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tv   Overheard With Evan Smith  PBS  December 6, 2014 4:30pm-5:01pm PST

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nunding for overheard with evan smith is provided in part by mfi foundation, improving the quality of life within our community, and from the texas board of legal specialization, board certified attorneys in your community, experienced, respected and tested. also by hilco partners, texas government affairs consultancy and its global health care consulting business unit hilco health and by the alice kleberg reynolds foundation and viewers like you. thank you. >> i'm evan smith, he's the coolest astrophysicist in the universe, the director director of hayden planetarium. dr. neil degrasse tyson, this is overheard. >> actually, there are not two
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sides to every issue. >> i guess you can't fire him now. >> i guess we can't fire him now. might win an emmy. >> being on the supreme court was an improbable dream. it's hard work and controversial. >> window rolls down and this guy says, hey, he goes until 11:00. [laughter]. >> dr. tyson, welcome. >> thanks. my first time. >> it's wonderful to have you here, the coolest guy in the world. >> the the introduction it was the coolest guy in the universe. what did i do in the last five seconds to lose -- >> and it died out -- it's an honor to meet you and i'm so excited about this series, i and other peoples here watching remember the carl sagan series which is the sequel. >> which was 1980.
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>> if anything in the interim, the interest in the subject matter has gotten more mass. more people are interested in the subject partly because of people like you and others like you. >> i'm just the conduit of people who access the -- >> so humble. >> no, i don't -- it's inherently interesting. it's inherently mind blowing. i just have the vocabulary to reveal that fact. >> right. >> i'm not creating an interest in the universe that the universe didn't already earn. >> but you're helping to make it accessible to a wider audience, and for that -- >> i'm just trying open existence for that access. >> so who's idea was this for this redo of the program. >> well, ann drewen is the widow of carl sagan, she cowrote it
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along with others. after carl died, this was 19 nix, '97, around there, i was asked by the board of the planetary society, this was a group that carl sagan cofounded, it's an organization, carl sagan felt that the public needed to be more engaged in our ambitions for the exploration of space in the planets and stuff. >> yep. >> so the planetary society promotes the peaceful exploration of space. he dies. then they invited me to join the board. >> yep. >> in that environment, i had many more encounters with ann druyan, carl sagan's widow, because she's on the board as well. >> right. >> then ann felt comfortable to pop the question. dismoo. >> you're the one. >> this is act wally a sort of -- actually sort of a role
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forward. >> we're going to come back to gravity. >> george clooney, does he remake gravity. in the sequel, yeah, he's still in or bit and they capture him. >> you can't resit. >> you mentioned george clooney, i didn't. >> i'm just keying it up for later. >> so you're not remaking the -- >> no, no,. >> it's the continuation. >> right. >> -- of this great unfolding cosmic journey. >> and it's unfolding. space is different. >> right, i should say it's expanding, not unfolding. it's an expanding universe. >> but there are things now to talk about and to think about that differ from what were interesting all those years ago. >> of course. >> yes. >> and not only that, as they say, you know, as the area of our knowledge grows, so, too, does the perimeter of our ignorance. >> uh-huh. >> so --
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>> i'm going to let you keep going. >> no, no, no. so the simple fact that you know more -- >> yeah. >> -- doesn't necessarily mean that there's less out there to then learn. we now stand in new places, and are asking questions undrement of before. >> right. >> so it's not like there's a set of questions to now answer these and now we can answer these. no. we'll answer all of them and then there's a whole other set of questions we didn't imagine. >> right. >> so we are in an era now where in the first cosmos, it was do other stars have planets? >> yeah. >> now we've got a catalog of 1,000 planets orbiting other stars. >> we've answered it. >> we've answered it, but now there's other questions. do any of them have life that we can measure through the spectro skopic signature of its
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atmosphere moss fear. >> oxygen is unstable in the atmosphere of the planet. oxygen is hielly reactive and it will just go away. the whole idea of let's go find an oxygen planet to go live on, the oxygen was made by the light on the planet. it's not some preexisting thing that you step into with your bed ready-made for you. so now that we have a catalog, let's find ways to president obama -- probe them more deeply. that's just one tinily example of how as you gain knowledge more questions arise. >> why this series on fox as opposed to some other -- >> cbs? >> i didn't say it. you'd think that something like this, sort ofster 83 oh, substantive, although family guy
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is on -- >> i'm not saying, it's just awfully math focused. >> as science should be. >> i like to hear you say that. that's good. >> people say. >> but in same ways -- >> no people say, why is cosmos on fox, there's nothing but nitwits that watch fox, and i say, that's why it should be on fox. why is that -- what are you trying to do here? >> yeah. >> if it's true that people who don't know science watch fox, perfect. kos mows belongs -- cosmos belongs on fox. end of conversation. >> yeah. >> put it on in the places where everybody is already highly educated. put it there. >> yeah. what does that do? >> i guess this is not so much about demand as it is about the assumptions, i hope you're correct in making, about audiences, which is to say there may be a great need for people to be better educated about this stuff, are you going to a place where people are going to find?
