View Full Version : Science Saturday: The Queensland-Minnesota Connection

05-24-2008, 12:04 PM
We apologize for the resemblance between this diavlog and the video transmitted back to Earth from Apollo 11 in 1969. After fathoming the stunningly low technical quality of the diavlog, we contemplated scrapping it altogether. But then we decided that the conversation was too good to be lost to posterity, and we shouldn't let our foolish pride get in the way of enlightenment. Besides: The important thing is what people say, not whether their lips move when they say it.

--BhTV staff


05-24-2008, 01:05 PM
Thanks for saving this diavlog - it was great fun and informative despite the quality. At times, John Wilkins reminded me of Clutch Cargo (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clutch_cargo), without Spinner and Paddlefoot.

Loved this exchange (http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/11305?in=00:04:30&out=00:05:15). I hate to admit it, but even taking Ken Ham (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ken_Ham) off Australia's hands may not make up for all the dreck we have sent to the land down under.

Many great lines in this diavlog - will get a Foster's, toss another shrimp on the barbie and listen to it again.

05-24-2008, 01:18 PM
Do you think we will ever see a theologian or minister admit they were wrong? The Rev. John Smarmy said, "It turns out we were wrong about this virgin birth concept."

Compare and contrast with up and coming economist Emily Oster (http://home.uchicago.edu/~eoster/index.html). In 2005, she published a paper attributing the skewed male/female birth rates in China and India to Hepatitis B. Her paper was criticized, more work was done, ans she just put out another paper in which she said that she was wrong.

Steve Levitt wrote a post about this in the Freakonomics blog, titled "An Academic Does the Right Thing (http://freakonomics.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/05/22/an-academic-does-the-right-thing/)". There was also a blog entry (http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2008/05/21/revisiting-hepatitis-theory-on-chinas-missing-women/?mod=WSJBlog) on this in the Wall Street Journal.

Does this mean that Oster is a poor researcher? Is her reputation damaged? NO!!! The entire process - from the publication of her initial paper, to the reaction to it, to the additional work and research done, to her latest paper has done a great deal to advance knowledge. Oster did a great job. Because of her work and the work of others in response, a great many insights have been gained. That is how science works. If anything, Oster's reputation will be enhanced by her "mistake". She never clung to anything - she kept looking and was open to criticism and new data.

05-24-2008, 01:45 PM
But then we decided that the conversation was too good to be lost to posterity ...

You decided correctly, IMNSHO. Thanks for that. It was well worth straining to hear.

05-24-2008, 06:35 PM
For all the disdain these guys have for lay people's basic science knowledge they probably believe the world trade center was brought down by gravity. But this case does not follow newtons law. For they could fall in 10 seconds but not turn to dust and fall in 10 seconds. Gravity does not provide enough energy.
This can be proven by the pyroclastic flow that resulted. Gravity cannot provide
enough energy to both break up and suspend the material in air.

05-24-2008, 09:25 PM
What was the problem?

05-24-2008, 11:57 PM
I've been looking for the KO argument against creationists (http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/11305?in=00:20:15&out=00:21:55) for some time.

I recently encountered and endured the phenomenon John Wilkins is describing here during my grad work in IR. It's one thing to read 50 arguments about resources and war, but another to take a raw statistics database and prove an hypothesis. I didn't learn that in high school, or even college. But now, my skepticism is armed with a discipline.

Thanks! This is why I watch bhTV!

05-25-2008, 12:03 AM
Good dingalink, Joseph.

05-25-2008, 12:06 AM
What was the problem?

PZ Myers wrote on his blog (http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/05/wilkins_vs_myers.php):
The quality of the recording is horrible, and I have to apologize we did a little experimentation and deviated from the usual bloggingheads recording protocol, and it's clear now that we shouldn't have done that. I recommend not watching it, just listen, if you must.

John Wilkins wrote on his blog (http://scienceblogs.com/evolvingthoughts/?utm_source=bloglist&utm_medium=dropdown):
Nothing is more excruciating to me than to see myself and hear myself. It's even worse when I'm up against someone who presents so much better than I do. So watch Paul Myers (I think that's how they spell his name) and me talk about Stuff at Bloggingheads.TV. The video is terrible (that's my fault; we should have recorded our own video and sent it to the editors, instead we recorded each other by way of an Australia-USA link that was routed, I fear, via Mongolia and Finland, using packets carried by mules). I'm out of sync. But it doesn't matter - it's voice with some moving pictures, that's all.

