Oh no he doesn’t . . .

David Pogue dances with a test dummy in New Mexico in Beyond the Elements. Photograph: Cara Feinberg

“Science writer David Pogue sets out to discover the molecules and chemical reactions responsible for making life and the universe possible in this wide-ranging three-part series. In tonight’s opening episode, Pogue explores the chemistry of life via soap and a shopping trip to find the constituent fats that make up the body. First, though, there’s a trip back to the school classroom for a recap on photosynthesis while Pogue asks how we can continue to grow enough food to feed our ever-increasing global population. Ammar Kalia.”

So says part of an article in today’s Guardian. Writing like this is a regular feature of blurbs about radio or TV programmes. Years – sometimes centuries – of thought and research are suddenly stood on end by 30 minutes or an hour’s worth of “look at me” filming by some hitherto unknown presenter, or by a well known one who had no known expertise in anything except how to perform in front of a TV camera.

If they just told the truth (very unfashionable these days) and said that “x” will tell us about these things, or introduce people to them it would be OK. But the notion that someone is going to come to the studio and make great scientific discoveries under the glare of TV lights is just another example of the media misleading people. And, as you can probably deduce from the foregoing it both makes me very cross, and saddens me at the same time.

And quite what the antics of the presenter shown in the picture above do in helping all this remains to be seen.

About The Author

Born 9 December 1933. Former Royal Air Force person. Retired Church of England Clergyman. Father. Grandfather, and now, Great Grandfather. Citizen of Europe and Fervent Remainer. Thinks that Members of Parliament and especially Ministers of the Crown, who lie to Parliament should be brought before a public tribunal where the evidence can be heard, and examined, and suitable penalties awarded.
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