As you may have heard, a widely-touted prediction held that the end of the world would come last week. Fortunately for most of us, everything seems to have passed by without any adverse effects. I’m speaking, of course, about Tyler Hamilton’s appearance on 60 minutes.
Okay, I’m kidding. What really happened is the zombie ghost of Don Knotts returned from the great beyond with a dire warning and was immediately given a radio show. Unfortunately, zombies are notoriously bad at math, and he made some miscalculations.
There also seems to have been a halfhearted attempt to forcibly wrest the Papyrus typeface from yoga fliers, online invitations that need an “outdoorsy” or “holistic” edge, and the movie Avatar, but it remains to be seen how successful this ancillary thrust was.
Once the news of this miscalculation broke, one of my favorite advocates for Science, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, posted one of his customary thoughtful and succinct tweets on the matter:
DeGrasse Tyson’s lament is on point. Why are religious leaders, who are so often factually, er… challenged, shall we say, much better at getting attention than scientists who are so fond of rigor and peer review? That, and who is this “Eisiminger,” whispering succinct tweets into NdGT’s ear?
I think the answer can be found here, on a web page from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Here’s what the page looks like, in case your clicky finger is tired, or whatever:
Now, compare that to a Family Radio billboard:
NASA’s page above predicts that a bigass asteroid will come very close to–possibly whack into–the Earth in 2169. That’s pretty interesting news, if you ask me, but the message lacks punch. Know why?
Because scientists are horrible at marketing. They couldn’t sell a whoopie cushion full of water to a clown on fire. There’s not even a single shred of Papyrus on that page, guys. Come on! Are you even trying?
Meanwhile, these religious dudes are scouring free font libraries and Photoshop filters to put together eye-popping messages and all the scientists can do is slap together a couple of tables with a big wall of boring text? Ugh!
Neil deGrasse Tyson, if you’re listening and you want some help pepping up Science’s message, hit me up. I might not be the best designer in the world, but I got fonts for days.