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-   -   Science Saturday: It's the Vampires, Man (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?t=2408)

Bloggingheads 12-06-2008 06:19 AM

Science Saturday: It's the Vampires, Man
 

thprop 12-06-2008 09:17 AM

Re: Science Saturday: It's the Vampires, Man
 
All of Abbie's fans will be flocking to the diavlog. They may want to also check out your chat with the cracker abuser, PZ Myers.

I thought the "HIV cure" story was one of the most important science stories of the year - and not because of HIV. It was successful gene therapy. That is amazing. Now we just need to get good at it. A fews links to the story -
BBC
Time
NY Times
WSJ

All the stories talk about the HIV cure aspect. The WSJ story is the best - and moves beyond the HIV cure talk.

ChrisC 12-06-2008 09:42 AM

Re: Science Saturday: It's the Vampires, Man
 
As a brit, who recently graduated from a Msc, who wont be doing a phd, who loves Whedon's shows, hates the twilight movie, thought Ultraviolet was great etc etc etc

mmmm this diavlog = geekasm!

SkepticDoc 12-06-2008 09:55 AM

Re: Science Saturday: It's the Vampires, Man
 
Many times Scientists complain of the tedium of their work, is this diavlog meant to share that misery?

Titstorm 12-06-2008 12:03 PM

Re: Science Saturday: It's the Vampires, Man
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by SkepticDoc (Post 98718)
Many times Scientists complain of the tedium of their work, is this diavlog meant to share that misery?

ouch. just...ouch.

EchoesOhio 12-06-2008 12:55 PM

Re: Science Saturday: It's the Vampires, Man
 
Just a quickie add to the Vampire geekiness list - "The Lair" on the gay cable channel HERE! - in it's second season. I haven't seen it since I don't have the channel but figured it's worth a mention.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lair

bjkeefe 12-06-2008 03:11 PM

Re: Science Saturday: It's the Vampires, Man
 
1 Attachment(s)
Ed:

Be careful what u ask 4.

It may come back 2 hawnt u.

bjkeefe 12-06-2008 03:16 PM

Re: Science Saturday: It's the Vampires, Man
 
Quote:

ouch. just...ouch.
Completely disagree. I was delighted to see Abby again, happy to meet Ed, and I thoroughly enjoyed this diavlog.

PalMD 12-06-2008 03:17 PM

Re: Science Saturday: It's the Vampires, Man
 
It's great to actually hear your voices, and the discussion was quite interesting. I also was interested to hear Abby talk about the naming of ERVs. If either of you makes it to SciOnline09, see ya there!

bjkeefe 12-06-2008 03:34 PM

Re: Science Saturday: It's the Vampires, Man
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by thprop (Post 98716)
[...]

I think that's uncalled for, thrprop. I call upon you to edit your post and delete your first two sentences.

bjkeefe 12-06-2008 04:49 PM

(More) Minor observations
 
1. Words we can all agree upon.

2. There is something really jarring about hearing someone with a highly refined accent saying, "I'm a huge Buffy fan." I guess I should check that show out -- thanks for the Hulu tip, Abby.

3. Semi-serious: Abby, I think you're entitled to conduct your one-woman campaign against the apostrophe. However, I do think you're making a mistake about this. Though you say that your blog isn't serious, it's clear you want your writing to be taken seriously. For better or for worse, many people form a first impression of the worth of a piece of writing from such things as spelling errors, improper punctuation, refusal to use capital letters appropriately, and so on. Consequently, when you want to comment on a scientific issue, you're starting yourself off with a strike against you in many people's minds. Not that they're right about this, this is just the way it is. So, you're letting one of your causes hurt another. It's the same principle as, say, choosing a black pen instead of a purple crayon when addressing a envelope containing a business letter. First impressions last.

I'd also say that as a scientist, you ought to appreciate the additional precision that punctuation adds. For example, there are real differences between won't and wont, and can't and cant, and Bill's and Bills, ... I could go on all day.

