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Break The Science Barrier

What you haven't watched Richard Dawkins Break the Science Barrier? What are you waiting for? You can watch it online or better yet get your own copy. Hell, it's only $15.00. Here's a short clip.

Quicktime Video 2.4 MB | Duration: 01'53
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I mean...I even watched the clip and I STILL wouldn't do it. Judging from his outfit, this video is from a pre-9/11 world. ALL the rules have changed...all of them.

Lead is bad.

There's also: 'Prof. Walter H. G. Lewin, No. 1 on the most downloaded list at iTunes U for a while'... from a NYTimes article: At 71, Physics Professor Is a Web Star It's where I first saw a video with the same pendulum setup. Of course Dawkins makes Theatre out of it - makes it almost a religious experience...

And there was no mention of what would happen if the cable snapped on the backswing and sent the cannonball crashing onto his foot.

Those were some big, heavy balls. The lead ball was big too.

Well done, John Barleycorn. Once again it is important to bring in a distractor. The demo was to make the point about understanding of Science, so we then have to go on a tangent about "what about...?" What if Dawkins had leaned forward slightly? What if someone had popped a balloon and surprised him? What if....?

Dawkins is professor of the public understanding of science at Oxford - this video shows him doing his day job.

As a Science teacher at University I used to astonish undergraduates by simultaneously dropping a 7 lb weight and a paperclip from the same height to show that they hit the ground at the same time. These were mainly Biology students with little understanding of the Laws of Physics! If we could get into the understanding of science and away from the need to explain everything by intuition the world would be a better place.

And, BTW, the programme was first broadcast on Channel 4 in 1996.

Also BTW, the Laws of Physics have NOT changed.

His 'Growing Up in the Universe' DVD was ten times more interesting and only $5 more.

Generally when scientists explain this experiment they make it very clear that you should take care not to push the ball when you release it.

I think Dawkins has a secret desire to bash in the faces of people who don't understand science. ;)

"ALL the rules have changed...all of them."
Name one "rule" of science that has changed as a result of 9/11.

Betcha can't.

Name one "rule" of science that has changed as a result of 9/11.

I thought the first post was a joke?

We're all joking here, right?


"ALL the rules have changed...all of them."

I'm quite confused of this statement aswell, can the OP please explain?


If you are arguing that the rules haven't changed then you are siding with the terrorists.

In earnest: I'd be scared, too. Not because I don't believe Newton but because I'd not trust myself, physically, to keep as still as I'd have to. If you'd ask me to put a very expensive fragile object on a pedestal instead of my shaking body's nose, I'd not hesitate.

But anyway, the show looks like fun.

If we don't deal with the laws of physics over there,

we will have to deal with them here.

After 9-11 it's just that simple.

Still uncertain Mr. Heisenberg?

I saw that on Mr. Wizard probably two decades ago. I would have volunteered!

And if you don't understand how 9/11 changed EVERYTHING, start by having your humor sensors checked. ;)


If I'm not mistaken, gravity has increased 5% per year since 9/11.

What's that? I'm getting fat you say?

Clearly, you don't understand science.

pedantasauraus, I wouldn't go so far as to say I'm a "distractor", detractor maybe... I was just saying two things: 1) I might be afraid to do it, but based on murphy's law or workmen having a bad day or materials. Same reason I won't bungee jump. He was actually very brave to do it considering what else could've gone wrong. Very dramatic display of his trust in not only physics, but in his fellow man as well - admirable. 2) Are you sure this is his original idea (besides the watermelon) just because it was done in 1996? Isn't this just a physics teacher's version of "pull a rabbit out of a hat"? - kiteless "saw that on Mr. Wizard probably two decades ago", for example.

But you are right: I tend to be too negative when posting here - I'll wait until I see something I can really like before I post again. I won't say anything else against Dawkins in the future either - I know how that raises the shackles...

pedantsareus, I meant...

NIce response, John Barleycorn.

While we are at it - in my best pedantic mode - in the best society one normally has one's hackles raised.

spelling pedantasaurus wrong was a real mistake...

Pedant S(parta) Areus?

(in my best emo devo mode)

OK John - or (in the manner of the magazine PRIVATE EYE) that's enough emo devos - Ed.

i wouldn't do it. no problem with the physics, just a flincher.

what a fun thread, btw. lighthearted. fluffy.

lighthearted. fluffy.

All we need now is a tad of touchy-feely.

Group hug anyone? :-D


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