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Bill Nye is good

Go watch this video of Bill Nye explaining global warming to a Fox News babbler. You can see why he’s a national treasure: he cocks those eyebrows, he clearly thinks he’s dealing with a knucklehead, but he goes on to slowly and carefully explain the science to him. All those years of children’s programming pay off perfectly when dealing with our conservative media — treating the announcers like small angry children is just perfect.

You can also see the shortcomings of television, though. The patient, thorough approach bumps up against the tiny time windows and short attention spans all too soon.

(Also on Sb)

Comments

  1. says

    Payne began the Freedom Watch segment by pressing Nye to prove that Hurricane Irene was caused by global warming.

    “I don’t think the word proof is what you are looking for,” Nye told Payne. “Evidence or result of? Yeah.”

    I don’t really like that. We make the point that weather and climate are different, so how is a bit of weather supposed to be “evidence” for global warming?

    A decade of weather is evidence for global warming, and even that is still a matter of probabilities.

    The truth is that it’s still the temperature rise itself that is the primary evidence. It’s likely that bad weather will follow, and there’s no reason to shy away from saying so. But Irene was just a hurricane much like other hurricanes that hit the area in the past. It’ll mean something when it’s part of a larger data set, but it means little re climate change by itself.

    Glen Davidson

  2. It'spiningforthefyords says

    Bill Nye also allowed me to make it to the very end of a Faux clip. ANother triumph.

    And he talked about dog AND human sex in making a point about global warming! MY MAN!

    And I only wanted to see the stupid, insulting Faux goon Uncle Tom slapped silly instead of, more typically, having him suddenly seize up rigidly, his veins and eyes bulge, and his head explode Scanners style.

    Where does Ailes (may he be called to God ASAP!) find such utter human trash? I thought people did this for money, but such horridness likely works for nothing but free suits while on camera and all the offal they can eat.

  3. Loqi says

    If I have sex with Bill Nye, will you get a human? Because I don’t really want kids, but I’m kind of in love with Bill Nye right now.

  4. TV200 says

    “We brought you on because we knew you could connect the dots,” Payne interrupted. “Although the route you’ve taken is still confusing some of the viewers.”

    I don’t think Bill Nye was the one confusing the viewers.

  5. Screechy Monkey says

    Nye’s mild-mannered, patient approach works in that context. And even better, he just goes ahead and does things that way, unlike some “communication experts” I could mention who just rant on and on about how other people are doing it wrong, without ever getting around to showing us the “right” way.

  6. Brownian says

    Chuck Payne: We’re running out of time Bill, so you need to make the point.

    You’re the one who brought up Al Gore and racism, you stupid fucking waste of food.

  7. Screechy Monkey says

    “You’re the one who brought up Al Gore and racism, you stupid fucking waste of food.”

    Don’t you just love how the political movement that brings you daily doses of “Obama hates America and is destroying it as fast as he can,” presidential candidates like Rick “man on dog” Santorum, and books like Jonah Golberg’s “Liberal Facism,” suddenly reaches for the pearls and starts tone trolling as soon as they’re criticized?

    Hell, Gore was even directly comparing global warming denial to racism; he was making a point about the way acceptable discourse changes.

  8. ChasCPeterson says

    I’ll tell you what I like about Bill Nye: “millions and millions of data”.

  9. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Even if Patricia doesn’t go along, Bill Nye can drink for free on my dime at the Pharyngula Saloon and Spanking Parlor. Talent must be rewarded. *Doffs hat*

  10. Zinc Avenger says

    “Thank you, Bill, for that thoughtful, informative five minute segment. We now return you to 90 solid days of highly-paid pundits with focus-group-approved hair screaming that global warming is a socialist lie told by atheists to raise your taxes for abortions. You, the viewer, decide!”

  11. Johan Fruh says

    That was a nice watch,
    but am I the only one that was kind of freaked out by the way Nye started talking about “Doggies”? hehe
    I guess it comes out that way when you have the impression you’re talking to a child.

  12. Ibis3, féministe avec un titre française de fantaisie says

    How long before some creationist pulls out the clip where he says all you ever get when dogs have sex is a dog, and all you ever get when humans have sex is a human, and presents it as proof that scientists don’t believe in evolution after all?

  13. says

    I know this isn’t related to Bill Nye, but I don’t know where else to ask.

    Am I the only one getting ads from christer webpages on FTB?

    Is that some joke I don’t know about yet?

  14. F says

    WAC

    The joke is: This is how online advertising works. These are contextual ads. You aren’t alone. Many people don’t get the joke, and it is fairly frequently the subject of forum/comment posts.

  15. Dr. I. Needtob Athe says

    I don’t think Bill Nye should have let himself be lured into discussing either Al Gore or racism. He should have immediately pointed out that he’s the “science guy” and steered the host back to the science of climate change.

