At the entrance to Science World in Vancouver is a gargantuan machine. It’s noisy, ugly and performs absolutely no function of any value. It just moves balls of all sizes around, lifting them, dropping them, tossing them.
Oddly, it always has a crowd. I don’t see why. Its paint is peeling, it’s dirty, its motions are awkward and clunky… I suppose it has a certain charm, but really — it’s just a pile of junk.
Inside Science World there are more machines like this. The place is full of them, in fact.
There’s one that shoots balls through the air into a pool of water.
Another makes noise from the ceiling when you step on lights in the
floor. Another one lights up a bulb when you pedal a bike.
I mean, how pointless can you get? Why would anyone put together this
assembly of junk that cannot in any way be serving a purpose?
Well, perhaps you’d have gotten an answer from my son – if you’d been
able to catch him. He ran around Science World for eight straight
hours, entranced with these silly machines. But, hey, what can you
expect from a one-and-a-half year old?
Scattered around Science World are various desktop computers. Now there’s something he should have been playing with.
But my son only took a momentary interest in a mouse before he was
distracted by the giant dinosaur bone puzzle. It makes me wonder if he
These computers are set up with educational software that explains how
things work and why things happen. No playing, just the straight goods.
The ultimate in educational efficiency.
Oddly, kids were generally ignoring these machines.
I found this shocking. I mean, computers are at the cutting edge of education.
Instead of running around like chickens with their heads cut off, those
kids should have been seated at PC’s. Then the information could have
just been downloaded right into their brains. They wouldn’t have had to
waste time goofing around with all that cause and effect nonsense.
At least seated at a computer, my son’s shirt wouldn’t have been soaked
at the artificial river with all the splashing. He wouldn’t have bumped
his head on the LEGO submarine as he climbed inside to explore. He
wouldn’t have been scared by that other little boy who was running
around pretending to be a tiger.
They should replace all those silly machines at Science World with
computers. Then you could just arrive, plug in, digest the information,
and leave. Better yet, you should be able to download it to your home
computer. Then you wouldn’t have to interact with all those other
Not to mention you wouldn’t have to witness that beastly, frivolous machine outside Science World’s front door.
With my tongue in my cheek, I’m Andrew Robulack.
Originally broadcast on CBC North Whitehorse on Tuesday, April 26, 2005
Copyright 2005 Andrew Robulack