Americans just say no to science

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A team from the National Science Museum in Tokyo, has, for the first time, discovered a giant squid captured on camera in its natural habitat.
Memo to science: Lose the squid.
Look, I get it. I’m as prone to wishing the government would hand me bundles of tens and twenties (millions, that is) to study things that don’t matter as the next person. Really, I am.
Problem. The problem, as I see it, is that scientists are forever wanting us to get all excited about some new discovery that has them all hopping about the lab like their microbes just won the Super Bowl or something.
Accordingly, science has further discovered methane ice worms on the Gulf of Mexico sea floor.
The discovery of dense colonies of one-to- two-inch-long, flat, pinkish worms burrowing into a mushroom-shaped mound of methane seeping up from the sea floor was considered quite a scientific coup.
We can only hope that it doesn’t prove to be anything that a good exterminator can’t handle.
I think science, as a whole, would get a lot more press – and I’m talking the People magazine “Tom Cruise and Britney Spears are the separated-at-birth love children of Cher” kind of press that really drums up some interest as opposed to that dull-as- dishwater Scientific American nonsense – if they put their learned minds toward something Americans really care about.
Research ideas. Where is a study centering around why a man can ask his spouse where HIS shoes are, but when she responds “I don’t know, where are mine?” he will act like that is the craziest question he’s ever heard.
You could spend a few million researching just what the appeal of Paris Hilton is anyway? It’s as if half-the population (the male half I might add) is not actually able to see that well.
If they see a mass of long, blonde hair they are completely blinded and unable to discern that the woman underneath it is really not all that interesting or attractive.
Why is it that if someone tells you that there are over one billion stars in the universe you will believe them, but if they tell you a wall has wet paint you will have to touch it just to be sure?
Why the probability of the bread falling buttered side down is directly proportional to the age and cost of the carpet upon which it will land.
Why, when a body is immersed in water, the telephone rings.
Why science has not devoted serious discussion and scholarly research to things that could really benefit mankind.
Like, why, if leafy green vegetables are so good for us, they don’t taste more like Twinkies.
They made their point. Finally, I think it would behoove scientists to quit beating us over the heads with study after study proving that we (their taxpaying public, mind you!) are dumber than a box of rocks (moon or otherwise).
For example, scientists were thrilled to report that only 54 percent of Americans know it takes the Earth one year to revolve around the sun.
To which I reply: So what?
Practical. Americans are nothing if not practical, and unless you’re a rocket scientist, why waste brain space on something that rarely – if ever – comes up at PTO meetings or parties?
Better you should spend time educating yourself about the particulars of the latest cast of Survivor.
Not surprisingly, the survey was conducted by the National Science Foundation and it goes without saying that their title alone tips off their agenda.
Clearly, a large part of the problem is their somewhat narrow definition of the term “revolves around.”
Technically, yes, we’re revolving around the sun, not professional sports, CNN or Angelina Jolie but then again, that’s getting harder and harder to prove.
What I do know. Like I said, I may not know much about giant squid, previously undiscovered planets, and anything involving worms and methane.
I also don’t know how long it takes for the Earth to revolve around the sun (well, actually, I do now, but that’s only because this is an informative and educational column and you should be sure to read it every week).
Nonetheless, I do know one scientific thing for certain: The world doesn’t revolve around me.
My mother drilled that into my head growing up. Better yet, she didn’t need a million dollars – or a giant squid – to do so.
(Kymberly Foster Seabolt is afraid of giant squid. She welcomes comments c/o kfs@epohi.com; P.O. Box 38, Salem, Ohio 44461; or http://userweb.epohi.com/~kseabolt.)

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Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless.

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