The Infomatic EP

by Baba Brinkman

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about

Better science communication through hip-hop.

Written and produced with support from NIMBioS:
www.nimbios.org

(The views expressed in this recording are those of the artists, and may not reflect the official position of NIMBioS)

credits

released 10 November 2012

Produced, mixed and mastered by Mr. Simmonds
www.mrsimmondsmusic.com

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Track Name: Mr. Infomatic
Mr. Infomatic

It's not the end of the world
It's just something new

Y'all act like you've never seen a rapper reading before
With rhymes that deserve a MacArthur Genius Award
A Pulitzer Prize, and a triple word score
But only a fool would dismiss it as "Nerdcore"
This is Hip-hop! in the Dead Prez sense of the word
It's bigger than your pigeonholes; it's literature
With soul, just ask Michael Eric Dyson
It's as big as the vision of the rapper who writes it
Like the GZA learning physics from Neil deGrasse Tyson
I consume facts like grass to bison
For this bio-info-matic rap
Constructing a niche, 'cause I'm lackin' a habitat
But I can build bridges; I'm a criss-cross
Between Christopher Wallace and Christopher Hitchens
I'm just inquisitive, plus a little vicious
When it comes to the fictitious
I'm Mr. Infomatic

Step up to Mr. Infomatic
If you've got yourself a question then ask it
'Cause if you don't then you get no answers
And that's so tragic
I'm Infomatic
I need facts like a sick dope addict
I got high scientifical standards
And that's why I'm into techno-gadgets
I'm intergalactic

I've been Mr. Infomatic for years
And I'll be that, until I run out of ideas
I'll light couple candles in a demon-haunted world
While this pale blue dot is hurled
Through the cosmos, I'm not slow, I wanna know
How a termite might evolve from a cockroach
Or how an ape from the African plains
Ends up with a massive brain, I can explain!
With a little help from some mathematicians
Familiar with natural selection
'Cause this is Darwinian rap – I keep 'em shimmyin'
Steady on the beat like a Nash Equilibrium
Haters are prosimian, wide-eyed
Like "No homo!" Sapien! Bush baby to ai-ai
And I might be at the front of a zeitgeist
That you can't define so why try?
I'm Mr. Infomatic

Step up to Mr. Infomatic
And if you've got yourself a question then ask it
'Cause if you don't then you get no answers
And that's so tragic
I'm Infomatic
Can't forget about temporal-lobe action
'Cause if you do, your brain will get so flacid
And that's nasty
Don't ask me what this is
It's just dope rappin'

Nerdcore is dead. Call the coroner!
It died 'cause it wasn't nerdy to the core enough
Not enough info, too many lame
References to the video games – what a shame!
You mixed up your fantasy fiction obsession
With your dedication to the scientific method
And extroverts can't relate to that!
I'd rather join the Night's Watch and take the black!
Okay, so I fell off the non-fiction wagon
Long enough to finish up A Dance With Dragons
But you won't catch me braggin' about social ineptitude
Or claimin' that clever will never be cool
So I should dumb it down, instead of keepin' it brainy
And waitin' for all the haters to come around
And when I'm done, smart will be the new sexy
And geeks will be cooler than 50, so who's with me?

I'm Mr. Infomatic
Step up to Mr. Infomatic
And listen up to Mr. Simmonds on the records
That's right, he's a production addict
I got the rappin'
Baba Brinkman is Mr. Infomatic
Wikipedia is infomatic
College degrees are infomatic
But you don't need one to have it
I'm talkin' 'bout facts, bitch
Facts, bitch...
Track Name: Mad Scientist (Talkin' Nerdy)
Mad Scientist (Talkin' Nerdy)

Is it just me, or is it incredibly sexy
When someone expresses intellect effortlessly?
I met Lesley at a party, she's a post-doc
She rejects any explanation that's post-hoc
All I could think was, "Aw, she's so nice"
As she talked about her work on alder phenotypes
With CO2 levels experimentally elevated
I felt elated, like "what an incredible lady!"
But then I got all forward and said I wanted more of it,
And she called my enthusiasm a false correlate
And then I felt all subordinate, so I stepped away
And then later I met Dave, Lesley's ex-
Sex slave, he explained; how embarrassing
He told me "Spiders engage in alloparenting
And a homologous molecule to oxytocin predicts it"
But then he split to go baby-sit Lesley's kids!