I'm going to guess that this really comes from a hiccup in your elementary school education. Maybe you never quite got the difference between its and it's down, and rather than being taken to task for repeatedly making such an error, you decided to cover it up with this campaign. If so, this would be an example of embracing ignorance, which, as someone who spends time debunking denialists and other cranks, ought to be the last thing you should be doing.

Maybe I'm wrong with that guess. I do see what you're saying about apostrophes having no place in a text-messaging world, but I'd argue that this is a limitation of the current hardware. I note that you do not carry this argument to its logical next step, since you do not use 2 instead of to or too when you're blogging, and you spell out you instead of writing u.

Yeah, I'm a scold about things like this. Take it for what it's worth.

==========

[Note] Line "It's the same principle as ..." modified. The original example chosen unintentionally resonated with the discussion in another subthread.

graz 12-06-2008 05:12 PM

Re: Science Saturday: It's the Vampires, Man
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by bjkeefe (Post 98738)
I think that's uncalled for, thrprop. I call upon you to edit your post and delete your first two sentences.

I have to say that my first visual impression, before listening, was that the contrast between the zipped up Ed and the inviting Abby led me to speculate that a vampire would have little trouble choosing which neck to bite.

Discretion may be the better part of valor... but this is nearly as much a visual medium as a marketplace of ideas. I respect your point about decorum, but to ask for a retraction or edit raises further questions.

Quote:
It's the same principle as, say, dressing appropriately when going to a job interview. First impressions last.

Why then is it inappropriate to comment on appearance?

I'm not defending thprop, just interested in this situation.

SkepticDoc 12-06-2008 06:07 PM

Re: Science Saturday: It's the Vampires, Man
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by bjkeefe (Post 98735)
Completely disagree. I was delighted to see Abby again, happy to meet Ed, and I thoroughly enjoyed this diavlog.

Some minds are more easily amused than others...

bjkeefe 12-06-2008 06:20 PM

Re: Science Saturday: It's the Vampires, Man
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by graz (Post 98744)
... a vampire would have little trouble choosing which neck to bite.

Heh.

Quote:

Quote:
It's the same principle as, say, dressing appropriately when going to a job interview. First impressions last.
Argh. I wish I had chosen a different example for my other comment. Maybe I'll change it. (ed: I did.)

Quote:

Why then is it inappropriate to comment on appearance?

I'm not defending thprop, just interested in this situation.
I'm not sure how to state this precisely. It's not much more than "I know it when I see it." I will give a few thoughts, but I hope you will understand them to be fragments, and not really a complete and coherent argument.

-- There's just something awfully iffy about commenting on someone's appearance when that's not what he or she is there to offer (as opposed to, say, beauty pageant participant, model, exotic dancer, etc.), given how many problems we have with this in our society.

-- The poor taste of such a comment is compounded when its intent is to attack, demean, or dismiss, though I don't mean to suggest that remarks purportedly intended as compliments are therefore closer to being acceptable.

-- Both of these apply to remarks made about men as well, of course, but they're particularly loaded given our society and how many problems we have had along these lines, especially as women seek to be treated as equals based on their intellect and education.

-- In and of itself, thprop's remark was not the worst thing in the world. The problem, in general, with allowing such statements to stand in an online forum where people are free to post comments, especially while enjoying the comfort of anonymity, is that things tend to escalate. The case of Kathy Sierra is an extreme one, but it does illustrate a possible consequence.

bjkeefe 12-06-2008 06:21 PM

Re: Science Saturday: It's the Vampires, Man
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by SkepticDoc (Post 98747)
Some minds are more easily amused than others...

Perhaps. Another possibility is that some minds are more open than others, or are more broad in what interests them.

ERV 12-06-2008 06:53 PM

Re: Science Saturday: It's the Vampires, Man
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by SkepticDoc (Post 98718)
Many times Scientists complain of the tedium of their work, is this diavlog meant to share that misery?

Says the jealous physician with no imagination.

