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Science; A Career For Tossers


Science is a career for tossers. That sounds like a sweeping generalisation so let's clarify. Nothing wrongs with physics, chemistry or biology, stuff like oceanography, electronics, hydraulics, applied sciences, they're good too. When people tell you they are scientists though its too vague. It usually means they are irritating little droids who go around with clipboards asking stupid questions.

Science: A Career For Tossers
by Ian R Thorpe
2007-09-06
CREATIVE COMMONS: Attribute, non commercial, no derivs.
KEYWORDS: science, scientists, education, career, humour, humor

A level results are in and I guess some of you will be discussing with your offspring, degree options and career choices. As usual siren voices in the government are extolling the wisdom of choosing a career in science. Should you let your children be seduced?

A few weeks ago Little Nicky was involved in a bit of a kerfuffle with the boy scientists from The Bad Science forum. One of the more intelligent and articulate commenters eventually asked why science gets such a bad press?

Well it could be something to do with the way, when their certainties are challenged the science boys tend to respond, "Youre not a scientist, you dont understand scientific methods. Such a response puts scientists in the same category as those religionists whose answer to any challenge is, Anything is possible for God. Could it be that narrow minded, blinkered attitude?

Or it could be because we see so many stories like the two below.

Researchers at Herriot Watt University and Strathclyde University claim to have proved older people have difficulty using new technology because physiological deterioration in connections between cells in the frontal lobes of the brain causes them to be easily confused by unfamiliar things.

Typically the scientists involved in this study forgot to look at the most obvious thing. Do older people want to use new technology that much? So we can watch movies or play games on our mobile phones. Are we bovvered? Many of us who have been rounded out by leading full and interesting lives can think of a hundred better things to do than watch a movie on a three inch by two inch screen.

I cannot take pictures or record video clips with my mobile phone. Is my brain going or is the case simply that my excellent digital camera and state of the art camcorder perform those tasks far better than the phone ever could. So I cannot do those things simply because I am never likely to want to.

Similarly neither I nor my wife ever learned to set the VCR to record a week in advance. Are we sliding into dementia or are we simply not the type of people to get withdrawal symptoms if we miss an episode or two of a favourite programs. They will be repeated in a few months anyway.

So it is not a question of neurological degeneration because everybody is different in that respect, it is a question of how interested we are. QED.

The second story has slightly more sinister connotations. Scientists (again its never philosophers or artists or historians causing trouble is it?) at the University of Kentucky, Louisville now keep in mind this is in Kentucky; think fried chicken, bluegrass and red necks claim to have found a link between eye colour and intelligence.

Blue eyed people, amazingly, are found to be more intelligent, ambitious and focused. Brown eyed people can run faster.

Nobody thought to mention in the context of this study that brown eyed people tend to have darker skin and curlier hair than blue eyed people.

My entirely unscientific observations on this issue, made throughout a long career in management consultancy is that if you tell people they are intelligent, creative and capable of more than they have ever given themselves credit for, they tend to aim higher and as a result grow in confidence and perform better. This approach works regardless of "eye" colour.

So lets throw this one back at the boy scientists. What is it exactly that us alleged non scientists dont understand? That ageism and racism are OK so long as they are backed up by properly conducted scientific studies?

You should bear that in mind when talking to young people about career options.

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Updated : Tue, 28 Aug 2012 09:53:42 +0000

Leaked Emails: 'The Greatest Show on Earth'?

Twenty Twelve is returning to our screens on Friday at 10pm on BBC Two.

With the official announcement this week that the Olympic site is coming along nicely, the Twenty Twelve Deliverance team have been working around the clock to ensure that the games go off without a hitch.

Unfortunately, Graham must have left his computer unlocked, as we've been forwarded some e-mails that Ian might not want to world to see...


From: Ian Fletcher
To: Nick Jowett; Graham Hitchins; Kay Hope; Siobhan Sharpe
Subject: IOC visit

 
As you are no doubt aware, the International Olympic Committee are in London this week and will be visiting our offices on Friday. Following the PM's lead, our official line on the London games is that (despite what I may have said in Wednesday’s meeting) they will be "the greatest show on earth".


From: Graham Hitchins
To: Ian Fletcher; Nick Jowett; Kay Hope; Siobhan Sharpe
Subject: RE: IOC visit

What about Cirque du Soleil?

