Alan Alda

  • Aired:  05/30/12
  •  | Views: 5,325

Actor Alan Alda discusses good business models, the World Science Festival and his international Flame Challenge. (6:10)

( CHEERS AND APPLAUSE ).

>> Stephen: WELCOME BACK,

EVERYBODY.

THANK YOU.

MY GUEST TONIGHT IS AN ACCLAIMED ACTOR, BEST KNOWN FOR PLAYING HAWKEYE ON "MASH."

I'LL ASK HIM WHY HE DIDN'T REPRIZE HIS ROLE IN "THE AVENGERS."

PLEASE WELCOME ALAN ALDA.H HEY, ALAN, NICE TO SEE YOU.

THANKS SO MUCH FOR COMING ON.

I AM A HUGE FAN AND DEEPLY DISTURBED BY YOUR ENTIRE CAREER.

>> OH, IS THAT WHAT IT IT?

OH, MY GOSH.

>> Stephen: YES.

>> I'M SORRY.

>> Stephen: YOU ARE A FAMOUS LIBERAL.

>> I THINK INDEPENDENTLY, AND-- AND THINKING IT THROUGH CAREFULLY AND WEIGHING

EVERYTHING, I COME DOWN ON THE DEMOCRATIC SIDE.

>> Stephen: REALLY?

WHY DON'T YOU STOP THINKING AND START FEELING.

>> WELL, THAT WOULD BE A GOOD WAY TO DO IT.

>> Stephen: ARE YOU AGAINST FEELING?

YOU'RE AN ACTOR.

ACTOR'S FEEL.

>> THAT'S TRUE.

MANY TIMES WE DO.

( LAUGHTER ).

>> Stephen: PEOPLE-- PEOPLE WANT TO FEEL SO BADLY THEY GO,

LIKE, TO THE THEATER OR THEY GO TO THE MOVIES AND THEY PAY MONEY TO SEE PEOPLE LIKE YOU FEEL

SOMETHING AT THEM.

>> IT WOULD BE SO MUCH EASIER IF THEY JUST HIT THEMSELVES IN THE FING WER A HAMMER.

WHY DID THEY PAY ALL THAT MONEY?

Q. THAT'S NOT A BAD BUSINESSMODEL.

>> AND I KNOW YOU'RE INTO BUSINESS MODELS.

>> Stephen: I'M INTO ALL KINDS OF MODELS.

>> REALLY.

>> Stephen: NOW, ALAN-- COULD I CALL YOU ALAN.

>> NO, WOULD YOU MIND CALLING ME YOUR HIGHNESS.

>> Stephen: HAWKEYE, YOU'RE NOT JUST AN ACTOR, A WRITER, AND A DIRECTOR.

YOU'RE ALSO A SCIENCE GUY.

>> WELL, I'M VERY INTERESTED IN SCIENCE.

>> Stephen: YEAH, YEAH,

YOU'VE BEEN HELPING A FRIEND OF THE SHOW, BRIAN GREEN.

>> YES.

>> Stephen: PUT ON THE NEW YORK SCIENCE FESTIVAL.

>> THE WORLD SCIENCE FESTIVAL.

IT'S ON RIGHT NOW.

IT'S ON TONIGHT, THROUGH SUNDAY.

WE WILL HAVE HAD ALMOST ONE MILLION PEOPLE COME TO THAT SINCE WE BEGAN FIVE YEARS AGO.

( APPLAUSE )

>> Stephen: SELL ME ON SCIENCE.

>> SELLE ON SCIENCE?

IS THERE.

>> Stephen: SCIENCE SUSPECT IS A LOT OF IT HYPE?

I HEAR SCIENCE IS REALLY GOOD.

WHAT HAS SCIENCE EVER DONE FOR,

YOU KNOW, THE GENERAL PUBLIC,

OTHER THAN, LIKE, TV REMOTES AND ELECTRIC BLANKETS.

THOSE I GET.

>> IT'S SO INTERESTING, BASIC SCIENCE IS SO IMPORTANT.

100 YEARS AGO WHEN THEY WERE JUST FIGURING OUT ABOUT WHAT WAS INSIDE THE ATOM, THAT WASN'T

REALLY CLEARLY UNDERSTOOD BY MANY PEOPLE.

THEY SAID FOUR PEOPLE COULD UNDERSTAND RELATIVITY.

AND NOW, THAT RUNS OUR ECONOMY.

>> Stephen: WHY DO WE NEED TO KNOW?

IS IT BETTER TO KNOW?

I MEAN, THERE ARE SOME THINGS WE WEREN'T MEANT TO KNOW, LIKE WHERE BABIES CAME FROM.

>> YES, I AGREE WITH THAT.

>> Stephen: AFTER I OWND FOUND THAT OUT I JUST-- IT'S A DIRTY BUSINESS.

