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‘Bill Nye Saves the World’ on Netflix

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Here at Jolly Tomato, one thing we love almost as much as food is science. And there’s perhaps no better defender of science than the affable, charming Bill Nye. That’s why we’re so excited for the debut of Bill Nye Saves the World on Netflix, coming April 21.

Bill Nye Saves the World on Netflix

The show gives Bill Nye a platform to talk about all things science, plus it gives him a chance to skewer many current anti-science trends and myths. It’s presented in a talk show format, but perhaps the best way to describe it, as one correspondent put it, is kind of like “The Daily Show” for science.

Bill Nye Saves the World on Netflix

Each episode has a theme that Nye explores with his typical humorous style, followed by an on-location report from one of his many correspondents (including a crew of celebrities, science experts, and comedians), and then a talk-show-style discussion with experts from the field. In the “Tune Your Quack-O-Meter” episode, for example, he has a correspondent visit a “sound therapy” healer, talks with a panel of experts on the placebo effect, and pairs with musician Steve Aoki to test the curing powers of a potion sold as a costly “natural” antacid. (Spoiler: The antacid contains vinegar, of all things, so of course it doesn’t work at all to counteract the acidity in the test solution.)

Bill Nye Saves the World on Netflix

We’re excited about this show because it’s got great mass appeal, for both old and young. It has just the right kind of good-natured appeal for everyone from a science professor (i.e. my dad) to a science-loving kid (i.e. my kid).

“There’s a lot of ignorance out there: People don’t know about these topics, and there is an anti-science movement,” said Nye at a screening we attended. “The dream of this show is to show people a new way of thinking.”

After watching the show, we had a chance to sample what is presumably one of Bill Nye’s favorite meals – BLT (bacon lettuce and tomato) dehydrated and served in a test tube; as well as popcorn served in periodic table of the elements-themed bags declaring “Po” as popcorn.

Bill Nye Saves the World on Netflix

Bill Nye Saves the World on Netflix

We asked Bill Nye about the popcorn bags and he feigned exasperation. “I kept telling them, ”’Po is polonium!'” he joked. And sure enough, when I brought it home to my young scientist he eyeballed it and said, “Polonium? That’s a heavy metal. It would never work in a paper bag.” Bill Nye would be proud.

Coming soon: In honor of all things science, we’ve undertaken a few Bill Nye-inspired science-themed food projects, including making our own kombucha (the science of fermenting!), making cheese using rennet, and doing some molecular gastronomy using agar-agar. Watch this space for more!

Blogger disclosure: I am part of Netflix’s Stream Team, through which I receive a Netflix subscription and opportunities for early previews and screenings. I did not receive compensation for this post. All opinions expressed are my own.

 

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4 Responses to ‘Bill Nye Saves the World’ on Netflix

  1. Stephanie Dreyer April 27, 2017 at 8:55 pm #

    This looks great! Thanks for the preview. Going to try this out with the kids! 😉

  2. Peter April 29, 2017 at 7:29 pm #

    Regarding Bill Nye’s laughable attempt to debunk the expensive herbal remedy for “upset stomach” containing elm extract, peppermint, and vinegar, he certainly failed miserably to show that it would not be effective. Indeed, he would have seen the same result if he had compared Milk of Magnesia to Prilosec, Nexium, Pepcid, or any of many other proven pharmaceutical treatments for GERD or heartburn, because they don’t act by neutralizing the stomach acid but instead act by suppressing stomach acid production over an extended time frame (as opposed to the immediate neutralizing action of Milk of Magnesia). So, it’s entirely possible that the herbal remedy also could be intended to reduce symptoms by some mechanism other than neutralization of stomach acid, such as inhibiting stomach acid production, reducing stomach muscle spasms or contractions, stimulating the production of protective mucus, etc. etc. If Bill Nye (or his writers and advisors) had spent any time thinking about this before rushing to ridicule the herbal remedy, they probably would have cut that segment (or, less likely, expanded it to include a more sophisticated investigation that encompassed multiple alternative mechanisms of action). By making the incorrect assumption that all remedies for “upset stomach” should work via the same mechanism of action as Milk of Magnesia, the show presented science and scientists in a poor light and invited easy criticism by anyone opposing efforts to advocate science- or evidence-based decision-making. Remember the old saw: When you assume, you make an ASS out of U and ME.

    • Robert May 2, 2017 at 8:01 pm #

      Glad to see someone else was as bothered by this experiment as I was. I don’t care at all if the natural remedy worked or not, it was just bad science. It was like saying the only way to stop ocean acidification is to dump a bunch of baking soda in the ocean. Complex systems can have indirect means of altering them, many of which may seem counter intuitive.

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