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Thread: What do you think of Neil degrasse Tyson?

  1. #91
    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    Sorry for getting a little off topic, but I dispute your first sentence.

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    I'm not disagreeing that it is worthwhile to educate the general public about science. Nor am I saying that we shouldn't encourage public funding of science. But I don't think the "I'm paying for it" argument really stands for all of science.
    For stuff like Astronomy, Physics, and pure research most of the money comes from the public coffers. If the public knew what their money was being spent on it would make getting money in the future easier. Plus there is a lot people pretending to do science (like the atm area) and we need to counter these claims.
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  2. #92
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Backroad Astronomer View Post
    Since there wasn't any science outreach in area when I was kid and I watched a lot of PBS and other educational programs I would be a solid TV influenced my interest in science. I learned about evolution from a late night 15 minute bit on PBS. (I was sleeping in the living room and woke up.) I did read a lot of science magazines as a teenager.
    See, that's the sort of anecdote I'm talking about. Isn't it just as likely that you watched a lot of pop sci TV because you were already interested in science? Or that you just watched a lot of TV, and now recall the pop sci TV most fondly? Or that you didn't actually watch as much pop sci TV as you now recall, but it seems more significant with hindsight?
    People of my generation generally seem to have the causal arrow pointing in the opposite direction when we recall science books and magazines. It's "I read a lot about science when I was a kid, because I found it interesting," rather than "I'm interested in science now because I read a lot about it when I was a kid."

    There's surprisingly little research on this topic, but there's an interesting review of what there is here (300KB pdf). It seems that's what required to sustain a child's natural interest in science is a well-organized programme of science education, rather than exposure to random snippets of information.

    Grant Hutchison

  3. #93
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Backroad Astronomer View Post
    For stuff like Astronomy, Physics, and pure research most of the money comes from the public coffers.
    Does that make what I do "impure" research?

    I don't demand that all scientific research has to have direct, practical applications. But I have noted for a long time a general derogatory feeling from those who do "pure science" to those who do "applied science" or engineering.

    If the public knew what their money was being spent on it would make getting money in the future easier.
    Along the lines of what Grant is saying: does it? I have heard that for a long time; I've probably even said such things myself. But is it true? It would nice to have some actual data to support that.
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  4. #94
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    People of my generation generally seem to have the causal arrow pointing in the opposite direction when we recall science books and magazines. It's "I read a lot about science when I was a kid, because I found it interesting," rather than "I'm interested in science now because I read a lot about it when I was a kid."
    Heck, I'm hard pressed to say which one is true for myself. It seems to be more of a bootstrapping sort of situation.

    One of the more memorable science books I had when I was a child was The Sense of Wonder by Rachel Carson. But I also watched a lot of TV coverage of the early space program. But maybe the biggest influence was humans: teachers I had, an uncle who was a biology professor, and an aunt who gifted me with a telescope and a microscope on two different birthdays.
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  5. #95
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    There wasn't much science on TV when I was a kid (and anyway, our TV came and went a bit, for various reasons). There wasn't a single science book in the house, though we had various encyclopaedias which I read indiscriminately. And our local library didn't have any science books I can recall in the kid's section - a couple of books about spaceflight and the night sky is all I can remember. And no role models - no-one in my immediate or extended family, or among my parents' friends, had anything to do with science.
    So basically I walked into my first physics class, at age 12 in secondary school, and was blown away by the sheer power of mathematics to describe the world. That's how I got into science - through a structured educational programme.

    I'm not saying that's ideal, or even typical, but it does make me impatient with the idea that we really need TV personalities delivering exciting science factoids regularly, or our children will grow up with no interest in science. On more than one occasion, when I've remarked that I can't bear to watch pop sci presenters like Tyson and Cox, I've been assured that they're performing some sort of vital societal service, and should be encouraged for that reason alone. I frankly doubt it.

    Grant Hutchison

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    What do you think of Neil degrasse Tyson?

    When I was a child there was no pop sci TV, just Mr Wizard and which, as I remember, actually did real science and used the methodology of science.


