The Beatles on January 21, 1969 Podcast

All four Beatles returned to work on January 21, 1969.  Billy Preston gets credit for lightening their moods but the greatly improved atmosphere is evident today.  Billy won’t turn up until tomorrow afternoon.   John gives a crap, George isn’t so cranky, Paul is less bossy, and the little Ringo says is good-natured.

The existence of this session was overlooked until a few years ago.  I will tell you the story of how this happened because it is a good illustration of how knowledge advances. Continue reading

2 Moon myth debunked by religious person

Yesterday I wrote about the importance of talking to people about science in ways they can understand.  This writer’s focus is on Islam, not science, but he or she perfectly debunks a myth that has been going around the internet for five years: the myth that “this” August 27th, Mars will appear as large as the moon in the sky. 

In addition to explaining why it couldn’t possibly be true, the blog addresses a misunderstanding people may have of the Quran.  The post ends with a reminder that

It is a sin to spread news and rumors without verifying it first!

See what I mean?  Talk to the peeps in a way that works for them.

I will bypass the Lemmy rating system because I’m not sure this blogger would appreciate the association with a heavy metal musician.  Let’s just call it a great post and leave it at that.

“Fun” science quiz turns into religious debate

The USA Today published a nice little “Test Your Science Savvy” quiz as a sidebar to an article about scienfic literacy in the US.  The quiz is a fun test of very basic science knowledge.  Questions on The Big Bang, Evolution, and the age of the Earth set off a religious debate. 

For me, the core of the article is here

“We have in this country a major crisis of people listening to people they feel comfortable with (rather than) listening to a variety of groups and critically thinking through their messages,” says Gerry Wheeler, executive director of the National Science Teachers Association.

I think that explains the comments from folks who appear to be getting their ideas about science from non-scientific sources. 

It also contains a lesson for those who express frustration with people who prioritize religious over scientific teachings.  Listening to religious folks will help science writers find ways to explain the world without pushing people’s buttons. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a successful example of this on their page on Influenza.  They explain that flu shots are necessary every year because the flu virus changes.  Note that they don’t use the word “evolve.”  That could be for political reasons, but it’s also good because use of that word will distract people.  The purpose of that web page is to give medical advice, not to piss people off.  People don’t take advice when they are pissed at you.

I give the quiz Five Lemmys.  It was fun, pushed people’s buttons (as something that truly rocks will), and  told us something we might not have expected to learn.