Why Lisa Randall Barely Got to Talk to Jon Stewart About Her Book

Yeah, I’m still not up to date on all the late night shows.  I need to call out the October 26 edition of The Daily Show (available online uncut until sometime on November 21).  I did note that physicist Lisa Randall was on that night, as part of the promotion of her book Knocking on Heaven’s Door.  If you watch the interview, you might not get much of an impression of that book, as Jon Stewart was a bit all over the science map.

It might be a bit easier to understand Stewart’s wanderings if you check out the first 10 minutes or so of the program.  There’s a desk piece focusing on the two-year anniversary of Climategate (The Daily Show manages to selectively quote its own initial coverage).  It notes the recent research – funded by conservatives – that acknowledged that there is a global warming trend.  The main point was that The Daily Show was spending about 12 times as much time on this development as the major news networks.  Those same networks spent much more time on the leaking of emails that cast some aspersions over the research.

But then the next segment started.  A field piece called “Science – What’s It Up To?”, it takes the scientific claims of various presidential candidates to the logical, if crazy, conclusions.  While there was a non-science segment between the end of the piece and the beginning of Lisa Randall’s, the issues of science, writ large, still influenced Stewart’s questioning.  Not that any grand conclusions were reached, but it’s an interesting scenario of science talk crowding out other science talk.