Neil deGrasse Tyson: Perhaps Thine 'Football' Killed the Flying Car

Photo: AP
Photo: AP

Having long since abandoned his mission of making science fun in favor of sucking the same out of everything else, perpetual opinion machine Neil deGrasse Tyson delivered another thermally radiant take this weekend, suggesting, mayhap, t’was Sports Ball killed the skycar.

“Sometimes I wonder if we’d have flying cars by now had civilization spent a little less brain energy contemplating Football,” wrote Tyson on Twitter Sunday night.


Ignoring that “civilization brain energy” isn’t a real thing, Tyson has fallen into a familiar trap, implying that serious and frivolous pursuits are somehow mutually exclusive. In reality, of course, the dumb things humans do with their spare time are a frequent source of inspiration.

SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk, for instance, has cited science fiction as an influence, even suggesting his first spaceship to Mars be named after a craft from Douglas Adams’ Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series. And Tyson’s own flying car has always worked better as a creative starting point than a short-term engineering goal.

Of course, Tyson’s tweet is probably more empty provocation than serious critique, but his freshman roommate-level thought experiment poses an interesting question of its own: What secret space drug is this dude smoking?


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If you’re going to pick one thing I’d choose war over football as our greatest waste of brain power and resources, to say nothing of the suffering and lives. Besides, if you look at the average football fan you’re not talking about masses of aeronautical geniuses.