Just a week before he’s set to test-launch LightSail, his Kickstarter-funded solar sailing spacecraft, Bill Nye—everyone’s favorite science educator/bow tie connoisseur—spent part of this afternoon taking part in a Reddit AMA, where he talked (scientifically) about everything from climate change to GMOs. Here are five things he told us during the online chat session.
1. THE LINK BETWEEN HUMAN BEHAVIOR AND CLIMATE CHANGE IS UNDENIABLE.
When asked for advice on how one should respond to friends and family members who deny that there’s a link between human behavior and climate change, Nye suggested: “Ask them if they would trust people who denied a connection between cigarette smoking and lung cancer. Climate change and humans causing it is scientifically a little better established than cigarettes and cancer.”
2. REMOVING GMOS SEEMS LIKE A MARKETING PLOY.
In response to whether he thought Chipotle’s recent decision to remove all genetically modified ingredients from their food was a good idea, Nye said that it “seems like a marketing idea. Let's see if it works. If they can provide the quality that customers want at the price customers want, well, that's the free market at work. Consumers may find that they prefer vegetables that have more flavor and more nutritional value from modified crops, in which case Chipotle may have to change back or get out-competed. Also, if other companies are able to raise more food on less land, they may do an end-run around Chipotle's marketing by showing that their crops actually have a lower environmental impact. Let's all stay tuned.”
3. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS RACE.
Expounding a comment he recently made to Larry Wilmore on The Nightly Show that there is “no such thing as race,” Nye posited, “Oh wouldn't it be great, if everyone on Earth understood that we are, in fact, all one species. It feels like that would be a great step toward all of us getting along with each other. We are one species. It's provable. It's science.”
4. TESLA’S POWERWALL COULD EVENTUALLY CHANGE THE WORLD.
When asked for his opinion on Tesla’s new solar panel-powered home battery, Nye confirmed that he thinks “It's a good idea. Energy storage is the key to humankind's future. Tesla has repurposed their car batteries for home energy storage. I have four kilowatts of solar panels. With these batteries, I could keep my food cold for a few days off the grid. It's a good start on a world-changing idea.”
5. YES, YOU CAN SOLAR POWER A BOW TIE.
Is it possible to solar power a bow tie? That's what one participant wanted to know, and Nye didn’t hesitate in responding. “Yes, I do it all the time,” he said. “We don't see things; we see light bouncing off of things. So whenever a bow tie is out in sunlight, its image is powered by the Sun. If you want to put small solar panels on a bowtie and spin a propeller on your head, well, knock yourself out.”