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Category Archives: TV

President Obama will appear tonight on the Discovery Channel's science-y program, Mythbusters.  This President has made his rounds on the TV circuit, from daytime talkshows to prime-time news interviews to late-night comedy; nearly all of those appearances have been to communicate some policy change or to signal a new push from his administration. And tonight's no different. 

Earlier this week, international standardized test scores, from the Program for International Student Assessment, placed America squarely in the middle (#19) of 33 participating nations.  Shanghai topped all categories, while Mexico brought up the rear.  Though the United States advanced 6 slots from its last assesment in 2006, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan says, “We have to see this as a wake-up call.” 

So what better way to sound the educational alarm than have the Commander in Chief do it himself on basic cable's favorite pop science program?  For the uninitiated, Mythbusters is hosted by 2 goateed special effects artists who for the past 8 years, have tested the important questions, like, "can a falling penny kill you?" and "what would really happen if you put a bull in a china shop" and as the President puts it, they "blow things up, which is always cool." The hosts, Adam and Jamie bring the Jackass ethos to the scientific method.  Still, there is a vestige of science, where Newton's laws of physics will at least appear on a whiteboard in one shot.

The episode (clip below) will start with the Mythbusters in the oval office receiving an executive order to bust an age-old-myth: could Archimedes' really have used an array of bronze shields or mirrors to reflect and concentrate sunlight to incinerate approaching ships during the Siege of Syracuse? 

The hosts have tested this before, but the Presidential challenge calls for a reconstruction that will bring together 500 schoolchildren from the Bay Area in a parabolic line, standing shoulder to shoulder for nearly a mile.

Over half a century ago American students were the leader in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).  The impetus for increased investment in STEM education learning came from a blinking Soviet satellite flying over our heads.  Will Obama's Discovery challenge be the new Sputnik?

Will solar be the force behind our national defense?

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson has been rounding the talk show circuit, diffusing partisan Climate Reform beef. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), a proponent of climate legislation, pulled his support of a (precariously) bipartisan climate bill when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) slid immigration reform up to the front burner.  Apparently the Senate has never heard of multi-tasking. So once again, as with every stage of this drawn-out process, the headlines proclaimed the "Climate Bill Dead."  

Lisa Jackson played damage control on the Daily Show and Letterman to tell the public that though the Senate missed their Earth Day peg they are working to bring Graham and his Republican cohorts back onboard.

Administrator Jackson also talked with Jon Stewart about the EPA’s jurisdiction over green house gas regulation.  For the first time ever, in March, the EPA began regulating car emissions, shooting for a 40% decrease in the next 5 years.  Jon Stewart’s commute via Private Jet sandwich (I think he sits inbetween) will not be regulated.  

Do you think Senator Graham is justified in his criticism of Senator Reid’s  jockeying of immigration?  

Or is Senator Graham, as Jon Stewart points out, a big baby?

Also, does anyone else think that this is Jon Stewart’s least funny interview?