Posts by Bart Janssen

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  • Hard News: 2016: The arc of a year, in reply to steven crawford,

    It’s called engaging in science, for pleasure. People who engage in science for pleasure are gifted with a trait that might save civilisation from collapse.

    To be fair there is a pretty wide continuum of scientists,
    from those who do science to get rich - really there are some of those - they usually end up as managers or science advisors -
    all the way to those who do science with the sole intention of saving the human race.

    Most of the tribe I belong to called scientists fall somewhere in the middle, yeah we do science because it's fun, because we want to know "WHY?" and nobody can tell us so we have to figure it out ourselves
    But we also want some money - to pay for nice food
    And we also think eventually science improves the human condition - sometimes slowly most times incrementally and almost always in a way nobody can predict.

    So asking why are "We wasting money on X or Y piece of research?" kind of utterly misses the point about science.

    For all we know those data from those measurements may unlock the key to emmisions-free dairying or hangover-free beer or anything. It probably won't, but even if it doesn't the data will add incrementally to human knowledge and may tell us something we didn't expect about drug use. Something we couldn't have guessed would be in the data.

    I know that's a leap of trust for taxpayers, myself included. But all the studies have shown the same thing - taxpayers who trust the tribe of scientists get rewarded.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4197 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Public Address founder…,

    I'd like to start a movement to make next year's word of the year muffnut as both a new food (cross between a doughnut and a muffin) and a gender neutral insult.

    eg. Russell is such a muffnut

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4197 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Public Address founder…,

    You said cockwomble <snort>

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4197 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Public Address Word of the…,

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4197 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Public Address Word of the…,

    If I was going to be intellectual about it I'd say "confirmation bias" or the more common "echo chamber" to describe the way people have stopped listening to opposing views or ideas.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4197 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Public Address Word of the…,

    post- truth or post-fact have to be it

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4197 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: David Shearer: The one that…,

    Just another comment - as a scientist it really was neat to see a leader who took the science portfolio. I get the feeling that had he ever become PM it might have made a subtle difference to his priorities.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4197 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: David Shearer: The one that…, in reply to Konrad Kurta,

    An unfortunate reality of modern media and politics.

    Agreed. Doesn't stop me hating it though.

    Also I have to say I think it has a lot to do with just how bad some political systems have become.

    But I have no idea how to fix it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4197 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: David Shearer: The one that…, in reply to Konrad Kurta,

    his inability to connect with the public via concise media soundbites

    The media's inability to present anything other than trite meaningless soundbites ...

    There I fixed that for you

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4197 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: David Shearer: The one that…,

    I thought it was worth the risk.

    I agree. Because what we have been trying for the last decades has simply not been working.

    We've tried the politicians. The ones who bully and blackmail and buy their colleagues in order to achieve power and then can only imagine getting more power.

    We need statespeople. People who are doing the job of politician because it's the best way for them to contribute to society. People who make decisions based on the best evidence available for the greatest benefit to all of society. People who can make mistakes and admit it. People who take responsibility for their decisions and are willing to change their minds when they get it wrong.

    I don't know if Shearer was all those things. But I do know that what has replaced him was the worst kind of old white male political animal and frankly it's really hard to vote for that.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4197 posts Report Reply

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