From: Ian Fletcher
To: Graham Hitchins; Nick Jowett; Kay Hope; Siobhan Sharpe
Subject: RE: IOC visit
 
What about Cirque do Soleil??!

From: Graham Hitchins
To: Ian Fletcher; Nick Jowett; Kay Hope; Siobhan Sharpe
Subject: RE: IOC visit

That was my question.


From: Ian Fletcher
To: Nick Jowett; Graham Hitchins; Kay Hope; Siobhan Sharpe
Subject: RE: IOC visit
 
I KNOW - I was making point. Specifically: what you may personally believe is irrelevant - when speaking to anyone from the IOC, this year's games will be the greatest show on earth. OK?

From: Siobhan Sharpe
To: Ian Fletcher; Nick Jowett; Kay Hope; Graham Hitchins
Subject: RE: IOC visit
 
Pyramids.

From: Ian Fletcher
To: Graham Hitchins; Nick Jowett; Kay Hope; Siobhan Sharpe
Subject: RE: IOC visit
 
Siobhan, I know I have repeatedly asked you to make your emails more succinct, but I think we need to find a middle ground here.

From: Siobhan Sharpe
To: Ian Fletcher; Graham Hitchins; Nick Jowett; Kay Hope
Subject: RE: IOC visit
 
Pretty sure that the pyramids are one of 'the greatest shows on earth'. Duh. Should be worried about copyright issues?

From: Ian Fletcher
To: Siobhan Sharpe; Graham Hitchins; Nick Jowett; Kay Hope
Subject: RE: IOC visit
 
You're thinking of 'wonders of the world'. No-one has ever said that the London Olympics will be one of the seven wonders of the world.
 

...Well, the Mayor did, but we managed to keep it out of the press.


From: Ian Fletcher
To: Siobhan Sharpe; Graham Hitchins; Nick Jowett; Kay Hope
Subject: IOC visit - update!

UPDATE: It seems that the PM has also said "London will be ready on time and on budget" which, to put it charitably, is a half-truth. The press are likely to jump all over this, so today might be a good day to bury any embarrassing news we’ve been sitting on.

From: Siobhan Sharpe
To: Ian Fletcher; Graham Hitchins; Nick Jowett; Kay Hope
Subject: RE: IOC visit - update!

I’m on it!

From: Ian Fletcher
To: Graham Hitchins; Nick Jowett; Kay Hope; Siobhan Sharpe
Subject: RE: IOC visit - update!

WHO ISSUED A PRESS RELEASE SAYING WE ARE BEHIND SCHEDULE AND OVER BUDGET??!!

From: Siobhan Sharpe
To: Ian Fletcher; Graham Hitchins; Nick Jowett; Kay Hope
Subject: <<Out of Office AutoReply>> RE: IOC visit - update!
  
Thank you for your message. I am currently out of the office at an emergency press briefing. If your query is press-related please contact Ian.Fletcher@ODC2012.co.uk

From: Ian Fletcher
To: Graham Hitchins; Nick Jowett; Kay Hope; Siobhan Sharpe
Subject: <<Out of Office AutoReply>> RE: IOC visit - update!

Thank you for your message. I am currently out of the office at an unforeseen press briefing. If your query is Olympics-related please contact Siobhan@PerfectCurve.co.uk

Ian.
 
More from Twenty Twelve:

The Twenty Twelve emails were written by Larry Rickard.


Publ.Date : Thu, 29 Mar 2012 15:30:00 +0000

New Jason Byrne Sitcom 'Father Figure'

 

BBC One has commissioned a pilot of Father Figure, a new sitcom created, written by and starring the stand-up comedian Jason Byrne, to go into production early next year.

Jason Byrne plays married father Tom. He tries to be the best dad he can to his two sons, but bad luck and his extended family are always upsetting his plans. Jason will be accompanied by Pauline McLynn (Father Ted), Michael Smiley (Luther) and Dermot Crowley (Bleak House).

Jason said "It's been a big dream of mine and I'd never have thought I would get the chance to join the ranks of the television sitcom world. The characters all come from real life and the outrageous situations Tom gets into have, more often than not, actually happened to me. The people in my life will never realise that it's them I'm writing about, unless my wife and two sons, mother, father and best mate ever watch it."


