Ethan Nicolle speaking at Teesside University for Animex had a lot of helpful things to say for people beginning their career paths and also was a lot of fun for fans of his work.
I LOVE Axe Cop. Because of the talk I have since picked up copies of Chumble Spuzz (how neat that Doug Tennapel, creator of Earthworm Jim has written the intro) and The Weevil. How much would I love to see a copy of The Drug Busters?
I was a bit fangirlish and asked for a smooch cop here it is:
Before going into comedy he studied for his phd in Physics at Cambridge! The discussion was chaired by Dr Pete Edwards from Durham University.
The idea of the book according to Ben Miller is to expose the relatively simple and beautiful ideas underlying science to a wider audience.
He explains that scientists have a problem communicating to laypeople, in the interest of being exact and accurate to avoid derision from their colleagues.
It’s something he says that can be learned from Americans, who named the Higgs boson particle the God Particle, which doesn’t mean anything scientific but captured the imagination of the public and the media.
When Ben was in school he studied Physics, a search for how things happen, his perception of Biology was that it was all about naming things. When asked what science he would study if he were starting school now it would be cross-disciplinary search for extra-terrestrial life, by this he does not mean little green men but the exciting searches for building blocks of life on other planets.
Ben was also asked whether he thought a situation could arise in the UK similar to the U.S. where some states/schools do not want evolution taught in schools or want creationism/religion taught alongside it. He didn’t think this was an issue because science and religion coexist quite happily exploring very different things.
When asked if he ever brought science into his sketches with Armstrong & Miller he mentioned the the second and third sketches below.
He was accused by one member in the audience of being part of the “demonisation of maths” as he sought to popularise science with the quote on the book ”Let me show you another, perhaps less familiar side of Science; her beauty, her seductiveness and her passion. And let’s do it quickly, while Maths isn’t looking’ Ben Miller and was asked if he would write a similar book to popularise maths. He thought it could be done but maybe not by him. And, it’s true he doesn’t use a lot of math in the book because of his perception that may people turn off. [maths when said by someone from the UK, math when said by me]
On the bright side, loads of new people are talking about science in new ways – he referenced Robin Ince touring with Ben Goldacre and Brian Cox among others.
Entertaining reviews printed on the book
“This book makes climate change actually seem interesting. As a result I bought lots of other books about climate change, something I now regret.” – David Mitchell
“A fun and insightful ride through the whole of science – it’s almost as if he’d finished his phd” – Brian Cox
You know you want it
How many of us would be this guy if we were a time traveller?
How many scientists would be this guy on Breakfast TV?
How many bad weather / climate change jokes have you heard?
Started the morning annoyed with the BBC Breakfast show’s discussion of video games. They asked for people’s thoughts on video games asking do they have no impact or do they have a negative impact on children.
There was no option for positive impact on motor skills, hand-eye coordination, literacy and I seem to recall a study of multi-player online games leading to transferable skills for management in the workplace. Yet all video games were being tarred by the same brush.
It seems what they’re really concerned about is clueless parenting. Consenting, responsible adults should not be penalized and required to consume strictly content sanitized for children’s protection. Not everyone draws the line in the same place, so there needs to be room for a multiplicity of community standards…none of this was discussed.
In better television news, I am thoroughly excited for the new series of Misfits to be starting.
After a bizarre day at work, went to the MFC shop to purchase a Boro Brick in honour of my friends coming to visit from Chicago. I’m taking them to a match and now we will have a permanent souvenir of the occasion. : )
Stopped off at the new Caffe Nero in Middlesbrough before heading to the train.
Getting home tonight was misery. Took my usual 5.32 train only to hear an announcement saying we would have to get off one stop later at Thornaby to transfer to a bus which was of course not waiting for us. A very cold over an hour later we finally got on a bus. We stood at the side of the road waiting as empty buses drove past mocking our misery. Finally made it home a little over 2 hours after I started. Good mass transit is really the thing I miss most about NY.
The sad part was my plans for the evening were back in Middlesbrough again!
All’s well that ends well. We missed the first few opening acts but caught a really good mellow set by Billy the Kid and then new band The Vaccines at the Westgarth Social Club in Middlesbrough. The Vaccines reminded me of James crossed with a bit of the Ramones and a random folk singer. Julie thought they sounded a bit like the Editors.
A nice way to end the day. Here’s a vid of them playing Wreckin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra) on Jools Holland last week.