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Bloggingheads 12-24-2011 02:14 AM

Science Saturday: Celestial Couch Potatoes (John Horgan & George Johnson)
 

Cain 12-24-2011 02:49 AM

Re: Science Saturday: Celestial Couch Potatoes (John Horgan & George Johnson)
 
I don't post often, but I'll miss you guys. :(

Globalcop 12-24-2011 03:34 AM

Re: Science Saturday: Celestial Couch Potatoes (John Horgan & George Johnson)
 
I never fathomed that BHTV would go in this bizarre direction. I guess I was completely off-base in my assumptions about what this site was all about.

It appears that everything that I enjoyed about BHTV is exactly what Wright is determined to eliminate. I suppose there are viewers who come here for Bob and his ego-centric nonsense, but I can't imagine it is anywhere near what Bob himself thinks the numbers are.

Good luck guys, I'll continue to follow you on your blogs and in your writing.

I know that I took a lot of heat for speaking my mind regarding Bob's decisions over the years. I can only imagine that I've been vindicated. Just based on my reading of the forums for a long time, I know that, despite what people are saying now, it is exactly the most popular guests and shows that Bob is canning.

Sad, sad, sad.

Peter Sibley 12-24-2011 06:53 AM

Re: Science Saturday: Celestial Couch Potatoes (John Horgan & George Johnson)
 
Oh, for heaven's sake.

Peter Sibley 12-24-2011 06:55 AM

Re: Science Saturday: Celestial Couch Potatoes (John Horgan & George Johnson)
 
What is George slurping? Some kind of flax-seed broth?

cbjones1943 12-24-2011 08:40 AM

Re: Science Saturday: Celestial Couch Potatoes (John Horgan & George Johnson)
 
1. Too bad Horgan & Johnson won't appear in future on BH dot com. Good things never last.
2. I understand that online NYTimes is planning to feature Bob Trivers in a front-page video and, later, a Science Times highlight.
3. Sorry I'll miss the Horgan review of Trivers' new book. I no longer read the NYTimes. Find The Enquirer to be a pretty good substitute.

<http://twitter.com/cbjones1943>

thprop 12-24-2011 08:51 AM

Science Saturday: March 30, 2007 - December 24, 2011
 
Science Saturday was the best thing about BHtv. I doubt that I will be checking the site that much in the future. I find Bob to be annoying and can only take him in small doses.

Here is the first Science Saturday.

BNH 12-24-2011 08:54 AM

Re: Science Saturday: Celestial Couch Potatoes (John Horgan & George Johnson)
 
Best part of Blogging Heads is Science Saturday. Best part of Science Saturday is these two guys. I can only hope popular demand will bring them back.

Robert Wright 12-24-2011 09:31 AM

Re: Science Saturday: Celestial Couch Potatoes (John Horgan & George Johnson)
 
For the benefit of those who might read the comments without watching this diavlog, and draw unduly dark inferences about the future: As George says, John and George are free to keep doing science diavlogs as often as they want. We hope that will be very often.
More generally: There's a fair amount of misinformation about the future of Bloggingheads floating around, some of it resulting from my own insufficiently careful statements, and some of it resulting from the fact that prospects have changed a bit since I made those statements. In hopes of clarifying things, I've arranged to tape a Commenter Klatch this week with commenter jimM47, who earned much praise for his previous interrogation of me. If all goes well, it will be posted by Wednesday p.m.
Meanwhile, I join all other John 'n George fans in lobbying them to return--and, indeed, to realize, as Nietzsche put it (in a somewhat different context), eternal recurrence.
--Bob

thprop 12-24-2011 09:38 AM

What became of Garbage Cowboy?
 
The first comment on the first Science Saturday was from Garbage Cowboy (in the old forum):

Quote:

Hooray science!!

