We listened to the rhythm of life

Such a wonderful Science Show, ABC Radio National Saturday, April 13th 2019.

The Science Show

“The Science Show gives Australians unique insights into the latest scientific research and debate, from the physics of cricket to prime ministerial biorhythms.” On Saturday, we heard an alternative Prime Minister speak about his commitment to science as central in our future. I would have liked Mr Shorten to move to STEAM. He knows that politics affect the way we approach science, so he knows the humanities are in the mix. He recognises the reality of global warming.

On Saturday, we learnt slime moulds have memory. That is, there is memory before the existence of the nervous system. I think of Susannah Eliott’s essay, ‘Of Slime Moulds and Poetry’ in her contribution to Challenging the Divide: Approaches to Science and Poetry, launched by Robyn Williams in 2010. She would share this love with her grandchildren, trying to move beyond problems we are creating for our planet.

Robyn always brings in connections. Today he took us to a science poem instead of a science song. Listen(Link will open in new window) Download

Robyn said: “Well, no science song for you this week. Instead, a science poem. This is what Dr Earle Hackett wrote to celebrate the Moon landing 50 years ago. He was inspired, sort of, by how hard it is to write verse about satellites.”
Earle Hackett: “There’s only one rhyme for satellite and that’s patellite which means someone interested in the welfare of kneecaps.
I met him on our satellite
(Oh list ye while I tell)
He said ‘I am a patellite
And kneecaps I do sell.


Not very good really. But for real good rhymes give me Moon, ‘oon’ is such a lovely syllable, to demonstrate which I will now rhyme it 34 times:

Oh let me give tune
To a loving lampoon,
For darling ’tis soon
We shall walk on the moon
Before it is strewn
By a Yankee platoon
With flag and maroon
And drum and bassoon
And beer and spittoon
And TV and cartoon.
Come, let me dragoon
You to eat macaroon
In a lunar saloon
By a dusty lagoon
On a warm afternoon
With no fear of typhoon
(or simoom or monsoon)
(or racoon or baboon)
(or a Marshall McLuhan)
To upset our pontoon.
I will deck and festoon
You with hat and balloon
So sweet and jejune
In your space going shoon
Nicely frilled with galloon.
And your blouse of gambroon,
Matching wide pantaloon,
All tabs and gadroon.
Why the gussets unscrewn?
For to spend a doubloon?
Oh, my darling – I swoon!”

Robyn Williams: “Earle Hackett, who was our radio doctor before Dr Norman Swan, and who was for a while chairman of the ABC.” I thank the Science Show for letting me include this contribution to ‘literacy and numeracy’. Erica Jolly MACE.

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