Science Made Stupid

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I enjoy listening to podcasts. I especially enjoy listening to podcasts of people being smart. I write about mad scientists after all, so it’s always a good idea to try to keep up with what’s still considered mad and what’s available this week from Think Geek (http://www.thinkgeek.com/).

I had heard a lot about Mr. Neil Degrasse Tyson, legendary smart guy connected with the New York Planetarium and tapped to revive Carl Sagen’s ‘Cosmos’. Hey, look at that! He’s got a podcast about science! (http://www.startalkradio.net/) Neat!

…Yikes. I guess he is really smart, because I doubt just anyone could have developed a show this annoying. I complained about it to Kaja, who was convinced that I was Exaggerating For Humorous Effect, which admittedly, is sort of a given around here, but then I played some of it for her and I was gratified to see that it wasn’t just me.

Here’s the format; Mr. Tyson comes on. Then we meet his idiot of the week. A comedian, an actor, a sports guy, a singer, whatever. Then he talks briefly about the genuinely smart person he’s interviewed, as well as some of the background of today’s topic. Then we get a snippet of his interview with said smart person. Just when it starts to get interesting, we cut back to Neil and his co-host, who spend an equal amount of time exclaiming about how this person is really smart and aren’t their ideas really far out and isn’t this science stuff amazing? Yes it is, Neil, NOW SHUT THE FUCK UP AND LET ME LISTEN TO THE SMART PEOPLE!

Every now and then there is some poor academician along with Neil and his monkey, there to plug a book that’s tangentially connected to today’s interview, and those are always fun, because you can actually hear their teeth grinding as they try to keep up the ‘good sport’ facade until this train wreck is over and they can get to a phone and fire their agent. And they bounce back and forth between the sublime and the ridiculous for the entire show. It’s a masterful balancing act. Just enough of the clever person to keep you interested, but not quite enough of the yee–haw golly Mr. Wizard crap to make me snap it off.

If this is what it takes to make this stuff interesting to The Youth of Today, then Western Civilization is indeed doomed. Needless to say, if anyone has a recommendation for a good science podcast, I’d be all over that.  (Already know about Quirks & Quarks (http://www.cbc.ca/quirks/), 99% Invisible (http://99percentinvisible.org/), and Brain Science (http://brainsciencepodcast.com/), just so you know.)

In other news, we are beginning the transition to the Iron Rule of Carol Monahan. I spent a few hours sweeping through my e-mail folders, transferring all the old business stuff that had sat there moldering. We are gearing up for the San Diego Comic Con (http://www.comic-con.org/), and we are waiting for the funds from our Kickstarter to land in our In Box. (Oh, I should mention that I am hearing from people who thought that we were going to Heroes Convention this weekend. Well, sorry, but that one was like Phoenix, a con I wanted to do, but we didn’t have the money or books to actually do. Maybe next year.)

Now I’ve been hearing from my relatives (as well as a few other people);
“So you’re rich now.”
“No, Ma, I’m not rich, almost all of that money is going somewhere else.”
“Oh come on, all that money for comical books? Besides, if you’re hiring, your nephew could use a job.”
“He’s training to drive a bulldozer, Ma.”
“With that much money? Tell me you couldn’t use that.”
Thus, as an educational service. I will be keeping an informal accounting explaining where all this money will be going.  I am sure that there are people who are interested in this, and I must admit that keeping a record of it will ameliorate the pain of watching it all drain away, instead of buying that solid gold pony I so richly deserve.