*buuuuuurnsauce*

graz 12-06-2008 07:06 PM

Re: Science Saturday: It's the Vampires, Man
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by bjkeefe (Post 98749)
I'm not sure how to state this precisely. It's not much more than "I know it when I see it." I will give a few thoughts, but I hope you will understand them to be fragments, and not really a complete and coherent argument.

-- There's just something awfully iffy about commenting on someone's appearance when that's not what he or she is there to offer (as opposed to, say, beauty pageant participant, model, exotic dancer, etc.), given how many problems we have with this in our society.

-- The poor taste of such a comment is compounded when its intent is to attack, demean, or dismiss, though I don't mean to suggest that remarks purportedly intended as compliments are therefore closer to being acceptable.

-- Both of these apply to remarks made about men as well, of course, but they're particularly loaded given our society and how many problems we have had along these lines, especially as women seek to be treated as equals based on their intellect and education.

-- In and of itself, thprop's remark was not the worst thing in the world. The problem, in general, with allowing such statements to stand in an online forum where people are free to post comments, especially while enjoying the comfort of anonymity, is that things tend to escalate. The case of Kathy Sierra is an extreme one, but it does illustrate a possible consequence.

I am in complete agreement with you on all those points. I think that the participants deserve the respect you suggest. What an uphill battle though. Especially if extended beyond the limits of this forum.

I have read many other forums in this past election cycle that were rife with comments solely regarding appearance or attractiveness. Particularly referencing Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin. The remarks always seem to strike an off-note or beg the question of relevance.

But this attitude is reflective of a common trait in the larger world. In most every environment, men and women are sizing each other up, and often comment freely. We are hard-wired for this, no?

EdY 12-06-2008 07:10 PM

Re: Science Saturday: It's the Vampires, Man
 
I love this.

So I have inspired a LOLversion of myself, given someone a geekgasm, amused a few others and annoyed at least one person.

Excellent.

My work here is done.

Wonderment 12-06-2008 07:51 PM

Re: Science Saturday: It's the Vampires, Man
 
Quote:

But this attitude is reflective of a common trait in the larger world. In most every environment, men and women are sizing each other up, and often comment freely. We are hard-wired for this, no?
Maybe, but this comment was still nasty, rude and sexist.

It's also cowardly, considering Thprop is hiding behind online anonymity. Imagine a public lecture where the speaker called on "Thprop" in the Q&A, and he said, "First off, I want to compliment you on your great tits."

He'd be immediately recognized by the public as a sexist idiot, and the behavior would not be tolerated. I'd be in favor of kicking him out of the lecture hall.

Why hold him to a lower standard here?

graz 12-06-2008 08:16 PM

Re: Science Saturday: It's the Vampires, Man
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Wonderment (Post 98756)
Why hold him to a lower standard here?

I don't feel particularly inclined to. But part of the peculiarity of this forum is that we can continue this thread without throp ever responding. So I am a little uncomfortable with a blanket condemnation and conviction without a little give and take.
I could argue that the remark was somewhat less stark than your hypothetical characterization. Not by much if you really distill it... but what value does "throwin' the bum out" provide beyond immediate gratification?

I respect your high standards, but I am more comfortable allowing for a retraction, apology or possible (?) defense.

bjkeefe 12-06-2008 08:28 PM

Re: Science Saturday: It's the Vampires, Man
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by graz (Post 98754)
I am in complete agreement with you on all those points. I think that the participants deserve the respect you suggest. What an uphill battle though. Especially if extended beyond the limits of this forum.

I have read many other forums in this past election cycle that were rife with comments solely regarding appearance or attractiveness. Particularly referencing Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin. The remarks always seem to strike an off-note or beg the question of relevance.

While not excusing the remarks made about HRC's and SP's physical appearances, I'll point out that your first paragraph speaks to part of the difference: HRC and SP were not our guests, so to speak.

There is also a sense of remove, it seems to me, that marks a another difference. During a political contest, the candidate is somewhat of an abstraction, and people will talk -- positively or negatively -- about all sorts of things as part of their fervor to support or diminish that candidate. (Again, this doesn't completely excuse it.)

