Thursday, February 22, 2007

Minnesota Gift Baskets

A recent conversation with the boyfriend, not at all related to Minnesota Gift Baskets,

I say, "My brother sent me a video today."
"Like on UTube?"
"No, a video."
"Like in an e-mail?"
"No...a tape."

How quickly the old technology gets forgotten.

The first time I ever heard Bjork's song "Isobel" was on a telephone. The local paper had done a review of her album. Following the review was a small blurb, "If you'd like to hear a track from the new album, dial 503 555 1212." At that point, I hadn't yet heard of TMBG's "Dial A Song," but it was a similar idea. "Dial a song" is much different these days.

How quickly, indeed.

And yet, the really very old continues to be revered. An Australian website was recently launched, providing high school teachers with resources to discuss careers in science. The graphic design and writing style suggests that it might also be intended for a younger audience. Among other things, the site features Australian Nobel Prize winners:

To me, this is a corrollary to what I mentioned recently regarding the stock photo diversity poster. This line-up of white dudes in dated frocks is an equally unrealistic reflection of what science looks like. In high school, I was presented with similar line-ups, though Marie Curie was usually involved, and I always felt so far away from the excitement of scientific inquiry when faced with those grainy black and whites.

So what's the answer? You don't like the diversity poster. You don't like the Nobel Prize winners. What would make you happy?

A better alternative can actually be found at the same Australian website. There, we see a list of scientists, both men and women, ranging from biology to engineering, from geology to scientific journalist. I feel this is the most engaging part of the website, but I really wish it were expanded. Perhaps, I dunno, adding pictures of these real people would really brighten things up. It's so much easier for a kid--a potential member of the scientific community--to relate to a "Scott Burgess: ecologist" or "Suzanna Turk: engineer" than it is "Old white dude: Nobel Prize winner."


kb said...

Especially when we're actually talking about John Warcup Cornworth: Perfecter of the Thinly-Disguised Mad-Scientist Smile.

Fresh said...

I love how older technology (which is still used) is simply forgotten about these days. A video would make most people think YouTube.

Gift Baskets