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    As a kid I remember reading some popular space books by Willy Ley, but that's about it. My scientific interests mainly grew from dinosaurs and movies (The Invisible Man, Frankenstein ..).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    Sorry for getting a little off topic, but I dispute your first sentence.
    Frankly, I dispute the second. No one goes out of their way once you're out of school to make sure you understand important geopolitical issues or economics or any of the other things influencing government. If you want to understand them, it's your job to understand them. Heck, without going into specifics, I'm sure most of us could name something our governments pay for that we do understand and don't want paid for. I pay my internet bill every month (well, contribute to the household expenses that pay for it) and don't truly understand how the internet works, not to the level that I could definitely explain it and not be wrong in at least one important particular. There's so much information that I believe it to be literally impossible to understand everything you're paying for--which, in my opinion, is an even more important reason not to get the explanations wrong if you can avoid it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Backroad Astronomer View Post
    For stuff like Astronomy, Physics, and pure research most of the money comes from the public coffers. If the public knew what their money was being spent on it would make getting money in the future easier. Plus there is a lot people pretending to do science (like the atm area) and we need to counter these claims.
    To add another personal anecdote that demonstrates nothing...

    My Mom had lots of science fiction lying around the house. I loved Heinlein, Asimov and Clarke the most. Also Ray Bradbury.

    She also had art books and posters by M. C. Escher, Piet Mondrian, Spyros Horemis as well as nameless Native American artists who employed geometrical motifs.

    These had a big influence on me. I think I may know more science and math than the average person but am not a professional engineer or scientist by any means. But I've heard some aerospace engineers were inspired by Heinlein et al.

    So I believe the culture a child's immersed in can have a big influence. It'd be great if we could truly get pop culture to use more math and science.

    But gesticulating wildly, making hip political statements and dropping bad math, science and history don't really further that goal, in my opinion. I've read more than one account of students inspired to study astrophysics by Tyson. And then giving up when they try to learn math. Astrophysics is a lot more than delivering bovine excrement in a smooth confident voice and moonwalking on the stage.

  10. #100
    I am going to back off for a while. Mostly because I think most of this go around in circles.
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  11. #101
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hop_David View Post
    He makes mistakes in basic physics as well.

    For example his calling out the spin gravity in 2001 A Space Odyssey's rotating space station. According to Tyson the station spins three times too fast and so someone would weigh triple what they do on earth. Two things wrong with that.

    1) Do the math for a 150 meter radius station making a revolution each 61 seconds and you will get 1/6 g. Which is what Clarke and Kubrick intended since the station was a stop on the way to the moon.

    2) Also spin grav is ω2 r. So if the station spun three times too fast, you would weigh nine times too much. This is freshman physics.

    There are other examples. This one is especially annoying to me since Clarke and Kubrick were sticklers for accuracy. And I'm a huge fan of Clarke.
    Kubrick and Clarke did make several errors.

    1. The had the wrong side of the Moon facing Earth in the opening scene. Mare Humorum and Grimaldi were rising and facing the audience, putting the far side of the Moon facing the Earth in conjunction from the audience.

    2. A rotating space station was placed between a Full Moon and a Full Earth, an impossibility.

    3. During the Moon Shuttle bus journey the Gibbous Earth was correctly positioned near the horizon but after the astronauts entered the pit to view the monolith, both position and phase of the Earth changed by nearly 90 degrees in an instant with a crescent Earth straight overhead of the shrieking monolith.

    4. Violation of angular momentum and linear momentum in the confrontation between astronaut Poole and the space pod, with the space pod increasing in both when it should have been Poole spinning up and moving away more rapidly than the heavier pod. The pod's initial linear motion was straight at Poole with Discovery right behind him. Somehow the pod did a 180 and picked up spin while Poole just struggled with his space suit, doing a slow spin to his death.

    5. Violation of Newton's 3rd Law when Bowman jettisoned from the space pod through the emergency air lock. The space pod should have moved away from opened door but didn't.

    6. Back on the Moon they correctly showed astronauts moving slowly as they should in 1/6g but forgot to apply the same principle to the inside of the lunar conference room.

