content in this sentence? Is there some law that science writers must be recruited either from the ranks of supermarket tabloid reporters or the nearly comatose?
Is this too stupid to warrant comment? Guess not:
Smaller alligators and crocodiles can climb trees. Is this news? I guess in the sense that sophisticated New Yorkers can now start having nightmares about alligators climbing out of the sewers and into the trees from where, I suppose, they leap onto unsuspecting pedestrians. Did you know hippos routinely kill and sometimes eat crocodiles? Sorry, my mind wandered to something actually interesting. Now, if *hippos* could climb trees – well, that right there is your nature channel grand slam: Next on Animals Are Better Than People: Hippos climbing trees to go after alligators – in Central Park!
“Use Tools” – Or not. Dealt with here.
“Do Surveillance” – did the image of a bunch of gators gathered around computer monitors watching as their flock of surveillance quad copter drones darken the skies leap nimbly to your mind? No? Well, that not what they meant.
…scientists did say that climbing trees allows the crocodiles to do “improved site surveillance of potential threats and prey.”
Oh, so they climb trees and look around? That’s not so sexy. Couldn’t we at least get them a spyglass or something?