Wednesday, April 18, 2007

How One TV Show Shows Its Age

Beakman’s World was my favorite science show during my childhood. It was a creative program that kept any my short attention span with quick lessons and comedic writing. It aired every Saturday morning and, much to my delight, has returned for another generation’s Saturday mornings. Beakman’s World is the Mr. Wizard for non-cable subscribers.

On a recent episode, a viewer’s letter asked Beakman how he found his answers. Beakman suggested the following steps (and what this means today):

1. Go to the library and look for your topic in an encyclopedia. (Search in Wikipedia.)

A science guy + guy in a rat costume + young actresses = the world of science as of 1993

2. If the topic isn’t found in the encyclopedia, ask a librarian to help you find the subject in the card catalog. (This really dates the show because many libraries began using computers for “quicker” card catalog searches when the show first aired. Today, if you actually need a book, you can search for and check it out from your home computer. This only helps if you know where your library is located and still have a library card. As if.)

3. If a trip to the library does not answer your question, open a phone book and, with adult supervision, call someone who will have the answer. (Just make sure your spam filter is on when you visit sites from your Google search. Adult supervision is suggested so you don’t wander into older content.)

The scientific method hasn’t changed in the 10 years this episode aired, but the research methods sure have.

1 comment:

Jennifer Howze said...

Hi there

couldn't find contact information on your blog so am posting this here - I'm a blogger on Alpha Mummy, the London Times's blog for working mums. I've referenced your blog about Slip 'N Slide, which I found through google, and linked to it. The post itself is serious - about a study of children playing independently - but thought you'd like to see your shout-out. nice blog.

You can see the post here: