What I love about my son's boy scout troop: They are, by and large, nerds. They are great kids, fun and witty, well intentioned and personable. After tonight's troop meeting, they were discussing the density of various heavenly bodies. No, not Angelina Jolie's BMI. Pulsars and Quasars. Red dwarfs and brown dwarfs.
June 9, 2009
OK, so that's fine. Maybe they're in the AP test mode, the final exam
hangover where their mouth becomes the pressure release valve for the extra knowledge they've crammed into their skulls.
When we got home from the meeting, we looked online for some information about pulsars and quasars. Interesting, really. It was easy to find basic information. Then I happened to mention to my son (who is nearly, but not quite, 13 years old, and who nearly, but not quite, is done with 6th grade) that I might have my old college astrophysics textbook lying around. Why? Hell if I know. But we found it, and now, nearly an hour later, he's still got his head buried in it, well past bedtime. Crazy kid.
This is not your "astronomy for poets" type of book. This book has over 550 pages, nearly every one of which has something like this on it, frequently more than one:
Yeah, I used to be able to do that kind of thing. Calculate the surface area of a Gaussian surface. Solve differential equations. Figure out why two trains, one leaving Cleveland at 6 a.m. going 100 miles per hour and the other leaving Detroit at 8 a.m. going 80 miles per hour, would end up in a lawsuit involving a cup of McDonald's coffee, a firefighter with three testicles, and a vicious pack of meerkats. (Yes, I went to UC Berkeley.)
Anyway, my point is that... what kind of 12 year old buries himself in a book like this? Nutty kid.