And speaking of politicians, here's an example that illustrates another distinction: political cartooning. It's considered fine to exaggerate physical features as part of a caricature in a piece of artwork to be published in a newspaper, but one would not expect, or approve of, a reporter from that same paper saying, "Hey, Big Ears," or "Hey, Puffy Face," when addressing Obama or McCain in a press conference.

Something else from your first paragraph also applies: just because it happens elsewhere on the Web doesn't mean it's therefore acceptable here. There's a reason we hang out here, rather than spending time arguing in YouTube comment threads, to put it a little extremely.

Quote:

But this attitude is reflective of a common trait in the larger world. In most every environment, men and women are sizing each other up, and often comment freely. We are hard-wired for this, no?
Perhaps. But there's also a whole set of rules that we have adopted for ourselves that modify what our behaviors might have been before we developed notions like society and civilization. Further, these rules are still evolving. In particular, we have realized only recently that men treating women as objects is something we'd like to grow out of. Part of what goes along with this is a restraint on men feeling free to comment on a woman's appearance.

Also, in many cases, there is a dependence on time and place and relationship between the parties involved -- what might be fine between friends face to face, for example, might not be so in most other contexts.

Finally, as I noted and Wonderment emphasized, there's something particularly skeevy about saying such things when hiding behind an online pseudonym. This is not to say that if thprop comes back and posts, "I'm Fred Smith, and I approve this message," that it's going to completely mitigate matters. What he said is wrong, and doing so while cloaked just makes it worse.

SkepticDoc 12-06-2008 09:33 PM

Re: Science Saturday: It's the Vampires, Man
 
Quote:

*buuuuuurnsauce*
???

What does that mean?

The conversation was scientifically accurate but boring.

Maybe ERV could have commented on the Caucasian trait that gave some resistance to bubonic plague when that was a selective factor, and how that same genetic trait provides some Caucasians with resistance to the HIV infection. Those same traits would have been transferred to a bone marrow transplant recipient...

Of course if one is interested only on the virus, that would be boring too..

ERV 12-06-2008 10:31 PM

Re: Science Saturday: It's the Vampires, Man
 
http://scienceblogs.com/erv/2008/11/...ts_as_a_cu.php

Pro-Tip: Scandinavia isnt Caucasia.

SkepticDoc 12-07-2008 08:55 AM

Re: Science Saturday: It's the Vampires, Man
 
Oh Goody... A flame war/catty fight!

http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=47746

http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=16660399

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15830584

Quote:

The 32 basepair deletion in the gene for the human chemokine receptor CCR5 (delta32ccr5) conferring resistance against HIV-1 infection is present in Caucasian populations. The mutant allele is believed to have originated by a single mutational event in historic times and to have reached its present population frequency of an average 10 % in Europe through selective pressure by a pathogenic agent.
Quote:

We therefore conclude that the medieval Plague pandemic has not contributed to an increase in the allelic frequency of the mutant delta32ccr5 allele and that, if there has been a positive selection of this allele, it is likely to have occurred before the 14th century and thus before the arrival of the Plague in Europe.
In your infinite knowledge you could have corrected the misinformation...

I'm not an Anthropologist, but aren't Scandinavians part of the Caucasian set?

If we go far back enough, we all came out of Africa, didn't we?

Magic Flea 12-07-2008 03:02 PM

Re: Science Saturday: It's the Vampires, Man
 
Waiting 20 years to have Abigail Smith on again would be an excellent idea.

bjkeefe 12-07-2008 03:35 PM

Re: Science Saturday: It's the Vampires, Man
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Magic Flea (Post 98840)
Waiting 20 years to have Abigail Smith on again would be an excellent idea.