    Don't get me wrong, 2001 was my favorite science fiction film and its slow pace provoked my youthful impatience enough to realize that I had to slow down and slowly break things down before I could learn how the world operates. The film forced my to play Sherlock Holmes and think about what I saw on the screen. I saw it 3 weeks after it opened in April 1968. The theater I saw it in was the Michael Todd Cinestage at Dearborn and Lake Streets, on the east side of a north south street. At 7PM the Sun was setting behind me with Moon setting between ( it was New Moon ) while on screen the opening scene had the Moon right in front of me with the Earth in conjunction, making me at an interface between reality and an almost mirror image of reality that violated mirror symmetry. You might as well start a film like one start a universe.

  12. #102
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    2001 is riddled with errors. A lot are deliberate choices for artistic (the various planetary alignments) or practical (lack of lunar gravity) reasons. Some are simply slips - Space Station V rotates in different directions at different times during the docking sequence, Dave's spacesuit glove is detached from the sleeve when he goes to disconnect HAL. And some are real errors - Dave is visibly holding his breath during vacuum exposure, something Clarke would have picked up if he'd been present.
    The revealing difference, of course, is that Clarke and Kubrick were making an entertainment. I think the parallel to today's science popularizers is clear - they're primarily in the entertainment business these days. And they make misleading errors for simplicity's sake, through inattention, or because they believe a false thing to be true.

    Grant Hutchison

  13. #103
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    But surely they got the rythm right, the opening sequence is wonderfully slow and to a waltz? Could a docking ever be done in 4:4? as in boating, where the rule is slow, docking is in slow waltz time, there should be a law about it. Kubrick's law.
    sicut vis videre esto
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    What do you think of Neil degrasse Tyson?

    Pretty sure The Blue Danube was written in 3/4 time. You can hear it in the background chords (1,2,3,1,2,3...).

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:S...gg?wprov=sfti1


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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    But surely they got the rythm right, the opening sequence is wonderfully slow and to a waltz? Could a docking ever be done in 4:4? as in boating, where the rule is slow, docking is in slow waltz time, there should be a law about it. Kubrick's law.
    In cinematographic terms, in narrative terms, they got that movie pitch-perfect, in my opinion. In the flight-to-the-moon sequence, there's a marvellous contrast between the grandeur of the depiction, and the mundane preoccupations of the characters.

    I don't judge science-fiction films (or films in general) by their scientific accuracy - that way lies madness. I'm just pointing out the correlations between movie-as-entertainment (which we accept) and science-popularizer-as-entertainment (which we, at least hereabouts, denigrate). It seems science popularizers have fallen into an entertainment niche while still pretending to the rigours of scientific accuracy.

    Grant Hutchison

  16. #106
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    Quote Originally Posted by schlaugh View Post
    Pretty sure The Blue Danube was written in 3/4 time. You can hear it in the background chords (1,2,3,1,2,3...).

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:S...gg?wprov=sfti1


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    indeed I think you are right
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

  17. #107
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    Of course it's in 3/4. It's a waltz. All waltzes are 3/4.
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  18. #108
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    Triple time ("waltz time") is the important thing, I believe. ("One two three, one two three," under my breath.) Waltzes can be marked up in 3/8 or 3/2, too, to change the tempo.
    (And then there's Tchaikovsky's "limping waltz" in 5/4.)

    Grant Hutchison

  19. #109
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    Oh dear i was being too subtle of course it’s the blue danube, Waltz, Strauss, I did not think that was news. But still the right choice for a great cinema masterpiece.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    Oh dear i was being too subtle ...
    Well, I understood you to mean that waltz time was good, and 4/4 would have been less good. Wasn't that what you intended?

    Grant Hutchison

  21. #111
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Well, I understood you to mean that waltz time was good, and 4/4 would have been less good. Wasn't that what you intended?

    Grant Hutchison
    Yes indeed it was a very long and slow beginning which was memorable in both picture and music IMO and at the time an inspiring “shapeof things to come “ fiction.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

  22. #112
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    Ah ha, a re-read makes it clearer for me. Could a docking be done in 4:4 time, such as Old Macdonald Had a Farm, for instance?

    Arthur C. Clarke also dabbled in popsci TV. If you recall the old Arthur C. Clarke’s Mysterious World which looked at such items as The Yeti, Big Foot, UFOs and 10 or so other so-called mysteries. Clarke basically bookended each episode and tried, I think, to inject some skeptical thinking, but he still leant his name to a show that was firmly in the world of woo.


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  23. #113
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    Quote Originally Posted by schlaugh View Post
    Arthur C. Clarke also dabbled in popsci TV. If you recall the old Arthur C. Clarke’s Mysterious World which looked at such items as The Yeti, Big Foot, UFOs and 10 or so other so-called mysteries. Clarke basically bookended each episode and tried, I think, to inject some skeptical thinking, but he still leant his name to a show that was firmly in the world of woo.
    I have all three series on DVD and rewatch from time to time. I'd say his take was more Fortean than woo, which was very much Clarke's style of thinking in his factual essays, too. The programmes used eye-witness accounts of "strange phenomena", and balanced them with sceptical explanations. His treatment of firewalking was particularly good, culminating in Clarke delivering an Eliza Doolittle quote ("Not bloody likely!") at the prospect of his demonstrating his faith in physics by walking a fire trench himself.

    Grant Hutchison

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    Quote Originally Posted by blueshift View Post
    1. The had the wrong side of the Moon facing Earth in the opening scene. Mare Humorum and Grimaldi were rising and facing the audience, putting the far side of the Moon facing the Earth in conjunction from the audience.
    I mentioned that in a panel at a science-fiction con some years ago. For my trouble, no less than Phil the Bad Astronomer publicly called me a dork. One of my most treasured testimonials.

    (It's even worse - to ordinary human vision that side of the Moon would be utterly invisible. But then the scene would probably be too puzzling).

  25. #115
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    2001 is riddled with errors. A lot are deliberate choices for artistic (the various planetary alignments) or practical (lack of lunar gravity) reasons. Some are simply slips - Space Station V rotates in different directions at different times during the docking sequence, Dave's spacesuit glove is detached from the sleeve when he goes to disconnect HAL. And some are real errors - Dave is visibly holding his breath during vacuum exposure, something Clarke would have picked up if he'd been present.
    The revealing difference, of course, is that Clarke and Kubrick were making an entertainment. I think the parallel to today's science popularizers is clear - they're primarily in the entertainment business these days. And they make misleading errors for simplicity's sake, through inattention, or because they believe a false thing to be true.

    Grant Hutchison
    I always had the feeling that Kubrick envisioned films as being dream states, riddled with continuity errors. The audience cannot interact with what goes on in any film and must just be an observer, one who does not wake up until leaving the theater and, like someone waking from a dream, scratches his or her head and tries to piece the dream's errors together into some meaning.

    Here is one person's view and he does make reference to rotational changes of several objects in the film.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AXynF2RQJPs

  26. #116
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    Really, the Orion III spaceplane, the Discovery concept with radiators and the Hugo Drax station from Moonraker look like part of the same universe--Space 2100.

    Moonraker shuttles (Buran types though) and Space Station V together say 2001. You just need a Sea Dragon upper stage falling away from the construction zone and it works.

  27. #117
    Just did a quick search of what is going on with Tyson, Cosmos has been delayed until after the investigation but no word on the investigation.
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  28. #118
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Backroad Astronomer View Post
    Just did a quick search of what is going on with Tyson, Cosmos has been delayed until after the investigation but no word on the investigation.
    On the previous page the moderator warned
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim View Post
    Folks, let's try to keep the discussion around science ... how Tyson presents it. This forum is not a good place to discuss - and definitely not to litigate - the misconduct allegations against him.
    That means don't go there. Not even to tell us that you did a quick search. Infraction issued.
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  29. #119
    Okay dokay, forgot, just thought some people were curious.
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Backroad Astronomer View Post
    Okay dokay, forgot, just thought some people were curious.
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