Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Air and Space Museum

Can I just say, the Intrepid Air and Space museum is hands down one of the best museums I have ever visited in my life. It is excellently curated, offers a lot to do, and the people who visit are just seriously engaged. They are tuned in and I love that. I love being surrounded by people who get it.

At the National History Museum I felt like I was surrounded by entitled little brats that were annoyed the museum was not the move. This was spectacularly annoying as it seemed like they really didn't want to be there at all, or at least they didn't appreciate what they were experiencing. Not so at the Air and Space museum.

I started off by going to see the Enterprise, which is in a special hanger on the deck of the Intrepid. As I took in the sight, something so amazing to me that I was almost in tears as I walked around the shuttle, I overheard the conversation of a father with his two teenage children.

"So, do you know how fast light travels?" he asked.

"Isn't it like a million miles or something," replied the daughter.

"I thought it was like 186,000 miles or so per second," from the son.

"Isn't that e=mc2?" asked the daughter.

"First, yes, the speed is closer to 186,000 miles per second, but the e=mc2 thing, is actually about relativity. What do you remember about relativity?"

"Well it's from Einstein, right?"

They moved away and I didn't hear the rest of the conversation but the good goddess knows how refreshing it was to be around people that were really, authentically, engaged.

I moved through the ship, took the Intrepid internal tour to see the decks and the crew spaces, looked at all the planes, took a ride on the sea to air deck, and generally had a great time. I avoided the submarine exhibit because I am claustrophobic enough and I took that warning seriously. Later, at work, when I reviewed my vacation with a co-worker she just looked at me and said "You did the right thing. I ignored the sign and about halfway through really wanted out of that sub but couldn't move!"

The Air and Space more than made up for the woeful Natural History Museum.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Hayden Planetarium and Neil DeGrasse Tyson

One thing I love about Neil DeGrasse Tyson is that he is an epic stoner.

I'm not a stoner myself but I have to respect that fact that you have a scientific genius who has no problem being an epic stoner. Whenever I see him do an interview you can almost always tell he is stoned. When you listen to him speaking you an almost certainly tell he is probably stoned. I love the fact that he does what he does and gets stoned doing it.

I didn't know what to expect from the Hayden, but I love astronomy and figured I would be entertained. It's still feels like the career that got away. I very much wanted to be an astronomer, but la diabla madre would constantly harp on the waste of life that would be to the point where I was either forced to lose interest, or began to hide any interest in the interest of self defense.

The Adler may have set high expectations, but the Hayden was good. Tyson's Dark Matter show felt far to short at just 30 minutes, but was informative and thoroughly engaging for the audience. I felt very happy and informed by his content of the piece. Afterwards I walked out to see the rest that the planetarium had to offer, which, sadly, wasn't as much as I wanted.

There is a great spiral walkway that takes you through the history of the universe as you walk down. As you walk you see the variety of different types of stars and other celestial bodies. That part of the show is very well done. Unfortunately when you get to the bottom there are is really only one other video show about space and that is pretty much it. Of course, that last show was about finding gravitational waves so totally worth it.

Sadly, you go from space right into Geology. It probably took me about forty minutes to come down the spiral so by the time I got to the bottom it was around 1. Now many of the people that had been outside the museum were inside. Many of those were children. These children liked to run around like wild, screaming at the top of their lungs, annoyed that the museum wasn't coming to life like it did in the movie. This was something I actually, as an educator, fully loathe. Rather than inflict the screaming on myself I decided it was time to go and check out the other museum on my itinerary for the day, the Air and Space museum.