The Youtube thing on my XBox thing went wrong, so instead of watching funny cat videos while I ironed, I loaded up the BBC iPlayer thing and looked for some documentaries. Against my better judgement, I went back to BBC veteran series “Horizon”, and a programme titled “How small is the Universe”? But sadly, it was business as usual.
I remember the good old days (uh oh) when as a nerdy teen/pre-teen I watched all sorts of documentaries, usually about space, and they were GOOD. Maybe science is the problem. Back then, cutting edge science was satellites to Jupiter, or asteroids, or some crap about DNA. It was simple enough to visualise so they could just cut straight to the learning stuff.
These days that’s a bit old hat, and they want to seem as smart as possible, but there are two drawbacks. One, smart stuff is hard, and there are more stupid people watching TV than smart people. Two, the smartest stuff is all theory and difficult to visualise, forcing the producers to bring it alive with enthusiastic scientists making condescendingly simplistic analogies to describe these ideas.
“How small is the universe” was all about the smallest particles known to science: quarks, muons, gluons, Higgs bosons etc. Cue a tiring array of visualisations of how small things are in terms of numbers so incomprehensibly big/small that they are rendered useless. The commentator didn’t have much to add, and tried to ham things up as much as possible, and unhelpfully hammered home the idea that at the sub-atomic level things get “very strange”.
I endured licence-fee-gobbling trips all around the world, including to Switzerland (ok fair enough, CERN is there) to DROP A CLOCK OFF A TOWER to describe proton collisions. It just makes me so annoyed. BBC Four is better, nobody watches that so they can make whatever they like.
Just don’t even start with award-winning stoner Brian Cox, just don’t even START. Travelling to the Arctic to see the Northern Lights, he got that boring bit about cosmic radiation hitting the ionosphere out of the way, so he could describe it as looking like “spirits going up to heaven”. AWFUL!
I’m going to go and read a book out of protest. Or play Angry Birds, whatever.
God I hate this show. How many scientific principles does he need to explain with a stick and some sand?