I Got Klass

Bad Astronomy
The entire universe in blog form
March 24 2014 12:00 PM

The Philip J. Klass Award for 2013

Phil Plait and Dave Kaufmann
Your honored host and David Kaufmann.

Photo by Stuart Robbins for the NCAS

I am honored to say that I received the Philip J. Klass Award from the National Capital Area Skeptics. This award is in recognition of “… outstanding contributions in promoting critical thinking and scientific understanding.” We had a bit of a comedy of errors and scheduling, but eventually I was able to receive the award (which is a beaut) and give a short speech. It was presented to me by my old friend and astronomer David Kaufmann, and the video was recorded by Stuart Robbins.**

I get torn in situations like this between acknowledging an honor and seeming self-serving. This time I figure it can be both. My sincere thanks to the folks at NCAS for this. Being a skeptic is hard, it really is. It’s so much easier to simply accept a warm, fuzzy lie than it is to embrace a cold, sharp-edged truth, and it takes a long, long time to learn how to do it. I’m still on that road, and it’s a rocky one,* but I’d rather see the Universe for what it is than what we wish it to be. It’s vast and beautiful and complex and mysterious, and that’s good enough for me.


And let me also thank you, the people who take the time to read what I write here. You can agree with me or disagree or everything in between, but as long as you’re willing to listen and be open to new (evidence-based) ideas, then that too is good enough for me.

*And apparently also one laced with mixed metaphors.

**Correction, March 30, 2014: This post originally misspelled David Kaufmann's last name.

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  



Smash and Grab

Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?

Even When They Go to College, the Poor Sometimes Stay Poor

Republicans Want the Government to Listen to the American Public on Ebola. That’s a Horrible Idea.

The Most Ingenious Teaching Device Ever Invented

Tom Hanks Has a Short Story in the New Yorker. It’s Not Good.

Brow Beat

Marvel’s Civil War Is a Far-Right Paranoid Fantasy

It’s also a mess. Can the movies do better?

Space: The Next Generation

An All-Female Mission to Mars

As a NASA guinea pig, I verified that women would be cheaper to launch than men.

Watching Netflix in Bed. Hanging Bananas. Is There Anything These Hooks Can’t Solve?

The Procedural Rule That Could Prevent Gay Marriage From Reaching SCOTUS Again

Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM An Up-Close Look at the U.S.–Mexico Border
  News & Politics
Oct. 20 2014 8:14 PM You Should Be Optimistic About Ebola Don’t panic. Here are all the signs that the U.S. is containing the disease.
Oct. 20 2014 7:23 PM Chipotle’s Magical Burrito Empire Keeps Growing, Might Be Slowing
Oct. 20 2014 3:16 PM The Catholic Church Is Changing, and Celibate Gays Are Leading the Way
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I Am 25. I Don't Work at Facebook. My Doctors Want Me to Freeze My Eggs.
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 20 2014 7:15 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 9 A spoiler-filled discussion of "Flatline."
Brow Beat
Oct. 20 2014 6:32 PM Taylor Swift’s Pro-Gay “Welcome to New York” Takes Her Further Than Ever From Nashville 
Future Tense
Oct. 20 2014 4:59 PM Canadian Town Cancels Outdoor Halloween Because Polar Bears
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Oct. 20 2014 11:46 AM Is Anybody Watching My Do-Gooding? The difference between being a hero and being an altruist.
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.