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you're providing something. meaning that people are actually going to watch it on a commercial network, the kind of commercial network where people will say, yes, i'm ignorant about it. >> that's the extraordinary fact about it landing on fox. they say let's create product that's bring pathways into their portfolios from all the possible american demographics they can dream up. everybody's watching fox for some reason or another. and now we put the science program on it and they're putting a budget in it that would have been unrealistic had it been done... >> yeah. >> it's a big experiment, they know it's experiment, but everybody's there for it. >> how will you differ from a personality behind this thing to a predecessor of -- >> i'm going to be saying trillion and trillion. >> he said billion.
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>> you're going to update. >> now you got it. see, little too slow there. so what matters here is the spirit, the legacy -- >> yep. >> -- the mission statement that cosmos brought to the scene that people remembered for generations after. you remember cosmos in ways that you don't remember other documentaries that aired before, during or sense. >> definitely. >> so something was different about it. and when we analyze it, it was clear that cosmos has, as a priority, not only teaching you some science, but then alerting you how that matters and why it matters to your life, to us as species, as shepherds of the earth that brings us life and nourishment and what our place is in the universe. this is a cosmic perspective that you, then, take ownership of because you are a participant in the context. when that's the messaging that comes out, and by the way you're
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learning some science along the way, it's indellable to you. so going forward, that is what we're putting into the next show, continuing this journey. if you're going there only to see how well i can imitate carl sagan, you'll probably be disappointed. they say, well, how are you going to do carl? i could try to do it, i would just fail. at best, i would be sort of okay. but i could be a really good version of myself. >> of you. that's the character you can play, yeah. why in this country is there such a need for the average person to know more? why don't we know more about this organically? expwhroo yeah. that's a great question. and i don't know if i know why. i can -- let me give a pie in the sky answer. >> sure. >> during the 1960s when we were on our way to the moon, every week -- by the way, in the 60 draits, we had a cold war, hot war, civil rights movement, campus unrest, and we were going to the moon. >> we managed to do that.
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>> yes. in the face of all of that -- the blood of that decade, we hadn't seen that much blood 100 years earlier during the civil war, just the turbulence of what we were as a nation was tested in that decade. while it was going on, we go to the moon. and what happens in that journey from mercury to apollo, every mission was more ambitious than the next one. if the next mission was higher in space, faster in space, farther away in space, that's ahead line. so now in the midst of all the war, there's ahead line in our future. and what comes out of that? new york world's fair, all about what will tomorrow be like. >> right. >> articles in look magazine, like magazine, studios of tomorrow, people are dreaming about tomorrow. and in dreaming about tomorrow,
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i saw because they saw the power of investments of science around technology and engineering, what it can bring for you, what it does to your vision statement as a human being. what happens in 1972? we stopped going -- we stopped leaving earth, we stopped going to the moon, all those articles go away. they stopped. >> right. >> and then disco comes in, and everybody only cares about themselves. there's a whole change in what people care about. and i think the nation dreamed big, then its citizenry dreams big. >> so we're not dreaming any more, that's the problem. >> that's correct. >> and in the '60s, we all found ambition to do this other thing. >> absolutely. >> basically getting out of the space business, some would argue, no, we're doing this, but it seems like our ambitious has been significantly reduced. >> yeah, the rubric is we're planning to go to mars.
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so i asked the administration when. >> oh, '20, '30. so we're going to go to mars under administration yet to be named on a budget yet to be established. and this is how presidents are now planning the future. back when kennedy said let's go to the moon and return to earth. >> he meant now. >> and had he not gotten shot, proanl would have been a second term, he would have continued to invest in the capital that such a mission statement required. >> and today when we talk about the capital required to do all this, it's often privatized. >> in spite of whatever they well tell you, -- i don't know what they're going to tell you but i'm going to tell you. q. r. >> you tell me. >> by my read of the history of civilization and human motivation and conduct, the private enterprise can never lead the space frontier.
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>> because? >> space frontier is expensive, it's dangerous and it's unquantified the risk. if you put all three of those under one umbrella, you cannot then establish a capital market valuation for that activity. >> who's my investor. oh, you are. well, what's the return? i don't know. will anybody die? i don't know. probably. how much is it? really expensive. are you in? no. you're finding something else to invest in. >> right. >> the way this has happened in the past is governments take the first step, they draw the maps, they find out where the trade winds are, they establish the patent necessary to make those first steps. then private enterprise comes in behind it and makes a buck on it that's what spacex is doing, carrying cargo to the space. when the government does it, they might give us the vehicle that we'll pay for, but they're not going to make that a private thing. there's no money in it.