Kudos to the tech guys at bloggingheads, who made a nylon purse out of a mouldy sow's ear, technically.

05-25-2008, 12:11 AM
If you haven't already looked at John Wilkins's blog (http://scienceblogs.com/evolvingthoughts/), I recommend it. I read quite a bit of it after watching this diavlog and enjoyed it a lot. A good mix of deep thoughts and humor.

PZ's blog (http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/), of course, rocks, too. But you already knew that, right?

05-25-2008, 12:15 AM
It occurs to me that we're seeing the rise of a new family to compete with The Atlantic mafia: the ScienceBlogs mafia.

Atlantic: McArdle, Douthat, Yglesias, Sullivan
SciBlogs: Myers, Wilkins, Zimmer

Am I forgetting anybody?

05-25-2008, 11:18 AM
Chris Mooney (http://www.scienceblogs.com/intersection/) also blogs at SciBlogs (http://www.scienceblogs.com). They have over 70 blogs - some shared by more than one blogger. We may have missed someone else.

05-25-2008, 12:17 PM
Chris Mooney (http://www.scienceblogs.com/intersection/) also blogs at SciBlogs (http://www.scienceblogs.com). They have over 70 blogs - some shared by more than one blogger. We may have missed someone else.

Ah, yes. Good catch.

05-25-2008, 02:23 PM
Not entirely sure why I'm responding to this. Perhaps you should pay attention to the word pyroclastic, especially the 'pyro' bit which means fire. If 9/11 somehow resulted in a 'pyroclastic flow' then thousands of people in new york city would have been burnt to death.
Instead all we have is concrete dust. Concrete that produces copious amounts of dust. Just go to any building site, or watch how much dust is kicked up from a grinding saw cutting a pavement slab into the correct shape. Little material is needed to produce an opaque cloud.
I think you'll also find that suspending something in air, is exceedingly easy for particles small enough. Brownian motion and fluid dynamics are perfectly capable of explaining the dust in the air. Explosives are not required. Just open your eyes and you'll be able to see this all around you.

An experiment for you. Take two concrete slabs and angle one slightly off vertical. Take the other and drop it so it slides on the first. Now see how much dust is produced. For extra credit change the surface roughness of the slabs and see what effect that has.

Funny how all these conspiracy theorists think that because one thing looks superficially like something else, then they are the same thing.

Damn I fear I've just suffered from this http://xkcd.com/386/

05-25-2008, 08:41 PM
it was not a cloud of dust rather it flowed to the ground like 2 liquids of differnt
densities. what accounts for the foarce required to both break apart the building to dust and let it flow to the ground in 10 seconds?

try turning a cynder block into powder using gravity in 10 seconds

05-26-2008, 02:45 AM
I think more to the point there is a lack of knowledge about science. Sociological studies of the population's knowledge of science, like that of Durant, 1989 in nature, show over an over again that there is a lack of knowledge, in spite of a general reported interest.

While you, nojp, (and I choose to completely ignore the flame war you are involved in) may well have a good knowledge of science a large proportion of the western world do not. You seem to have taken offence (though the internet is a hard one for reading people's emotions) at what is a widely held, and well suported, view. It is unfortunate that you seem to take it as a personal attack. The gap between those who are interested and educated in science and those who are still interested, but not educated is, frankly, huge. Obviously a scientist and a philosopher/historian of science beleive science is important, or they wouldnt do it. And as leading professionals in their field, discussing this matter, they have an opinion, and they make it known.

Statistically people do have a low knowledge of science. That is not an individual attack, it is inherantly generalist and in this case well supported.So what is it exactly you are taking offence at?

05-26-2008, 07:23 PM
not offended really just not that great a writer.

the collapse of wtc towers seems like Prima facie evidence of a violation
of the conservation of momentum.

and prior to that if one were to swing the tower like a bat and hit
a 757 the plane would not pierce the tower it would be swatted away
like base ball and bat.

just stuff like that

05-28-2008, 12:45 AM
I'm sorry, but if you are alleging that the collapse of the WTC defied the laws of physics, then you are an idiot. If you really think that a 747 would bounce off of the wall of a skyscraper like a baseball, you've watched too many cartoons. Whatever you think you know about science, you don't.

05-28-2008, 04:27 PM
time will tell