No news like nerd news

CarlSaganStampI have been a news junky in my time, trying to keep current on every story and every development everywhere. But there comes a time when one piece of news finally trickles in, the news just isn’t really very new. And at a time when so many disturbing stories come from so many directions–local, national, international–that can be demoralizing.

But how could it be otherwise? For the news to become really new, human character, both individual and collective, would have to be transformed. Until that hypothetical day, nations will continue to do the kinds of things they have always done, as will politicians and the police and the criminals and the deranged, and the kind and generous, too. Attention seekers will seek attention, the secretive will lurk in shadows, and the curious will try to take note of everything. The details can be rearranged, and are on a daily basis, but the stories themselves?–old stories.

Which is one reason I have become such a hopeless science nerd. While the laws of nature are even more unchanging than human nature, human curiosity and insights are always uncovering things that, while not new to creation, are news to me. I read the National Science Foundation’s e-newsletter, and EarthSkyNews. If there is a National Geographic in the dentist’s waiting room, I’d be happy to wait hours for my check-up. If I still put pin-up posters on my walls, they’d be papered with Einstein and Kepler and Newton, along with Bill Nye and Carl Sagan and Neil deGrasse Tyson.

So I have heard and read much this week about the kidnapping, and about Ferguson and Gaza and ISIS, and political news from Albany and from Washington. But the things that have really given me new information are a view of the aurora from the space station, photos taken during the “Blue Hour” just after sundown, or stories like “Zombie ant fungus kills its hosts on doorstep of ant colony” or “Researchers find life beneath half a mile of Antarctic ice.”

I’m not exactly sure what to do with this kind of new information, but then I often feel the same way about news of current events, politics and war. All I know is that I am happier to have these stories kicking around in my head than to have the old, old stories of fresh strife, disaster, deceit, oppression and villainy.


4 Comments on “No news like nerd news”

  1. Hank says:

    Exactly how I feel, Dale. I don’t even look forward to listening to the news and public affairs stuff anymore (even on NPR or PBS). Give me the Radio Bob Show or Wait Wait or Science Friday, any day.

  2. Ken Hall says:

    Dale, I have bad news for you; today it is your turn in the woodshed.

    Considering the many times I have sung the praises of “Neil” deGrasse Tyson on this blog if I were a religious man I would call spelling his name “Neal” blasphemous!

    It has been 12+ years that I have forgone TV and about 3 since I gave up listening to NCPR; I find the barking and howling of my dogs in sync with the yipping of the coyote/wolf packs traversing the ridge behind my old farm house preferable to the inane repetitiousness of the so called news and the mind deadening deceptiveness of the seemingly endless attempts to coerce one into procuring the newest automobile, dining experience, cruse, ., ., . or widgit with an operational life of 5-10 minutes. The silence, the pounding of rain, the roar of the wind, the quiet of a snowy night, the brilliance of a clear moonless night, the crack of dawn, ., ., .

    What I find sadly distressing is the voluminous numbers of purportedly intelligent humans who care not a whit about, nor to learn about, the Earth upon which we live as it traverse a path about a star whose gravity entraps it, as that star in turn follows a similar path along with hundreds of billions of stars in a galaxy we call the Milky Way, all circling in the space time warp created by the massive black hole at the center of this one of, as Carl Sagan was wont to say, “billions and billions” galaxies in the universe we inhabit which in turn may be but one of an infinite number of universes.

    I do follow the news I find of interest on the internet as it has effectively laid nearly all of the human population’s newspapers at our feet 24/365 along with an additional plethora of information, entertainment and BS.

  3. Mr. Wakiki says:

    Take heart.

    I have to say, as I listen to the Onpoint and other national news programs, I often think we are all on a journey in a hand basket, leading to one of the least enjoyable destinations….

    But I gladly turn on the radio every morning… though the afternoon… because of the comfort the NCPR staff offers. Add to this the local pieces of culture and art that appear on NCPR’s web page always get called up for me to see..

    Thank you,

  4. Jim Benvenuto says:

    Insightful as always, Dale. The news has become (to me) increasingly oppressive. When I wake up at 3 a.m., I don’t want my mind to race from one troubling image of suffering to another. I’ve turned off.

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