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Bill Nye compares climate change to World War II

Technically Incorrect: In giving the graduation speech at Rutgers University, the "Science Guy" throws down a serious scientific comparison.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


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The Science Guy being introduced at Rutgers. WolfSpeaker25/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

I spent much of the weekend watching speeches given by famous people to young people who might want to be famous.

Some, like Stephen Colbert (Wake Forest) and Ed Helms (University of Virginia), understood that these college commencement speeches were about the audience, not about themselves. Others preferred to show their heads growing ever larger, as they talked about themselves and how wonderful they are.

Then there was Bill Nye, "the Science Guy." He chose his commencement speech to the charming and hopeful at Rutgers University to talk about World War II.

I fancy that some of his audience members knew little about World War II -- though they enjoyed Brad Pitt in "Inglourious Bastards" and occasionally thought that some of their professors were Nazis.

Nye, though, was being entirely serious.

He told the gowned throng that they're facing inglourious disaster. He said: "The oncoming trouble is climate change. It is going to affect you all in the same way the second World War consumed people of my parents' generation."

Those of jaundiced mien might fear that they will be conscripted, dolled up in green uniforms and sent out to fight the infidel army of the climate change deniers.

Will there be environmentally-friendly green gases they'll be able to use against the enemy? Will they fire recyclable bullets? Will there be a Green Day to rival D-Day?

NJ.com noted that Nye didn't just make the one statement. He said that ours could be a "no-way-out overheated globe."

He concluded: "Climate change is a real deal. So, hey deniers -- cut it out, and let's get to work."

Would "World peace is a real deal. So hey Adolf -- cut it out and let's get to work" have worked on Hitler?

I have my doubts.

But it may well be that Nye is right. It may well be that with California drying up (rather than out) and polar ice caps melting like Emma Stone in a Woody Allen movie, the next generations of officer functionaries will be forever scarred by its effects.

I can't help thinking, though, that there's something about natural (or even man-made) disasters that we quite enjoy.

We can't get enough summer blockbusters that feature the world on the verge of cataclysmic apocalypse. We positively bathe in the wanton destruction of whole cities by aliens, monsters and missiles sent by actors who look vaguely like Vladimir Putin, but taller.

Could it be that, in an Oculus Rift-like lurch toward the ultimate live reality, we're destroying our world just to see what it feels like?