behold the wonders of science

So, I had two topics I was considering for today's entry. A lengthy discussion on contemporary labor relationships and the status of capitalism, or my trip to the Museum of Science!

Don't worry, its the latter.

Spent the morning at Boston's Museum of Science. I get in free because I work for a non-profit cultural institution. Yay me! I wanted to get there today because they were having an exhibit closing this week that I haven't been able to see called "Speed". It was very hands-on and kids-oriented, so it wasn't really as fun as I'd hoped, but probably would have been nice for kids in groups. Some of it was interesting, though. Had a little thing that let you do your own animation, which was cool.

On my way there, I walked through an exhibit on Microbes, sponsored by Pfizer. I'm not going to be too hard on the Museum because this was very clearly labeled on the sign that introduces the exhibit (although its not on their website), BUT the exhibit had some pretty obnoxious corporate shilling. Its a traveling exhibit thats a few years old at this point, but it reminds me about why corporate sponsorship is dangerous in education/museum. The way it was set up, I was left with the impression the Pfizer single-handedly won World War II. Okay, I'm exaggerating (slightly) but it heavily tied Pfizer to the discovery of penicillin in a manner which wasn't entirely historically accurate. I imagine if I sat through the whole video display, it'd have been more clear, but it was definetly misleading. (Pfizer didn't discover penicillin; it also didn't discover the original research which discovered penicillin; it was just tapped to aid in production once it became clear that a drug from penicillin had considerable potential) But aside from creepy corporate influences, the exhibit had an infant-sized iron lung which reminded me how damn scary Polio must have been and how incredibly thankful I am to live in a world where fat people qualify as a major health concern. It may be wrong, but at least they only got to hassling us because they cured stuff that was really frightening. Just the thought of people trapped in Iron Lungs for the rest of their lives was shocking. We all owe much thanks to Jonas Salk, and should be thankful of where we live, because Polio hasn't yet been eradicated. Anyway, one more thing on the exhibit I want to comment on. They had a game/exhibit called "Race a Bug" which was a badly designed 3D racing game involving microbes going through a human body. There was an on-going naration in the game (which lasted WAY too long) and it kept fitting in these fat-baiting remarks. I mean, its a freaking game, and it keeps saying how the body in the game needs to lose weight. Yuck!

So, after learning how Polio saved the planet, I went into an IMAX film, Top Speed which was basically about people and things that go fast. A lot of it was a love-fest for athletes, which kinda annoyed me, since in the details were bits about how horribly dangerous these sports are and produces numerous injuries even for a good athlete. This is what we have to aspire to? Putting our bodies in unnecessary danger for the persuit of health? We're not talking aerobics or anything here, but mountain biking and 24-hour road races. It was scary just watching the mountain bikes as they hoped along some picturesque rocky desert-type terrain. No thanks. I'm not nearly that enamored with the thrill of cheating death. I'm much happy playing fair with death as opposed to tempting it.

So, those are my pointless thoughts of the day. I'll consider subjecting you all to my diatribe about labor relations some other day. Oh, and Good Will Hunting is on Bravo now. I take back anything positive I said about Ben Affleck's performance. It was much more of an absurd chararicture than I gave him credit for. Big props to Gus Van Sant for the directing, though. I love the atmosphere he creates in the film. Its all very real. Except for Affleck. I'm loving the ambient noise in the Harvard Square scene with Matt Damon and Minnie Driver. Everything about the film grounds in reality, which is so important for a story of someone with unreal abilities. Except for Affleck. Though, to be fair, Affleck was good in the final scene, but that's only because he has to act with his mouth shut so he doesn't get to ruin things.

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