>> IT CUT DOWN ON A LOT OF SEX.

>> Stephen: RIGHT, BECAUSE WE KNOW WHAT IT LEADS TO.

>> IT'S VERY DISTRESSING.

I AGREE WITH YOU.

>> Stephen: YOU AGREE WITH ME?

>> YES.

>> Stephen: THANK YOU.

>> DON'T LET ME INTERRUPT.

>> Stephen: I HOPE YOU WON'T.

WON'T ( CHEERS AND APPLAUSE )

I WISH-- I WISH MORE GUESTS WERE POLITE THE WAY YOU ARE.

YOUR LAST TWO YEARS, YOU PUT A CHALLENGE OUT TO SCIENTISTS.

>> YES.

>> Stephen: TO SAY CAN YOU EXPLAIN A FLAME TO AN 11-YEAR-OLD?

>> YAWZ BECAUSE WHEN I WAS 11 I WAS FASCINATED WITH A FLAME AND

I DIDN'T-- I DIDN'T KNOW WHAT IT WAS.

I WENT TO A TEACHER AND SAID,

"WHAT'S A FLAME?

WHAT'S GOING ON IN THERE?" AND SHE SAID, RS IT'S OXIDATION."

AND THAT'S ALL SHE SAID.

AND I HAD NEVER HEARD THAT WORD BEFORE SO THAT WAS LIKE CALLING IT BY ANOTHER NAME.

SO I THOUGHT A COUPLE OF MONTHS AGO IT WOULD BE REALLY FUN TO ASK SCIENTISTS IF THEY COULD

EXPLAIN A FLAME TO AN 11-YEAR-OLD, AND THEN THESE-- IT'S A CONTEST.

AND THESE ENTRIES WOULD BE JUDGED BY REAL 11-YEAR-OLDS.

>> Stephen: SO YOU'VE GOT A PANEL AT THE WORLD SCIENCE FESTIVAL?

>> AT THE WORLD SCIENCE FESTIVAL WE'RE GOING TO ANNOUNCE THE WINNER.

>> Stephen: YOU HAVE A PANEL OF 11-YEAR-OLDS?

>> 6,000 11-YEAR-OLDS ALL OVER THE WORLD JUDGE THE 500 ENTRIES.

>> Stephen: WHAT ARE SOME OF THE ANSWERS?

>> YOU CAN GO CLAIMCHALLENGE.ORG, AND SEE THE FINALIST.

>> Stephen: DO YOU HAVE ANY BIG NAMES?

>> I DON'T THINK SO.

THERE WAS A WIDE RANGE OF SCIENTISTS, AND SOME OF THEM WORKED REALLY, REALLY HARD ON IT.

IT WAS VERY TOUCHING TO SEE THAT.

YOU KNOW WHAT WAS ONE OF THE MOST INTERESTING THINGS WAS THE KIDS WHEN THEY WERE JUDGING IT,

WEREN'T JUDGING IT ON THE BASE OF WHAT'S THE MOST ENTERTAINING

ANSWER, BUT WHAT WOULD THEY HONOR FROM.

THEY WANTED TO GET INFORMATION.

SOMETIMES THEY SAID THIS IS FUNNY BUT I WANT MORE INFORMATION.

AND I THOUGHT THAT WAS ENCOURAGING.

>> Stephen: I CAN TRY?

>> WHAT IS IT.

>> Stephen: A FLAME IS A LITTLE BIT OF FIRE YOU BREAK OFF FROM A BIGGER FIRE.

( LAUGHTER ).

>> OKAY, YEAH.

>> Stephen: AND THAT FIRE.

>> YES.

>> Stephen: COMES FROM A MATCH.

>> YES.

>> Stephen: OKAY, AND A MATCH COMES FROM AN EVEN BIGGER FIRE AT A FACTORY.

>> YES.

>> Stephen: THAT THEY FREEZE DRY LIKE FOLGER'S COFFEE, AND

THEY GRIND IT UP INTO A POWDER AND GLUE IT ON TO A STICK, AND THEY SELL IT IN A BOX OF BOX OF

MATCHES LIKE THAT.

>> I SEE.

>> Stephen: AND THEN YOU GET THE FIRE BACK OUT BY THREATENING IT WITH A ROUGH SURFACE.

( LAUGHTER )

>> UH-HUH, UH-HUH.

>> Stephen: AND THEM YOU HAVE YOUR FLAME.

THAT AND IT IS THE DEVIL CRYING.

LN LAUGH ( APPLAUSE )

>> I THINK IT'S A GOOD BUSINESS MODEL.

( LAUGHTER ).

>> Stephen: THANK YOU, ALAN ALDA.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING ME.

ALAN ALDA, THE WORLD SCIENCE FESTIVAL GOING ON RIGHT NOW IN NEW YORK THROUGH TH

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