Saturday Morning Cartoons

October wasn't a great month for science. It ended with the media, the pundits and even the officials organizing it declaring the UN's upcoming Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen a non-starter. The conference was supposed to lead to a treaty to follow up Kyoto but public and government support for any such agreement was effectively quelled by a very well funded anti-climate-science propaganda campaign. The prairie arm of that campaign came to Regina earlier in the month courtesy the Frontier Centre for Public Policy who gave us the bloviations of Christopher Monckton and a screening of the crockumentary, Not Evil Just Wrong. Meanwhile, the book SuperFreakonomics was released October 19 to great acclaim even though people who know a thing or two about climate science have pointed out that the authors, Levitt and Dubner, in their section on climate science reveal that they do not (know a thing or two about climate science).

So, while all the people working with evidence-based science are ringing alarm bells that the world could be in dire straits in the not-too-distant future thanks to global warming, those who are motivated by their own self-interest are sabotaging any effective action to deal with it.

Evidently, profit and ego are still guiding public policy. Science (especially under our current federal government) is relegated to the sidelines.

On a very different -- but very related -- topic, the H1N1 scare has lured the anti-vaccination kooks out into the limelight---- actually, you know what... let's not get started on that. We go there, next thing you know I'll be ranting about creationists and supply-side economics and I'll never get to the cartoon part of this Saturday morning post...

So, given that we're heading into a new Dark Age, I've been trying to cheer myself with They Might Be Giant's latest disc: Here Comes Science and consoling myself that maybe we can raise a generation to be less credulous. Yes, it's technically a kids album but I know a grown-up or 143 who would benefit from a listen. The cd is paired with a dvd of animated music videos many of which are being released online as podcasts --- and the animation on these things is really stellar. Here's the first video, "Science is Real", directed by David Cowles and Andy Kenney.

Back in the early nineties, I was a huge TMBG fan based mainly on the strength of the album Flood. I kind of lost track of them in the intervening years but whenever I'd check in they were still making strange, catchy pop. But their later stuff never really held my attention the way tunes like "Birdhouse in Your Soul" and "Ana Ng" did. I chalked it up to the "not being able to go back" factor.

Well, they're back in constant rotation at my house. Here Comes Science is a pop masterpiece -- seriously. And I'm not just saying that because I'm a parent now and seeking out not-suck for my daughter to listen to. This isn't just great kid's music. It's just great. And like I say, the animators they have creating the visuals to go with the music are all fantastic. Check out this piece of awesome, directed by Tiny Inventions....

A hunt for They Might Be Giants on YouTube will call up pretty much everything released online from the Here Comes Science album and I recommend checking it all out. Other highlights: "The Elements", "I Am A Paleontologist" and the diptych, "Why Does the Sun Shine" and "Why Does the Sun Really Shine".

No comments: