Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Best Songs To Learn Science From (Since Scientists Are No Good For That)

I've been pretty hard on "science" lately -- or more than lately, as my criticisms of "science" go back a ways (all the way to the heady days when I published my seminal scientific critique conclusively proving that Velociraptors never existed... "Velociraptors, My Butt.")(Available in this book, by the way.)

But what am I supposed to do when "scientists" are reduced to stealing jokes from Dane Cook to get headlines -- as Stephen Hawking recently did?

Stephen Hawking, who should be above things like this, really did that. Back just a month ago, Hawking made headlines ("making headlines" being the number 2 goal of "scientists" these days; "making money" is number 3; "making Larry King Live" is number 1.) Hawking made headlines this time by announcing that aliens might not be very friendly to we Earthlings when they arrive.

In doing so, Hawking wasn't merely echoing the premises of more or less 99% of all popular entertainment on the subject of aliens, but was actually just taking a premise that Dane Cook -- who's about as credible on the issue of "science" as any "scientist" in the media -- a hypothesis that Dane Cook had propounded a long time ago:

"Sometimes I think about if UFO's come down, I get a little concerned... what if the mothership comes over middle America... out of the UFOs come thousands of 100-foot native American indians?"

So, officially, Stephen Hawking is getting his science from Dane Cook. I look forward to Hawking's next book, "A Brief History Of How To Punch Bees In The Face."

With science and stand-up comedy now being indistinguishable, there is only one way for the United States to fulfill our Dane Cookian-destiny as the number one country in everything, including science, and that is to learn science.

But who will we learn science from, since "scientists" are all too busy trying to get on Access Hollywood and hit on starlets like Megan Fox...

Which, okay, understandable, but that still leaves us with a vacuum in our scientific education, into which something is going to rush, because as we all know, nature abhors a vacuum.

Well, we all would know that if "scientists" ever stopped to actually do science. But they're busy proving "scientific" things like "men lie more than women," (an actual "scientific" study!) to do that, so it's up to me once again to take the bull by the horns and teach you -- America, and all those other "countries" that we'd whip in a war in a second if only we weren't so preoccupied with teaching our second-graders to ask pointed political questions because we think that's a good way to argue an issue even though really it's just a stupid pet trick that morons think will work to make their point.

Unfortunately for you, or fortunately, depending on how you look at it, I have a real job and also I'm kind of lazy, so I do not have time to teach each and every one of you real science.

But I know people who do: Musicians!

Is there anything they can't teach us? I've learned about a ton of stuff from music -- including all about Armageddon (although I learned a little about that from Thor comics, too), among other topics.

And I've learned science from musicians, too, because as it turns out, there are a lot of very highly-accurate scientific songs, songs that not only are fun to listen to but which, while you listen, will teach you about real science -- killing two birds with one stone: You get your music for the day while you become (probably) a Nobel-Winning Scientist, and that leaves you all kinds of free time to, I don't know, go see Stephen Hawking at the Improv in Tulsa, Oklahoma next week. (Stephen Hawking's "What's the deal with microscopic black holes, and is that where my airline peanuts went?" Tour, 2010.)

So while I (eventually) get back to my real job today, you listen to and think about and learn from these

Best Songs To Learn Science From
(Since Scientists Are No Good For That)

1. 2 Atoms In A Molecule, Noah & The Whale:

Actual Scientific Knowledge In This Song:
Molecules are formed of atoms.

Bonus knowledge:
Ropes are made by twining things together.

Where This Would Be Useful In Real Life: Lots of things are made of atoms. In fact, I understand that as many as half the things around you might be made of atoms. Except for yogurt. That's made of rotten milk, or so Sweetie tells me whenever I try to get her to eat some.

And speaking of things being made of things...

2. We are All Made Of Stars, Moby.

Actual Scientific Knowledge In This Song:
You may or may not believe this, but stars are the generators of matter in the universe -- stars through fusion create elements and hurl them out into the cosmos, where they eventually coalesce into dust, then rocks, then planets, then oceans, then life, then intelligent life, then intelligent life that will insist that evolution doesn't work, followed by intelligent life that will look down it's nose at the "intelligent design" version of intelligent life, followed by intelligent(?) life that will threaten to have Texas rewrite the history books to claim that television was invented by some guy at the Alamo.

