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Episode 129 — Scientists


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#1 July Diaz

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 12:22 AM

After Tig blows everyone’s mind with her baby voice, the gang is joined by filmmaker/creator of Zoochosis Patrick Scott and terpsichorean neuroscientist Crystal Dilworth of Fail Lab to talk all about scientists. They’ll discuss the myth of the scientist, what makes a good scientist, and scientists that inspire them. That’s not all, there’s a new ringtone for all you Blastronauts out there!

#2 somepeople

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 02:30 AM

I love both Tig's lil baby voice AND Aaron's grunty phone ring

#3 Shlizzie

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 02:52 AM

Lauged out loud a few times during this episode. Love you guys :)

#4 brotherTodd

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 06:25 AM

Pretty good... But Lil' Tig that wanted Goobers was the moneymaker.

#5 Kickpuncher

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 04:25 PM

One of the best episodes of the year, both for the opening banter and the guests segment.

#6 GoofusOmega

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 07:07 PM

Yeah this was great. Makes me so happy to hear openings like this!
The girl in the floral two piece capri pant pajama set.

#7 Edewede

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 12:04 AM

Solid episode for sure! :D

#8 Steven Yates

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 04:50 AM

Great episode, as always!

A few thoughts.

If I understood correctly, the guests were trying to promote the recognition of female scientists as females, but also trying to discourage sexism. These aims are not diametrically in opposition to one another, but there is a somewhat fine line to walk there. I would suggest that science should be gender-blind (as it should be blind to all other characteristics of the individuals doing the science) and focus on the science being done. The work should speak for itself. I oppose sexism in every workplace.

It may be difficult for some folks to see an attractive female scientist, recognize the scientist as a female, but not note that she may be attractive. (Or maybe I have missed the point here. If so, I apologize.)

Also, in the clip, the scientists were suggesting that years of failure in the lab were required before grad students "became real scientists". I guess that depends how one defines "real scientists". I believe that anyone can learn and apply the scientific method and utilize it to do "real science". That is the beauty of science. And I don't think it takes billions of dollars to set up a "real science lab". Depending on the science one is doing, it may not require much equipment at all. Einstein did many "thought experiments" with only his brain. True, other scientists later used various apparatus to verify his hypotheses. We should encourage all kinds of people of all ages, educational backgrounds and means to do science.

The guests were well-spoken and interesting. They did a great job.

Welp, that's been comment.

#9 Kickpuncher

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 05:52 AM

Good stuff, Steven. A few thoughts of my own...

View PostSteven Yates, on 06 November 2013 - 04:50 AM, said:

If I understood correctly, the guests were trying to promote the recognition of female scientists as females, but also trying to discourage sexism. These aims are not diametrically in opposition to one another, but there is a somewhat fine line to walk there. I would suggest that science should be gender-blind (as it should be blind to all other characteristics of the individuals doing the science) and focus on the science being done. The work should speak for itself. I oppose sexism in every workplace.

It may be difficult for some folks to see an attractive female scientist, recognize the scientist as a female, but not note that she may be attractive. (Or maybe I have missed the point here. If so, I apologize.)


I was a little confused by some of their message, too. I think the general idea is solid, and I've seen and enjoyed one of their videos, but I do think a cleaner one-sentence distillation of their message would help. Also, regarding sexism, at one point, Crystal said that every female scientist has suffered from sexual harassment in some form (probably not true, but beside the point), but then went on to discuss gender-based discrimination, which is a different issue.

Quote

Also, in the clip, the scientists were suggesting that years of failure in the lab were required before grad students "became real scientists". I guess that depends how one defines "real scientists". I believe that anyone can learn and apply the scientific method and utilize it to do "real science". That is the beauty of science. And I don't think it takes billions of dollars to set up a "real science lab". Depending on the science one is doing, it may not require much equipment at all. Einstein did many "thought experiments" with only his brain. True, other scientists later used various apparatus to verify his hypotheses. We should encourage all kinds of people of all ages, educational backgrounds and means to do science.


As someone who buys and manages research equipment, yeah, billions is a huge overestimate. Infrastructure is really expensive, which is why it's hard to build something from scratch, but there are various incubators (some affiliated with universities) that allow new ventures to work in existing facilities, or build new facilities in existing lab-oriented space.

Regarding the Einstein thing, I think the key is that a "thought experiment" isn't really an experiment using the scientific method; you need some physical apparatus for that. While a lot of experiments hundreds of years ago (or even in Einstein's era) were simple enough that the required apparatus wouldn't cost much at all, the rate of scientific advancement means that things get complicated enough and specific enough that it's pretty hard to truly find anything new without some sort of sophisticated equipment.

#10 NameThatPunky

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 05:59 AM

brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrring-uh
Top Ten Punkys on the board

#11 wasinthehallway

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 11:54 PM

just when i thought i couldn't love this podcast more they go ahead and make this episode...<3

#12 memichelle

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Posted 07 November 2013 - 06:52 AM

Now I'm ordinarily not an lol-er... But this one? Seriously. I was crying at one point. And I would also like to know if there is one among us who, as soon as they were alone in their car or home, did NOT say aloud: "All my lil' outfits. In my lil' suitcase." Because I surely did.

#13 The Beloved Leader

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Posted 09 November 2013 - 03:28 PM

It could be my misunderstanding of the guest's phrasing—so ignore me if I've misinterpreted what was said—but I find it hard to believe that chewing nicotine gum or using a nicotine lozenge would cause lung cancer; especially in cases where the user had no previous smoking habits.

I say this for two reasons. Individuals who do not smoke, but are exposed to pollution of unusual amounts can develop lung cancer, which points more toward the carcinogens in cigarettes as a higher potential cause as opposed to nicotine. In addition, smoking marijuana—again, no nicotine involved—is correlated with lung cancer. Again, it's the carcinogens in smoking that seem the likely candidate for lung cancer.

Please note the careful use of "correlation" here as opposed to "cause." No study reliably shows what in cigarettes cause lung cancer. Most studies investigating smoking and lung cancer are statistical studies in nature and so what they show is a correlation between smoking and lung cancer. They are not descriptions of a cause. My own grandmother, for instance, smoked (lightly) for her entire adult life. She lived into her 90s. Her smoking did not cause lung cancer. So the difference between "correlates with" and "cause" is an important distinction.

I would argue that given the cases of smoking (tobacco or marijuana) or pollution the stronger suspect for causing cancer is the carcinogens that come along with burning substances and not nicotine itself. The amount consumed also must play a role. If you smoke one cigarette, it will not cause you to get lung cancer.

Lest I be misunderstood as advocating cigarette smoking or nicotine usage, I do not. I would also note that nicotine in high enough doses (60mg for a 150 pound adult) is lethal. What I'm really after here, since this is an episode about scientists, is that there is an important and significant difference between correlation and cause. I believe that stating that nicotine causes lung cancer is incorrect.

#14 deafvox

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Posted 16 June 2014 - 12:28 AM

Two scientists is good, but 5 scientists would be outstanding.