Why We Need a New Universe


My wife and I watched two episodes of the History Channel’s "The Universe" series and nearly died of apoplexy. The show’s premise seems to be that there exist a vast number of people who are both vaguely interested in science and at the same time are too dumb to understand even the most basic concepts.

So it resorts to explaining some inherently interesting and natural phenomena in terms of silly and endless child-like analogies, delivered by scientists who, as the linked article explains, seem more suited to greet a class of fourth graders (who might in fact have greater attention span and comprehension than this show’s apparent intended audience).

I mean, how would you like everything in the world to be explained in terms of gummi bears.

The sun is a giant gummy furnace, churning out little excited gummi bears, called photons, which travel through space (defined as the absence of gummi) to finally plop down on beaches all over the world. Fusion happens when you squeeze two bears, such that you wind up with two heads and three legs (one leg escapes as pure melt-in-your-mouth energy). Fission, of course, is when you bite the head off your gummi and stick it to your upper lip. [cue Neil deGrasse Tyson sticking candy to his face…]

So I’m glad the Discovery Channel is at least trying to do one better with the Hawking seal of approval. I figure they asked Adam and Jamie first, but the cost of building the "throw fusion reactor into mini black hole" Mythbusting episode was just too damn high.

Frankly, Cosmos was about as good as it gets for television. Just rebroadcast that!

 

  1. #1 by Map digitization on April 6, 2009 - 10:02 pm

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  2. #2 by nadir on April 14, 2009 - 8:34 pm

    It is the same way with the series “How the Earth was Made”. They have had a couple shows I have wanted to watch, being a geography major and a geology nut. Horrible stuff. They had to keep hitting you with certain facts over and over like you were in a jury trial. I had to turn the channel it was so unwatchable.

    They should leave that stuff to the Discovery Channel networks and the National Geographic Channel.

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