Thank you Bob, this is great and I hope this becomes a regular or semi-regular feature.

ohcomeon 12-24-2011 10:50 AM

Re: Science Saturday: Celestial Couch Potatoes (John Horgan & George Johnson)
 
This has been my favorite recurring feature of this site by far. It was usually the very first activity of my weekend. I will miss it enormously. I have been introduced to so many new aspects of science and have bought mumerous books recommended here. I feel the way I imagine fans of soaps must feel when they are cancelled. John and George are like very interesting friends who I am always happy to see. I sincerely hope they will continue to post videos and that science will remain a topic of this site.

Alyosha 12-24-2011 11:07 AM

Re: Science Saturday: Celestial Couch Potatoes (John Horgan & George Johnson)
 
BNH wrote on 12/24/2011 at 08:54 AM

"Best part of Blogging Heads is Science Saturday. Best part of Science Saturday is these two guys."

So true. So true.

badhatharry 12-24-2011 11:59 AM

Re: Science Saturday: Celestial Couch Potatoes (John Horgan & George Johnson)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Robert Wright (Post 235368)
For the benefit of those who might read the comments without watching this diavlog, and draw unduly dark inferences about the future:

So the misinformation is a result of you being insufficiently careful and that prospects have changed. I'm not feeling it, Bob. Pretty much every head who has appeared has talked about BHtv coming to an end and yet it continues!

If it were I and I had put as much effort into this enterprise as you have I'd be quite careful about how I presented the immanent end. What is happening is unneccessarily confusing and perhaps you imagine more interest in the affairs of BHtv than exists. Maybe there is some wisdom to how they get rid of talk show hosts...one day they're not there. Right now there's a bit of crying wolf in the air.

ohreally 12-24-2011 12:10 PM

Re: Science Saturday: Celestial Couch Potatoes (John Horgan & George Johnson)
 
These guys have my vote. Horgan and Johnson are a good model of what works in the bhtv format. Same with Loury and McWhorter. Not so much with McArdle, Althouse, Lake, etc.

The adversarial model doesn't work. Debaters invariably rehash known ideas while trying to score points with viewers. The ideal format has the heads all but forgetting the presence of an audience. Take Horgan and Johnson: these are two friends having a smart conversation at a cafe, kind enough to let us in on their discussion. But they don't need us in their mental frame. We're irrelevant, which is why it works. We observe their wavefunction but we don't collapse it. Horgan and Johnson are post-quantum -- a compliment, by the way. But in the adversarial mode, especially when the chemistry sucks, the participants' urge to score points with us makes them collapse their wavefunction in quick ill-tempered utterances with no particular connection to truth or logic.

Right-left pairings look good on paper but they favor performance over reason. And performance gets tiresome.

badhatharry 12-24-2011 12:19 PM

Re: Science Saturday: Celestial Couch Potatoes (John Horgan & George Johnson)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by ohreally (Post 235379)
And performance gets tiresome.

over time, everything gets tiresome.

db63 12-24-2011 12:24 PM

Re: Science Saturday: Celestial Couch Potatoes (John Horgan & George Johnson)
 
Ok, I listened to Bob's comments with Mickey about the future of Bloggingheads, but I am really just confused. Can someone just plainly say what is going on with it?

consider 12-24-2011 12:27 PM

Re: Science Saturday: Celestial Couch Potatoes (John Horgan & George Johnson)
 
I think the idea of Bloggingheads is great, but I almost never watch anything but Science Saturday, and especially Horgan and Johnson. Corn and Pinker were also really fun to watch for politics -- and I thought Pinker was completelty nuts when he talked about science. "Just build the damn force field against North Korea!" (and he was serious....)

I think one reason Science Saturday is interesting is that the political topics are discussed all the time among friends and on news shows.

badhatharry 12-24-2011 12:28 PM

Re: Science Saturday: Celestial Couch Potatoes (John Horgan & George Johnson)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by db63 (Post 235383)
Ok, I listened to Bob's comments with Mickey about the future of Bloggingheads, but I am really just confused. Can someone just plainly say what is going on with it?



oh no, it will take a commenter klatch episode to explain all of the intricacies.

jacksonian 12-24-2011 12:37 PM

Re: Science Saturday: Celestial Couch Potatoes (John Horgan & George Johnson)
 
