Climate Change Keeps Me Up At Night, Says Bill Nye
This week's question arrives via Big Think producer Elizabeth -- What's Bill Nye frightened of? In two words: climate change.
Bill Nye, scientist, engineer, comedian, author, and inventor, is a man with a mission: to help foster a scientifically literate society, to help people everywhere understand and appreciate the science that makes our world work. Making science entertaining and accessible is something Bill has been doing most of his life. In Seattle Nye began to combine his love of science with his flair for comedy, when he won the Steve Martin look-alike contest and developed dual careers as an engineer by day and a stand-up comic by night. Nye then quit his day engineering day job and made the transition to a night job as a comedy writer and performer on Seattle's home-grown ensemble comedy show “Almost Live." This is where “Bill Nye the Science Guy®" was born. The show appeared before Saturday Night Live and later on Comedy Central, originating at KING-TV, Seattle's NBC affiliate. While working on the Science Guy show, Nye won seven national Emmy Awards for writing, performing, and producing. The show won 18 Emmys in five years. In between creating the shows, he wrote five children's books about science, including his latest title, “Bill Nye's Great Big Book of Tiny Germs." Nye is the host of three currently-running television series. “The 100 Greatest Discoveries" airs on the Science Channel. “The Eyes of Nye" airs on PBS stations across the country. Bill's latest project is hosting a show on Planet Green called “Stuff Happens." It's about environmentally responsible choices that consumers can make as they go about their day and their shopping. Also, you'll see Nye in his good-natured rivalry with his neighbor Ed Begley. They compete to see who can save the most energy and produce the smallest carbon footprint. Nye has 4,000 watts of solar power and a solar-boosted hot water system. There's also the low water use garden and underground watering system. It's fun for him; he's an engineer with an energy conservation hobby. Nye is currently the Executive Director of The Planetary Society, the world's largest space interest organization.
Elizabeth Rodd: Hi Bill! So you know me as a producer at Big Think and my question for you is my favorite question for all of our guests, which is, “What keeps you up at night?”
Bill Nye: What keeps me up at night? Climate change. Climate change keeps me up at night. Everywhere I look there are opportunities to be addressing climate change and everywhere I look we are not doing it. And by we, I mean not just humankind writ large, but my United States where I grew up, where I went to engineering school, where I worked as an engineer trying to make the world better for somebody. And we are missing all these opportunities. It’s just crazy-making. And this is, by the way, why I’m very proud to be the CEO of the Planetary Society. We are accomplishing something in space. We are getting things done in space and I claim that space exploration is good for everybody. So it’s not the Apollo era. We are not devoting 10 percent of the world’s largest government funding to this one thing. We’re spending about 0.4 percent. It would be nice if it were 0.5 percent, but we’re spending a reasonable amount of our intellect and treasure on learning about the cosmos. And the Planetary Society works very hard to direct that expenditure in what we think is the best, most efficient way. Today, by the way, right now is the press conference about what instruments will be put on the Europa mission. This is a spacecraft going to the moon of Jupiter called Europa looking to see if it’s habitable. Is there a chance there are living things there? Such a discovery would change the world. With that said, climate change keeps me up at night. The opportunities that we’re missing is just crazy-making.
These people who are in denial of climate change. If you’re a denialist and this will probably find its way to you and you will post these crazy, mean-spirited comments about me and knock yourself out. It’s fine. If that brings you joy, okay. But if somebody told you that there is no connection whatsoever between smoking and cancer, would you vote for that person? Would that be somebody you’d trust now? Fifty years after that discovery was made? Well, the connection between humans and climate change is about that strong and, by some very reasonable modern statistical reckoning, slightly stronger. So if you’re a denier out there I strongly encourage you to cut it out. Just change. Just get to work. There’s nobody more passionate about the environment than the guy who just built his log cabin. There’s nobody who wants you to quit smoking more strongly than the guy who just quit or the gal who just quit. There’s no more antismoking advocate stronger than the person who just quit smoking. So if you’re a denier out there you could change and we’d embrace you. And we can get to work. And the opportunities are renewable energy, transmission of electricity — electricity’s like magical energy. Electricity storage or energy storage. And then if, that’s from an engineering standpoint. And then the huge opportunity is to create a system where people have to pay for the carbon dioxide they create. And then take those funds, that treasure, and redirect it into basic research so that we can, dare I say it, change the world. And then I could sleep at night.
This week's question arrives via Big Think producer Elizabeth -- What's Bill Nye frightened of? In two words: climate change.
Bill considers its potential consequences a major cause for concern. He also feels a whole lot of frustration watching American leaders dawdle rather than commit to taking action to prevent (or at least prepare for) its effects. This is why his work as CEO of the Planetary Society is so rewarding. At the Planetary Society, he can help support efforts such as the Europa mission so we humans can find a place to live after we mess this rock up so much it becomes uninhabitable.
Until then, climate change will remain the thing that keeps Bill Nye up at night.
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Whether or not women think beards are sexy has to do with "moral disgust"
- A new study found that women perceive men with facial hair to be more attractive as well as physically and socially dominant.
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Beards and perceptions of masculinity<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjU5OTg0MC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0NzkxMjM3N30.cH-GqNwP5GVqvstgJWAhBPn1B_lYpVEAI0I7iax7EQw/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C1900%2C0%2C849&height=700" id="caae6" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="cb0a355a4e8e1899789bc45f3f7aef56" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Photo Credit: Wikimedia<p>The study used 919 American (mostly white) women ages 18-70 who rated 30 pictures of men they were shown with various stages of facial hair growth. The photographs depicted men with faces that had been digitally altered to look more feminine or more masculine, with a beard and without a beard. The women rated the men according to perceived attractiveness for long-term and short-term relationships. The study found that the more facial hair the men had, the higher the men were rated on their attractiveness, particularly for their suitability for a long-term relationship.</p><p>Part of this might be attributed to facial masculinity — i.e. protruding brow ridge, wide cheekbones, thick jawline, and deeply set narrow eyes — which conveys information to a woman about a man's underlying health and formidability. Women tend to associate more masculine faces with physical strength and social assertiveness. It can also indicate a man with a superior immune response. The researchers suggested that their findings favoring bearded men could be due to the fact that facial hair enhances the masculine facial features on a man's face, like creating the illusion of a thicker jaw line. This could communicate direct benefits to women like resources and protection that would enhance survival among mothers and their infants. In other words, while a beard doesn't mean superior genetics in and of itself, it might be a primitive, ornamental way of saying, "Hey girl, I'm a testosterone-fueled lean, mean, pathogen fighting machine." <br></p><p>It could also be that a beard becomes its own destiny. The researchers in this study cite prior research that found that by growing a beard, men felt more masculine and had higher levels of serum testosterone, which was linked to a higher level of social dominance. They also tended to subscribe to more old-school beliefs about gender roles in their relationships with women as compared to men with clean-shaven faces.<span></span><br></p>
What does disgust have to do with beard preference?<p>Obviously, not all women dig beards. The researchers were particularly interested in what traits make a women prefer bearded men over clean-shaven faces. They looked into several factors including a woman's disgust levels on various concepts, her desire to become pregnant, and her exposure to facial hair in her personal life. </p><p>According to the study, women who were not into facial hair were turned-off by potential parasites or other critters they imagined could be in the hair or skin. Women ranking high on this "ectoparasite disgust" scale might have viewed beards as a sign of poor grooming habits. However, women who ranked higher in levels of "pathogen" did find the bearded men to be desirable, possibly because they perceived beards as a signal of good health and immune function. An intriguing discovery in the study was links to morality. Women who displayed higher levels of "moral disgust," or feelings of repugnance toward taboo behaviors, were more likely to prefer hairy faces. The authors opined that this could reflect a link between beardedness, politically conservative outlooks, and traditional views regarding performances of masculinity in heterosexual relationships.</p>
Additional findings<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjU5OTg1My9vcmlnaW4uZ2lmIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyNDI1NjUyOX0.P9B8WbmJR0q4nfzYZKbuNSA-2SAigVWJgrQE-_Gxlds/img.gif?width=980" id="49143" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="2ed3b1d6f20fc170bf2974646e565e8d" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />Giphy<p>The correlations that existed between married and single women's rating on the attractiveness of beards were not particularly clear, although the researchers noted that single and married women who wanted children tended to find beards more attractive than the women who didn't want children. They also found that women with bearded husbands found beards to be more attractive, which might indicate that social exposure to beards influences how desirable they are perceived of as being. Or it could be that men with wives who like beards grow beards.</p><p>It's important to note that culture plays a huge role in how attractive women perceive certain male characteristics as being. This study looked at a small, culturally specific group of American women, so no big, universal claims should be made about masculinity, facial hair, and male desirability to women. However, research like this is important in highlighting how human grooming decisions are driven by much more than fashion trends. Sociobiological, economic, and ecological factors all play a part in the way we choose to present ourselves.</p>
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