Unsinkable skepducks

Innocuous bath toys or intro to critical thinking?

I was inspired by Neil de Grasse Tyson to look at my daughter’s bath toys with new eyes. In one of his essays in Death By Black Hole – “On Density”, I believe - he writes eloquently about how a cupful of the planet Saturn would actually float in a tub of bathwater. That’s because it’s less dense than water. Since you can’t go out and get a cupful of Saturn, Tyson playfully suggested we introduce rubber Saturn toys in place of yellow duckies in our children’s baths. It would be a good way to promote science early on. I loved the idea.

But where to find such a toy? I was thinking such thoughts when my wife came home with a bag full of little yellow rubber duckies for the bath. “We needed some bath toys,” she said. Well, I thought, why not transform the omnipresent yellow duckie into an educational bath toy (keep in mind our daughter is eight months old)? And since it’s already the symbol par excellence of quackery, why not riff on that? Presto! The skepducks were hatched.

I never forget James Randi’s phrase for the resilience of credulity and pseudoscience, “unsinkable rubber ducks.” I’m making a commitment to my daughter to raise her to think for herself and question received ideas. There’s no better time to start.

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About Marc Alan Di Martino

I'm a skeptical poet, blogger, columnist, occasional cartoonist, atheist, kvetcher and all-around lovable mensch - in precisely that order. I live in Italy, a country in serious need of skeptics and secularists who will challenge the status quo. Kind of like the United States and most places on earth.
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7 Responses to Unsinkable skepducks

  1. whatsaysyou says:

    As a rubber duckie fan, I say this is a cool blog post :)

  2. Stewart says:

    Of course there’s a better time to start: earlier. You made me think of this: http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?db=comics&id=2145

  3. Stewart says:

    Oh, just in case you’re uninitiated; with SMBC when there’s a big red dot under the cartoon at left, you’ve got hold your cursor over it for an extra punchline…

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