Publ.Date : Thu, 09 Aug 2012 07:00:00 +0000

Twenty Twelve is back!

Yep, that's right. Twenty Twelve is returning to our screens at 10pm on Friday 30th March on BBC Two.

This series the pressure mounts as the Olympic Deliverance team try to navigate their way through such delicate issues as how to handle the Algerian team's demand for a mosque in the Olympic village, and how to carry out a Legacy Audit on the rival bids for the Stadium when no one knows what a Legacy Audit is.

Here's a clip of Ian, Siobhan and the ever dedicated Sally, drafting a press release about the Deliverance teams commitment to 'multicuturality':

In order to see this content you need to have both Javascript enabled and Flash installed. Visit BBC Webwise for full instructions. If you're reading via RSS, you'll need to visit the blog to access this content.

More from Twenty Twelve:


Publ.Date : Fri, 23 Mar 2012 17:00:00 +0000

Feed My Funny Exclusives

Last month YouTube celebrated its 7th birthday. Hulu, the largest legal TV streaming service in the US, will be 5 in August (It's four months older than iPlayer). There's been much talk in the US recently about online video "growing up". Google's decision to foster partnerships with content producers, starting with its YouTube Partner Program, has now seen the launch of premium video channels. At a presentation to advertisers in May, US comedian Chris Hardwick, who runs YouTube's popular Nerdist channel, summed up Google's intentions best: "The web will be to cable TV what cable TV was to broadcast".

Google though is not an isolated case, and other online platforms are taking it further. Both Hulu & Netflix have commissioned exclusive web series including political sitcom "Battleground", a new reality show from Morgan Spurlock, and a series of documentaries from the acclaimed director Richard Linklater. US online video services are for a wide variety of reasons evolving, but what's still unknown, and so exciting, is what effect the continual growth of this video market will have on Television.

This is contextually interesting, and relevant to the BBC, because today we published seven brand new comedy shows online. Of course that happens regularly on the iPlayer, but these shows have never been on television; they were commissioned for bbc.co.uk. Promoted by BBC Three as Feed My Funny Exclusives, and championed by controller Zai Bennett as a chance to find "the next Gavin and Stacey or Little Britain", they throw up exciting possibilities for comedy, a genre where traditionally you have to kiss a lot of frogs to find the next Prince or Princess, like Mrs Brown.

Dawson Bros. Funtime

New talent, new formats and new scripts can be developed at relatively low cost in relation to TV production and put in front of an audience. Architecturally, the Feed My Funny Exclusives, use the same templates as TV shows, working within bbc.co.uk/programmes, utilising iBroadcast, and they can appear in IPlayer. But the differences are what makes this so exciting going forward. These shows don't need to be 28 minutes long, they cost less to make than most TV comedy and they are at that intersection between technology and storytelling Ralph Rivera described a few months ago.

How many of this year's Feed My Funny Exclusives will go to full TV series remains to be seen. What we do know is that when more are commissioned later this year, we can ask some interesting questions. For example, what would data driven comedy look like? After all, Yahoo, who now commission web series, make programming choices driven by data. After tracking the torrent of clicks that news stories about wedding engagements routinely get they commissioned a reality web show "The Ultimate Proposal".

Could we create a personalised comedy akin to the Tipp-Ex Bear on YouTube using bbc programme pages? Or create live comedy driven entirely from social media feeds? Technology is changing what we can do with comedy but all that really matters is how funny the end product is. So I will leave you to judge and comment on what's been produced for the first series of Feed My Funny exclusives, but I would like to point out that without this project we would never have been able to unveil the latest revolution in equine technology. It keeps you up to date with news for horses, surf websites for horses, and connect with friends, who are horses.

Feed My Funny Exclusives

Will Saunders is an executive producer within BBC Comedy.


Publ.Date : Mon, 02 Jul 2012 19:00:00 +0000

BBC Set For Festival Fringe at Edinburgh 2012

We're going back to the Fringe!

This summer, we'll pick up from where we left off last year when all our Fringe action came together under one roof. Expect even more performances and shows from across our site on TV, on radio and online.

We're going extra mile at the Fringe this year, hosting an overnight Comedy Marathon. BBC Three will start an epic overnight journey with a specially billed, anarchic eight hour show which will go out live on the Red Button from 9pm till 5am and forms part of the London 2012 Festival.

