Recent posts by petesahooligan on Kongregate

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Topic: Serious Discussion / What do you think the impact would be if Serious Discussion were to receive more regulars from Off-Topic?

Just as relevant, what’s better: Yellow or blue!?

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Topic: Serious Discussion / How old do you want to be when you die?

Not bad for someone that once thought the thesaurus was a type of dinosaur. Your literary dada exposé is irrelevant in this thread. I’d hate to see it deleted. Start your own thread for discussing the Great Vika Conspiracy.

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Topic: Serious Discussion / What do you think the impact would be if Serious Discussion were to receive more regulars from Off-Topic?

I think the result of more people from ANY source contributed to SD it would change the quality of the discussion.

I don’t think OT has a lesser quality of person… but I think the type of discussion that happens in OT isn’t appropriate for SD, and vice versa. People go there for that, they come here for this. The people will conduct themselves in whatever way is appropriate, of course.


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Topic: Serious Discussion / How old do you want to be when you die?

Ah… interesting.

The rhythm of my work ethic requires some amount of down-time to recharge, become inspired, to gather new data or impressions, to see hypotheses develop. Creativity and innovation require periods of gestation… and that often means letting the idea go for a while to allow your thoughts to relax. It’s like flexing a muscle… flex, rest, flex, rest… so too are ideas born.

I can understand your desire for more time with the developmental ideas that are important to you, Vika. (Not to suggest that you’re unfulfilled, but rather that if you were offered X number of years you would devote them to more access to your career)… but I would challenge that by countering that any limitation on your life-expectancy is going to produce the same constraint.

Is there a particular threshold that you would feel more comfortable “letting go” of your life’s work than what you expect to be able to accomplish in your natural lifetime? Are you holding out for self-regenerative “smart cells” that regrow lost tissue? (In other words, is your holy grail expected to occur well beyond your natural lifetime?)

I don’t think I have one. BUT, if I were pressed I would use my expanded lifetime to master the world’s languages, musical instruments, and artistic styles. I would spend my superlife first on personal enrichment and later on public enrichment.

I’m afraid though that I would squander a lot of it because my sense of urgency was removed.

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Topic: Serious Discussion / How old do you want to be when you die?

I think a lot of people are missing the bigger question here. The easy question is “how long would you hope to life” and the difficult question is why?

A very long life expectancy doesn’t guarantee long life, so if a person were to desire a ridiculously long life, would that really give a person more time to do what they wanted to do?

I suspect that our life goals are intrinsically constrained to what is reasonably possible within a normal life span (normal by today’s standards). For example, when we create a “bucket list” we don’t generally put things on it that we cannot ordinarily be expected to do… like, learn to teleport or travel back in time.

If we were to declare our life expectancy to be 900 years, would our hopes and dreams scale accordingly? I don’t think so. As such, I think 800 of those years (those years that were in excess of a normal life span) would largely be wasted on trivial stuff. I think most people would simply expand the perfunctory activity of their normal life into the longer time span… and not (instead) create 10-times as much “life work.”

Interesting observations, Karma. We know that as people age they generally become more provincial, territorial, and insular. Some sociologists/psychologists believe that when we age we begin to rationalize our mortality in new ways… and we want to know that our lives mattered. So we focus more on reinforcing personal relationships and places where we believe our lives have been significant. Older people, as a result, tend to be more nationalistic, for example.

(I wish I could find the study that correlated age with these characteristics but nothing came easily… but it’s out there.)

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Topic: Serious Discussion / American Conservatism versus the world.

I wouldn’t be so sure, BSG.


• The discussion wends into the nature of extreme hyperbole and its effectiveness as a means of persuasive communication.

• The discussion explores how the most narrow points of view often produce the most visionary expressions.

• The discussions reveals examples of how our most compelling thinkers are often specialists and focused on singular goals.

Hyperbole has its conversational white-space, I think.

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Topic: Serious Discussion / How old do you want to be when you die?

It’s a very philosophical (and madly hypothetical) to speculate what the role of mortality has on a person’s work ethic, intrinsic curiosity, sense of deliberate urgency, and so on.

A person with a life expectancy of 900 years may feel like a child at 50, with all of the same urgency and need for accomplishment. Meaning, that “young” 50-year-old may approach scientific inquiry, and career or personal development, a lot more casually than a person with a traditional life span. “Write my memoir? What’s the rush?”

The entrenched thinking of the tenured professor is a good analogy. Certainly there’s little incentive to advance one’s career when one’s career has plateaued at its zenith. There must be incentives for improvement.

Yet, when we look at what motivates people to contribute to a greater good, the contributor is not always a benefactor… in fact, the contributor is often not a direct benefactor. How many scientists working on a cure for cancer themselves have cancer? Certainly not too many.

The motivation to cure cancer comes from other incentives… less direct incentives.

Do those incentives change when we dramatically alter a person’s life-span?

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Topic: Serious Discussion / How old do you want to be when you die?

It’s interesting, Vika, how a person’s career and influence would change in their discipline if they were 3, 4, or even 10 times older (and more experienced) than their peers.

It’s easy to imagine that the person with 10x life and professional experience would be more capable, innovative, and creative.

However, it’s also easy to imagine that a person with 10x life experience might be more entrenched and habitual in their ways of thinking… and actually less prone to “happy accidents.”

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Topic: Serious Discussion / How old do you want to be when you die?

For me, I want to live long enough to do the things I want to do, make the change I want to make, and no longer.

