Sunday, September 04, 2005

Way to go, Bill Nye!

` I bring you a small piece of news from the newest Skeptical Inquirer - magazine of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal, now say that ten times fast!

` I know most people probably associate him with his children's show; Bill Nye the Science Guy (which actually started as a comedy bit), but one thing I didn't know about Nye was that he's a CSICOP member.
` He's a real scientist, too: Bill graduated from Cornell in 1977 (one of his professors was Carl Sagan), he worked on the Mars rovers, and he's designed the Boeing hydraulic pressure resonance suppressor.
` Now he has another show called The Eyes of Nye, which, according to this tiny Skeptical Inquirer article, covers topics such as 'pseudoscience, antibiotics, population, the evolution of sex, addiction, climate change, cloning and modified foods.'
` To see Nye's eyes, as well as other neat stuff, check out the show's excellent website. It also has groovy music on it. I'm looking at it right now!
` What do I see?

` On the episode about population, it says that nearly half of all the people on our planet are under 25 years old. Aha! Therefore, about half the people on this planet were born 25 or less years ago - meaning we doubled in numbers in only about two decades!
` Well, assuming you don't count all the people that died during the past 25 years...
` What that means, I don't know, but it's evident that something's happening. It can't be just that old people aren't dying off fast enough - not that I wish they would!!
` It also says that a child born in the industrial world will consume and pollute in their lifetime more than 30 to 50 children in developing nations. (Well, unless they move to an industrial nation!) Luckily, 99% of population increase is occurring in developing nations where pollution and consumption is much lower.
` Most industrialized nations actually have quite a static (or even declining!) population, though U.S. citizens are increasing in numbers due to immigration.
` On his video clip, Nye says; "It took the whole of the earth's history to get to five billion, and then just twelve years to get to six." Sure, though how long did it take to get from 4 to 5 billion? Apparently, we've grown, and found ourselves in a 'stable' stage! And by 2050, we could have nine billion humans - unless something happens!
` Aiiip!

` In the introduction for Episode 8, Race, Nye says that human skin color can change over 20 generations. Exactly how much, I don't know. But, since people originally came from Africa, we're all Africans.
` From what I personally have learned, if one troop of chimpanzees has a lot more genetic variation than all 6 billion (and counting!) humans, we're genetically more alike than a small family of chimpanzees!
` So, I figure, we're really one big family - by chimp standards!
` So is racial profiling for medicinal purposes a very scientific idea? In a way: Some of the small differences among various human populations can affect one's health. (I'm sure the same goes for every species!) Any population-to-population differences, however, are still incredibly trivial and do not affect humans as people in any meaningful way.

` Oh, and the nuclear power episode... Sure, nuclear power plants are efficient and don't spread intense pollution all around the world... as long as nuclear waste can be contained!
` No civilization has existed even a tenth of the half-life of the stuff, so what can we do to make sure it won't kill everything in the future?
` That's still being worked out...

` Anyway, looks like an interesting show: It encourages adults to think about the scientific issues around them! Too bad we can't pick up PBS from where we live - I'd sure love to critique it!

` Well, we're off to have dinner in Seattle before taking my mom to the airport!


Pseudo-intellectual lunatic said...

great blog

S E E Quine said...


Galtron said...

Basically, you and half the world would be first cousins by chimp standards?

Human inbreeding sure explains a lot...

S E E Quine said...