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Scienceball

competition + public good + scifi coolness
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It was the final seconds of the championship game. Ivan and Mary sat on their sofa and watched the TV. The rival teams worked their glowing equipment, moving DNA samples from the reactor vessel to the sequencer, which instantly began graphing the results. The commentators' banter took on a more urgent tone: "Ooh, and we're getting the results in now...looks like NY's results are all over the place...so are Boston's...oh wait...Boston's getting a trendline! Boston took a radically new approach this round, but it appears their technique elimitated AIDS in their lab mice...the Yankees results are all over the place. Guess the titration point they overshot when they prepared their resins is going to hurt them...and that's the last of the data. The judges are looking it over now, but its clear what it is...Boston wins!!!! And the Budweiser Ph. D of the day is M. Arronax, who had the insight about prion structure that led to Boston's strategy. If you're interested in participating in clinical trials, call (---) --- ---- now."

Seriously, with many sports teams earning billions of dollars from fans and advertising, a new sport should be created and popularized, in which competing teams race to invent/discover something.

Its kind of like the X-prize ($10mil for first private passenger rocket to 50mi altitude), but with a match/team format and more exciting TV coverage.

This would be really cool to watch (with good editing/marketing), would ensure American greatness in the future (for foreign readers, replace "American" with "humanity's" and accept my apologies), and might cure that ailment that's been bothering you.

sninctown, Oct 29 2005

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       I'm a PBS junkie, but I would have a hard time staying interested in this. Could you figure out how to make it a contact sport?
siwel, Oct 29 2005
  

       Umm... so when does something blow up? This is another idea that would be brilliant if only there were people in the world who would actually enjoy it. Perhaps you could post this to the halfbakery in another world?
James Newton, Oct 29 2005
  

       Congratulations on doing the impossible and inventing a sport that would be even slower than cricket.   

       It's funny that in trying to adapt your argument in the last paragraph towards a non-US-centric view, you're just digging yourself in deeper by expecting your readers outside the US to self-identify as "foreign".   

       The existing engineering contests ("Junkyard Wars", "Master Blasters", some contest-like episodes of "Mythbusters", Design/makeover contests, Robot fighting contests) already have part of your audience. Engineering is more attractive than science.   

       (+) Sadly, I will watch almost anything that involves a titration point.
jutta, Oct 29 2005
  

       Huh huh huh huh. "Titration". Huh huh huh. She said "Titration". snort.
bungston, Oct 29 2005
  

       [jutta] clearly missed the Ashes Series this summer!.
Seriously, though, there is a lot of money invested by pharmaceutical companies in developing drugs that will sell well.
They appear to shy away from the tough problems that are not such a good bet in terms of global sales volume.
If these tough problems (admittedly with a great capacity for global sales!) were just a matter of titration then they would have been solved by now.
And your quote on America's (or humanity's) "greatness" really means "good idea that can earn some money for the company that first patents the drug".
gnomethang, Oct 29 2005
  

       //[jutta] clearly missed the Ashes Series this summer!// that was my kneejerk reaction too but to be fair, those games do go on for 4/5 days ...
po, Oct 29 2005
  

       Yeah, this is going to be a very very slow show. Say, the length of the Truman Show, in real time.
RayfordSteele, Nov 01 2005
  

       //Huh huh huh huh. "Titration". Huh huh huh. She said "Titration". snort.//   

       for the record, bungston, I'm a guy.
sninctown, Nov 26 2005
  

       I think the reference was to [Jutta] saying/writing 'titration'.   

       Make this show along the same format as Iron Chef: "Today, each team of scientists will have 60 minutes to build...(dramatic pause)...something that can levitate and then explode. The secret ingedients are...(more dramatic pause)...Xenon gas and Lego wheels!"
sleeka, Nov 27 2005
  

       Which sounds like it already exists, in things like the (now sadly defunct) Great Egg Race, and similar 'crazy science' shows. Which I can't remember the names of, but I've definitely seen recently.
moomintroll, Nov 28 2005
  

       [siwel] Make it a contact sport: The first team that builds a extra-atmospheric rocket gets to wrestle the other team out of the airlock mid-flight
stestagg, Nov 29 2005
  
      
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