“The block of cheese was huge,” begins Leo McGarry’s speech amid groans in the fictional show about the White House, “The West Wing.”
McGarry, the president’s chief of staff, played by John Spencer, goes on to explain in 1835, the White House had a huge block of cheese and then-President Andrew Jackson invited any and all that were hungry to come eat and mingle with cabinet members.
This is true, according to the trivia magazine Mental Floss, except the block was a wheel. It weighed nearly 1,400 pounds and was four feet in diameter.
Fast forward to 2014, the White House has taken a page from “The West Wing” and Jackson and created its own virtual Big Block of Cheese Day on Jan. 29.
Sorry, no real cheese.
Advisers and cabinet members took to Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus to field questions from “any and all” that were hungry, but for knowledge this time.
Among the experts taking questions was John Holdren, President Barack Obama’s science adviser.
The topic de jour? Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education.
— The White House OSTP (@whitehouseostp) January 29, 2014
Holden answered 12 questions in a 30-minute period.
“What initiatives are being pursued by the administrations to attract high quality teachers in STEM disciplines?” asked @mdsteele47.
Holden responded that more than 150 organizations have stepped up to train 100,000 STEM teachers.
(One must keep in mind the science adviser only had 140 characters in which to respond.)
Others asked about plans to get girls interested in STEM, initiatives for minorities, plans for encouraging development of new types of energy and the funding of space exploration.
Holden responded with a number of programs and predictions for his audience.
If you’re wondering about the cold weather, as @3Disney_wishes did, Holdren says to expect more of it.