Thread: Kids are scientists.

A great episode of This American Life about children as scientists.

A little girl on her first airplane ride, after takeoff asks an adult when will they get small? She had seen planes take off at the airport, and after they took off they all got small.

Children are scientists. Even things you’d think were obvious, like gravity — are mysteries to children. But they are born investigors and practitioners of the Scientific Method. That’s something we all understand at birth, it seems.

There’s a wonderful story in there about a child discovering Jesus and Martin Luther King.

When I was a kid I used to watch a daily kids show. The kids would have lunch, and before they ate they would say together “God is great, god is good and we thank him for this food.” I came from a family where we didn’t talk about god, so it was a strange concept. I figured God was one of the people who worked at the TV station and brought the food in.

I tried to remember when I learned that God wasn’t a stagehand, but I couldn’t remember that part.

Update: Just remembered another one, also about TV. I didn’t get laugh-tracks. I kind of figured out that there are millions of people watching, and so many are laughing, that a very small portion of the laughs leak back through the TV network and come out on everyone’s sets. It never occurred to me that there was either a studio audience laughing or (more likely) a tape that was played when the producers thought there should be laughter.

I also thought everyone who was on TV immediately became a millionaire. People seemed so excited about being on TV, I figured they must be making a lot of money. 🙂


About Dave Winer

Dave Winer, 54, pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software; former contributing editor at Wired Magazine, research fellow at Harvard Law School, entrepreneur, and investor in web media companies. A native New Yorker, he received a Master's in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, a Bachelor's in Mathematics from Tulane University and currently lives in Berkeley, California.
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