Friday, August 18, 2006

8/2-3/2006 - Steve Mirsky, for the not-so scientific Americans

It's been a while since I logged a podcast review.  I have, of late, been listing away from fiction and sports and into education (history and science).  My latest such podcast is that of Scientific American.  Steve Mirsky, long-time contributor to the magazine, has a podcast.  I like science, so I tuned it, but was surprised about what I got.

I guess I was expecting something along the lines of Science Friday (to which I also listen).  Serious discussions about science.  Science Friday has a very Liberal bent, which I didn't expect to see, and maybe SciAm would take on a range of topics instead of digging into 1 or 2.

Well, I got the range right.  Actually, SciAm does more advocacy than does SciFri.  From stem-cell research to flu-funding, Mirsky and his interviewees have no compunction against recommending policy and criticizing the administration.  In general, I find myself agreeing with their positions, so this doesn't trouble me much, but I was surprised.

The other thing that surprised me is how goofy it is.  The first episode brought me a version of CSI - as will never appear on TV.

Detective:      "Have you run the DNA samples?"
Scientist:      "Yes, we should have the results back 3-4 weeks."
Detective:      "OK, compare the fingerprints to the National Database."
Scientist:      "Actually, we're only authorized to use the State Database."

The second episode contained a "WHO's on first" routine about the World Health Organization and the Flu.  Both episodes contained "Totally Bogus" in which I try to guess what science stories are real (outcome of comas on soap operas) and which are false (man designs living room to look like Voyager, goes bankrupt loses wife -- actually this was true, except that his wife left him before he opted to redesign his living room).

I enjoy it enough that I am going back to the beginning and listening to all of the episodes.  I highly recommend them to Science Enthusiasts.

24,100 unadorned steps today.  Cheers,


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