I agree, if we define 1 year to be 1 x 10^14 nanoseconds long.

uncle ebeneezer 12-07-2008 05:02 PM

Re: (More) Minor observations
 
I dunno about this. After reading two of Pinker's books on language, I'm beginning to think that some of elements of formalized grammar might be better seen as training wheels used to teach the differences between the meanings and cases etc., that can then be discarded once we get to a certain level of grammatical mastery and/or depending on the circumstance of what you are writing. We have all seen those examples where a paragragh intentionally has lots of grammatical and spelling errors, yet the reader has no troubling deciphering the intended meaning. To me this is illustrative of the brain's amazing ability to make incredibly complex calculations based on context and previous experience to "get the jist" of the message. I think grammar should still be taught, and for anyone who is looking to achieve maximum clarity (writers etc.) would still want to use apostrophes, but I can definitely see why in many situations it really doesn't matter since the communication is succesfull despite grammatical miscues.

Note: I didn't read Abi's blog yet, and i have always been somewhat apostrophobic, myself.

Wonderment 12-07-2008 05:16 PM

Re: (More) Minor observations
 
Quote:

I think grammar should still be taught, and for anyone who is looking to achieve maximum clarity (writers etc.) would still want to use apostrophes, but I can definitely see why in many situations it really doesn't matter since the communication is succesfull despite grammatical miscues.
An apostrophe has nothing to do with grammar. It is a spelling convention.

Children know perfectly well how to form plurals (cats) and possessives (the cat's or the cats') long before they can read or write. In other words, they have mastered the grammar before they learn to spell.

Spelling reform is a whole different ball game. For example, we would get along fine without uppercase/lowercase distinctions. Hebrew has no lowercase at all. German uses uppercase for all Nouns. Spanish has no uppercase adjectives (words like marxista and americano), whereas English does (Marxist and American).

Spelling reform has not made much progress in the USA since Webster went from labour to labor. For example, "nite" and "alright" are not gaining much ground. On the other hand, txt mssging cld chng all tht.

Pinker, by the way, has said added nothing to the debate on prescriptive vs. descriptive grammar. Linguists have accepted the Pinker view universally for about 100 years.

uncle ebeneezer 12-07-2008 05:17 PM

Re: Don't Judge a Book...
 
I must admit I was totally thrown when Ed first spoke with such a heavy Brittish accent. As much as there is no reason an Asian man with a Brittish accent should be a big surprise, I still found one of those moments where my mind was caught off guard based on faulty presumptions. But it brought to mind a great use of that same phenomenon in one of my favorite movies:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0QKTT0YbRQ

So far, I have only been able to watch bits and pieces of this diavlog, but I have enjoyed it so far. Ed, welcome, I look forward to checking out your book. Abi, hopefully you won't be scared off by less-civil comments. Hope you both come back soon.

uncle ebeneezer 12-07-2008 05:31 PM

Re: (More) Minor observations
 
Wonder, to clarify I was pointing to Pinker's influence on MY thinking on the matter, not the linguistic establishment. Though it has been my impression that Pinker has been pretty relevant in countering much of Chomsky's framework which had been considered "gospel" for a long time (though I'm no expert.)

On an tangent: I did think that Pinker's revelations on the nature of physical characteristics of objects and how they help to explain why many of the grammar's irregularities aren't so illogical, were pretty unique.

EdY 12-07-2008 06:25 PM

Re: Don't Judge a Book...
 
Heh. As you might expect, I get this a lot. Worst example: an American kid who, when hearing the name of the British town I live in, said "So where in China's that?". Best example: an Australian man who saw the Asian face and heard the British accent and put two and two together and came up with Hong Kong. Which, while still a FAIL, was actually not unreasonable.

bjkeefe 12-07-2008 06:39 PM

Re: (More) Minor observations
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by uncle ebeneezer (Post 98846)
We have all seen those examples where a paragragh intentionally has lots of grammatical and spelling errors, yet the reader has no troubling deciphering the intended meaning. To me this is illustrative of the brain's amazing ability to make incredibly complex calculations based on context and previous experience to "get the jist" of the message.

Well, yes. But it's also a measure of how much redundancy is built into the language. And, as you say, you get the gist. (As I got the jist from your paragragh.) However, one has to work a little harder when the writer does not make use of the full spectrum of agreed-upon conventions -- it takes longer to read, there are more possibilities for misunderstanding, and in the end, it's just plain annoying to be wrong when you know how to do it right. As I said in my opening salvo, it's not necessarily true that there's anything admirable about being put off by incorrect writing; it's just a fact of life that some people will respond that way.

I'm a Miss Thistlebottom. What can I say? If your aim is to reach me, this is an easy thing to fix.

It's not really that big a deal, though. My ability to be magnanimous is matched only by my skills as a proofreader and, of course, my modesty.

SkepticDoc 12-07-2008 07:40 PM

Re: Science Saturday: It's the Vampires, Man
 
I hope Abby does come back, she has great potential.

Unsolicited advice:

She should keep PZ Myer at a distance
She should try to listen to veteran diavlogers and emulate them

Society needs basic Scientists that can communicate their findings effectively.

TwinSwords 12-07-2008 08:47 PM

Re: Science Saturday: It's the Vampires, Man
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by SkepticDoc (Post 98860)
She should keep PZ Myer at a distance

Why?

... <-- extra spaces inserted to satisify vBulletin's silly minimum post length requirement.

Ocean 12-07-2008 10:24 PM

Re: Science Saturday: It's the Vampires, Man
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by SkepticDoc (Post 98860)
I hope Abby does come back, she has great potential.

Unsolicited advice:

She should keep PZ Myer at a distance
She should try to listen to veteran diavlogers and emulate them

Society needs basic Scientists that can communicate their findings effectively.

I'm not sure why but I tend to agree with you on all items.

Besides, since you joined the group "¨Se acabó la rabia" I think I have the moral obligation to give you my support.

How about that for a brief come back?

Aloha!

Ocean 12-07-2008 10:35 PM

Re: Science Saturday: It's the Vampires, Man
 
Very nice people these two.

Vampires? HIV what???

Very nice people these two.

Giving advice about what?

Perhaps next time these two very nice people can focus a bit more, so that some of us can enjoy the science. Just a small request... :)

SkepticDoc 12-08-2008 06:09 AM

Re: Science Saturday: It's the Vampires, Man
 
http://www.samefacts.com/archives/sp...s_metaphor.php

http://www.samefacts.com/archives/re..._sacrilege.php

Ocean 12-08-2008 09:40 AM

Re: Science Saturday: It's the Vampires, Man
 
Good articles. Thank you Skeptic!

The articles express the principles of tolerance, anti-dogma, respect for others and their beliefs and calls for a more abstract non-judgmental attitude towards the stories that people create to explain and interpret the unknown.

I would love to hear what others think.

TwinSwords 12-08-2008 10:08 AM

Re: Science Saturday: It's the Vampires, Man
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ocean (Post 98869)
The articles express the principles of tolerance, anti-dogma, respect for others and their beliefs and calls for a more abstract non-judgmental attitude towards the stories that people create to explain and interpret the unknown.

I agree. Well said, Ocean.

Thanks for the links, Skeptic Doc. I like PZ and think he does some good work, but I have to admit that many of the outspoken athiests cross over into bigotry with their bashing of religious people.

Ocean 12-08-2008 12:05 PM

Re: Science Saturday: It's the Vampires, Man
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by TwinSwords (Post 98870)
I agree. Well said, Ocean.

Thanks for the links, Skeptic Doc. I like PZ and think he does some good work, but I have to admit that many of the outspoken athiests cross over into bigotry with their bashing of religious people.

Thank you Twin.

I don't know PZ, so I can't opine.

I realize that we often embrace ideas that help us to move forward, even when we see that they are not the absolute or final truth. That's why it's important to leave room for uncertainty and dissent. From time to time is good to retreat and re-examine those ideas. I'm learning to appreciate more those who remind me about this and those who challenge my ideas and make me think harder about them. Success may not be guaranteed. It's a learning process. But hey! it's progress!

Beautiful sunny day around here today.


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