Neil deGrasse Tyson identifies the greatest physicist of all time—in slow motion

I don’t know why I—or reader Gregory, who sent the link to me—find this video so funny, but I suspect it’s because it makes Tyson sound like he’s been smoking wacky tobacky.  What the astonomer says is right on (he’s describing his hero Newton), but the slowing down—2/3 speed, I think—makes one think that as soon as the video is over, Tyson’s going for the chocolate-chip cookies.

In fact, I find this video quite mesmerizing.

And I’m wondering which other scientists would sound this humorous in slow motion.

74 Comments

  1. Jiten
    Posted March 19, 2014 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    You would!

  2. gbjames
    Posted March 19, 2014 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    I suppose one measure of cultural success these days is when people can make humorous videos base on your work.

    I wonder if the person who made this slowed-down version was stoned when they got the idea.

    • Kevin Alexander
      Posted March 19, 2014 at 11:33 am | Permalink

      When I was a teenager and just discovering bud some friends and I were talking about the brilliant insights that this magical substance gave. So we got a tape recorder in order to preserve our earth shattering thoughts for posterity.
      Then the next day listened to about two minutes of it and erased the rest and never mentioned the idea again.

      • js
        Posted March 19, 2014 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

        I believe Dr Coyne had a similar experience many years ago and wrote down what he had thought and the next day when he looked at it all he had written was ‘the walls are fucking brown!’

        • Kevin Alexander
          Posted March 20, 2014 at 6:12 am | Permalink

          What’s interesting is that you don’t have to be stoned to get that exciting feeling that what you’re saying makes sense.
          Try arguing with a creationist sometime.

          • Kevin Alexander
            Posted March 20, 2014 at 6:18 am | Permalink

            Oh, wait. Maybe they are stoned, you know that whole pupils dilated high on Jesus thing.

            • Posted March 21, 2014 at 9:12 am | Permalink

              Well, what Christians call the “Old Testament” is full of stoning references …

              • Kevin Alexander
                Posted March 21, 2014 at 10:54 am | Permalink

                I think someone else has pointed out that gay marriage and marihuana are being legalized at the same time because Leviticus says if a man lies with a man they must be stoned.

  3. Posted March 19, 2014 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    One wonders if the reverse is true…if video of people stoned sped up makes them not seem quite so out of it. Could even potentially be a useful research tool for cognitive scientists….

    b&

    • gravityfly
      Posted March 19, 2014 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

      Great thought!

  4. Matt Bowman
    Posted March 19, 2014 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    Awesome! So funny. Sounds and looks like he is tanked.

    • sponge bob
      Posted March 19, 2014 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

      Or in Colorado :-)

  5. merilee
    Posted March 19, 2014 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    I’ll bet that Neil would get a chuckle out of this;-))

  6. Prof.Pedant
    Posted March 19, 2014 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    Anyone ‘that stoned’ who can speak as well as Neil deGrasse Tyson was here is probably a Newton-level intellect.

  7. Larry Cook
    Posted March 19, 2014 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    Not only does he look and sound stoned, but he’s talking about colors and shapes and using hand gestures that exacerbate the effect. And his words have an echo. On top of all that, he says things are “freaky” and has a question mark upturn to his inflection at the end of his sentences. It’s mesmerizing. I feel stoned after I watch it.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted March 19, 2014 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

      Yeah when he says “freaky” and then a bit later chuckles and asks, “how does that work?”. The content is perfect. I think it’s probably extra good because Neil is so animated and he usually talks to fast but with pregnant pauses – those pregnant pauses slowed down really make for a convincing baked dialogue.

  8. Posted March 19, 2014 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    Are we sure this is slowed down and NdGT wasn’t just out there?

    o.O

    /@

  9. NewEnglandBob
    Posted March 19, 2014 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    We’ll raise a glass and sip a drop of schnapps in honor of great good luck that favored you, Isaac!

    I laughed out loud at parts of this video.

  10. Posted March 19, 2014 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    Gut duly busted… I think I’ve seen some other similar videos, but this is definitely the best.

    • Posted March 19, 2014 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

      Ah yes, I remember now… it was Bush hitting the sauce again.

      • Jesper Both Pedersen
        Posted March 19, 2014 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

        LOL. :-D

        Right on the money.

    • Latverian Diplomat
      Posted March 19, 2014 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

      Does Tyson’s speaking style help with this? He enunciates very well, so there’s less slurring than the Bush clip. He does seem to me to sound stoned rather than drunk for that reason.

  11. Posted March 19, 2014 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    Next up (I hope) are 2/3 speed presidents, the pope, and evangelists.

