Saturday, November 7, 2009

Hot Topics

Some of the glow of our Hawaii trip hasn't left us yet. Before the trip I picked up some new music for the car: Here Comes Science by They Might Be Giants. And we loved some of the songs so much the entire car was belting them out with the CD. Especially The Sun is a Mass of Incandescent Gas, which is just a great song, even if it is--um--wrong.

Which is what They Might Be Giants thought, as I learned listening to this Radio Lab episode, so they kept the song, but followed it up with The Sun is a Miasma of Incandescent Plasma. Which has the great lines:

Forget that song!
They got it wrong.
That thesis has been rendered invalid.

I got a real kick out of hearing the kids sing these songs, and they led to a discussion about the scientific process. And about plasmas. Kind of amazing that this undermentioned fourth state of matter is the state that 99% of the visible universe is in.

Greta was particularly taken by the whole idea of plasmas. Here was a conversation from yesterday. Even though we told her about plasmas she just can't help herself from retelling us about them.

Greta: (excitedly) Dad, if you get water really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really--
Mike: Yes, we get the point--
Greta: Daddy, stop annoying my reallys! Really really really really really hot, it turns into a plasma.

Greta was indignant about the line Even when it's out of sight it shines both night and day. You see, when she was an alien, it was her job to put out the sun every night.

Another beloved song is A Shooting Star is Not a Star, about meteors, which is great sung in rounds, and was interestingly appropriate yesterday when we were at a birthday party and a large meteor cut across the sky. Sad to say, I was oblivious, but I did get to see the contrail.

There is a song about the planets which is little more than each planet's name much more.... Jupiter is sung with great thumping bass notes like a stomping giant.

Evelyn claimed that Jupiter was not big enough to deserve such pronounced stomping, but we checked this hypothesis out yesterday at Chabot Space and Science Center and found that while, as Greta can sing for you, the sun is so large a million earths can fit inside, only 1000 Jupiters will fit in the sun.

Jupiter is stomping big.

We got to peek at it through one of the telescopes and see it and the 4 moons Galileo discovered, and it was like seeing a friend.

Wow, education with a sound track. It really does make it more exciting.

Click on the mp3 icon below to hear, if not the most rousing rendition, at least an example of our car singalongs.


The Stone Age Techie said...

I've loved They Might Be Giants since they sang great songs for college students (Particle Man and Istanbul are two favorites), and I was so happy when they started making music for families! Have you ever heard The Alphabet Lost and Found? (You probably have, and maybe have even seen some of TMBG's TV stuff. But we don't have cable, and don't do a lot of TV in any case, so we rely on our CD player for TMBG fixes.) I hadn't heard about this science album, and I cannot wait to get my hands on it!
I could not get your MP3 to play, most likely because of my technical inadeptness, but I will try again later because I love the idea that you recorded your family singing together, in the car.
Thanks for this post -

Kristin said...

That audio sound bite is so cute. It's funny that they know all the words to those science songs vs. Hanna Montana lyrics that most kids sing to. Quite a different mentality, eh?

Susan said...

Karen, I can't believe you are Battlestar Galactica and a TMBG fan...and Sturbridge Village...I think we need to exchange a comprehensive list of things we like to make sure we're not missing anything, because I was missing TMBG until this trip. You should only have to click on the icon...try refreshing your browser if you don't see a little icon in the box.

Usually I was singing, too, but I didn't sing for this recording because I am too close to the microphone and I didn't want to be the star. :)

Kristin, thanks! I think it is great, too. For some reason I just love to hear them singing copper iron aluminum on the surface of the sun are all gas! with such feeling.

The Stone Age Techie said...

Got it. That is possibly the cutest thing I have ever heard, ever.
I'll get started on my list!

Stefaneener said...

She is very very funny.
That meteor was, in fact, my first. Yay!
Don't forget Bare Naked Ladies' "big Bang Theory Theme:
"Our whole universe was in a hot dense state,
Then nearly fourteen billion years ago expansion started. Wait...
The Earth began to cool,
The autotrophs began to drool,
Neanderthals developed tools,
We built a wall (we built the pyramids),
Math, science, history, unraveling the mysteries,
That all started with the big bang!"

patricia said...

Oh, this is so up our alley. How did I not know that TMBG had a new science album? We've loved the Here Come the ABC's album for years (my favorite is when the kids sing "The Alphabet of Nations"--they've memorized it, of course!)

But a science album sounds even better as they're getting older. I know Mr. T will lap it up.

I loved the sound clip. Almost as much as Greta commanding, "Daddy, stop annoying my reallys!"

gina said...

okay - a science soundtrack? how fun is that? And i love your sidebar superlatives- i remeber each of those three posts just by looking at the titles- great picks1