The mad scientist
He's talkin' nerdy to me
The mad scientist
He's talkin' nerdy to me
The mad scientist
He's talkin' nerdy to me
Drop science on your ear

I'm walkin' through the party lookin' for a brainy lady
When I run into Marty who studies same-sex mating
He's talkin' about the "homophobic paradox"
Which occurs in places like conservative America
Basically, if you suppress the gay scene
You get more babies born with gay genes
'Cause you force them into hetero marriages
Where they breed a pair of kids, just to keep up appearances
I said, "Damn, that's chickens coming home to roost
For sanctimonious homophobic prudes"
And I think my word usage got Marty's juices flowin'
But I was trying to use it to seduce a woman
So I excuse myself instead of leading him on
Peacock feathers I'm proceeding to flaunt
'Cause I gotta be lyrically fly if I choose
To pursue only women with the highest IQs

The mad scientist
He's talkin' nerdy to me
The mad scientist
He's talkin' nerdy to me
The mad scientist
He's talkin' nerdy to me
Drop science on your ear

Is it a personal fetish or a universal preference
To get thrills from seven-syllable words in a sentence?
Presented unpretentiously, even carelessly
I get titillated interdisciplinarily
So you can find me chillin' at a research institute
Conducting interviews in an impish mood
I met Sue at a conference, she's into modelling
Genetic trees, and species phylogenies
She swept me off my feet, I got wrapped up
In bed she recited a long list of taxa
Until I cracked up, and said: "It's sadistic
To put so much emphasis on cladistics
It's twisted!" But she was arrogant
She said: "Tell it to the genes that you share with chimps
And not with me" And she drifted off to sleep
I guess nerdy talking' isn't all sexy

The mad scientist
He's talkin' nerdy to me
The mad scientist
He's talkin' nerdy to me
The mad scientist
He's talkin' nerdy to me
Drop science on your ear
Track Name: Get It From Reading
Get It From Reading

Well, some people get it from eating
And other people get it from breeding
Well I can get a thrill from these things
But I can even get it from...

I got some nasty reading habits, some Breaking Bad
Season finale reading habits,
I'm speed addict-needy when I'm fiending for chapters,
In a Million Little Pieces, but in my case, it really happens!
I gotta feed this savage beast, indeed
They should call this "The Nymphomatic EP"
'Cause I'm seekin' affiliates, ideas gettin' busy
From Ed Wilson to Matt Ridley, reachin' Consilience
The unification of knowledge is my policy
Jared Diamond put me up onto biogeography
Guns, Germs, and Steel, real history following
A little bit too complicated for Mitt Romney
No apology, I read myself to sleep
Richard Dawkins hit me with the selfish gene
But if my genes are predicted to breed selfishly
Then why do I keep more books than females with me?
Why I got my face stuck in The Blank Slate?
Tell me Stephen Pinker, is this helpin' me get laid?
Or is it cheesecake? All I want is a taste
Of knowledge, like a moth to a flame...

