Feb 06 2013

Allow me to depress you

I gave a talk in Canada this fall. It was not a happy talk. Now you too can be miserable.

If you really want to be sad, read the comments. It’s the usual youtube yahoos.


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  1. 1
    Anthony K

    That’s not Canada. Where’s the snow?

  2. 2
    silomowbray, sans frottage pour la douche

    @Anthony K

    It’s Ottawa. Ottawa doesn’t keep snow for long, because of the heat coming from Mount Doom the House of Parliament.

  3. 3
    Steve LaBonne

    Jebus, the MRA assholes even found their way to that YouTube thread? I’m starting to think they’re actually worse than creationists.

  4. 4
    Marcus Ranum

    From the comments:
    Moreover, he has the audacity to claim that when women say that they are/were harassed that this is something we, the white males, should take serious. Lol. As if we enlightened atheists have a need to listen to the women and their cute little inconsequential chatter.


  5. 5
    Steve LaBonne

    Marcus, methinks your snark meter is due for a checkup. Just saying.

  6. 6
    Marcus Ranum

    Marcus, methinks your snark meter is due for a checkup. Just saying.

    Holy crap! The batteries had died! It’s probably because it was driving the siren circuit so hard the last month that it ran the batteries right out.

    Someone needs to produce a standard snark-target that we can all calibrate our meters to.

  7. 7

    In the defense of the commenters, many of the worst ones were down-voted into oblivion. That’s a good thing. I guess.

  8. 8

    Professor Myers,
    Your talk is the best I have heard in years. You are a true American. Maybe you should run for office.

  9. 9
    Rob Grigjanis

    Excellent talk. Another exposition of the morphing of “Government For The People” into “Government For The Top 0.1% With Probable Benefits For the Rest Of The Top 1% And Screw Everyone Else”.

  10. 10
    Argle Bargle

    That’s not Canada. Where’s the snow?

    PZ is inside an igloo or a Tim Hortons, one of those typical Canadian buildings. The snow’s on the outside.

  11. 11
    Anthony K

    PZ is inside an igloo or a Tim Hortons, one of those typical Canadian buildings.

    Pshaw. Despite Tim Hortons Inc.’s propaganda (which I like to call doubledouble-speak), the most typical of Canadian buildings within which one can buy bad coffee are ice arenas, and they do indeed have snow inside.

    But I shan’t derail any further.

  12. 12

    OK, I’ve watched, and I’m duly depressed. Failure to invest in science is a hallmark of a dying empire, right? That and failing to anticipate the next source of energy…

  13. 13
    Steve LaBonne

    Martha, the death of this empire is, as the philosophers would put it, overdetermined.

  14. 14

    What does PZ Myers know? He likes girls, ew.


  15. 15

    Here is a recent paper about education if it is of any interest to anyone.



  16. 16
    Markita Lynda—threadrupt

    In Canada, total public infrastructure investment over the last decade has averaged around 3.1 per cent of GDP. A study indicates that it should be 62% higher, which would make it about 5%.

  17. 17

    Re. How to get people interested in science:

    My own experience is atypical. I’m related to scientists, science teachers, medical types, and a bunch of lawyers. So science was always something I was being constantly exposed to, and my early interest (particularly in astronomy and geology – sorry PZ) were strongly encouraged by my parents and other family members. For what it’s worth, my brother went and studied law.

    My wife’s experience was similar – both of her parents are chemical engineers. So were the experiences of many scientists that I know. Not everyone is or should be related to a scientist, but I think there is something important in actually knowing scientists as people and not just as talking heads on TV/YouTube.

    Not sure how to translate that into educational policy. I am not an expert at social engineering.

  18. 18

    What does PZ Myers know? He likes girls, ew.

    Yeah, he even threatened to eat one if she lost a hand of poker.

  19. 19

    The Rust Belt example is a bad one because it one of the reasons of the decline in US manufacturing power is due to labor costs. That is, the Rust Belt exist because US is so successful, not despite its success.

    To reply PZ question: People are interested in science when science accomplishes great deeds. The era of the nuclear discovery and of space exploration got a lot of kids interested in science. A similar technological push today (and no, a rover on Mars doesn’t do it) will generate enough enthusiasm to ignite a whole generation.

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