Our tented festival village opens on Friday, 3rd August and doesn't come down until the early hours of Monday 27th August, with over a 100 shows under its belt.

Last year, our venue enjoyed hosting shows from across the BBC. Where else in Edinburgh could you have found Ricky Gervais, Mark Lawson, Sarah Millican and David Hasselhoff on the same stage? (OK, not necessarily at the same time) - in case this all passed you by, here's a video of last year's highlights:

In order to see this content you need to have both Javascript enabled and Flash installed. Visit BBC Webwise for full instructions. If you're reading via RSS, you'll need to visit the blog to access this content.

There is so much going on across the month, make sure you don't miss anything by following @BBCEdFest on twitter and via www.facebook.com/BBCEdFest

Free tickets for all of the on-site events, performances and Masterclasses are available from BBC Tickets from Thursday, May 31. Apply now to make sure you don't miss out!

What's On?

BBC Radio 1's Scott Mills and Nick Grimshaw will be returning to present their spectacular Fun and Filth Cabaret, also part of the London 2012 Festival. And BBC Comedy Presents is back, showcasing the best of the Fringe with nightly shows.

Festival-goers can come together and marvel at our new big screen which will be showing the best of the Olympics live.

Radio 4 bring a host of listener favourites to the Fringe; David Mitchell will be dropping in to host The Unbelievable Truth, Nicholas Parsons and Paul Merton will rock up for Just a Minute, as will Clive Anderson for Loose Ends. Jim Naughtie is with us for a special Fringe edition of Today, and Rory Bremner's in town to host Tonight.

More Radio 4 recordings from the festival include Comic Fringes, with short stories created by popular comedians. Also, Front Row, The Horne Section, The Philosopher's Arms, Wondermentalist Cabaret, plus a new food panel show making its debut at the Fringe - The Kitchen Cabinet presented by Jay Rayner.

As well its regular stable of Edinburgh shows of MacAulay & Co and the Festival Café and in recent years Off the Ball - BBC Radio Scotland will be taking more stalwarts East including Vic Galloway and Jazz House, and as he did in 2011, to acclaim, Christopher Brookmyre will be combining comedy and books in a specially recorded series.

Radio 3 will broadcast In Tune live from Edinburgh with Sean Rafferty and Verity Sharp presenting two editions of Late Junction with live music and special features.

Radio 2's Steve Wright Show - with Patrick Kielty at the helm - will broadcast from the festival. Patrick's also hosting the Edinburgh heat of the Radio 2 New Comedy Award. And Penny Smith returns with The Radio 2 Arts Show.

There is also a chance for you to see Richard Bacon present his BBC 5live shows from the BBC venue at the Edinburgh Festival on August 22nd and 23rd with celebrity guests.

BBC coverage goes beyond the Fringe. The diversity of the Edinburgh festivals will be reflected across a range of output, including BBC Two's The Culture Show with Sue Perkins and The Review Show with Kirsty Wark. And as broadcast partner of the Edinburgh International Festival, Radio 3 will broadcast 18 live and pre-recorded concerts from the Festival.

There will be a host of other live music acts across the month, featuring special performances from world loop-station champion, Shlomo, as well as up-and-coming live music acts showcased by Vic Galloway and the BBC Introducing... team in Scotland. There will also be lots exciting things to do for families with young children.

Key events at the BBC@Potterrow are included in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe brochure, but further details of additional events including Masterclasses and Workshops will be announced in due course.


Publ.Date : Thu, 31 May 2012 16:55:00 +0000


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A statue of colonial leader Cecil Rhodes at the University of Cape Town has been removed after students launched an uncompromising campaign to have the British explorer and businessman expunged from history. Protesters poured red paint on the bronze figure and danced on the plinth as the statue was lifted off on Friday.

Punish Climate Change Liars" Demands Climate Change Liar
Over the years my scepticism about global warming and attempts to initiate intellgent discussion of the dodgy science based on mathematical models that forms the basis of the Warmageddonist case, versus much less alarming projections based on data from real world observations haveearned me accusations of being a child murderer. Not only that, some of the lefties who support climate fascism have demanded the death penalty for people who disagree with them. And yet they think it unfair to punish certain child rapists and murderers. Hypocrites.