Well, some people get it from eating
And other people get from breeding
Well I can get a thrill from these things
But I can even get it from reading
From reading?
From reading
I can even get it from reading
'Cause I need it
I need it so bad

This need to read, it needs to get explained
It supersedes my need to breed, that's pretty strange
Why should I be more concerned with getting brains
Than... getting brains? Let's model it with a steady state
Population of agents with nerdy people
And flirty people and worthy people and people who are deceitful
And every generation sees a change in the ratio
Based on who survives and where the matings go
Some want the virtuous and some want the villainous
And some are attracted to the flirty dumb ditzy-ness
But when the chips are down and someone's gonna get
The short end of it, you'll see the "dork benefit"
I'm talkin' about environmental context
That gives the content of your brain a strong test
And those who pass the test get the conquest
Of the resources, a cleverness contest
I gotta get prepped, so I'm on to the next tome
And that's why I'm less than sex-prone. I'm obsessed
With game theory and how it affects thrones
'Cause a mind needs books like a sword needs a whetstone

Well, some people get it from eating
And other people get from breeding
Well I can get a thrill from these things
But I can even get it from reading
From reading?
From reading
I can even get it from reading
'Cause I need it
I need it so bad
Track Name: Climate Skeptic
Climate Skeptic

In the mind of a...
In the mind of a...
In the mind of a...
Science is a liberal conspiracy

Man, I find it amazing, why is embracing the findings
Of science such a prime occasion for hiding away from
Reality? Mentally hibernating, blind evasion
Come on, it’s time to face it! The climate is changing
And it’s anthropogenic, the evidence is internationally vetted
NASA’s with it, Leon Panetta said it
And you think it’s a set-up? I don’t get it, seriously though
In your mind, how high does the conspiracy go?
Now, I’m no physics graduate – I’m a scientific advocate
Show me your methodology and how you fit the facts with it
And if it’s accurate I’ll flip the gist into some raps
And spit it passionate, and let the public interact with it
So let's get the facts straight: the greenhouse gas
Elevation is man-made, and if the clathrates
Up in Alaska escape, the feedback will jack up the pace
And increase the average temperature by several degrees
And those who disagree used to say tobacco's safe
They used to advocate for CFCs in cans of spray
But now it’s "hacker-gate," so next time someone tells you
The hockey stick graph is fake, just back away

In the mind of a climate skeptic
Science is a liberal conspiracy
So we can’t use scientific
Guides to help them see
That’s why things are kinda septic
Festering politically
Well, I’m behind the consensus
We need to stick to 350

Okay, so those in the pay of coal and petroleum
Say they’re inclined to doubt, but all the pros say
The science is sound, and if we can’t put the fires out
Then islands will drown and we’ll have violence and drought
But the general public, especially those who bend republican
Have generously ingested the anti-scientific rubbish
Propagated by the propaganda wing of the industrialists
Hence the political obstruction
I think I’ll just stick with the scientific consensus
Which says there’s an upper limit of 350
Parts-per-million of atmospheric carbon, and any higher percentage is
Gonna come at the cost of our modern perks and benefits
And that’s definitive, so let’s do what it takes!
Scientists are now saying they can make nuclear safe
Which will make a flower kid pitch a sour fit
But if carbon counts have to come down a bit, and renewables
Can’t carry the power grid, then either blackouts will hit
Or for now, I guess nuclear’s our fix
Look, go read up on fast-breeder reactors
And tell some hippies about them, just to see their reactions

In the mind of a climate skeptic
Science is a liberal conspiracy
So we can’t use scientific
Guides to help them see
That’s why things are kinda septic
Festering politically
Well I’m behind the consensus
We need to stick to 350

Climate deniers tend to believe in free markets
But free markets lack mechanisms to reach targets
They’re just as likely to leave us knee deep in garbage
Next to a sea full of carcasses, we need an armistice
An arms control agreement to keep our emissions below the ceiling
With no one cheating, which means global leaders will need to
Impose increasing fees on those who keep blowing smoke
And use the proceeds to promote schemes for going green
And some of the answers aren’t difficult; burning charred vegetable
Matter releases particulate black carbon that sticks in your throat
While the carbon storage potential of forests
Is formidable, and tree planting is marketable
So pull the fire alarm. Next time you meet a climate denier
With no firearm, try some dialogue, like:
Stop bein' an obstacle and go spout the gospel
in a Pentecostal mental hospital you troglodytic
Australopithecus fossil, we’ll talk when you’ve
wiped the Fox News residue off the rim of your nostril
And if that doesn’t lead to productive action
just keep it substantive, and leave the trash talk up to the rappers
Track Name: Naturalizm (Featuring Syqnys)
Naturalizm

