Sunday, January 16, 2011


The Medium Is the Difference

Here is an example of the difference between American media outlets and the rest of the world (at least those parts in the antipodes).

It is Ockham's Razor, a program of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Radio National (roughly comparable, I gather, to our National Public Radio), featuring my favorite philosopher of science, John Wilkins, which is to be aired January 23, 2011, though there is already a transcript available.

The striking thing to a 'Merkan, like me, is that the host ("presenter" in the quaint, but probably more accurate, Pom/Oznian), asks a single question and then lets John potter on for 12-15 minutes about the arcane (though fascinating) subject of the history of the species concept. Even our NPR hosts would be hard-pressed to keep silent so long and refrain from interrupting with some (likely inane) question.

Anyway, go on over and read John's synopsis of his book, Species - A History of the Idea, soon to come out in paperback ... for those slackers who have failed to buy it yet.

Sorry, but the title 'Species - A History of the Idea' is just too dull and does not portend well. He should have gone with 'On the Origin of "Species"'.
I seem to remember someone else ... also thought of as dull ... used that title.
Indeed, but "On the Origin of Species" positively rings with excitment compared to "Species - A History of the Idea" and, now being so well known, should have been an irresistible marketing choice for the book. For one thing, it would come up in a lot more searches.
It's one of my pet irritations, presenters/interviewers who spend twice as long asking some rambling, disjointed question as they allow for the answer. I feel like screaming at them, "Shut up and let them answer, for Mog's sake! I want to hear them not you!"
Alas, the talk was pre-scripted. I am never that coherent in person.
I figured that but it is still amazing to a 'Merkan that they'd let you go on so long.

And I disagree that you aren't that coherent in person ... though that might be influenced a tad by the amount of beer I've drunk when I've met you.
I suggested to the producer that she buy be some beer, but apparently it's against the ABC's policies.
Somehow I thought everything Australian had to be done with beer.
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