[ASC-list] ASC2014 in Brisbane in February.... your preferred keynote/s?

Sean M Elliott sean.m.elliott at gmail.com
Tue Aug 6 23:35:42 UTC 2013

Neal Stephenson.  He's an author who weaves in real world science into his
stories with beautiful and interesting language.

He was also on a panel earlier this year with Bill Nye, Neil Degrasse
Tyson, and others, called "The Storytelling of Science."

Now to spam you with quotes from one of his books...

"There was no room for dust devils in the laws of physics, as least in the
rigid form in which they were usually taught. There is a kind of unspoken
collusion going on in mainstream science education: you get your competent
but bored, insecure and hence stodgy teacher talking to an audience divided
between engineering students, who are going to be responsible for making
bridges that won't fall down or airplanes that won't suddenly plunge
vertically into the ground at six hundred miles an hour, and who by
definition get sweaty palms and vindictive attitudes when their teacher
suddenly veers off track and begins raving about wild and completely
nonintuitive phenomena; and physics students, who derive much of their
self-esteem from knowing that they are smarter and morally purer than the
engineering students, and who by definition don't want to hear about
anything that makes no fucking sense. This collusion results in the
professor saying: (something along the lines of) dust is heavier than air,
therefore it falls until it hits the ground. That's all there is to know
about dust. The engineers love it because they like their issues dead and
crucified like butterflies under glass. The physicists love it because they
want to think they understand everything. No one asks difficult questions.
And outside the windows, the dust devils continue to gambol across the

"Chester nods all the way through this, but does not rudely interrupt Randy
as a younger nerd would. Your younger nerd takes offense quickly when
someone near him begins to utter declarative sentences, because he reads
into it an ssertion that he, the nerd, does not already know the
information being imparted. But your older nerd has more self-confidence,
and besides, understands that frequently people need to think out loud. And
highly advanced nerds will furthermore understand that uttering declarative
sentences whose contents are already known to all present is part of the
social process of making conversation and therefore should not be construed
as aggression under any circumstances."

"Arguing with anonymous strangers on the Internet is a sucker's game
because they almost always turn out to be--or to be indistinguishable
from--self-righteous sixteen-year-olds possessing infinite amounts of free
-- Neal Stephenson <http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/545.Neal_Stephenson>
, *Cryptonomicon <http://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/1166797>*

Mind you, I might be suggesting him just so I can get my copy of "The
Diamond Age" signed.



*Sean M Elliott*
Rough Science

sean at theoretikos.com<https://mail.google.com/mail/mu/mp/107/?hr=1&source=na&hl=en-GB>
0422 260 116

On Tuesday, 30 July 2013, Kali Madden wrote:

> Dear ASC-Listers,
> If you were to attend the ASC2014 Conference being held in Brisbane
> 3rd-5th February.....
> Who would you like to invite to be a keynote speaker and why?
> For those who missed it, the ASC2012 conference highlights video is
> available here: http://bit.ly/13uwZuE
> Cheers,
> Kali
> Kali Madden
> Executive Officer, Australian Science Communicators
> & ASC Conference Director 2012, 2010
> office at asc.asn.au
> http://www.asc.asn.au/

*Sean M Elliott*
Creative Director
Rough Science

sean at theoretikos.com
0422 260 116
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