    • Posted March 19, 2014 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

      see above ;-)

    • Kevin Alexander
      Posted March 20, 2014 at 6:21 am | Permalink

      A Gish gallop at two thirds might be interesting. Slowing it down would reduce the razzle dazzle and let the stupid sink in.

  12. Kingasaurus
    Posted March 19, 2014 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    Oh, man. I’m dying over here!

    Tyson has those sleepy eyelids which really add to it. And whoever mentioned the hand gestures near the end was totally right. That’s when I lost it…

    • Michael Day
      Posted March 19, 2014 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

      Exactly. His sleepy eyelids coupled with the slowww blinks…I totally get what’s he’s saying.

    • Posted March 19, 2014 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

      Yeh, I found it worked well because of the eyelids and eye movements.

  13. Jesper Both Pedersen
    Posted March 19, 2014 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    Duuuuuude….

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted March 19, 2014 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

      My hands are huuuuuge! They can touch everything except themselves!

      • Jesper Both Pedersen
        Posted March 19, 2014 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

        It’s sooooo weird….

        • js
          Posted March 19, 2014 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

          There are some funny looking mushrooms that grow at my place and after sampling some I looked at the cat and it was melting and I said to it, ‘Stop that’.

  14. Scientifik
    Posted March 19, 2014 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    Speaking of Neil deGrasse Tyson, has anybody seen the new Cosmos episode on evolution? Did FOX manage to squeeze Noah’s Ark in there? ;)

    • Posted March 19, 2014 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

      Saw it. It was pretty good, I think, but of course there will be quibbles. The biggest negative comments are the bizarre way they animated DNA. I was hoping to see more ‘evidence for evolution’ stuff.

      • NewEnglandBob
        Posted March 19, 2014 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

        All the graphics were awful on Cosmos this week.

      • Scientifik
        Posted March 19, 2014 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

        When an episode is limited to just 45 minutes, you are bound to omit some details. At any rate, I’m relieved that they didn’t contaminate the science with superstitious/religious undertones.

    • Jesper Both Pedersen
      Posted March 19, 2014 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

      Thumbs up from here. It’s a bit like a glossy science mag perfect for killing a quarter of an hour…not any surprises for those in the knowing regarding evolution.

      I think it’s a great show for kids and their parents.

      But as expected, not all is well in religioland.

      • Jesper Both Pedersen
        Posted March 19, 2014 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

        *three quarters of an hour.

      • Scientifik
        Posted March 19, 2014 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

        When science deniers are freaking out about “Cosmos”, it only tells me that the producers are delivering the goods.

        Thanks for the link.

        • Jesper Both Pedersen
          Posted March 19, 2014 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

          Anytime.

    • gbjames
      Posted March 19, 2014 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

      I have quibbles but overall it was very good, IMO. And the right-wingnuts are freaking out. That can only be good.

      • Scientifik
        Posted March 19, 2014 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

        With all the controversy around the documentary, I begin to understand why it is aired so late in the evening…

    • Ken Pidcock
      Posted March 19, 2014 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

      I thought it was awful. If I didn’t already know what they were talking about, I can’t imagine being able to make any sense out of it. I thought they might be going somewhere with the hall of extinctions thing, but then they bumbled that, too. I don’t blame Neil deGrasse Tyson, an astrophysicist. It was just some really crappy writing and production. And, yeah, the graphics sucked. DNA as wire sculpture?

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted March 19, 2014 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

      I haven’t watched it but my “in the closet” atheist friends excitedly pointed it out to me! :)

    • Posted March 19, 2014 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

      I enjoyed it. I still can’t warm up to the cartoon figures though. Anyway, I’m looking forward to the next episode.

  15. Bob
    Posted March 19, 2014 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    Thank you. That made me laugh so hard I cried.

  16. desertviews
    Posted March 19, 2014 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    Even better, go to settings on the youtube player and set the speed to 0.5… he’s baked, man.

    This actually works for most videos. Great fun!!

  17. Posted March 19, 2014 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    Reminds me of experimenting with the slow motion control on my VCR as a kid. Brian Ferry (of Roxy Music) looked like he was being tortured as he sang.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted March 19, 2014 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

      Ha ha!

    • Ken Pidcock
      Posted March 19, 2014 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

      You needed slow motion so see that?

  18. Curt Nelson
    Posted March 19, 2014 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    I heard NDT interviewed on Rationally Speaking recently about how he feels about the label “atheist.”

    He says dogmatism is the problem not religion per se.

    – But don’t religious people vote (didn’t they pick GWB)? Isn’t climate change rejection largely due to mainstream religious philosophies?

    He’s just not interested in religion, that’s why he doesn’t really engage the issue himself.

