21 September, 2008

Sunday Sensational Science

A Science Sense of Humor

When science comes up among non-scientists, people stop laughing. They get a slightly panicked expression. They realize a Very Serious Subject has just been broached, and they try to respond accordingly. It's as if they believe that science requires you to check your sense of humor at the door.

Not so.

You can have your serious science and your goofy jokes, too. Science can be funny. You don't even have to be a scientist to get a good laugh.

The proof is in the punchline.

LOL Science was inevitable in the internet age, wasn't it?

No one has to be a chemist to get this one. But you can go here to take care of bismuth, if you like.

Speaking of elements, Tom Lehrer sang the Periodic Table:

Chemistry would've been a lot easier if we'd learned to sing along....

Speaking of making things easier, why is it that when scary, intimidating phrases like "spherical equilibrium" are paired with a cute cat photo, they lose their power to terrify?

Long before LOL Cats, Erwin Schrödinger used felines to make the bizarre world of quantum mechanics a little more accessible. If you haven't heard of his famous Cat, you've been living in a box - but we won't know if you're alive or dead until we open it.

Q. Why was Heisenberg no good in bed? A. Because when he had the position he never had the momentum, and when he had the energy he never had the time.
- from RichardDawkins.net

Look. I like String Theory, okay? Especially flavored with some XKCD.

Why are you looking at me like that?

Go back to your equations and diagrams, then.

Under controlled experimental conditions of temperature, time, lighting, feeding, and training, the organism will behave as it damn well pleases.
-The Harvard Law of Animal Behavior

If you've read Stephen J. Gould's Wonderful Life, I won't have to explain this to you.

If not, go check out the Burgess Shale.

A Blood-Curdling Cautionary Tale Of Science Run Amok

by the Digital Cuttlefish

Genetically, of course, a spork
Is half a spoon, and half a fork
A laboratory in New York
Created them, then popped the cork.

Please, gentle reader, do not swoon,
But there was also, once, a foon
(That’s half a fork, and half a spoon)
Created, sadly, all too soon.

In cutlery, one tempts the Fates
When artificially, one mates
Utensils from across the plates
Regardless of recessive traits....

Let's close with some Stephen Hawking-inspired music, and remember exactly what it is we need more of:

MC Hawking - What We Need More Of Is Science

And humor. And possibly cats.


cousinavi said...

I don't care for string theory. It's not the ten (or more) dimensions...it's just not elegant enough. More like shoe-horning ever more advanced math into ever more absurd implied requirements.
For all its baffling complexity, I remain convinced that the truth is, if anything, fucking elegant.

Anonymous said...

There's an artist here in Minnesota who paints science-type things often. Here's an example


I saw that in a gallery and laughed (and then bought it)

Detroitus said...

Great post! Science has brought us so many great things, but if you can't laugh about it then what is it really worth?