Bill Nye's new show is opinionated, unapologetic, and exactly what we need.

Bill Nye’s new Netflix show promises to save the world. It’s kind of great.

Image from "Bill Nye Saves the World"/Netflix.

The show, with the delightfully boastful name "Bill Nye Saves the World," isn’t a continuation of his popular 1990s kid’s show. The new show is aimed at now-grown millennials and mixes the original show’s enthusiasm, humor, and wonky green-fluid-in-a-beaker experiments with "Daily Show"-style field pieces and "Penn and Teller: Bullshit!"-style takedowns of, well, bullshit.


I’ve had the time to sit down and watch a few of the episodes and — as a science guy myself — I have to say, I’m liking it. When correspondent Karlie Kloss visits Venice to see the gigantic pontoon system designed to keep the city above water, I was legitimately fascinated. When Nye demonstrated how carbon dioxide changes the pH of water by blowing down in a straw into a flask, it was like being 8 years old again.

The show is funny, interesting, and educational. It’s also bluntly — and unapologetically — opinionated.

Moderated talks are a recurring segment of the show. Image from "Bill Nye Saves the World"/Netflix.

When it comes to hot-button issues, such as climate change or alternative medicine, Nye is not shy about calling out politicians and conspiracy theorists. He's obviously fed up, and the anger in his voice is real. It's incredibly cathartic — if you agree with him.

As much as I enjoyed the show, I did find myself wondering if Nye’s brashness, as entertaining as it is, might actually end up driving away the viewers Nye seems to most want to convince.

Take the field pieces, for example. They're incredibly fun to watch, but there are a few moments — such as the one in which Joanna Hausmann visits a "sound therapist" who yells at her kidneys — where the show feels like it's veering away from reporting and more into outright mockery of its subjects. "How did you keep a straight face?" Nye asks Hausmann afterward.

But maybe an outspoken, opinionated science guy is OK. In fact, Nye might just be exactly the voice we need right now.

Image from "Bill Nye Saves the World"/Netflix.

For a long time, scientists and science communicators strove to be apolitical, either from a healthy sense of self-doubt or from fear of being accused of bias. As the belief in science has become more and more of a contentious issue, there has been an understandable push toward keeping science un-opinionated.

But maybe this feeling is part of the problem. By staying out of the public discourse, science has let media personalities and politicians pick up the narrative and run with it. Pseudoscience and myths have grown like weeds in an unattended lawn.

Scientists who act more like Nye — embracing their voices and not being afraid to outright disagree with people who disregard facts and data — might just be part of the solution. Admitting that they have opinions (backed by data) can help scientists look more like the actual thinking, breathing humans they are. Science backs me up on this, too: A recent study suggested that scientists don’t lose credibility when they take stands on issues.

No matter how scientifically inclined you are, Nye's show is nothing if not entertaining and informative.

While I still feel like there are parts that could benefit from a lighter touch or a bit more nuance, the show is still on the whole surprising, informative, and quite funny. It's a worthy successor to the original series and definitely worth checking out.

All 13 episodes of the first season of "Bill Nye Saves the World" are available on Netflix as of April 2017. You can watch the trailer below.

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

Ready for the weekend? Of course, you are. Here's our weekly dose of good vibes to help you shed the stresses of the workweek and put yourself in a great frame of mind.

These 10 stories made us happy this week because they feature amazing creativity, generosity, and one super-cute fish.

1. Diver befriends a fish with the cutest smile

Hawaiian underwater photographer Yuki Nakano befriended a friendly porcupine fish and now they hang out regularly.

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