  16. celtlen says

    I have to disagree, PZ: on this occasion Nye was not good. He was too slow, make too many tangential or irrelevant points and failed to make many obvious and important ones. His role is not to seek agreement with interviewer but to explain to the viewer. And there’s no point bemoaning TV for failing to give enough time to the issue. Scientists have to communicate in various forums and structure their message accordingly. Unusually, Nye failed this time.

  17. uncle frogy says

    I am not sure he failed completely. It was very obvious that the plan from the start was to change the subject when he was beginning to make sense so the suit did by bringing up something completely extraneous to the story about the current storm and global warming, but old bill just kept going and did not get lost or confused he just had to explain what Al Gore was saying before he ran out of time. My sense was that the time ran out just a little to conveniently just as Bill brought it all back to the original point.

    keep swinging at them a base hit is as good as a home-run, they got nothin

    uncle frogy

  18. StevoR says

    Loqi :

    If I have sex with Bill Nye, will you get a human? Because I don’t really want kids, but I’m kind of in love with Bill Nye right now.

    Well, you don’t *have* to have kids y’know! ;-)

    @Zinc Avenger :

    “Thank you, Bill, for that thoughtful, informative five minute segment. We now return you to 90 solid days of highly-paid pundits with focus-group-approved hair screaming that global warming is a socialist lie told by atheists to raise your taxes for abortions. You, the viewer, decide!”

    Well, that’s being fair and balanced isn’t it? ;-)

    @ mox :

    Dachshund + Pitbull = Dog
    You can’t explain that!

    Has anyone bred a Chihuahua Great Dane cross and if it can’t be done does it prove speciation has occurred?

  19. StevoR says

    Is it okay to post a link to this on the Bad Astronomy blog?

    Unsure if that’s good netiquette or not.

  20. MetzO'Magic says

    Predictably, the clown shoes over at WUWT have exactly the opposite opinion as to how that interview went:

    Bill Nye is the anti-science guy when it comes to global warming and hurricanes

    Some of them even deny that Irene was a hurricane. But don’t you dare call them ‘deniers’, no sir! What a strange world this has become. Folks who don’t frequent the web much, like most of my family, have no idea what kind of lunacy transpires ‘up here’ in cyberspace.

  21. Nathaniel says

    The patient, thorough approach bumps up against the tiny time windows and short attention spans all too soon.

    This was an idea that was discussed in “Manufactured Consent” (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0104810/).

    In this case, though, I don’t buy it. Nye isn’t up against TV, he’s up against a hostile network. They’ve let Glenn Beck spend hours building up fantasticly complex conspiracy theories. No 3-minute windows or sudden clips of non-sequiturs. No “hurry up and say your complex thing so we can finish the segment”.

    Nye does an exquisite job of not being rushed, but ultimately he is defeated by Fox. He has to let little falsehoods lie, let little digs go by, and allow himself to be derailed several times. The interviewer seeds the idea to the audience that the interviewee is at the very least too confusing to follow, meaning that most viewers will not internalize anything he has said.

  22. says

    Bill Nye is awesome. The interview wasn’t the greatest, but what can you expect when it’s on Fox? Always a treat to watch him explain things, though.

  23. PrimevilKneivel says

    I love that the audio cutting out lets me imagine he’s dropping F-bombs on the host.

  24. Mike says

    When Bill asked the guy about doggies I started to giggle. I started thinking about the cockpit scene in ‘Airplane.’ Do you like movies about gladiators Fox News man?

  25. Juice says

    I don’t see how anyone can spin this as Bill Nye doing anything but embarrassing himself.

    He starts off by contradicting himself:

    “I don’t think the word proof is what you are looking for,” Nye told Payne. “Evidence or result of? Yeah.”

    Definitely evidence of or result of. Then seconds later:

    “Now the climate colleagues that I have will not tell you today that Irene was evidence or a result of climate change but check in with them about March next year…”

    But Bill, you’ve got the answer right now.

    He’s trying to uphold the consensus meme, but when asked why predictions of increased hurricane activity (hurricane seasons directly following 2005 were predicted by many scientists/meteorologists to increase in activity) were 100% wrong, Nye counters by inadvertently agreeing with the objection. “That’s only six years. In geologic times or in terms of climate events, that’s not very long.” Oh, Nye, you pwn3d the argument there.

    “Furthermore there is a lot of debate about this cool thing or remarkable thing is that the Sea-surface in the Pacific gets warmer, in the Pacific Ocean! Okay, tens of thousands of nautical miles away. As that gets warmer, it will strangely serve to decapitate certain hurricane or cyclonic storms off the coast of Africa – and actually get a few fewer hurricanes.”

    Dammit, Nye, which is it? Global warming gives us more hurricanes or fewer?

    Then he goes into Doberman-Chihuahua sex or something.

    Totally embarrassing.

  26. stubby says

    It’s no “Tide goes in, tide goes out”, but Bill Nye is great as always. He is really helpful for boneheads like me.

  27. Greg Esres says

    Nye misunderstood Gore’s reference to racism; it had nothing to do with understanding the science, but rather we should make it socially unacceptable for people to be anti-GW.

    But I like Nye’s assertiveness.

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