Saturday, May 31, 2008

Star Bright


"That's Vega," I pointed to the the star glowing through the Riverside smog. One of was my classes let out at dusk. The girl who sat next to me lived nearby. We were walking home. She knew I was taking an astronomy* class and challenged me to name what few stars we could see. "And over there is Altair, and that's Deneb and..."
"Can an astronaut touch a star?" she asked.
I thought she was kidding.
She wasn't. "Can he bring one back to Earth?"
"They're too big. Way bigger than the Earth. And far away. Except for the sun, that is. And they'd be way to hot to-"
"The sun is a star?" she said.
I couldn't believe it. I'd been proud to get into University of California at Riverside. Yet here was a fellow student who thought a star was something you could slip in your pocket. How could someone be college age and not know what a star was? How could someone be bright enough to get into college and not know what a star was?

*An astronomy class "for non science majors," I might add. I'm no genius myself.

9 comments:

stray g said...

This explains a lot, like how elections turn out, for example.

Namowal said...

heh heh
That would explain it alright! :D

GhostBuild said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
GhostBuild said...

I recall being in a biology class while at university snd the discussion at the time was about prehistoric ocean life that co-existed with dinosaurs.

A guy in the class asked how did humans deal with surviving around all those dinosaurs. I remember looking around the room at all the different people with their jaw agape.

Nobody laughed though, surprisingly.

GhostBuild said...

Texture for your drawing is really interesting. I realize its digital all the way of course, but it *looks* like you painted it in watercolor, then sprinkled salt or sugar over the entire thing, so that the granules kinda soak up the color a bit.

Namowal said...

Hi Ghost,
I've known preschoolers who were more knowledgeable about dinosaurs (and space) than these college students.

Namowal said...

Thanks, Ghostbuild,
You hit it on the nail. Digital (Corel Painter), mostly with the water color brush, then sprinkled with "salt"!

luci said...

Maybe she heard the song Catch a Falling Star when she’s small and it deeply embedded in her psyche. After all, if you can put it in your pocket … you can certainly take it back home :)

Seriously, some people are just na├»ve or incredibly uninformed … as I am about cars, computers, programming (to name a few)  complete idiot!

*Namowal, we see the same inland empire’s murky, thick air.

Namowal said...

Hi Luci,
It's true that everyone has their wisdom blind spots. I know I have mine!
"Murky, thick air" describes the Inland Empire perfectly. I remember nights where the the haze and city lights gave the sky an eerie orange tint.