Television

PBS Nerd Television Returns And Auto-Tunes Neil deGrasse Tyson

Tonight marks the return of PBS's Nova scienceNOW (hey, that's how they type it; I don't know), the science magazine show featuring host (and astrophysicist, and Stewart/Colbert favorite) Neil deGrasse Tyson.

The season premiere includes a discussion of synthetic diamonds; a visit with Luis von Ahn, the computer scientist who developed those little pictures of squiggly letters that you have to type in to prove you're not a robot; a look back at the anthrax attacks of several years ago; and — best of all — a close-up look at AutoTune, including the AutoTuning of Tyson's own very bad singing. The von Ahn and AutoTune segments are both utterly charming, and Tyson is a marvelous sport.

Check your local PBS listings, but Nova scienceNOW is generally airing alongside the regular Nova season premiere, "Musical Minds," which Oliver Sacks discussed on The Daily Show last night. I haven't seen "Musical Minds" yet, but I have read the Sacks book Musicophilia on which it is based, and The New York Times, while expressing some reservations, calls it "full of fascinating information."

So if you're the kind of person who likes to sit down for a little nerd viewing, this might be your lucky evening.

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