Saturday, April 26, 2008
GK: And that music tells us that once again it's time for Science Corner when we take up questions from our listeners that only a trained scientist can answer. Here's one from A.P. of Altoona, Wisconsin, who writes: What is a Hot Spring and how does it work? For the answer, we must go back thousands of years to the time of the pterodactyl (PTERODACTYL) when an enormous ocean covered this land (SURF, GULLS) and there were dolphins (DOLPHINS)—and Blue Whales (WHALES), and suddenly there was a tremendous earthquake (SFX) and the earth's crust opened up (SFX) and red-hot lava came up from the earth's core (SFX) that created a powerful jetstream of superheated water which lifted a giant prehistoric dolphin right out of the water (GIANT DOLPHIN) and deep fried him right there, in the sky (SFX)-(PHONE RINGS, PICKUP) Hello, science corner.
FN (ON PHONE): Yes, This is Arnold Patterson in Altoona, Wisconsin, and my question was about hot springs. I can't believe you would deep-fry a dolphin on national radio.
GK: Nature is brutal, Mr. Patterson— I'm sorry to tell you-but if it's any consolation this happened over 4,000 years ago.
FN (ON PHONE): Just get to the point.—(HANGUP, DIAL TONE)
GK: —So that deep-fried gigantic prehistoric dolphin landed on a beach (SFX) where a caveman was walking along (GRUNTS) and the caveman found it and the dolphin was fully-cooked and its skin peeled right off and the caveman said: (FN: WOW. NOT BAD.) And that was how language was born. It would be another 500 years before cavemen started talking to each other (FN GRUNTS)—and not just to themselves and it took them another 500 years to figure out that they were not in fact the same person (FN GRUNT FIGHT), but two different people, and that's what led to sexuality. (PHONE RINGS) Excuse me…—(PICKUP) Hello Science Corner—
FN (ON PHONE): Yeah this is Arnold Patterson again from Altoona. I wrote in with the Hot Spring Question?
GK: I was just about to get to that.
FN (ON PHONE): Well, get to it quicker, I don't have all day. (HANGUP, DIAL TONE)
GK: So the caveman went to where he found the deep-fried dolphin and had to go past the nest of a giant pterodactyl (PTERODACTYL) — an enormous prehistoric creature who, back then walked upright on its hind legs and emitted a powerful cry (SFX) that was so loud it knocked birds out of the sky (SFX) It just opened its mouth and screamed (SFX) and birds fell into it. (SFX) and that's how the pterodactyl got its food. Of course later the pterodactyl evolved into a flying beast, but they were too big and so they got tired easily and this is why the pterodactyls are extinct today. Some people think it was a meteor (METEOR) or an earthquake (RUMBLING) or a volcano (ERUPTION) that extinguished the pterodactyl-it was just overweight which led to chronic anxiety which raised the pterodactyl's stress hormones which eventually eroded its immune system and made it vulnerable to the aggressive phytobacteria that were pooling in the prehistoric swamps and multiplying rapidly (EVIL BACTERIA, PHONE RINGS, PICKUP) Hello, Science Corner.
FN (ON PHONE): Yeah. What the heck are you talking about? I just want to know how hot springs work!
GK: I'm getting to that.
FN (ON PHONE): Look, I have to take my mom to a doctor's appointment. We're sitting here waiting by the radio waiting for you to get to the point and we're gonna be late.
GK: How do hot springs work?
FN (ON PHONE): Yes!! Please!
GK: Well that's easy. Thousands of years ago it rained, and the water trickled down through the earth to where the hot stuff is, and the water heated up and it shot through a crack in the earth and it came to the surface as a hot spring.
FN (ON PHONE): Oh. That's it?
GK: That's it.
FN (ON PHONE): Why didn't you say so in the first place? Gosh, you wasted half my day. Thanks a lot. I'm never listening to your show again.
GK: So I guess you don't want to hear about how the pterodactyls made their nests out of giant fern stems and the bones of runaway prehistoric grommets? (SFX)
FN (ON PHONE): No-just leave me alone! Come on mom, let's go (FN OLDER WOMAN, OFF: Okay) (HANGUP, DIAL TONE)
GK: That just about does it for Science Corner. Don't forget to write in with your own pressing questions and we'll answer them here on Science Corner. Brought to you by Fritz Electronics. Everything you need is on the fritz. (THEME)