Posts by Bart Janssen

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  • OnPoint: Student Loans are Loans (Duh.), in reply to BenWilson,

    Which might not matter if you’re not paying the bills, but when it’s a matter of funding this or that person, the people with the money like to make the choice on more than “I worked with some brilliant people and it was great”.

    Ah so that's the problem. OK here's the choice Ben, either you let scientists who have had the experience of working with brilliant people make the choice on who should get funding or you let an accountant in wtgn make that choice on who should get funding.

    I'm not being specious it really is an accountant making the choice at the moment.

    You are arguing that you should ignore the advice of those with actual experience. That's an experiment that has already been done.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4217 posts Report Reply

  • OnPoint: Student Loans are Loans (Duh.), in reply to BenWilson,

    I’m offering this challenge to you and Bart

    And when we present you with examples you dismiss them as luck or sexism. Sorry Ben but that isn't productive.

    Here's an example you should read Barabr McClintock discovered transposable elements. Bits of DNA that could move within the genome and change genes within one organism and therefore change the progeny of that organism.

    All before the structure DNA had been discovered

    She was difficult and had trouble communicating her ideas. truth be told not many were smart enough to even understand her. But she was recognised as really smart. She made leaps of understanding that are actually hard to teach even now. Nobody in science now thinks of her as anything other than a brilliant mind.

    I'm not alone in believing that what she discovered would not have been understood until the genomes could be sequenced 50 years later.

    Oh and the observations she based those discoveries on - they were known for 200 years prior to her work.

    Oh and BTW Darwin's contribution wasn't a Theory of evolution it was the Theory of natural selection. The only reason it couldn't be tested was the timescale involved for most organisms - it has been tested now and every prediction it makes confirmed. Of course it isn't proven, no theory is, merely failed to be disproven.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4217 posts Report Reply

  • OnPoint: Student Loans are Loans (Duh.), in reply to BenWilson,

    I think we overrate the importance of talent

    hmmm two days late. I wouldn't normally bother arguing this with you Ben but to me it's one of the serious flaws in kiwi culture. You say we overate talent, I say we overate the mediocre and call it egalitarianism. You're right of course the analogy to Dan Carter is false because nobody is trying to stop the brilliant from performing ... well no-one except those jealous of ability and talent.

    You want examples, chase up Sydney Brenner. I have had the pleasure of sitting at the conference dinner table with him. You say eventually someone else would have had the same insights and maybe you're right. But if you stroll through the history of science you'll find periods of a century or more where everyone knew all the observations but nobody could fit them into a theory that allowed progress, Niels Bohr or Mendelev are nice examples. If those guys were just average then how come one of the many average people working over the 100 years prior to them didn't make the step forward?

    But it's more than just what the talented do themselves that matters. It's what they inspire in the average. I've seen labs I've worked in simply lift in performance after just a visit from one of the leaders in plant biology. Just a seminar and a day chatting with the students and post-docs and suddenly everyone is approaching their experiments and data with a different attitude.

    That's what talent does and I really really believe we should honour and respect intellectual talent.

    I'm not saying we shouldn't respect the good capable people who do most of the work. Just that we should recognise the really great ones.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4217 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Where do you get yours?, in reply to Islander,

    and cherish the close-up vision I still have in my right eye

    May you keep it a long time. I'm now both short and long sighted :(. It was just a feature that I hadn't ever though of as being useful and for me it is a great boon.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4217 posts Report Reply

  • Southerly: Liveblog: Moving House (Literally), in reply to David Haywood,

    Oh dear David is talking about made up quotes that David didn't make - all in the 3rd person. The stress is showing.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4217 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Where do you get yours?, in reply to Islander,

    One thing about e-reading I never thought of is, if I have to take my glasses off for one reason I can just make the font bigger. It sounds trivial but it really isn't.

    I love books, physical ones I mean but you can take my e-book from my cold dead hands - on second thought not even then

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4217 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Where do you get yours?, in reply to Emma Hart,

    Now I need to buy bookshelves

    Which is one reason I love my iPad. I love real paper but we either have to buy a new house or go electronic.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4217 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Where do you get yours?,

    I just don't buy much music any more. We have a selection of vinyl bought when it was new. We have slightly more CDs than fit in our CD racks (why is there never quite enough room?). And we have some concerts on Blu-ray. But because we don't listen to much random music (can't at work, don't at home) we just no longer hear anything new that we really like.

    Our last music purchase came via a facebook recommendation!

    Books I buy almost exclusively from Amazon kindle (US) now and read on my iPad, my partner buys some from the Whitcouls app because stupid book distribution rules prevent her buying things she wants from kindle US.

    I find fiction books by author linkages and by looking at the nebula and hugo awards and by looking at some of the amazon lists. Also I get some new authors that I like from Analog magazine.

    Movies I buy from Amazon UK and suggestions mostly from IMDB.

    And also I get books and music suggestions from my friends, because the people I like as people also have overlapping tastes in culture.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4217 posts Report Reply

  • Southerly: Liveblog: Moving House (Literally), in reply to jb,

    that the head of CERA is blissfully unaware of the issue

    He's a busy man - lunch with Gerry pretty much writes off the whole day.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4217 posts Report Reply

  • Southerly: Liveblog: Moving House (Literally), in reply to David Haywood,

    But I do have seeds

    Don't bother. Apples are predominantly outcrossing and extremely heterozygous. In English that means every single seed you plant will produce a completely different tree with different fruit ranging from tiny crab apples to fleshy big red spheres. And the trees will have completely different growth habits ranging from merely too tall to pick to freaking ginormous - unless you use a dwarfing rootstock.

    You will need to find a nursery to get a new tree - sorry.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4217 posts Report Reply

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