February 11th, 2011

wish, hope, life

My Boyfriend thinks I'm weird

This should come as no surprise to anyone, really. But I did promise to blog more, and this popped into my head. Here's how it came about:

I was making dinner and had Real Time with Bill Maher playing on my phone. I had really wanted to hear this episode, because while I don't quite see eye-to-eye with Maher, I do occasionally find his show entertaining, and this week he had on Neil deGrasse Tyson as his special guest. I have long been a fan of Tyson, and I always enjoy seeing him on The Daily Show and The Colbert Report and his own show, NOVA Science Now. I got to the great moment where he threw a wobbly over how the financial crisis might have been avoided if the nation made teaching math and science - especially math - a priority, and I turned to The Boyfriend and said, "He is my favorite astronomer!" [1]

And he gave me a Look. It's the look that said, "Your favorite what? What kind of person has a favorite astronomer?" He was too polite to put it in those words, but I know a Look when I see one.

I tried my best to explain why I was so excited about the work he was doing, the way he was doing his best to expose the wonders of science and scientific education to the public, and how happy I was that there was someone taking up the job that Carl Sagan left when he died. I tried to explain why I thought it was so incredibly fantastic that right now we have verifiable evidence of planets circling other stars - thousands of them! And some small percent of those planets might harbor life, if not intelligence. I wanted to go on and on about the benefits that science funding brings to a population, why it's important to teach critical thinking to students, why one half of one percent of the federal budget is WAY too little to spend on NASA, and why people should get excited about the progress we're making in understanding the universe.

I wanted to figure out why it is that Justin Beiber is the most searched-for person on Google, while there are probably not one in ten people reading this who have ever Googled Norman Borlaug, much less know who he is. Granted, Bieber has better hair, but still.... This is a man whose research effectively saved a billion people from starvation, who revolutionized the way humanity grows food and eats, and who has won more and better prizes than that Bieber boy - or any of us - could ever dream of.

Anyway, I long for the day that people can talk about their favorite scientists without getting a Look. Until then, I suppose I'll just have to pretend that Lady GaGa and Ke$ha [3] are relevant, just to pass for normal. But secretly, I'll be admiring the big-brained types from afar.

Oh, Richard Feynman, you're such a scamp....


[1] Running neck-and-neck with Phil Plait. Sometimes it's so hard to choose.

[2] Assuming there are more than ten people reading this...

[3] Who?