Space travel isn't funny. Well, OK, maybe it is a little.

By Phil Plait | July 24, 2009 2:27 pm

I met Brian Malow at LaunchPad last week. He’s The Science Comedian, making funny with the science. As it happens, he makes short videos for, and in his last one he makes the case for space.

Unfortunately, won’t let me embed the video (hey, Time! As one of your Top 25 Blogs of 2009, I’m askin’ here: allow embedding!), so click the link and enjoy.


Comments (16)

  1. Jack Mitcham

    I’m glad he’s getting out there! He’s pretty darn good.

  2. Ami

    He brings up a good point that we dont need any help from asteroids in pushing ourselves to extinction and that we should “perfect space travel, THEN soil home planet”.

    Chicago Web Design

  3. His bit about ‘create interstellar travel, then trash the planet’ reminds me of an old joke about (Vikings/Barbarians): (family friendly version) “Pillage FIRST, THEN burn”


  4. Gary

    Cool Hubble image of Jupiter impact site taken yesterday (7/23/09)

  5. Christina Viering

    He is very cool!

  6. bassmanpete

    “First perfect interstellar flight, then soil the home planet.”

    Hopefully he was joking when he made that remark. Otherwise he’s just showing the typical human arrogance that the planet is ours to soil. So no; if you have any sense, you don’t soil the home planet at all.

  7. TJ

    Nice addition to the fear-peddling approach scoundrels everywhere use to move their warez. Interestingly, several of his threats were *enabled* by science. (Why do we do that?)

    All the science I know says we’re not going anywhere for a long, long time. There’s a kind of cosmic justice in the idea that you can’t evolve space travel before you’re fit to leave your nest.

  8. Torbjörn Larsson, OM

    the planet is ours to soil.

    Well yes, it is.

    As a skeptic I know there is no evidence for magical rights imposed by any cosmic justice system.

    And observations of moral behaviors of populations tells us that this is what populations do, usually by way of evolution, affect their environment in the same way that the environment affects them.

    The facts are that the largest environmental catastrophes observed were the product of such behavior. The prime example is the oxygenation of the atmosphere. Oxygen producers soiled the planet as nothing before or after them, killing most of themselves and their cousins in the process.

    It really made life difficult for their descendants too. Many or all of todays main (I think) oxygen producers, cyanobacteria, has AFAIU to wrap themselves in three layers of cell membranes, their equivalent of an exoskeleton. This because their type of photosynthesis is very sensitive to oxygen. Think of dooming your descendants to wear two layers of space suits, for all eternity!

    What would be arrogance is to think that humans are special in this respect.

    That said, even if there are no magical or moral rights that says anything else than that you should soil your planet as everyone else, and the future generations have to modify accordingly, I don’t think it is a good idea in general.

    And we do it so much faster than other species that it isn’t our kids that will have to change in unpredictable ways, it is us and our culture. I’m sufficiently egocentric to think that this is a bad idea, for us.

  9. Tim G

    Science comedians cannot be too common. Perhaps they are even rarer than fashion historians.

  10. 7. Tim G Says:
    Science comedians cannot be too common. Perhaps they are even rarer than fashion historians.

    Imagine how rare fashion history comedians are, then.


  11. Space travel, not funny?

    Well, what about I Dream Of Jeannie?

    Interesting to note that no sitcoms about astronauts came out until Project Gemini was in full swing, as Gemini’s two-man crews allowed for a wise-ass (Healy) and a straight man (Nelson).

    Oh, and, did anyone else here old enough to remember Jeannie ever notice that seemingly every other episode opened with Nelson and Healy on a mission together? Never mind that that many Gemini missions, in reality, would’ve stretched the program clear into the ’70s; Nelson and Healy must’ve had a helluva lot of “pull” in Deke Slayton’s office to get that many flights.

  12. Charles J. Slavis, Jr.

    You only have to get dressed down a couple of times as a fashion history comedian and you’re history.

  13. DaveS

    His “unite against a common challenge” rings sour in the face of a million screaming Muslims. And Christians.

  14. quantum cephalopod

    Going to the bathroom during space flight is funny.

  15. If space travel isn’t funny, then my new site is doomed to failure.

  16. 14. quantum cephalopod Says:
    Going to the bathroom during space flight is funny.

    The History Channel had a movie “Moonshot” (with Buzz Aldrin played by James [Spike in the Buffy TV series] Marsters), which included one scene where one of the astronauts took home an experimental ‘urine collector’ to test. He’s in the bathroom with it, his wife is outside reading off the instructions.. until they get to the step ‘urinate’.. there’s a bit of a pause….



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