We are stardust...lightly toasted in a heavy bottomed pan
March 3, 2013 4:38 AM   Subscribe

You got your cuisine in my astrophysics; no, you got your astrophysics in my cuisine: Neil deGrasse Tyson interviews Anthony Bourdain. (SYTL)
posted by digitalprimate (16 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
I did not know NdGT had a show like this. Many thanks! I will be subscribing to the podcast shortly.

Did anyone catch Bourdain's guest-voice on Archer this week? He basically pimps Gordon Ramsay. Lots of fun.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:02 AM on March 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

There was something about this that really bugged me until I thought about it. Really, to someone with an education in food microbiology Neil deGrasse Tyson clearly has very little idea what he is talking about with regards to nutrition or zoonosis, . He is just a profoundly smart guy with a borad knowledge of physics, math, and clearly some chemistry who is conspicuously fascinated by these topics interviewing people who do know about them - and then I realized it was actually amazingly cool.
posted by Blasdelb at 5:40 AM on March 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

Neil deGrasse Tyson interviews Anthony Bourdain

I know people who will ship this OTP with AU RPS.

(I really do, but also Elizardbits is MIA and I wanted to tribute).
posted by Mezentian at 6:23 AM on March 3, 2013 [3 favorites]

Hah, I thought from the title that this would be a link to Christopher Jonassen's photographs of the bottoms of frying pans, which look like the surfaces of moons.
posted by bewilderbeast at 7:34 AM on March 3, 2013 [2 favorites]

Forget, for a moment, that NdGT is interviewing Bourdain (which is a bit surreal), and contemplate that NdGT's co-host is this guy.
posted by Hypnotic Chick at 7:53 AM on March 3, 2013

I know people who will ship this OTP with AU RPS.

I'm not sure if I should be excited or appalled that I can totally understand this.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:28 AM on March 3, 2013

It was hard for me to ignore the behavior of Tyson and his co-host toward the nutrition professor. Especially in the first section, she couldn't finish a single damn sentence without one of them just casually overriding her with whatever thought happened to bubble up in their head at the moment. She took that rudeness far more calmly than I would have.
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:17 AM on March 3, 2013

Buuuhh. I closed this before I heard Mr. Bourdain's reply to the first question. I need to drink another cup of coffee before I try again.

NdGT comes off like a total fucking ass. He's an academic who has NEVER HEARD of Nutrition being an academic field? His intro of Anthony Bourdain sounds like he asked staff to come up with someone GOOD to interview and they picked THIS guy...who he's never heard of...and he just now bothered to read this two-sentence description for the first time. Okay, on to the interview: "So, Anthony, what's up with those gross people who like to eat bugs?"
posted by desuetude at 11:10 AM on March 3, 2013

I hear what you're saying desuetude, but (for me at least) getting past objections to the presentation was worth it because Bourdain gave some pretty interesting answers.
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:57 AM on March 3, 2013

I love NdGT, but I want to fucking *be* Anthony Bourdain. I've considered the eventual possibilities and probabilities and if I,like, lost my job and my family left me and I was living in my van, one of the more likely scenarios is that I'd end up in NYC parked outside his apartment waiting for him to come out and try to invent ways to become his best bud. It's not stalking, because I think he'd really like hanging out with me and we'd have all kinds of cool adventures.

But yeah, two really smart and interesting people who should be having a more interesting conversation than this. I suppose there's very little crossover in their respective fields.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 12:33 PM on March 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

"Once you cross that border ... you're someplace special."

True in many contexts, Mr. Bourdain.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 1:05 PM on March 3, 2013

I am willing to excuse NdGT's obvious lack of knowledge about food, because I love him so. I think he asks questions that are broad enough to let Bourdain come up with inevitably interesting answers, even if some of NdGT's asides about "nasty" foods come off a little juvenile.

What I'm less sure about is NdGT's choice of format for this series. Does he really need a comedian to cohost with him? I say no. He's N de Fucking T. I wish it was just him and Bourdain for the whole show.
posted by little mouth at 1:33 PM on March 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

I listened to the Bourdain interview on Aisha Tyler's Girl on Guy podcast recently, and quite enjoyed it. Worth a listen if you like Bourdain (or Tyler, for that matter).
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:17 PM on March 3, 2013

I saw this awhile back--my partner was flipping through some podcasts and I saw "Neil deGrasse Tyson" and "Anthony Bourdain" on the same line and I was like DROP EVERYTHING WE ARE WATCHING THIS RIGHT NOW--and I was taken aback by how shallow and uninformed Tyson's part of the interview was. Even if he is doing the thing some interviewers do where they play dumb for the benefit of their audience so the interviewee will explain things, it seemed wildly at odds with his other works and reputation. And with the random comedian as a co-host... the whole thing is just weird and off. I have chosen to believe it's some sort of bizarre late-night public access tribute to Space Ghost Coast to Coast.
posted by rhiannonstone at 10:39 PM on March 3, 2013

Tyson was indeed pretty uninformed here but his questions were awesome; like, are viruses also destroyed by heat in the cooking process like bacteria?, is the best kind of question to get from undergrads. It shows he is engaged with the subject matter, actively thinking for himself, forming hypotheses and testing them against the knowledge of someone who knows more, and incorporating his knowledge from other parts of science into the discussion. The answer is very basic to someone with a broad knowledge of microbiology, where viral capsids are remarkably delicate and only really well adapted to a relatively narrow temperature window, making human viruses very effectively dealt with by cooking. However, the more I've mulled this over, the more I've come to think that the expectation that NdGT confine himself to discussing in public the many things he is a global expert in, as well as certainly his temptation to, is a really bad one. Where here in this interview we can learn from him learning in his clearly terrifyingly efficient way as well as his passion and I suppose almost especially his willingness to look ignorant, which is something so essential to the honest practice of science. Good scientists are constantly finding new ways to feel stupid - pushing themselves to the edge of knowledge where suddenly they know nothing and no one can help them, its cranks who are all about finding ways to feel smart - smarter than everyone else.

I'll never forget a bit after when I was first starting out in a lab when I was first finding interesting things I didn't really have the context to understand, and I went to the smartest people I knew who were experts in strongly related things and asked the best questions I could come up with. It was profoundly disorienting to hear, after years of learning from textbooks and papers, their fuck if I know. Being a good scientist is really not about knowing all the things, its more about using a set of analytical tools and a having disposition that craves using them to learn important things, which necessarily involves acknowledging that there are important things you don't know. Its more about having the questions than having the answers, and indeed having a talent for good questions is a hell of a lot more important and rare and adaptable than any of the talents for finding good answers.

TL;DR: I think in a much more subtle sense NdGT's badassery was on full display here.
posted by Blasdelb at 1:50 AM on March 4, 2013 [3 favorites]

The comedian though was a douchebag who both knew nothing, showed contempt for knowing things, and and asked questions intended to be disruptive. I guess that might be funny in the kind of cartoon that operates on 'knock knock, interrupting starfish' level humor but was totally out of place here and just stupid. That was indeed a poor choice.
posted by Blasdelb at 1:59 AM on March 4, 2013

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