"Science is more than a body of knowledge. It's a way of thinking, a way of skeptically interrogating the universe with a fine understanding of human fallibility. Where religion gets into trouble, is in those cases that it pretends to know something about science." Carl Sagan

Syqnys:
Whenever I debate opponents of naturalism
They act like I viciously attacked their position
And that's when I can get half to actually listen
It's like their minds are trapped, shackled in prison
When I mention evolution, the panic it hit's 'em
Yeah, they act like I'm advocating cannibalism
It's a man-eat-man world, just animals living
In a pointless universe, try like mad to convince 'em
But I can't, without getting' passionate with it
Watch how far naturalists being passive will get 'em
Forget about my radical stance on religion
Watch a naturalist debate a fanatical Christian
On the one side, you have someone with PhDs
On the other, call 'em "freeze" – they have zero degrees
And then we have to sit there and hear from the sleaze
Like it's a real debate, you hearing me? Please!

Baba:
Please, I'm hearing whispers on the wind about "conspiracies"
And "missing links" in modern evolutionary trees
"Intelligent design is treated like it's heresy..."
That's because it has no support empirically!
"But living things look designed, they must be designed!"
Sounds like your outcomes are all pre-defined
You need the scientific method to free your mind
Your ignorance is makin' baby Jesus cry
Design in nature is a blind operation
Here, let me try to find a less offensive way to say it
There's craters in the moon and there's craters in your face
But that doesn't mean the two were created the same way
Bottom up versus top down
Me and Syq gotta play good cop, bad cop now
How does being labeled a "cynical fraud" sound?
Try to sneak religion into science and get shot down

So don't waste your breath
Tryin' to sell me that fake BS
I'm a rationalist
I don't believe your little claims unless
You can back them with reason and evidence
And don't waste my precious time
Tryin' to save my soul, no
I'm a naturalist
I don't believe you need magic
To explain anything
Anything? Anything!

Syqnys:
We've been too accommodating, that's the reason that scientists
Are viewed by the public as deceivers and liars, it's
Crazy. Crazy! Yeah, they're thinking that science is
Populated by incompetent, overconfident nihilists
Why is this? It seems that we live in a world
In which the people who have the most to say are the quietest
Meanwhile, the willfully ignorant
Are skilled at belligerently shouting, filling the innocent
Minds of the public who aren't really that into it
That the data for global warming isn't really significant
Or that evolution's just a theory
This is important, we must be weary
Of pseudo-scientists, and bust them, clearly
We don't have to be all hushed and fear the
Repercussions. Yeah, we're outnumbered; we're the
Ones who are right, science-lovers hear me!

Baba:
And holler back if you'd rather have the facts
Even if they call you an iconoclast
'Cause you're mockin' on their sacred cows and other ancient artifacts
Never believe an idea based on how long it lasts
Judge it on the damage it does, on its impact
The time of religion on this planet is almost passed
But it's still holding us back like Jodie Foster in Contact
And still I'm clinging on this olive branch
Why? 'Cause I got friends who like to pray
And they tell me it brightens their day, so I say
Keep it out of my face and out of science debates
And you can have a nice time with your private faith
But if your personal fantasy world touches reality
I'm comin' with the cavalry, debunkin' every fallacy
That's part of the vision of scientific majesty
Vigilance is the cost, and religion is the casualty

So don't waste your breath
Tryin' to sell me that fake BS
I'm a rationalist
I don't believe your little claims unless
You can back them with reason and evidence
And don't waste my precious time
Tryin' to save my soul, no
I'm a naturalist
I don't believe you need magic
To explain anything
Anything? Anything!

"If we are not able to ask skeptical questions, to interrogate those who tell us that something is true, to be skeptical of those in authority, then we're up for grabs for the next charlatan, political or religious, who comes ambling along." Carl Sagan