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sorry, you could do it as a vanity project. bill gate says, let's go to mars. fine, get money, you'll pay for it, it's not a business model. it's not a sustainable and the -- >> and in a kind of corny sense of who we are as a nation, the country doesn't own that if bill gates or somebody else does it, right? >> yeah, but i'm telling you, if he does it, it's a one-all. it's just a one-all. you want to turn a space program into a space industry, you've got to sort of find capitalizable activity. tourists for sure. but you're not going to be a tourist on the frontier. that's a dead tourist. >> right. i'd rather go the beach, honestly. that may just be me. your phrase earlier, not mine, although i love it, science missing. we seem to be at war in some -- >> no, no, it wasn't my phrase. it was other people asking me
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why fox. >> peace on that. >> i was quoting those -- >> the person who coined that phrase. we seem to be at war in this country in certain segments of the country with science. why? what part of these are facts don't the so-called science nitwits understand? why are we constantly having to ke fend something that appears to be doesn't need to be defended. >> the point i didn't finish making in the 60 draits, when science was layed there on the daily headlines, you cannot sweep that under the rug and say science doesn't matter or science doesn't invest in tomorrow or science doesn't matter to me because it is there daily. and so if the nation's not doing some big science project, like going to the moon or mars or beyond, then we're susceptible by getting -- by my read of this, we're susceptible of taking for granted. >> yeah. >> you have feepal who are
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working -- people who are working the gps feature on their iphone saying, i don't -- why are we wasting money in space, meanwhile it's a satellite telling them where grandma's house is. >> yeah. >> so there's a disconnect between what science is actually doing for us and what people think it's doing for us. >> yeah. >> and that disconnect is resolved when there are huge projects that are going on and everybody knows about it. >> that's a practical answer. >> that's how i think. >> and i'm grateful to have it. let me go -- >> you want an unpractical place. >> a little bit. is there a disconnect between science and belief? >> yes. >> because you have people that would put belief ahead of science. >> yes. >> you say the answer is yes. so what do you do about that. >> nothing. >> live and let live. >> let me be clearer. we live in a country that was founded on religious belief. when you said belief, you were
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afraid to use the word religion. >> i have to be here after you go. >> so we -- the nation's founded in large measure on the ability to express your religious beliefs, no matter what that religion is. and one of the things that enables us is that the constitution makes no mention of god, of any strength. there's one trivial mention of r where that is. but there's no mention of god which means the nation cannot establish a state religion, therefore you are free to express what ever religion you want. and i don't have a problem with that. the immigrants that came here to seek religious free dosms because they were persecuted in their own country. i don't have a problem with that. i have a problem if you want to take your religion and put it in my science classroom. that's when i have the problem. that's all.
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it's that simple. [applause] >> and you need to understand that if religious philosophy substitutes for science, you have to understand the consequences. the consequence is innovations in science and technology we have known ever since the beginning -- i should clarify what i mean by beginning there -- ever since -- innovations in science and technology, especially in this, the 21st century, will be the engines of tomorrow's economy. so if in this free country you would rather learn religion and not science because you fear it, you think it is undermined your religious philosophies, just understand the consequences. the nation will slide in its economic leadership of the
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world. it's already sliding in its economic leadership. just be aware that that's what will happen. >> that's the choice you're making. >> that's your choice. all right. so that's all i'm telling you. by the way, there's no tradition of scientists, let alone atheists knocking down a sunday school door saying oh, that may not necessarily be true. they're not picketing outside of churches. churches have been respected by even nonbelievers since the beginning, yet why do i have a list of people coming and picketing outside my science class. i don't understand that actually. part of me thinks that they want to boost the sort of authority of their religious philosophies if they appear in a science curriculum, because they already know science actually has quite a bit of power in this world. >> yep. >> scientists everywhere in every thing -- science is everywhere in every thing, even if you don't want to think so.
