Monday, March 23, 2009

Common Nonsense

I have what must be one of the most tedious commutes in this world, but a small consolation is the great pleasure of a Friday commute mostly accompanied by Science Friday on NPR.

I am so NOT a science guy in the formal sense of the word, and that is A-OK with me, but Science Friday continues to tickle my curiosity (and I AM a curious guy, in every sense of the word), so I get to learn all sorts of fascinating facts about pretty much anything under the sun, like how to possibly eradicate malaria and how to entertain the kids on a camping trip and the importance of sleep and the science of wiretapping and how high fleas really can jump.

But I digress. Last week was about Nobel prize winning Chemist Harry Kroto and Buckyballs

huh, you say - and so...?

Well, listen to the live interview on pure carbon, I believe you will find it most enlightening. And even if you you are not all that curious, or simply just don't have the time, at least take what I found to be a most interesting train of thought to heart:

We are all born curious, but the challenge for today's kids is that the world is too easy to get along with. The biggest problem is that the language of science (mathematics and symbolism) is very difficult to grasp as compared to the ease of "living".

When Dr Kroto (and me too...) grew up you could by and large see how things worked, and if something broke you could fix it. Today, "nobody" knows how a mobile phone works, and if it breaks we throw it away, there is nothing fixable any longer. If it stops working, that's it!

My favorite quote of the entire discussion: "Instead of common sense, what we have now is a lot of common nonsense"

But there is hope - the "gooyouwiki world" provides a lot of opportunities for new learning, and I will continue to listen to Science Friday on my penultimate commute of the week and share my newly acquired knowledge with the kiddos on the weekend.

...and the good news is that there is a podcast even you eurolouges can pick up...

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