Friday, January 01, 2010

Scientific discoveries of the decade. Chapter 2

Next up to the oche is Steve Jones. professor of genetics at University College London (When did professors start having names like Steve?).
He agrees with contestant number one about the garden gnome project, but thinks that sooner or later people will stop funding research which has no promise of any benefit. I almost like him.

I will now demonstrate a proper name for a professor, and quote his section in full:

Richard Wiseman - Professor of psychology, University of Hertfordshire
"In my field, I would select the 'Gorillas in our Midst' experiment by Daniel Simons, of the University of Illinois, and Christopher Chabris, of Harvard, in 2004. They asked people to count the number of passes being made by a basketball team in a video – the vast majority failed to notice a gorilla walking across the court, even when it thumped its chest (the idea was copied for a recent road-safety video, using a moonwalking bear).
As well as being a fascinating demonstration of a psychological phenomenon known as 'inattentional blindness', the experiment illustrated that it is possible to have a great deal of fun while carrying out science, and inspired lots of researchers and students to create other fascinating studies exploring the surprising limitations of our perceptual system."

(When did they start having universities in places like Hertfordshire).

Doncha just love “inattentional blindness”. I have made studies of the limitations of our perceptual system. I have observed that there is a propensity among humanity to read the discoveries of members of the scientific community and not immediately proclaim “This is bollocks”. As for having fun carrying out science, well, Dickie, you obviously didn’t go to my school.

OK, time for the big boys:
Frank Close - Professor of physics, University of Oxford

He is excited by the fact that some chaps found fault with earlier research by another chap. We can now detect all three kinds of neutrino being emitted by the sun. Before you all breathe sighs of enormous relief, then I should inform you that I am in the process of contacting Frankie, and telling him that I have found six different kinds of neutrino in my garage this morning, without having to look too hard.
Prof. Close goes on to predict that the LHC will discover something that no one had ever anticipated. Wrong again, Close you old goat, I have anticipated every daft notion, theory and useless fact to emanate from that particular corner of the age of confusion. Refer to my “this is bollocks” remark above.

6 comments:

Dave said...

Only last month I attended a course where that video was shown. I was the only person to spot the gorilla. Probably I wasn't paying attention.

Vicus Scurra said...

No wonder no one could see it. "Spot" is normally a name associated with dogs.

Leni Qinan said...

Happy New year, Vicus. I should comment here more often, but your prose leaves me speechless...

Rog said...

Spot the Gorilla.

Very good Vicus!

I, Like The View said...

your garage sounds like a very interesting place to spend time in

Donnw/2nz said...

Do you have any idea how hot it is in that bloody Goriller suit?
..and FYI, my cosmological understanding of the universe is predicated upon my powers of inattentional blindness, without it, I'd be completely lost.