Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Bill Nye Drops the Ball on DeflateGate

The one person who really looks bad in the whole DeflateGate scandal is Bill Nye.
 
No matter how you feel about Bill Belichick, Tom Brady, and the Patriots, one good thing that has come out of the DeflateGate scandal has been a national discussion of the ideal gas law, thermodynamics, and air pressure. When is the last time you heard anybody outside a high school or college science class bring up PV=nRT?


And people aren't just discussing it, they're passionately arguing it, doing experiments, making calculations - it's amazing. Then along comes Bill Nye to throw some icy cold anti-intellectual water on the issue.



I never could before have imagined Bill Nye being anti-intellectual, but here's the proof. See the portion beginning at 43 seconds in.

Nye is critiquing Belichick's, admittedly somewhat amateurish, attempt to scientifically explain how the balls could have started at a regulation minimum 12.5 psi when checked by the officials, but later end up at lower pressures on the field.

Whether you believe Belicheck or not, one statement in the above video is patently, totally, completely, unabashedly, embarrassingly false. It's Nye's claim that, " . . . to really change the pressure in the ball, you need one of these - the inflation needle."

In one flip comment, Nye undermines the cool conversation we've all been having while totally discounting a whole lot of physics. The fact is you can change the relative pressure in the ball by changing the temperature of the gas inside, by changing the properties of the the material the ball is made of (getting it wet and potentially making it more stretchy, perhaps), and changing the pressure of the atmosphere outside the ball (can you say "barometer," Mr. Nye?), or by changing the shape of the ball (as might happen when 300+ pound offensive players fall on it time and time again, or after the spiking that followed a whole mess of touchdowns).

It's possible that none of these factors explain away DeflateGate, but to unimaginatively dismiss them the way Nye did utterly undermines his cred as a science educator. Really?!?!? All it takes for him to go totally anti-science on us is to be a fan of the Seahawks?

Please, Mr. Nye, step back, think about what you did for a moment, and then  try again.





28 comments:

  1. completely agree. It was totally disappointing, as was deGrasse Tyson.
    Please, guys, science is about experiments.

    ReplyDelete

  2. I'm so excited while I read all the comments.
    macaulonghei

    ReplyDelete

  3. The information which you people are given are really superb..!!!
    aaa-stone

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thank you for this guidance.its really informative for all.. dsn027

    ReplyDelete
  5. Keep posting the articles,useful to every one.Aishopeacademy

    ReplyDelete
  6. Peoples are giving wonderful thoughts… gxshangsi

    ReplyDelete
  7. Not only to read need to spreed every one.artchartrons

    ReplyDelete
  8. I am so excited while I read all the comments. hzsdxc

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thank you for this guidance.its really informative for all.. oceanlawpublishing

    ReplyDelete
  10. The information which you people are given are really superb..!!!
    thesummerheightshighproject

    ReplyDelete
  11. Information are more innovative and nice to read it. redhouselanescotland

    ReplyDelete

  12. Thank you for this guidance.its really informative for all..
    totuldesprecarti

    ReplyDelete

  13. Nice post all information are useful to real life. xhdeutz

    ReplyDelete

  14. Its very useful if every one should follow this. yeyige

    ReplyDelete

  15. Thank you for this tutorial.its really informative tutorial.
    wpzszk

    ReplyDelete
  16. Peoples are giving wonderful thoughts…
    aphorismer

    ReplyDelete
  17. Keep posting the articles,useful to every one.
    usaconsultantjobs

    ReplyDelete
  18. Information are more innovative and nice to read it.
    usanonprofitjobs

    ReplyDelete
  19. Thank you for this guidance.its really informative for all..
    shjkw58

    ReplyDelete

  20. What a good suggestion posted by the peoples.
    Jatyc

    ReplyDelete

  21. Not only to read need to spreed every one.
    software-kit

    ReplyDelete