I've seldom posted over the years, but wanted to join others in expressing my appreciation for George and John, and BHTV more generally. But really, (although I know the posters on this thread speak only for themselves) the criticism of Bob is absurd. There wouldn't be a BHTV without him, and the conspiracy theory suggestion that he's "canning" popular shows merely to increase his own airtime hardly deserves a response. I'm sure Bob is well aware of what diavlogs get the most hits, but the problem, as has been explained, is that that doesn't translate into enough money to keep the site going in its present form. It does seem like a number of 'heads (George and John, as well as Megan McArdle earlier this week) believe that the site is almost totally shutting down, so perhaps there has been some miscommunication with regular guests. Still, we've certainly gotten a lot more than we've paid for over the years.

uncle ebeneezer 12-24-2011 12:41 PM

Re: Science Saturday: Celestial Couch Potatoes (John Horgan & George Johnson)
 
I sincerely hope that John and George will try to continue doing something akin to Sci Sat discussions on a semi-regular basis. Losing Carl Zimmer and Sean Carroll was awful, but losing you guys would be even harder. You guys have been consistently the best, as far as bhtv goes. Always fun and very informative. I have a whole stack of books that I got at your suggestions, still waiting to be read.

Re GarbageCowboy: my best recollection is that he got a job and no longer had time to comment here, which was a sad loss because he was very well thought of even among those of us who often disagreed with him.

jhorgan 12-24-2011 01:04 PM

Re: Science Saturday: Celestial Couch Potatoes (John Horgan & George Johnson)
 
Geez, you guys, give Bob a break! He made a wonderful thing here and worked his ass off for years to keep it afloat, not for money but because he actually believed that BHTV could help make the planet a better place. He's a true idealist, in a world where that ain't easy. I was honored that he tapped me to participate in BHTV, and I wish him all the best in his new ventures. And those of you who are saying all these nice things about me and George, we'll miss you too!

George Johnson 12-24-2011 02:10 PM

Re: Science Saturday: Celestial Couch Potatoes (John Horgan & George Johnson)
 
I want to thank everyone here for their heartening and generous comments -- a fine gift on an otherwise difficult Christmas Eve. I also want to thank Bob Wright, Sang Ngo, David Killoren, Brian Degenhart, and others past and present who have made bhtv possible. And of course I want to thank my old friend John. Bob did hint in an email that there may be ways for John and me to contribute in the future. We'll just have to wait and see how that goes. Merry Christmas and Happy 2012.

George

Wonderment 12-24-2011 02:28 PM

Re: Science Saturday: Celestial Couch Potatoes (John Horgan & George Johnson)
 
Amen to that, John. Thanks to all three of you -- George, John and Bob -- for greatly enriching my life over the past few years.

George Johnson 12-24-2011 02:30 PM

Re: Science Saturday: Celestial Couch Potatoes (John Horgan & George Johnson)
 
Just a caffe latte, homemade.

Ocean 12-24-2011 02:42 PM

Re: Science Saturday: Celestial Couch Potatoes (John Horgan & George Johnson)
 
John and George,

Thank you both for keeping us update and motivated to learn more about the fascinating world of science.

Science Saturday was what brought me to BhTV, and for a while the only weekly feature that I listened to. Not having it will be a great loss.

I'm still hoping that you two will be able to coordinate future diavlogs and whatever name you give them will be fine with us, mere commenters.

I haven't had the chance to listen to this one yet. It's my turn to cook this year, and tomorrow I'll be working in the hospital all day, so my kids and I are having a Christmas eve celebration instead. But, I didn't want to miss the opportunity to thank you and express my sadness that you won't be around as much.

Keep in touch and let us know, in whatever ways you can, when you put something together to continue your science conversations.

Happy Holidays and Best Wishes for 2012!

David Edenden 12-24-2011 02:52 PM

Re: Science Saturday: Celestial Couch Potatoes (John Horgan & George Johnson)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by db63 (Post 235383)
Ok, I listened to Bob's comments with Mickey about the future of Bloggingheads, but I am really just confused. Can someone just plainly say what is going on with it?