    – He’s a science educator who’s not interested in the main idea that steers people away from science. I figured he was just being pragmatic – avoiding a label that could put off a lot of otherwise eager-to-learn people. No, he specifically said that is not the reason he doesn’t call himself an atheist – he doesn’t like labels, he isn’t interested in religion.

    I like NDT a lot but not his thinking on religion.

    • Jesper Both Pedersen
      Posted March 19, 2014 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

      I wonder if he’ll remain of the same opinion when cosmology eventually directly will be challenged by religious dogma.

      If ID succeeds in replacing creationism, his favourite pet will be in the firing line.

      I sincerely like this guy and have great respect for him, but hopefully his resolve will strengthen when push comes to shove.

      The sooner, the better.

  19. Posted March 19, 2014 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    I don’t really think this would sound all that much less stoned at the proper speed.

    But OMFG. Hilarious!

  20. gravityfly
    Posted March 19, 2014 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    OMG this is the funniest science video ever!

    Does Tyson know about this?

  21. Florian
    Posted March 19, 2014 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    Here’s another derivative from the same original video. This time with goggly eyes .. https://i.chzbgr.com/maxW500/7908271616/hE8A81DF4/

    -Florian

    • gravityfly
      Posted March 19, 2014 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

      LMAO!

      • Merilee
        Posted March 19, 2014 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

        Tooooooo funny!

  22. Sam Salerno
    Posted March 19, 2014 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    Das my man! lol

  23. Posted March 19, 2014 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    He sounds a bit like I did in high school.

  24. Diana MacPherson
    Posted March 19, 2014 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

    Okay, now I’m obliged to post this again because it’s funny. Funny in a weird way. I give you, microwave cooking to sad music.

    • Richard Olson
      Posted March 19, 2014 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

      I’m sitting in a room full of family planning a remembrance service scheduled this weekend for an elderly deceased who was cremated a month ago. Stories have been told and collected, and now details about hymns and prayers are being hashed out. My sibling’s know I’m atheist, hostilities about it were compartmentalized decades ago, and nobody expects me to participate. The others just think I’m a guy checking out when the drudgery detail work needs doing, situation normal.

      I’m in a chair watching on my iPad and listening with buds as Steven works his micro-wave magic. Close to the end of the video he starts trying to open the bag of chips and I break into laughter. People stop talking and stare at me; I point at the iPad, shrug, compose myself, and vow not to let it happen again. I suspect this will be a difficult vow to keep. The Marx Brothers could not do Steven as funny as Steven does Steven, and the video has a ways to go.

      The group looks away from me and resumes the planning session. On my iPad, Steven removes the 12 oz jar of ersatz cheese stuff and what looks like maybe a 6 oz container of canned sodium-laden chili, dumps them in a bowl, and stirs the mess once or twice with a spoon. I imagine eating that, and begin to feel a little green around the gills.

      A minute left to go, and Steven is delivering his wrap to a location 90 degrees left of the camera filming the segment. I burst into laughter again, louder this time, and get impatient, even hostile, glares. Disrespectful I am. Damn you, Steven. They’ll all laugh too, though, tomorrow when I forward them Steven’s cooking class.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted March 19, 2014 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

        First of all, my condos for all the heavy stuff you’re going through

        Second of all – that is exactly how u react every time I watch it. You’re calm and collected then suddenly the music peaks at some mundane moment & you laugh out loud with tears!

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted March 19, 2014 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

          Condolences. OMG I feel like a modern day Richard III now! Thanks phone.

          • Kevin Alexander
            Posted March 19, 2014 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

            Dam you Diana!
            I had to click on that cooking show again and laughed so hard the tears ran down my leg.

            • merilee
              Posted March 19, 2014 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

              It’s just tooooo pathetic

              • merilee
                Posted March 19, 2014 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

                Pathétique aux micro-ondes

    • Posted March 19, 2014 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

      That is hilarious…and heartbreaking. I didn’t know those emotions could be combined!

      Seriously, Steven, I’ll come to your party. I won’t eat your dip. But I’ll come to your party.

    • HaggisForBrains
      Posted March 20, 2014 at 2:13 am | Permalink

      Just as hilarious as the first time, thanks. Can someone convert it to two thirds speed, or would that be just a step too far?

      • Posted March 20, 2014 at 2:53 am | Permalink

        You can get it at half-speed on YouTube – click on the cog wheel at bottom right.

        /@

    • Posted March 20, 2014 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

      Too funny! But now everytime I see the Prof.CC Special, I’ll be remembering this one. Oh, nos!

  25. Posted March 20, 2014 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    That’s exactly how I sound when I’m stoned.

  26. Martin
    Posted March 20, 2014 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    A whole new meaning for his middle name.

    • gbjames
      Posted March 20, 2014 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

      lol


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