US Soldiers Forced To Sit Through P C 'White Privilege Presentation. Not Happy Bunnies
The U.S. Army is investigating an unauthorized diversity training presentation on “white privilege” shown to hundreds of Georgia soldiers, USA Today reported, citing an Army spokeswoman. The Equal Opportunity training presentation was shown to about 400 soldiers of the 67th Signal Battalion at Fort Gordon on Thursday, according to Captain Lindsay Roman.

Britain's Racist Future: Labour Set To Throw Selection On Merit Out The Window
With four weeks to go until a General Election that could change the face of Britain forever, the Labour Party, which hopes to be elected to govern this great and proud nation, has unveiled a set of policies that would make minorities into privileged castes and relegate the white Working and middle classes to the status of second class citizens. Could you vote for a party that hates your country, your party and YOU?

Now We Know Why Huge TPP Trade Deal Is Kept Secret From the Public
A key section of the secret Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement has been leaked to the public. The New York Times has a major story on the contents of the leaked chapter, and it's as bad as many of us feared. Now we know why the corporations and the Obama administration want the TPP, a huge "trade" agreement being negotiated between the United States and 11 other countries, kept secret from the public until it's too late to stop it.

Judge Cuts 20 Year Old's Rape Sentence By 15 Years Because 'He Did Not Mean To Hurt 3-Year-Old Victim
It could only happen in the land of politically correct twattery of course, while here in the UK Labour Party supporters and the Islington Screechers corps wail and gnash their teeth over the fact that pedophiles are denied fulfillment and must be given the right to fuck four year olds, in California the judiciary are acting to rectify the situation ...

Teacher Forced To Resign For 'Sharing' Material Critical Of Obama And His Beloved Muslim Terrorists
The supporters of the wannabe King of the American Empire like to describe themselves as 'liberal', 'progressive', and left wing. If they were really any of those things they would not be as fanatically committed to the idea of suppressing free speech as they are.

US Presidents Of The Past warned Against Secret, Shadow Government. By now it should be obvious that peacemake, joybringer and putative aquatic pedestrian Barack Hussein Obama was never really in charge of the US Government. Whatever Obama said would happen, all the American government's policies ensured the opposit would happen. The embedded article thows some light on how the US government really works

Google Meets White House Officials Every Week Why?
... Given the close relationship the company has with the Obama administration, an administration which has shown itself to be severely "truth challenged," in its dealings with the public, this is of some concern.

Indiana pizza shop closes after anti-gay marriage comments; donations pour in


An Indiana pizza shop owner’s anti-gay marriage stance is paying off. Online supporters donated more than $33,000 in three hours to Memories Pizza after the pie maker’s controversial pledge not to cater same-sex weddings spawned a wave of criticism.

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Education | The Guardian
Updated : Sat, 25 Apr 2015 15:56:10 GMT

DfID accused of heightening inequality through support for private sector

Report by campaign group Global Justice Now points finger at Department for International Development over private health and education projects

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Publ.Date : Fri, 24 Apr 2015 12:19:12 GMT

Politics for the people: five demands from young voters

The Guardian went to Sheffield Hallam University to discuss how UK politics could better engage young people. The event was chaired by writer and presenter Rick Edwards

You Talk, They Listen is a series of events we’re hosting at universities around the UK – each focusing on the topics you care about most in the run-up to the election; from higher education, to freedom of speech, climate change and immigration – young people talk and politicians listen. This time we focused on how politics could change to re-engage young voters.

Related: Is London's stranglehold on power a big turn-off for young voters?

Five top demands on political reform

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Publ.Date : Fri, 24 Apr 2015 11:27:28 GMT

Can neuroscientists dispel the myth that children have different learning styles?

A new initiative from the team behind “I’m a scientist – get me out of here” aims to bring neuroscientists and teachers together to discuss how brain science can inform education

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Publ.Date : Fri, 24 Apr 2015 14:08:09 GMT

If you're 'only a teacher', don't expect to be treated fairly by a business school

At my university business school, around 90% of revenue comes from teaching, yet we’re kept off the payroll and undermined by other staff

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Publ.Date : Fri, 24 Apr 2015 09:10:24 GMT

Soas becomes first London university to divest from fossil fuels

Campaigners hail success as Soas follows in footsteps of Glasgow and Bedfordshire universities, and calls on other universities to follow suit

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Publ.Date : Fri, 24 Apr 2015 14:27:06 GMT


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