Every so often David Pogue, a technology writer for The New York Times, will host an episode of NOVA, now in its 40th season. He is routinely excellent at the job, so it comes as no surprise to me that he is now the season 6 host for NOVA scienceNOW. (Neil deGrasse Tyson hosted last season.) The primary difference between the two shows is that the former explores a single issue whereas the latter looks at a general question and goes from there; it’s sort of like the difference between a research paper and a review paper. For instance, the episode of NOVA scienceNOW I watched earlier tonight asked what makes us human. It then looked at the evolution of language, tool making, and even the different ways the great apes laugh. (Surprise, surprise, the vocalization and style of laughter amongst our ape cousins gets closer to sounding human as they get closer to us in genetic relatedness.) On the other hand, I currently have a new episode of the original NOVA in my DVR that is all – and specifically – about viking swords.
I have found myself enjoying NOVA scienceNOW (and regular NOVA) regardless of the host, but it definitely helps that David Pogue is signed onto this season. I think he does a great job and I look forward to seeing him more.