The Final Frontier
Millennial icon Bill Nye the Science Guy, whom this reporter once had the immense pleasure of interviewing, currently serves as the CEO of the Planetary Society. There, he’s worked to raise awareness about the Curiosity Rover’s mission to Mars, as well as advised Elon Musk on what the space research community needs out of a commercial space program. (“We need cheap access to orbit,” Mr. Nye told us in an interview. “It’s the key first step. Getting to orbit right now is too expensive.”)
Mr. Nye is working to raise awareness about NASA’s gutted space exploration budget. Yesterday, his team published a YouTube video of Mr. Nye urging viewers to send a letter to the President, asking him to restore the budget.
When word broke yesterday that Twitter had suspended @bill_nye_tho, a hilarious account parodying every 90s kid’s favorite scientist Bill Nye the Science Guy, Twitter users erupted with a mix of outrage and despair. Someone even created a petition to help save @bill_nye_tho. But the mastermind behind the account, SUNY Buffalo senior Lucas Gardner, told Betabeat in an interview that even if Twitter unsuspends him, he has no intentions of reviving the account.
Update: @bill_nye_tho’s creator says he’s shutting down the account. RIP
If Twitter is attempting to foment a violent backlash amongst its most addicted users, it is doing an excellent job. After banning a journalist during the Olympics and yanking API access from third party clients, we are beginning to think that Twitter is being advised by a pompous and unpopular foreign dictator. “Sure, eradicate TwitPic. They’ll never revolt.”
But if we were the fightin’ kind, Twitter’s latest unforgivable move would surely be the last straw. The company has suspended what is by far the best parody account ever, @bill_nye_tho, an absurdist imagining of what childhood science hero Bill Nye would sound like if he was a stoned millennial with a penchant for Internet speak.
Betabeat had just settled in for a hot Friday night date with the Internet when a friend sent us an email with the subject line, “!!!”. Enclosed in the body was a link to a Reddit Ask me Anything featuring none other than our childhood idol Bill Nye the Science Guy.
Mr. Nye is somewhat of a Reddit folk hero, a noted target of nostalgic awe whose esteem on Reddit may be eclipsed only by the swag-as-hell physicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. An AMA from Bill Nye has been a long awaited Reddit event. The fact that it’s happening on a Friday night is also probably of no consequence to the majority of Redditors (this reporter included).
Last week, we learned that we would have the lovely opportunity of interviewing Bill Nye–yes, the Science Guy, that bow-tie-wearing, zany engineer whose PBS show taught the majority of twenty-somethings much of what they know about magnetism, the circulatory system and electricity. Most kids who grew up in the 90′s were shown at least one of his videos in a Friday afternoon science class. Mr. Nye occupies a specific corner of our collective nostalgia, his kooky presence and love for science hearkening back to a simpler time when getting an A on a test was our biggest worry.
When this reporter woke up for the interview this morning, she found herself struggling to find something to wear. (“All my lab coats are in the wash,” we tweeted.) Turns out that we should’ve opted for a bow-tie, as Mr. Nye showed up to our interview in Bryant Park in that signature sartorial choice, a green paisley one tied around his neck. On the lapel of his jacket, a Planetary Society pin gleamed in the sun.