The only advantage to getting old is grandkids. Of course, I’m sure there exist grandkids from hell but as a general concept, grandkids are a great idea. They allow us to have fun, hang out with young people and then send them back to the people who have the real work of attempting to civilize them. All plusses. No minuses.
Every year at about this time the local engineering school, Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) sponsors a science exhibition for kids. The call it “Touch Tomorrow”
( http://wp.wpi.edu/touchtomorrow/the-festival/wpi-research-exhibits/ ). WPI is affiliated with NASA and provides robotics and other expertise for Mars rovers and robotic components that dig and manipulate objects and sense light and other functions. So, there are exhibits and presentations on many subjects involving spaceflight, robots and futuristic technology of all sorts. For my oldest grandson this is like being in heaven.
And it’s pretty good stuff for me too. Being an engineer and an inveterate fan of science fiction many of the topics are highly interesting and even answer some of my questions about the whichness of what. So, this event is an annual win-win for me and my descendant.
But, of course, being in New England and the bluest of blue states, the fair has its share of pc virtue signaling and progressive biases. I won’t go into all of them but suffice it to say that the celebration of women in science and technology is just a little too loud and a little too shrill. That being said, I noticed a couple of things that gave me some small reason for optimism.
The first was at the forensic medicine exhibit. A woman who had worked for the coroner had a table full of bones. She was explaining to the kids how physical parameters of skeletons could allow a coroner to estimate very accurately the age of a child based on evidence from a skull. This had to do with the stages of dentition. Then she had a skull of Neanderthal Man. She was able to relate the difference between Neanderthal and modern humans based on the differences in skull shape and bone thickness. Finally, she was able to point to the differences in skulls based on sex and also race. She had skulls for the three major racial families (Caucasoid, Negroid, Mongoloid) and for men and women. I was shocked that a pack of screeching SJWs had not driven her out of the hall for espousing these hate crimes. That not only were there physical differences between the races but that men and women were divided along anatomical lines. Such an outrage.
The second thing I heard was during a presentation by a physics professor on the Universe. He described the scientific method and very pointedly declared that no scientific fact was ever settled. He stated categorically that a theory that was refuted by evidence was false. And he further stated that a true scientist is always hoping that experiments used to prove a theory refute it in some way because these differences from theory are the basis for an increase in knowledge. He said that when the Higgs Boson was confirmed last year, the disappointment was that it was exactly as calculated. Even though the discovery was a great triumph of the standard model, the fact that nothing new was learned was a let-down to those hoping for new information. I was tempted to ask what he thought of global warming data but I didn’t want to get this faithful acolyte of science burned at the stake by adolescents.
After the presentation, I spoke with this physicist and pinned him down about one particular “fact” that he showed during his presentation. When describing the size of the universe he stated that the universe was potentially 93 billion light years wide. I asked him whether the universe is currently believed to be bounded or unbounded. He stated it was believed to be unbounded. So, I asked him what the physical reality of this edge of the universe at 93 billion light years was. He said all that it is, is the current guess at how far we’ll be able to observe based on the light after the big bang. And he continued, “beyond that be dragons.” Now that’s my kind of scientific answer.
After this presentation, we were finished with the exhibition and headed to a steakhouse for beef and potatoes. I went with the ribeye and baked potato while this younger fellow heretically opted for sirloin and french fries. Youth is wasted on the young.
During dinner, we continued our debate of the impossibility of producing a machine to endlessly produce electric energy from a single input of mechanical energy to a dynamo. He wasn’t having any of it. To prove my loyalty to the laws of thermodynamics and electromagnetism I agreed to fund his project and purchased a number of components for his machine on (of course) Amazon.com. In this way, we could provide evidence to confirm or dispute his law of perpetual motion.
When we got to my house, his grandmother provided ice cream and I provided classic horror movies, specifically, “The Bride of Frankenstein” and “The Creature from the Black Lagoon.” Being a purist I strongly disapprove of TCFTBL being included in the Universal canon. But we live in disordered times and allowances must be made.
After I returned him to his parents it occurred to me that the name Touch Tomorrow could also be a description for older people spending time with their grandchildren. They literally are tomorrow and by influencing them we make probably the most lasting effect we will have on the future. Considering all the negative influences on our children from the forces of progressivism I thought about how good it is that we can impact them directly and have fun at the same time. So, family actually is good for something. Who knew?