This weekend in kids’ science

Richard Hershberger

Richard Hershberger is a paralegal working in Maryland. When he isn't doing whatever it is that paralegals do, or taking his daughters to Girl Scouts, he is dedicated to the collection and analysis of useless and unremunerative information.

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22 Responses

  1. notme says:

    Too bad, you ought to let your kids see the real Comos and not the pc version.Report

    • Kolohe in reply to notme says:

      I agree the original is far superior (the Giordano Bruno story is not a story of ‘science’ over ‘belief’; it’s the story of one religious belief system violently suppressing an individuals religious belief system).

      But, have you seen the original Cosmos? Sagan’s politics are infused throughout that series too.Report

      • Zac in reply to Kolohe says:

        Yeah, that Bruno thing really bothered me too. There are plenty of other incidents from history that could have made the point they were trying to make, and the Bruno bit almost felt like they were taking advantage of most people’s lack of knowledge on the subject to get their point across more heavy-handedly than was strictly necessary.Report

      • notme in reply to Kolohe says:

        Yes, ive probably seen the original 2-3 times and it never felt as preachy or pc as did tyson’s antics. Besides sagan didnt need all the cgi to make his points.Report

    • Tod Kelly in reply to notme says:

      Oh man, I know I’m going to regret going down the rabbit hole to even ask ask this, but…

      Um, so @notme , what exactly is it about the new Cosmos that makes it ‘politically correct?’

      [braces himself]Report

      • Zac in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        *passes Tod a flask* Here, take a swig of this, it helps with the bracing.Report

      • notme in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        I’m sorry but I’m going to have to disappoint you. We should have had this discussion contemporaneously with the series being shown, this was about a year ago after all. To tell you the truth I don’t remember all of the the specifics of my objections. I want to make it clear that I’m not trying to avoid answering you, the simple truth is that I just don’t remember.Report

        • Gabriel Conroy in reply to notme says:

          As much as I enjoyed the original Cosmos, I had a lot of problems with parts of its message. Sagan, for example, takes pretty strong aim at “idealists” like Plato and other philosophers. If I recall, he portrays them as superstitious killjoys who stopped SCIENCE in its tracks and condemned us to the Dark Ages.

          Sagan also seems to indulge in something I’d call “science of the gaps”: We don’t know the why’s and wherefore’s of the universe or the meaning of life, but science will discover them, and if those questions don’t admit of scientific testing, then they’re not real questions or good ones to begin with. Besides, the universe has enough wonder in itself, and that should be more than enough for the metaphysicians who deny empirical truth.

          I assume I’d have similar problems with Tyson’s Cosmos, too, especially because I hear (I haven’t seen it) it’s largely a reboot of the original series and because Tyson grates on me.

          But enough of my bloviating. I have access to Netflix and can watch both series. In fact, I’ve been thinking of doing so and commenting on the particulars, perhaps in a series of blog posts. I’m not sure I’ll do that, but those series (or at least Sagan’s version) probably deserve a better hearing than I’ve given them above.

          (By the way, sorry that this is a drive-by comment. I won’t be able to reengage until I get home from work tonight.)Report

          • Kolohe in reply to Gabriel Conroy says:

            Gabriel Conroy: f I recall, he portrays them as superstitious killjoys who stopped SCIENCE in its tracks and condemned us to the Dark Ages.

            I’ve read the book more recently than I saw the series, but he’s pretty high on the complete set of Golden Age Greek Thoughts. For example, his imaginarium has an interplanetary vessel of Greek design launching in the 20th century if it weren’t for the fact that Greek Civilization fell apart as a political entity.

            Specifically, he pushes the premise that the loss of the Library of Alexandria was one of the great cataclysms in the history of Civilization. He downplays though – to the extent of not mentioning it all, iirc – how much the 4th century CE Christian Church had in its destruction (and in my estimation McFarlane probably wouldn’t, if he redid that part),

            I would also guess that Sagan would today get some push back of his historical narrative as being too Eurocentric. Which too be fair, it is, as it buys into the Interregnum view of history civilization (i.e. what the peeps were doing in the Levant/Mesopotamia and in far East Asia didn’t seem to count for much, all that mattered was who was being Frank)Report

            • Chris in reply to Kolohe says:

              The Gaul of some people.Report

            • Gabriel Conroy in reply to Kolohe says:

              It’s been quite a while since I’ve seen the series, but I didn’t mean to suggest he was against all that came from ancient Greek civilization–and maybe I was wrong to say that he didn’t like Plato–but I seem to recall him taking aim at those among the Greeks who were more metaphysical. But then, I guess I’ll just have to re-watch the series.Report

        • Tod Kelly in reply to notme says:

          Gotta say, I respect that answer.Report

  2. dragonfrog says:

    I was surprised that my daughter was able to offer a pretty good explanation of an eclipse – her explanation was just specific to solar eclipses. So we got a flashlight, a tomato, and a marble, and bored her explaining the two kinds of eclipses, then went out to look at the moon.

    I gave up on the first episode of Cosmos (Tyson edition) – there was so much showy zooming around and dramatic music that I got fed up of waiting for any actual science to be discussed. Maybe I’ll give it another try.Report

  3. Michael Cain says:

    Many years back, at a “take your daughters to work day” session, I ran the daughters through a demonstration with lots of colored index cards about how the Internet works (ie, how data gets from one computer to another). The next day, I got lots of feedback from parents, which fell into one of two categories: (1) my daughter is insufferable because she knows how packet switching works and I don’t, and (2) can you do the same demo for the senior vice presidents, please?

    Apparently the memorable line in the demo was from out of order packet delivery, where a card or three went into my shirt pocket. Since we’d already done lost packets (tossed over my shoulder), someone asked if the ones in my pocket were lost. “No, just misplaced for a while.”Report