Saturday, September 12, 2015

Star Talk Live!

So ComiCon hits the east coast every October. The coming month will not be different. The convention provides fan boys the chance to get their fill of the latest happenings in their favorite fandom. I was there few years ago. Last year was a bit different. Due to reasons (the usual life thing work, family etc.) I was unable to attend.

I know it sounds lame when compared to the lengths die hard fans go to for attending the con. But before you revoke my geek card I assure you I have made a geek related pilgrimage. But for 2014 the folks at ComiCon have upped the ante. They are not content with merely packing a convention center, they want to pack the city! That is the concept behind NY Super Week.

They have set up shows that cater to the geek chic crowd. Among them is Star Talk with Neil DeGrasse Tyson. The director of the Hayden Planetarium and TV personality also has his own podcast. I love the format of the show (get the podcast feed at the bottom of the page). A mix of science and fun makes it easy to digest otherwise "complex" topics.

Comedian, Wyat Cenac of the daily show fame, was on hand to up the fun factor. Interjecting with hilarious comments and at times insightful analysis made the evening that more delightful. It was an interesting pairing with expert sociologist who shed light on various social issues. Did you know its universally accepted that raised eyebrows are a sign of a heightened state of emotion; Or the reason for unrest in the middle east can be simulated by a game of risk? They opened the floor up to the audience. That's when things got interesting. Not one but two Muslim brothers took the mic to speak their minds. The first brother of Eastern European decent spoke of dealing with initial shock as people learned of his religion. The panel acknowledged that the media has conditioned us to view "Moslems" in a certain way.

The second brother stated his profession as a translator for the US Military. Hailing from Baghdad he gave an impassioned speech about the plight of his people. The war has devasted an already beleagured people. Desperate to survive they have forgotten their heritage. He feels, as do others the key for the region to rise out of the ashes of poverty and despair, a pre-req for stability in the middle east, is to in fact reclaim their legacy. Baghdad was the seat of learning for the middle ages. Tyson acknowlged work done by Muslims in field of astronomy something that is rare as its often denied. I want the brother to know there is work being done to reclaim our accomplishments. There are many people and organizations working hard to perserve this noble tradition of learning. One such effort is 1001 Inventions, a journey into the golden age of Muslim civilization.
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