This site functions as an archive of Conner's Blog, which was a blog from 2006-2014 located at Images and links are likely to be broken.

Answering Questions (or one of the many reasons I didn't become a scientist)

I've always been an inquisitive type, or at least I have been for as long as I can remember. One of my earliest memories of school, was during second or third grade when I asked my teacher why dinosaurs couldn't have been brightly colored instead of the brown that they were always depicted as. I don't really remember the reasons she gave as to why they couldn't have been brightly colored, but I know it didn't convince me.

In highschool, I never got along with my science teacher, mainly because she was one of those incredibly intelligent people who just assumed everyone should accept what she said as truth and move on. I questioned her at every turn. I'll admit that toward the end of my time with her, I did this more to antagonize her than because I actually thought what she was saying was wrong, but still, during my last two years of high school science I grew to dislike science. Which is sad, because my earlier science teachers were usually good at teaching me to ask questions, and not to just accept things just because someone in authority said that was how it was.

This morning, I replayed my high school years a bit when I heard NASA's announcement that a lifeform that was previously unknown had been discovered. Even more amazing, it lives in a way that went against a lot of accepted theories for what was necessary for life. It was really cool for a variety of reasons. But all I could think about was the fact that I bet thousands of students throughout the year have asked, "Why couldn't life exist on planets that aren't exactly like Earth?" only to be told, "because I said so." Which leads me to my next question, what did the science teachers of those that made this discovery say when they were asked that question?

This train of thought also brought back memories of this panel, which is one of my favorite xkcd comics of all time. There is so much to love about it, and a lot of lessons to take from it. Every teacher, parent, aunt, uncle, older sister, and older brother should hang this somewhere prominent.