Ex Oram Astrophysicist

Two day. Higher temperature. Rain foretold and perhaps thunderbumpers. No mist or haze, much less fog. 

The podcasts this morning were a mixed bag. The NPR science and technology feeds have gone dry for some reason unexplained on their web site. A Money issue? Not inconceivable. So I have to readjust my listening.

The Guardian weekly science podcast is still on-coming despite Brexit and all that grr brr. I have to admit to quite a stash since they have been sending out two a week more often. So I listened to an episode from December that was an interview of Chicken Man aka Neil DeGrasse Tyson.[Link] It definitely cemented their current status as the best science podcast around.

I am of mixed mind on Chicken Man.[Link] He is a great popularizer/outreach person. Much of what he says is good stuff but about as much is offputting stercus. The most obvious greatness is his voice. He wears the cloak of heritage from Sagan but in my estimation Sagan was a poor predecessor to Chicken Man. Sagan’s voice was the problem. I tried many times to listen to his television program and never lasted more than five minutes. I had to turn the program off lest I apply great force to the electromagnetic audio-visual receiver. His voice grated worse than fingernail on a chalk board or a spoon across the base of a pot. Horribly painful. 

Chicken Man has a good voice. It is mellow and soothing, engaging, uplifting. The polar opposite of Sagan’s. And that is the basis of his greatness. What you say will be of no effect if people cannot abide your voice. Chicken Man’s is a good Darth Vader voice.

And much of what he has to say is good stuff. Some of it is crap but he is definitely FAR from Sturgeon’s Rule. And much of that is the cancer of outreach. To simplify (?) things down to bog-talk, accuracy has to be sacrificed. These are folks who are arational, athoughtful, and acalculate, after all. About like my relatives. Most bogs turn off their listening and attention is you challenge them to think, especially about things that are new or opposite to what they believe. Bogs are BIG on belief; LOW on thought, questioning, and skepticism. So reaching the few accessible ones requires some compromise. I have problems doing that. Most science nerds do, but a few can devolve themselves and since what they do is survival enhancing, much like altruism, for example, it is worthwhile.

And Chicken Man evidently does that quite well based on what I read about him. I have to admit that I haven’t read much of his output since too much is in alien channels. But what I have seen is pretty good.

The only real problem I had with what he had to say in this podcast was a comment about people prior to civilization not having technology. Since I studied under a very good archaeologist I know otherwise but in the minds of bogs what those people had would not qualify as technology. So I let it go. Small changes from small opportunities- about all you can expect.

The other podcast was a new one for me, a BBC podcast called “The Science Hour.” It wasn’t. Well maybe on wireless with commercials? And passable. One data point. Film at Eleven.

Rain foretold. Nice.

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