Wunderkind of audiovisual media that I am, I confess to being rather late in getting around to this one. Even I hesitated at the narcissistic self-absorption of it. But as a blogger, I must learn to overcome such hesitations. Here, to demonstrate my proper credentials and my total commitment to the vocation, is a photograph–taken just now–of the computer on which I have begun to compose this post.
Look closely and you can even see the cat.
But what I belatedly wanted to tell you about was this week’s Guardian Science Podcast, which was on genius. A topical subject since Channel 4 has just broadcast a five-part series, Genius of Britain, devoted to the home-grown variety. I’m not sure where I stand on genius or geniuses in the realm of science. They certainly provide an inspiration–I have my own favourites–but I wonder also if they instill a sense of fear, of disappointment among more ordinary folk. Such as myself.
I will reserve comment on the TV series since I haven’t caught up with all of it yet. But I am quite happy recommended to you the Guardian’s podcast. It is a weekly and highly engaging emission on all aspects of science. This week’s episode is especially interesting since it was recorded live at London’s Science Museum and I was in the audience.
The event was a good-natured, breezy affair with lots of easy-going banter and discussion between the regulars (Guardian stalwarts, Alok Jha, Nell Boase and Ian Sample) and with the audience. Much of the discussion centred on geniuses of various hues but there was also an interview with this week’s guest, psychologist Kevin Dutton, who has recently published a book on persuasion with the somewhat cheesy title Flipnosis. He performed a experiment on the audience involving simple addition that I was determined not to be caught out by. But I was.
Have a listen yourself. Go on. It’s the weekend – you have the time. My narcissistic glands were stroked three times during the recording – once when they read out one of my live-tweets, again when I had the chance to ask a question about Babbage’s wonderful difference engine and finally, after the ‘show’ when I was quizzed for a comment about the evening’s proceedings and may just have made a fool of myself. But at least I was honest.
It was odd hearing myself on the podcast since, in a way, that is where my blogging career started. Back in 2008 I heard a certain Dr Jennifer Rohn being interviewed on it about something called Lablit. That stimulated an email and the rest is, well, history.