As far as I can understand, Bob is saying that if any regular contributors can continue if they organize themselves into a regular show. That is why "This Week in Blog" will continue ... because Bill, Kristen and Matt are interested and self-motivated to organize themselves.

My suggestion is that John with his friends at Stevens and George, with his friends at the Sante Fe Institute develop a protocol whereby Science Saturdays will continue to exist.

It seems that Bob does not have the administrative staff to continue to support BHTV by recruiting talent, scheduling, and training new contributors etc.

Suggestions to John and George:

1. Market YOUR show, Science Saturdays, to publishers ... at least you will get some free books!

2. Keep it to 30 minutes ... short and sweet.

3. Possible topics ... Science of sex, Science of pornography, evolutionary basis of infidelity , science of penis size ... (does it really matter?) ... you get the drift.

Suggestions for Bob:

1. Market Bloggingheads.tv to think tanks, public policy institutes and universities that are willing to fund a discussion on a regular basis as a way of promoting their organizations to the general public as a means of increasing their exposure to the mainstream media. Long story short ... main stream media is the big leagues, while Bloggingheads is the "feeder" leagues.

Slate Gabfests and other media experiments at the Think tanks.

2. Get former politicians who are not afraid to throw a few bombs.

3. One on One with candidates for president ( 4 years for now)

4. Celebrities and politics ... chose your pick!

David Edenden 12-24-2011 03:04 PM

John: Who the HECK is going to be watching us on Christmas Eve?
 
Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house,
A strange woman was sleeping ... no ... no ... its just my spouse,

My kids will be coming for a diner so fine,
They'll just bring themselves ... each with a bottle of wine.

I'm drinking eggnog and brandy delivered from France
I picked up the computer ... on the off chance

I will connect with my friends ... George and John from BH TV
Old fogies I say ... but not much older than me.


[ need help in completing this masterpiece]

frontier_sally 12-24-2011 03:51 PM

Re: John: Who the HECK is going to be watching us on Christmas Eve?
 
The rafters were filled... All the viewers were there.
And you thought the holiday meant we didn't care.

From out of the crowd there arose such a hue
That Mr. Wright knew just what he must do.

On George! On John! On scientist guest!
Of all of our shows, surely this is the best!

Ocean 12-24-2011 04:57 PM

Re: John: Who the HECK is going to be watching us on Christmas Eve?
 
For the bilinguals:

Tanto al arte come a la ciencia,
Les ha tocado esta sentencia.

Por más que los añoramos,
Sin los programas nos quedamos.

Sin amor y sin dinero,
Ya seguimos el sendero.

Que en otro lar hemos de encontrar,
Lo que aquí no nos quieren dar.

Pero en aras del conocimiento,
Curiosidad y sabiduría,

Nos consolamos por el momento,
Con esperanza y alegría.

Que el futuro nos traiga,
Una enorme recompenza,
Que esperemos con paciencia,
Un regalo de la ciencia.

Heh.

http://smileys.smileycentral.com/cat/8/8_2_110.gif

Ocean

Diane1976 12-24-2011 05:00 PM

Re: Science Saturday: Celestial Couch Potatoes (John Horgan & George Johnson)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by ohreally (Post 235379)
These guys have my vote. Horgan and Johnson are a good model of what works in the bhtv format. Same with Loury and McWhorter. Not so much with McArdle, Althouse, Lake, etc.

The adversarial model doesn't work. Debaters invariably rehash known ideas while trying to score points with viewers. The ideal format has the heads all but forgetting the presence of an audience. Take Horgan and Johnson: these are two friends having a smart conversation at a cafe, kind enough to let us in on their discussion. But they don't need us in their mental frame. We're irrelevant, which is why it works. We observe their wavefunction but we don't collapse it. Horgan and Johnson are post-quantum -- a compliment, by the way. But in the adversarial mode, especially when the chemistry sucks, the participants' urge to score points with us makes them collapse their wavefunction in quick ill-tempered utterances with no particular connection to truth or logic.

Right-left pairings look good on paper but they favor performance over reason. And performance gets tiresome.

The left/right pairings sometimes seem like dialogs of the deaf, as they say, but they don't have to be. It really is possible to have good discussions between people who consider themselves to be on the opposite side, "right" or "left", "conservative" or "liberal", where people find common ground and explore their differences. The same is true of discussions between people who see themselves as being on the same "side" in those terms. They can be boring if all they do is agree with other, rather than discussing their common ground and their differences.

Somthing that fascinates me is, what makes two people who can seem to disagree on so many things, even very important issues, still feel they are on the same "side" of something so vague as the line between "right" and "left", or even, "conservative" and "liberal". And why is the opposite true, i.e. two people who can think of themselves as being on the "same side" can disagree on so much. And, BHTV has been, hopefully will continue to be, a good place for finding ideas about that.

This, btw, is why someone like Christopher Hitchens was so interesting, and, even now, some people are convinced he abandoned the left, so to speak, while it seems so obvious to me that he didn't. Matt Lewis said Huntsman, no matter how conservative he is, doesn't "sound" like a conservative. And, that's what I think about Hitchens, no matter what he said he still "sounded" like a leftist to me, if you listened enough. And it's interesting to think about what that really means.

PS: I disagree about Eli Lake. He's my favourite "neo-conservative".

bbenzon 12-24-2011 05:01 PM

Re: Science Saturday: Celestial Couch Potatoes (John Horgan & George Johnson)
 
It's been a great run John and George. I'm one of those who think Science Saturday was the best of BHTV, and you guys anchored it. Bob's crazy if he doesn't get you back.

Merry Christmas and the best of the New Year.

thprop 12-24-2011 05:02 PM

Re: Science Saturday: Celestial Couch Potatoes (John Horgan & George Johnson)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by jhorgan (Post 235390)
Geez, you guys, give Bob a break! He made a wonderful thing here and worked his ass off for years to keep it afloat, not for money but because he actually believed that BHTV could help make the planet a better place. He's a true idealist, in a world where that ain't easy. I was honored that he tapped me to participate in BHTV, and I wish him all the best in his new ventures. And those of you who are saying all these nice things about me and George, we'll miss you too!

But John - what has Bob done for us lately? I mean he has not done anything to make my life better in the past five minutes. Maybe we could use one of your favorite topics, evolutionary psychology, to study this complete lack of awareness on the part of some of the commenters.

I was going to say thank you for all the pleasure you have given me over the past almost five years on BHtv but that sounds weird and subject to misinterpretation. So thank you. I hope this is not goodbye.

AemJeff 12-24-2011 05:03 PM

Re: Science Saturday: Celestial Couch Potatoes (John Horgan & George Johnson)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by George Johnson (Post 235391)
I want to thank everyone here for their heartening and generous comments -- a fine gift on an otherwise difficult Christmas Eve. I also want to thank Bob Wright, Sang Ngo, David Killoren, Brian Degenhart, and others past and present who have made bhtv possible. And of course I want to thank my old friend John. Bob did hint in an email that there may be ways for John and me to contribute in the future. We'll just have to wait and see how that goes. Merry Christmas and Happy 2012.

George

That's the best news I've heard in reference to changes at BhTV. Thanks. Merry/Happy to George, John, and everyone else here!

thprop 12-24-2011 05:07 PM

Re: Science Saturday: Celestial Couch Potatoes (John Horgan & George Johnson)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by George Johnson (Post 235391)
I want to thank everyone here for their heartening and generous comments -- a fine gift on an otherwise difficult Christmas Eve. I also want to thank Bob Wright, Sang Ngo, David Killoren, Brian Degenhart, and others past and present who have made bhtv possible. And of course I want to thank my old friend John. Bob did hint in an email that there may be ways for John and me to contribute in the future. We'll just have to wait and see how that goes. Merry Christmas and Happy 2012.

George

George - you should not be thanking us. I am grateful to you, John, Bob and all of the behind the scenes people for the gift of Science Saturday. When I went to my computer on a Saturday morning and saw a diavlog between John and you posted, it just made my day.

A question - is your science writing workshop limited to people who want to be science writers? Could someone who just wants to get better educated and improve his writing skills attend?

Diane1976 12-24-2011 05:08 PM

Re: Science Saturday: Celestial Couch Potatoes (John Horgan & George Johnson)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Robert Wright (Post 235368)
For the benefit of those who might read the comments without watching this diavlog, and draw unduly dark inferences about the future: As George says, John and George are free to keep doing science diavlogs as often as they want. We hope that will be very often.
More generally: There's a fair amount of misinformation about the future of Bloggingheads floating around, some of it resulting from my own insufficiently careful statements, and some of it resulting from the fact that prospects have changed a bit since I made those statements. In hopes of clarifying things, I've arranged to tape a Commenter Klatch this week with commenter jimM47, who earned much praise for his previous interrogation of me. If all goes well, it will be posted by Wednesday p.m.
Meanwhile, I join all other John 'n George fans in lobbying them to return--and, indeed, to realize, as Nietzsche put it (in a somewhat different context), eternal recurrence.
--Bob

For what it's worth, much as I lack knowledge of the technical, financial details, etc., your main point seemed pretty clear to me, and I hope everything will work out so that as many as possible of the BHTV diavloggers will coninue to appear.

I especially like George and John and I want to see them again. I'm also looking forward to your diavlogs, the more the better, as far as I'm concerned.

Have to rush, but good luck to you, and best to everybody for the holidays and New Year.

thprop 12-24-2011 05:09 PM

Re: John: Who the HECK is going to be watching us on Christmas Eve?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ocean (Post 235401)
For the bilinguals:

Tanto al arte come a la ciencia,
Les ha tocado esta sentencia.

Por más que los añoramos,
Sin los programas nos quedamos.

Sin amor y sin dinero,
Ya seguimos el sendero.

Que en otro lar hemos de encontrar,
Lo que aquí no nos quieren dar.

Pero en aras del conocimiento,
Curiosidad y sabiduría,

Nos consolamos por el momento,
Con esperanza y alegría.

Que el futuro nos traiga,
Una enorme recompenza,
Que esperemos con paciencia,
Un regalo de la ciencia.

Heh.

http://smileys.smileycentral.com/cat/8/8_2_110.gif

Ocean

The Google translation:

Both eat art to science,
I have played this sentence.

However much we miss,
Without the programs we were.

Without love and money
Now follow the path.

Lar in another we find,
What here we do not want to give.

But for the sake of knowledge,
Curiosity and wisdom,

We consoled ourselves for the moment,
With hope and joy.

What the future brings,
A huge reward,
To wait with patience,
A gift of science.

AemJeff 12-24-2011 05:10 PM

Re: Science Saturday: Celestial Couch Potatoes (John Horgan & George Johnson)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by bbenzon (Post 235403)
It's been a great run John and George. I'm one of those who think Science Saturday was the best of BHTV, and you guys anchored it. Bob's crazy if he doesn't get you back.

Merry Christmas and the best of the New Year.

Cosign.

George Johnson 12-24-2011 05:28 PM

Re: Science Saturday: Celestial Couch Potatoes (John Horgan & George Johnson)
 
We indeed welcome applications from interested and motivated outsiders.

SkepticDoc 12-24-2011 05:37 PM

Re: Science Saturday: Celestial Couch Potatoes (John Horgan & George Johnson)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by George Johnson (Post 235412)
We indeed welcome applications from interested and motivated outsiders.

What positions are available? :)

If it was audio only, would the BhTv project be sustainable?

Should we do a fund raiser like NPR, PBS?

What can we do to continue enjoying real, intelligent conversation?

ohreally 12-24-2011 06:07 PM

Re: Science Saturday: Celestial Couch Potatoes (John Horgan & George Johnson)
 
Kudos to Wright. I often disagree with him -- eg, evo psych is crap on stilts -- but I like listening to him, and I am in awe of what he's created here.

Why can't he relocate bhtv to the Atlantic the way Greenwald relocated his blog to Salon? Would the Atlantic be stupid enough to object? (Of course, being the magazine that hired Jeffrey Goldberg, the answer might be yes.)


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