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Bill Nye Interview

Bill Nye Talks Weed, Tyler, the Creator, SpaceX, and More

Image Source: Everett Collection

If you grew up in the '90s, it's more than likely that Bill Nye the Science Guy was your gateway to science. But thanks to Netflix, we've now been given a chance to continue learning from Nye as adults via Bill Nye Saves the World. If you've never seen the show (you're really missing out), the Emmy-winning host and educator explores various topics — including marijuana and time travel — from a scientific point of view. It's basically a more mature version of the show we loved as kids, except with a bigger budget, expert panel discussions, and an updated theme song by Tyler, the Creator. When I got the opportunity to speak with Nye over the phone (yes, of course I freaked out), I had to get his thoughts on the following subjects.

Image Source: PBS / Netflix

On Weed

In episode one, season two of Bill Nye Saves the World, Nye dives into the scientific value of cannabis research. Though he mentions that he hates marijuana, thanks to his ultimate frisbee team who would always show up to games stoned back in the day, I wanted to know what he really thinks about that "good good," as he called it, on a personal level.

"Knock yourselves out — but it's not for me," Nye told POPSUGAR. "I don't like it; I don't like the smell. And the ultimate frisbee thing was an example of what I don't like about it. I'm not really crazy about dealing with drunk people, either."

But aside from disliking when people are under the influence, Nye does see the importance in learning more about weed's medical potential.

"The point of the show is we need to study it, that it's not understood," Nye said. "It's a Schedule I drug because it's presumed to have no medical values, yet everybody's using it for all these medical applications and many, many people report fantastic results. I am open-minded about it but I'm just not going to buy it or smoke it. It's not my thing. And you know I say that now — who knows what will happen! Maybe there will be a turn of events — maybe a strain of marijuana will be produced that has different effect and I think it's great. But right now, it's not for me, and those of you who want to enjoy marijuana, go wild. And I will say as a taxpayer and voter, criminalizing it is not productive. It's not a good use of our law enforcement resources."

Nye continued to debunk the notion that just because it comes from the ground mean it's 100 percent good for you.

"There's this belief that if things are natural — the fact that we use the term 'weed' — if things are natural, they're inherently safe," Nye said. "I'm not sure that's altogether true. If you go to the Salton Sea here in California and drink a cupful, you'll be drinking a good charge of arsenic. It's there naturally, but maybe it's not in your best interest."

On SpaceX

On Feb. 6, Elon Musk and SpaceX made history with the successful launch of the world's most powerful rocket, the Falcon Heavy. Nye celebrated the momentous occasion alongside legendary astronaut Buzz Aldrin — and obviously had some feelings about it.

"Oh, it was fantastic," Nye said. "The United States has been the world leader in space exploration for 50 years. The Roscosmos, or its predecessors, the Soviet space program, did extraordinary things . . . but the United States has been the world leader. It'd be good for the United States to get back in the game of big rockets, and SpaceX is doing that. Their vision is to lower the cost of getting to Earth orbit by making rockets that are largely or substantially reusable. They're getting there, and it's very exciting. And what everybody who was there talked about was not just that the main thing worked — what everybody was talking about was the reentry vehicle, the first stage just came back down and landed perfectly again. I was in Adelaide, Australia, this year for the International Astronautical Conference, and Elon Musk was there talking about his idea for the big Falcon rocket and this would be a reusable rocket whose launch cadence you would keep up by providing rides to passengers between hemispheres. This visionary idea of making renewable fuel by extracting carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere using solar electricity! Come on, it's cool!"

On Tyler, the Creator

To the delight of viewers, Tyler, the Creator, rapper, producer, and former frontman of Odd Future, is behind the opening sequence of Bill Nye Saves the World. The intro is new and fresh but still plays off of the original '90s theme song. I asked Nye if he knew who Tyler was prior to him coming on board.

"Well, a little bit," Nye said. "I just knew him as the guy who ate the cockroach. I didn't really know him, but he's a good guy. We hung out a little bit. He's very into space exploration; he's cool."

The two met after Tyler produced the very first version of the intro, which Nye was a fan of from the get-go. "The reason I'm happy with it is viewers respond to it," Nye said. "You've gotta respect what the viewer wants. So if viewers like it, I'm in."

On Bow Ties

Obviously, I couldn't interview Nye without asking him about his favorite fashion accessory. Just in case you're wondering, he has about 500.

"Here in Southern California, I have five tie racks, and by that I mean the kind of things you get at Bed Bath & Beyond with pins; in New York, I have three sliding tie racks I got at The Container Store. And when I do a talk at a university, they'll give me the university bow tie, so they add up. The other thing about them is that they don't wear out. And on the Netflix show, you wear a different tie on every show."

On What's Next For Him

Nye is basically the Ryan Seacrest of science — he does it all. In addition to the upcoming release of the third installment of his children's book, Jack and the Geniuses, Nye also recently signed a deal to write another general interest book with the same coauthor, Gregory Mone. And there's also his documentary Bill Nye: Science Guy, which is set to broadcast on April 18 of this year.

"I have another movie I want to make," he said. "My full-time residence is in Studio City, and you have to have a screenplay or they give you a ticket."

Though the release date of the second half of season two has yet to be announced, you can expect it to be nothing less than "cool and fantastic," according to Nye. Until then, be sure to catch part one on Netflix!

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