Bonus Knowledge: So that's what Todd Bridges is up to these days. Also, if you are going to hang out with certain "celebrities," a full-body spacesuit is not a bad idea.

Where This Would Be Useful In Real Life:
Noting to the person you're talking to that you and he/she share a common history in that you are all made of stars would be helpful in any number of settings: job interviews, speed dating, getting caught sleeping with upwards of 18 women even though your wife is a super-hot Swedish model...

3. Aliens Exist,

Actual Scientific Knowledge In This Song: Long before Stephen Hawking stole Dane Cook's material, Blink-182 was warning people about the aliens in their closet and noting the actual effects of an abduction: Lost time ("gone since yesterday"), changes in the body ("I'm not like you guys."), troubles sleeping ("up all night long.")

Bonus knowledge: Blink-182 also exposes government efforts to suppress that knowledge: I know the CIA would say what you hear is all hearsay. Ever wonder why they broke up? It wasn't because 3-chord snarky power pop doesn't have any staying power. It was the feds!

How This Would Be Useful In Real Life: Do you have a son or daughter who has been undergoing mood swings, staying up all night, showing changes in his or her body, and otherwise acting strangely? Now you know what's going on!

4. Everyone Else Has Had More Sex Than Me, TISM:

Actual Scientific Knowledge In This Song: It's buried in a later verse, which I'll helpfully print out for you: [WARNING: SPIDER-RELATED PORN FOLLOWS. NSFW UNLESS YOU WORK IN A LAB]

All loves have to die - of that there's no help;
My favourite way to end em'

Is the orb-weaver spider's, whose pedipalp
Enters the female pudendum,

Then dies on the spot, his corpse there still stuck,
Left for his rivals to curse it.

That's absolutely 100% correct, going by knowledge I have gleaned from certain less-than-savory pay-per-view videos I watched when I couldn't sleep one night. (I'm not proud of myself. But I am smarter.)(And a little weirded out.)

Bonus Knowledge:
Everyone else in fact has had more sex than you. Sorry to be the one to tell you.

Where This Would Be Useful In Real Life: Probably nowhere, unless you're a member of the group therapy sessions I had to join after watching those videos. But it is interesting.

5. Total Eclipse Of The Heart, Bonnie Tyler.

Actual Scientific Knowledge In This Song: Don't look directly at an eclipse! Turn around! When there's an eclipse, the sun's brightness -- brightness the sun uses as a natural warning to us not to look directly at it, a warning given to us because Apollo, the god of the sun, loves us mortals -- is hidden and we're free to stare all day, exposing our retinas to superdangerous ultraviolet light. Sure, that UV Light is helpful when they're using it to synthesize the frosting on a Pop Tart, but it's not as good when you're just wantonly staring at it for hours on end.

True story: In the fifth grade, there was an eclipse and we all were led outside to view it through those stupid eclipse viewers that "science" teachers claim work, those two-sheets-of-cardboard-with-pinholes in them. Mine didn't work -- thanks, "science!"-- so I ignored the many warnings I'd been given and peeked at the sun, and my life has never been the same.

Bonus knowledge: Did you know that a total eclipse also dampens sound? "Nothing I can say... total eclipse."

What's that? You didn't know that? And you suspect it might not be true? What do you know? You're learning science from a blog about music. Go to the back of the class. Or, if you're in the back of the class, go to the library.

Bonus Bonus Knowledge: Living in a powder keg is okay... until you start givin' off sparks.

Where This Would Be Useful In Real Life: It seems to me that the total eclipse in this song is responsible for ending the relationship. So if you're stuck in a relationship, or job, or meeting, or other social affair you need to get out of, just wait for an eclipse, announce "nothing I could do," point to the eclipse, and then head on out. It's like a "Get Out Of This Stupid Thing Free" card.

You may be waiting a while; there's a total eclipse of the sun in a given place only once every 375 years or so.

On the other hand, total eclipses of the heart are much more common -- or so I heard when I listened to Stephen Hawking Covers The Great Hits Of the 80s. (Also good: Hawking's speed metal version of Turning Japanese.)

Other posts about "science."

The Best Way To Prove "Scientists" Are Making It Up.

The Best Real Dinosaur.

Proof that I'm right.

Other posts mentioning Megan Fox:

The Best Foods That Should Be Made Into Movies In Which One Actor Plays All The Parts.

The 2010 NCAA Whodathunkit?!

No comments: