Author Topic: Talking to Nigel  (Read 1555 times)

Junkenstein

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Talking to Nigel
« on: February 25, 2017, 01:06:08 am »
I met Nigel, returning from a day spent hard slicing the brains of small reptiles. Or as I like to call them "The spawn of Roger". Our collective mood was both elated and distraught thanks to range of personal events and our remarks on our joys and woes was recorded by a passing NSA agent. Thanks to a FOI request that I have on standing order I can CTRL+C/V the text directly for your enlightenment.

N: I guess one of the main stressors now is my Father's developing Altzihmers. It's just kind of shitty that medical research doesn't get a considerable degree of funding compared to the shitloads that always seem to get spent on self destructive or useless shit, you know? We could be curing so many more things by now it's unreal.

J:I console myself by thinking that in a few hundred years whats left of humanity will mock this era mercilessly for spending so much time, money and effort on say, sports or landmines,meth and beer and never combines them, compared to dealing with, for one thing, diseases. 21C - Advanced enough to know better, still too dumb to bother. It just keeps on showing how far we haven't come as a species. 

N:No shit! We are fucking IDIOTS. One of the most infuriating  things is that there is some evidence that Alzheimers may have a root that is strongly influenced by human behavior, but we don't know what it is. Because humans are pretty much barely above dog-level intelligence, it is hard to get funding to study anthropogenic roots of disease.

J: Dog level seems generous. A lot of people I encounter wouldn't rate above a fucking goldfish. Hells, we all know a couple of people who would lose a battle of wits against your average carp. And the depressing thing is that we've not even got that far to realise it about ourselves thanks to dunning-kruger.

I've said for a while that if 10% (FFS, even 1%) of football transfer fees or Hollywood film budgets, you know, leaving the sacred military alone, was mandatory to be put to medical research/care, the average life expectancy would probably be past 100 by now. And that's just looking at the past 30 odd years. But let's not do anything too crazy because socialism. Let's develop a system where our left wing politics is practically indistinguishable from our right wing stances. Instead we let this shit continue because big explosions and paying morons millions to kick a ball is apparently a better use of resources.

N:Goldfish do at least have rudimentary problem-solving skills. And you have in fact been outsmarted by one at some point, at least by it's own standard so it fucking wins, doesn't it?
 
J:Fair enough, if that's the standard you're stetting.

Unfortunately, Dog problem-solving and reasoning can be estimated to range from about 60-85 on an IQ scale, taking into consideration that dogs have almost none of the cortex that predicts future outcomes and so can't plan ahead at all. IQ is based on a normal distribution with a human average of 100, the distribution mean. Below 85 is considered cognitively impaired, above 115 is considered intellectually gifted. These are facts. That's one standard deviation in each direction. 

J:I think I need a drink.

That means, that Roughly 78% of people are within one standard deviation from the mean. That's what we're dealing with. Not to sound like an elitist prick, which is an easy hole to fall into when discussing reasoning skills, but the general lack of intellectual reasoning ability in the majority of the population means that we will probably never, ever get even the small fraction of funding for science that could significantly improve the lives and health of everyone, because sportsball and bombs is what's best for fun and profit.

-------------

Nigel, test run, bit rough, considered going into zimbardo for further counterpoint? feel free to add/alter anything you see fit. I've thrown in bits here and there so turnabout fair play etc.
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Re: Talking to Nigel
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2017, 02:21:41 am »
I like what you've done with it so far! I'm not sure what else it needs... maybe QG or Salty or someone will chime in with suggestions?
“I’m guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk,” Charles Wick said. “It was very complicated.”


Q. G. Pennyworth

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Re: Talking to Nigel
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2017, 02:12:04 pm »
As it stands this is not currently my jam. I'm really into entertainment as a maintainer of sanity and cultural adhesive. Even though I totally recognize the amount of money going through both the blockbuster and sports systems is criminally excessive, calls to put that money to better use get my hackles ever so slightly up. It's not that you're wrong, I know it's a slippery slope thing happening in my head where a perfectly reasonable statement is getting twisted into the absurd, it's just I start to hear all kinds of stuff about "real jobs" and "real art" and down-the-nose looking at anything that isn't STEM and all that. Again, it's a personal problem. I'm just having trouble getting through it to something useful which is why I've been keeping my mouth shut.
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Re: Talking to Nigel
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2017, 03:12:11 pm »
As it stands this is not currently my jam. I'm really into entertainment as a maintainer of sanity and cultural adhesive. Even though I totally recognize the amount of money going through both the blockbuster and sports systems is criminally excessive, calls to put that money to better use get my hackles ever so slightly up. It's not that you're wrong, I know it's a slippery slope thing happening in my head where a perfectly reasonable statement is getting twisted into the absurd, it's just I start to hear all kinds of stuff about "real jobs" and "real art" and down-the-nose looking at anything that isn't STEM and all that. Again, it's a personal problem. I'm just having trouble getting through it to something useful which is why I've been keeping my mouth shut.

The problem, in this case, isn't some sort of elitist concept that biomedical research should get MOST of the money, but more of a sad and desperate wheezing cry for biomedical research to get even, say, 1% of the money.
“I’m guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk,” Charles Wick said. “It was very complicated.”


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Re: Talking to Nigel
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2017, 03:12:42 pm »
Maybe that's looking down the nose and not the begging for scraps that I see it as.
“I’m guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk,” Charles Wick said. “It was very complicated.”


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Re: Talking to Nigel
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2017, 03:16:17 pm »
I guess that explains why people don't give a fuck about the deep cuts to science funding. You know why you hear so much about funding STEM and getting more people into STEM and increasing accessibility of STEM fields?

Same fucking reason people are so sick of hearing about Black Lives Matter. Because we're over here getting shat on, budgets slashed, made fun of, as the populace leans ever more anti-science.

You can think of us as elitist pricks while continuing to treat us like shit if that makes it easier to do.
“I’m guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk,” Charles Wick said. “It was very complicated.”


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Re: Talking to Nigel
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2017, 03:18:52 pm »
I really tried to make it clear that I agree with you that biomedical and shit ALL the sciences need more money, and sportsball doesn't need a fraction of what it gets.
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Re: Talking to Nigel
« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2017, 03:25:17 pm »
I really tried to make it clear that I agree with you that biomedical and shit ALL the sciences need more money, and sportsball doesn't need a fraction of what it gets.

Yeah, I'm just saying that the knee-jerk reaction of loathing and contempt, while you in particular may be able to recognize it in yourself as irrational, is probably pretty typical and reflective of why biomedical research will never, ever, ever get the funding we need to actually solve problems and improve people's lives. We're probably about a decade away from being declared Enemies of the People and pulled out of labs to go work on farms, North Korea-style.
“I’m guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk,” Charles Wick said. “It was very complicated.”


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Re: Talking to Nigel
« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2017, 03:25:50 pm »
With your permission, I think your post should be folded into the piece, because it fits so perfectly.
“I’m guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk,” Charles Wick said. “It was very complicated.”


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Re: Talking to Nigel
« Reply #9 on: February 25, 2017, 03:29:05 pm »
Yeah totally. Sorry for the defensiveness, I've been stuck at NAZI PUNCHING ON EDGE for a while and I keep getting in arguments I don't mean to.
Overheating Pheremone Pustule of Last Saturday's Jiggle Fun| _xgeWireToEvent: Unknown extension 131, this should never happen.

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Re: Talking to Nigel
« Reply #10 on: February 25, 2017, 03:33:20 pm »
Yeah totally. Sorry for the defensiveness, I've been stuck at NAZI PUNCHING ON EDGE for a while and I keep getting in arguments I don't mean to.

I feel that, super hard.
“I’m guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk,” Charles Wick said. “It was very complicated.”


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Re: Talking to Nigel
« Reply #11 on: February 25, 2017, 05:54:16 pm »
STEM should be so much higher on our cultural priority list it isn't even funny. But in our intensely materialistic, instant gratification-based society where nothing is worth doing unless it's for money, it's hard to find any inspiration for STEM. That we've made the advances we have is amazing, given the conditions under which most of it is made. And everyone superficially "understands" how important it is, but our medical and technological accomplishments might as well be black magic to most people. They're so uninvolved in the process that real science and medicine actually feels to an alarming number of people like just an alternative to hocus-pocus quackery like prayer and homeopathy, as if it's functionally on the same level as those. Even well-educated, "sophisticated" people are easily fooled. I include myself in that statement, too.

What makes matters worse is that even if there were billions of dollars on the table for serious and long-term investments in STEM fields, we have priced education out of the reach of millions of would-be scientists. It seems to me that if we made education itself more accessible, there would be a lot of people who put the energy they put into healing crystals into STEM instead.
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Re: Talking to Nigel
« Reply #12 on: February 26, 2017, 12:58:08 am »
Accessibility is also a huge issue, and not just monetarily. The time commitment to become a top-tier scientist, starting in grad school, is out of reach for many people, especially those with families. I can only pull it off because Salty is phenomenally patient and supportive, and my kids are old enough to be OK with me working a minimum of 50 hours a week. If I was a single parent with kids under 13, it would not be possible at all.

That said, as it stands we are all competing for the same grants, and more researchers without more grant money would be a complete disaster.

I know most people can't get inspired by scientific research, which is why it's up to researchers to be inspired. Most people don't need to be inspired by science (although, we did go through a spectacular century of people being more or less in love with science - that ended around the time of Carl Sagan's death, coincidentally), but legislators should be smart enough and educated enough to realize that society benefits tremendously from scientific research. This should not be mysterious to anybody; the evidence literally surrounds us everywhere, every waking moment.
“I’m guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk,” Charles Wick said. “It was very complicated.”


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Re: Talking to Nigel
« Reply #13 on: February 26, 2017, 01:16:00 am »
Annnnnnd this is why we need support and initiatives to get scientists into politics. It's alarming that so many politicians are making decisions about science funding from a position of near-total ignorance, and using public ignorance as a fulcrum point with which to launch attacks on reason and further superstitious ideologies.
“I’m guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk,” Charles Wick said. “It was very complicated.”


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Re: Talking to Nigel
« Reply #14 on: February 26, 2017, 01:26:11 am »
To illustrate my point about humans being not that much smarter than dogs, try having this conversation with some random members of the general public, and see how many respond with "I don't care about benefits to society, I care about me and mine".  They don't fail to make the connection between society and themselves because there's some mysterious disconnect, they're really just that fucking stupid. They can't even logic that far. Some might be able to if you held their hand, which is why education is so important, but a larger proportion, even with education, believe it because an authority figure told them to, not because they actually grasp the concept themselves.

This isn't  because people are bad, or wrong, or immoral. It's because the ape called homo sapiens is just not all that smart, on average. Luckily, we are usually smart enough to choose leaders who are smarter than we are. Clearly, though, that scheme is not foolproof.
“I’m guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk,” Charles Wick said. “It was very complicated.”