NPR’s “Science Friday” Live from FSU This Afternoon

20 03 2009

We tried to go, thinking it would be fun to be part of a national broadcast and see Ira Flatow in person, but couldn’t get in. So Young Son and I heard the whole two hours on radio. (When I heard the audience reaction as one of the naturalists released his snake on Ira’s desk, I was pretty glad to be home!)

“I’ve been upstaged many times,” Flatow said, “but never by a snake.”

. . .Talking prior to his show, he said science is far more popular than many people realize.

“We regularly draw huge crowds,” he said. “You might not think so, but people love to talk about science.”

The second hour featured renowned physics professor and author Lisa Randall, who is speaking at her own event tonight. No broadcast that we know of. Favorite Daughter and her Europe trip buddy just took off to be there two hours early, hoping that will be enough. . .E.O.Wilson speaks Monday evening.

So here’s a trivia question from this afternoon, that Young Son likes. What is the name of the man who deserved co-credit with Charles Darwin – and largely got it during his lifetime but is unknown now — for figuring out how species change? The answer is in this link from the Linnean Society of London.

For EXTRA CREDIT for Thinking Parents who like quiz questions — and there’s a snake in it, too [shudder]. 🙂

Pre-born Liberals and Conservatives?

20 03 2009

From former senator Gary Hart (he’s authored a book, ““Restoration of the Republic: The Jeffersonian Ideal in 21st-Century America”) in the NYT:

One mystery remains. Why are there always liberals and conservatives and what makes us so?

After all the sociologizing about family tradition, geography, religion, economic status, blue and red states, and clan influence, perhaps Gilbert and Sullivan came closest:

“I often think it’s comical / How Nature always does contrive / That every boy and every gal / That’s born into the world alive / Is either a little Liberal / Or else a little ­Conservative!”

Once inside the ideological matrix, however, things do get interesting.
. . .Ideas matter, and ideas synthesized into political ideologies have enormous consequences. . . As theorems and conjectures are to mathematics and quantum mechanics is to physics, so ideas and the principles of governance are to politics.

. . .The mutant strain of present-day conservatism has not wanted to reverse the New Deal; it has wanted to reverse the Enlightenment.

Favorite Daughter Blogs Again, Almost in French!

20 03 2009

. . .if the Grand Tour of Europe is still part of a well-rounded education, even if you get it mostly from PBS? 🙂

“I watched PBS a lot as a kid”:
This sullen, excessively bearded man is my companion, Francois. He will accompany me in restaurant scenes throughout the videocassette. Francois does not respond to any of my questions in French, English, or Franglais, so I can only assume that he is a feral man-bear.

. . .Sometimes, as a way to earn money, starving children will dance or sing or play instruments or rap or rob people on LE METRO. If you bring a camera crew along, the other passengers will clap and pretend to tip them. And that’s the magic and hospitality of the French people.

But we certainly can’t spend the whole day underground! We’d miss one of my other favorite activities – standing on rooftops and scanning the skyline for attractions I will never actually visit.

As you know, FavD is spending a month backpacking in Europe this summer for real, mainly among the French-speaking parts (France and Belgium) so we’ll see what she has to say about the “virtual” version compared to the authentic I-was-there FavD version, on her return. I can’t wait — should be quite an authentic education for ME! 🙂

Unschooling Europe tag