Neil deGrasse Tyson Gets Sidetracked While Singing Children’s Songs.
[Originally published May 8, 2012.]
The wheels on the bus go round and round,
Round and round
Round and round
The wheels on the bus…
Actually, some might call the wheels on the bus a “discovery” more than an invention, as most things in this world are a discovery of invention, rather than a fabrication out of nothing. This brings up something I want to discuss briefly here, if you will allow, because I think the misconception that a lot of people have, uh, concerning, concerning SCIENTISTS. Oooo, “Scientists.” That word. Strikes fear into the heart of some, and amazement into the heart of, well, me. And probably you, since you are here today in this planetarium, listening to me go on and on about my love for this… hang on a sec, let me… okay, so, we often find people BLAMING scientists for, for, for, these discoveries and inventions… being misused or being funded for misuse. We must remember that the discovery itself is not moral or immoral, it is the application of said discovery that is required to be held to that standard. Also, how cool are wheels on busses, right? And circles, in general. The fact that you can take a circle and divide it by its radius and you get pi, every time, is astounding to me. Gives me chills every time.
Old MacDonald had a farm
And on that farm he had a duck
And when we say “E-I-E-I-O” we are declaring that, amongst other animals sounds in the song, there is this human sound with seemingly no definition or meaning. We sing the sounds of animals, but it isn’t because we are attempting to understand or communicate, but rather just indulging in the simple act of mimicry. Think about this when you wonder if “aliens” will ever contact us. If we understand what compromises the small percentage of DNA difference between us and chimpanzees, and decide that our intelligence lies within that one or two percentage, we can infer that there is a possibility that other life forms could also have a marked difference in intelligence of one or two percent that could make communication impossible. I mean, really, it’s not the worst thing to wish for, but being realistic, I think… not to say that we SHOULDN’T pursue a desire to find life, because, yes, that would just be infinitely cool to find, but to manage our expectations in this would be… wise. While I’m bumming you out, I should also mention that flux capacitors don’t exist.
How I wonder what you are…
It’s actually possible that this star could one day explode and germinate future life. So this star doesn’t make me feel small, even knowing that I am only part of its dust. In fact, the inverse is true! I know that the molecules in my body are the elements of life, but also the elements of everything. There is a mutual relationship between us and the universe, but what is MORE fantastic is that we ARE the universe. That may sound, you know, completely, completely, trippy and pseudo-religious, and I don’t mean that pejoratively, but knowing that makes me feel a part of something instead of being thought of as an insignificant nothing. We are stardust, but in the best way possible. I get to be lucky enough to understand parts of what I am, and parts of what the universe is, in relation to that… it doesn’t make me feel small, it makes me feel really happy to be connected to the cosmos. Hook up an electrode to my brain, if you want proof. I am really excited right now. I want someone to hook me up to a machine and look at my brain to see it light up on a screen. Seriously, who has one?
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