What a field day for the heat
A thousand people in the street
Singing songs and carrying signs
Mostly saying, "hooray for our side"

Friday, March 25, 2011

Where I was last night

So, how do you know this was in Ohio? Here's the 10 minute before mark.

Notice how many of those seats are filled. While there were some "fashionably late" people, the majority of people felt they were more of an annoyance than interesting.

Neil deGrasse Tyson gave an excellently rollickingly good speech on the "Ten Things You Should Know About the Universe."

First up, "The Universe has a Shipload of Stars." Dr. Tyson then went on to explain just how large a number you need to use before you can even state the answer.

And then he finished with a Q&A session, which I think the organizers felt went too long, but he seemed to be having fun.

I didn't get to meet him. I tried to rush the stage to get his signature in a book. However, here is a true thing. The very rich people who get to sit up front aren't fast movers. Consider them a triumph of economics over Darwinian philosophies. So I was only halfway across the stage before he was ushered into his limo with police escort. However, an associate did take our books (fortunately I wasn't the only one) which he would sign and then mail back to us. Which I think it very nice of him.

One of the best quotes of the night occurred when he was explaining numbers and got to Billions and used Bill Gates as an example. He then said, "No, you really don't understand how rich that is." He then said one day he was walking down the street and asked himself just what denomination of coin would be sufficient for him to stop and pickup. With his success, his home, car, family, etc. he came to the realization that he'd stop for a dime, but only if he wasn't rushed. A quarter he would stop for no matter what (ensuing jokes of making people await his lecture wait for it). Then he said, "So then I did a quick calculation looking at my wealth compared to Bill to see what the smallest denomination it would take for him to stop and pick up." The answer was $42,000. Anything below that and Bill would just keep walking.

A very good speech. If he comes anywhere near to where you can go see him, you should make the effort.


Anonymous said...

I was unfashionably late.

Can you tell me what his first 2 points were - I missed those.

I enjoyed his speech immensely, but I came away confused by two contradictory statements made during his Q&A and I think, for a man who says that he expects evidence to accept something as a fact, said at least one thing that was a statement of faith in contradiction of fact.

But I'm glad I went. I found a couple of friends there, we had a good time chatting afterward.

Anonymous Cassie, thanking you for the heads-up.

Steve Buchheit said...

Hey Cassie, glad you could make it.

I know #10 was "The Universe has a Shipload of Stars." Where he then explained just how large a number you need to state the quantity, going from 1000 and up and giving examples of just how big the numbers were.

#9, IIRC, was "The Universe Is Not Good for Your Ego." This was where he discussed our views of the universe starting from the Earth Centric View and going out to say that our actual universe may be just one of many universes. And that just how insignificantly small that can make you feel (which then his later points then explained how he felt it made us more nobel).