A Sad Day for Science...

6/13/07 10:37 PM , , , 0 Comments

Today is a sad day for science as we mourn the passing of a pop culture legend for the field and deny funding necessary to keep millions of people safe from severe weather.

Mr. Wizard, Don Herbert, passed away yesterday at age 89. I remember watching his show on Nickelodeon when I was young, and one show in particular sticks in my mind. This was the show where he told everyone how to inflate their marshmallows by putting them in the microwave. You could also make them explode this way. His biggest trick was showing generation after generation how to conduct science experiemnets using things they had around the house. It's hard to tell how many science fair projects were based off of one of his episodes. The best thing about him and his show was that he instilled the belief that anything you wanted to do or make was possible as long as you had the supplies and the knowledge. Since much of my childhood daydreaming involved schemes to build my own inventions and much of my last few years has been spent studying ways to recapture his enthusiasm and showmanship in the science classroom, this seems to be an enormous loss for science and teaching to me. Hopefully, his show will be released on DVD so future generations can experience the hope and possibilities his show generated.

NOAA chief said in a letter that the QuikScat satellite, which is the primary source of information for predicting hurricane intensity and paths, is limping along in space. Due to a failed transmitter, the QuikScat has been working off the backup transmitter. If that transmitter goes, the error rate could go up 16%. Plans to replace the satellite first launched in 1999 have been pushed back to 2016. This is due to the minimum 4 years and $400 million dollars it takes to get one of these babies built. It's funny how we can continue to throw money at pointless posturing, but something crucial to people's safety and lives can be delayed and delayed. This is another instance of having the science and technology available, but not pursuing it even though it could benefit many, many people. But you can be blasted sure that if this thing could be hooked into an iPod, we'd have one by Christmas.


“If you don’t turn your life into a story, you just become a part of someone else’s story.” – The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents