Updates for Friday, January 14th [2005]

Mr. Wizard's World!

1/14/2005

Dear Friends,

Being a man of science, I have spent many hours learning new things. For instance, I have been fascinated by this stuff called DNA. I don't think anyone has ever been able to appropriately enunciate it's name, when I asked Daniel he told me it was "Dangerously Nuclear Acidic-stuff", and I'm quite uncertain that this is the correct definition. I was informed that it's used for forensics to find criminals, along with fingerprints, the very fine intimate details of the fingers that truthfully I never noticed until it was pointed out to me, each features virtually unique to all humans, with the rare exception of identical twins. I even speculate that this might help someday bring an end to all crime. Daniel interjected that the state's ability to arrest and fine Tri-Met fare violators has risen 100% this year alone. I am glad to see the state with it's priorities ruling the day.

Another issue, apparently of some controversy, is the Darwinian theory of Evolution. I was discussing this issue with Natalie just the other day, in casual conversation.

Me: So, the central concept is that animals change over time, passing along different traits, until the common traits of populations diverge enough for them no longer to interbreed. That this is the origin of all species, including man. I suppose that it does make some measure of sense, although I'm sure it has it's criticisms.

Natalie: Well, the problem is that some school boards, especially out of town, really have pressure on them to stop teaching it.

Me: Stop teaching it? Why?

Natalie: Well, Creationists don't want it taught, they prefer people teach that god created the world.

Me: Well, god created the world, what does evolution have to do with it?

Natalie: Well, they say evolution contradicts their view.

Me: How so?

Natalie: They think that if the world developed from primal life, that god isn't needed to explain it.

Me: Well that doesn't seem to make much sense.

Natalie: What's wrong with it?

Me: God isn't needed to explain a lot of things that we see. Why is this any different?

Natalie: I dunno, I'm not defending it, that's just what they say. People against evolution want "Intelligent Design" taught instead.

Me: What is this "Intelligent Design"?

Natalie: It's the science behind the idea that god created everything as it is.

Me: Well, if he did, then he did, although I'm pretty sure he did, even if evolution is true, I'm sure he had a hand in that as well. There isn't much to observe or experiment a "science" that rests upon god to do everything, for it seems such a subject is a little broad and without context.

Natalie: Well, they think it should have equal time, is all.

Me: Let me see if I have this right. The teachers want to teach a particular science, and the religious don't because it offends their faith. So instead they should teach that science is a wing of faith? Then what is reason, if not subservient to religious zeal?

Natalie: That's what I said. But I guess what is taught all breaks down to who pays for the textbooks.

Me: Indeed.

Then there is this cloning. To tell you the truth I was really scared when I first heard of cloning, it just seems unnatural and evil, where marauding clone slaves march on some evil army of the damned. Then I found out that cloning has been used to reproduce sheep. The image of thousands of evil cloned zombies somehow differs from a field of identically groomed sheep. I immediately thought that a complex science like this would reap untold scientific benefit, but then I heard of a woman paid $50,000 to have her cat cloned, and feared it would become a scientific novelty act.

One particular educational outlet for me has been a recent marathon of a series of informative shows called "Mr. Wizard's World". While described as old, it made much more sense and was very informative towards modern science. Daniel informed me that it was now common knowledge that Mr. Wizard had in fact "jumped the shark" right when they started to bring in children who would often say "wicked", poorly feigning their actual interest. Whatever he means by that, I definitely felt a show that can inform someone in such a timeless manner cannot ever grow too old. Perhaps if he was still around, he could do an episode on time travelling? Truly, this would be informative.

your friend and servant.

- TH. Jefferson

Editor's Notes:

I just wanted to lay out a basic update, not much to add unfortunately. I might as well be honest, I have had a terrible case of writer's block and couldn't excuse myself for not updating TeeJ at least once during my 4 days in a row off of work. So I took science, stuck with what I knew, and ran with it. For nostalgics, Mr. Wizard's World is now available on DVD, at Don Herbert's official website http://www.mrwizardstudios.com/. And yes, he's still alive (87), although I don't think anyone has heard much from him since the mid-80's right after his second (somewhat more popular) series for Nickelodeon got cancelled.

And there is no way in hell I would pay $50,000 for Mr. Colby Jones version 2.0.


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