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>> we have just a couple minutes left. let me toggle over from one subject to get you animated to another. why didn't you like gravity? >> you mean the film gravity. >> the the film. not actually. >> i love me some gravity. i didn't float in here saying i don't like this gravity stuff. >> you essentially reviewed this film 140 characters at a time on twitter. >> actually i tweet 125 characters, but who's counting. >> apparently i am incorrectly. >> flo, no, no. >> so what about it? >> you have 140 character limit but i hold myself to a stricter standard, 125. >> if only george clooney did, see where i went with that. >> so i tweeted -- i saw the movie i max, the preview, big screen. >> right. >> all right. and, you know, there's debris coming in. i don't know if you saw the movie, but it's basically a survival movie in space is what it is. >> yeah. >> survivor in space, and i
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didn't give anything away by that. and so i saw the movie, they did a lot of brilliant things, got a lot officeics right. and -- of physics right. and because they got so much physics right, i felt justified in highlighting a few of the things they got wrong. one of the things they got right was they kept going in and out of air locks. they did it right. any noise inside the air lock went away as the air evacuated. and here's the thing still banging and you don't hear it. and then the air comes in bract banging noise] they got that. that's physics 101. and there's a lot of other physics they got right. but if you get set into motion, you're going to stay in motion. newton was smiling at this. and sandra bullock is trying to get from one place to another, she ran out of propulsion, oh, grab the fire extinguisher, that will give you propulsion, and
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sure enough she does it. except she should have put it at her center of mass, so that she would just move this way, but she put it higher up on her chest and then you just tumble. that's what happens. you'll move but you'll also rotate. she created a torque on her axis of rotation. but any how, so i put out 10 tweets, i forgot the number, it was not a lot. i said mysteries of "gravity," one of them, why is sandra bullock, a medical doctor, repairing the whole space telescope. get her the hell off my machine. and i -- you know, i don't walk into her operating table and cut open a chest. and she's a medical doctor, and there's george clooney schooling her on the affects of oxygen deprivation. excuse me, she's a medical doctor. so i just had these histories of
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"gravity." at the end, i said, by the way, i really loved the movie. but people thought i hated it. >> all they remembered was the 10 tweets. >> because they didn't keep reading it. it showed up on the today show, on brian williams, on saturday night live's weekend update, people went bat crazy. >> yeah. >> i left out a word in there. >> bat crazy. so here, three weeks later, there's still debate in the blogosphere about this, and i said to myself, whroa, we live in a time where you can now have bar fights over the physics that went on in the no. 1 feature movie. and i thought that -- bract -- [cheers and applause] >> the number one show on tv is called "the big bang theory."
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>> six fans over here. the rest of you, you can buy a tv, you know. there are channels other than cbs. >> it's all good news. >> it's all hopeful. >> they're telling me we're done. i could sit here and talk to you forever. >> no, it'sard fun. -- it's already fun. i'm just revealing that fact. [applause] >> good luck, keep doing it. i hope the show is a big success. >> thank you very much. and even if it fails, i think it's still an offering for people to take it as they choose. >> well, we love it. neil degrasse tyson, thank you so much. >> thank you. [applause] >> we'd love to have you join us in the studio, visit our website at klru.org/overheard to find invitations to interviews, q and as with our audience and guests and archived past episodes.
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they come up with a new theory of gravity. do they replace newton? no. they draw a bigger circle around the applicability of newton's law. >> funding for overheard with evan smith is provided in part by mfi foundation, improving the quality of life within our community, and from the texas board of legal specialization, board certified attorneys in your community: experienced, respected, and tested. also by hilco partners, texas government affairs consultancy and its global health care consulting business unit, hilco health. and by the alice kleberg reynolds foundation, and you vers like you.
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>> garrison keillor: w.s. merwin was born in new york city, the son of a minister. after college, he lived in europe for a number of years, translated spanish and french poetry, learned how to support himself as a freelance-- writing, speaking, giving readings. he moved to hawaii where he lives in a dense forest including rare species of palm trees that he's planted. "poetry," he says, "always begins and ends with listening." >> yesterday. my friend says, "i was not a
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good son, you understand." i say, "yes, i understand." he says, "i did not go to see my parents very often, you know." and i say, "yes, i know." "even when i was living in the same city," he says, "maybe i would go there once a month or maybe even less." i say, "oh, yes." he says, "the last time i went to see my father..." i say, "the last time i saw my father..." he says, "the last time i saw my father he was asking me about my life, how i was making out, and he went into the next room to get something to give me." "oh," i say feeling again the cold of my father's hand the last time. he says, "and my father turned in the doorway and saw me..." look at my wristwatch... "...and he said, 'you know, i would like you to stay and talk
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with me.'" "oh, yes," i say. "'...but if you are busy,' he said, 'i don't want you to feel that you have to just because i'm here.'" i say nothing. he says, "my father said, 'maybe you have important work you are doing or maybe you should be seeing somebody. i don't want to keep you.'" i look out the window. my friend is older than i am. he says, "and i told my father it was so, and i got up and left him then, you know, though there was nowhere i had to go and nothing i had to do." ( applause )
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