Wave-Rida’s comment about friends dying and the “vampiric” version of immortality doesn’t appeal to me either, but even if EVERYONE could live forever, I don’t think that would be so great.

However, it might be nice to have some super ancient people around as historians.

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Topic: Serious Discussion / The Giver recently became compulsory reading for 6-7th graders in Hungary

Well, why don’t you choose any one of those scenarios, Vika.

What is the fundamental difference in teaching methods when there’s a narrow disparity between individuals in a small class versus a diverse range of aptitudes in a large class?

I agree that it depends entirely on that, but it also depends entirely on lots of other things. For the sake of discussion, I was proposing that there’s a significant consideration based on your desired outcome.

If you want an outcome that says “the pupil(s) was exposed to Shakespeare” then the pedagogy is going to be different than if your want an outcome that says “the pupil(s) can identify Shakespeare.” (Or even, “the pupil can emulate Shakespeare.”)

That was my point. The nature of the class was not really the focus… but since you brought it up, how would your curriculum differ for each class type?

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Topic: Serious Discussion / The Giver recently became compulsory reading for 6-7th graders in Hungary

Unfortunately you’ve still got to teach the ‘fundamentals’ of writing before you can get to the fun optional stuff, and some required literature always gets clumped in with that, either that or the school doesn’t have the budget to allow multiple lit courses.

This passage caught my eye.

I’m currently working on a curriculum and I’m confronted by a decision. (Actually, lots of decisions.)

Is it better to apply your finite resources to the pupils that will benefit the most from it, apply your resources evenly across all pupils regardless of their capacity to maximize the education, or to apply your resources to the pupils that are farthest behind?

One way of looking at it suggests that you focus most of your energy on the top-performing students because they are the ones that can make the most out of your investment. They are prepared for your instruction and will be most able to excel in school as a result.

Another way suggests that the equitable approach is to simply provide the same degree of instruction to all the pupils and essentially be “blind” to providing extra attention to those that struggle or those that are highly capable. This approach appeals most to a sense of fair play, though the same amount of service to different students does not necessarily mean that it will have the same educational impact.

The last way suggests that by bringing up the lowest performers it has the most impact because a student that is prone to do well will often do well without extra help whereas a student that is doing poorly is likely to do VERY poorly moving forward as they fall farther and farther behind. The impact of not receiving the educational resources they need could literally mean the difference between a difficult life and one that has some true opportunities.

I don’t agree that education has to follow a “logical” path of staged development, as you suggest, IoD. A student can often jump right into the fun, optional stuff and because that fun stuff is more engaging to the student, the educational impact may be greater than if they’re required to slog through a bunch of boring stuff.

When I was a kid we had to do sentence diagrams and know all the different types of words and how they worked. I immediately forgot all of it and even though I do a fair amount of writing today, I still don’t really understand the formal rules of writing. I learn by doing, and when I encounter an rule that applies to the types of things I happen to be writing, that’s when I’m most likely to internalize it.

Imagine you were really excited about learning the banjo but your parents tell you that you must take a basic guitar class first. The problem is that you have no interest in guitar. Guitar is boring. You want to play the banjo.

I would recommend that you jump right into the banjo. It will be more difficult for you because you lack guitar-playing experience, but your enthusiasm for the instrument may make up the deficit.

Now, you can’t write a proper haiku until you know what a syllable is… so there are some conditions… but I don’t think it would be necessary to read Shakespeare in a literature class unless it was clear that the students were really stoked on Shakespeare.

This is going to quickly migrate into a conversation about standardized testing, I suspect.

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Topic: Serious Discussion / How old do you want to be when you die?

This may seem like a strange question but I’m curious how long people hope to live.

The bigger question is why?

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Why the Kong SD forum is as close to perfection as you can get.

Uh… no. It was weird.

In the room there were 15 or so professional game developers. We were there as peers to look at some prototype RPG models… new types of roleplaying. It was not a “game convention” or whatever. It was a professional setting… a working meeting.

Whatever. Doesn’t matter. It was supposed to be a joke for Vanguard.

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Freedom of Speech: Garland, TX style

Right. Bias is everywhere and in everyone.

Some biases we take more seriously than others, too. So it’s not just the degree of bias but the content of it. An organization espousing the superiority of apple pie to peach pie can be as militant as they want… the bias is not inflammatory (even though many people might have a personal preference for one over the other).

And the person exerting bias is relevant. A person acting or speaking on subtle (or overt) preferences where the only person impacted by their decision is themselves, it doesn’t really matter. When that person is making decisions that impact others, the bias should be inspected.

Finally, some biases are contemporary triggers and they come and go with the generations. Biases that shaped the controversy around the Vietnam War are less potent today, but biases in regards to environmental issues as it relates to global warming are MUCH more potent.

These are the biases I was aiming for in my earlier comment:
• Inform decisions that impact others (and)
• Are generationally relevant

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Freedom of Speech: Garland, TX style

Great observation. Funny thing about the “court of public opinion” is that it doesn’t really seem to give a shit about if you’re working on it. In fact prevailing PR wisdom mandates that a public personality or company NEVER admit to any wrong-doing or weakness, (usually for legal reasons).

The woman in Karma’s video clearly has severe biases that cloud her judgment and manifest in service inequities. She might be a card-carrying member of the Ku Klux Klan and that shouldn’t be a problem if she can come to work and deliver the same professional level of service to all her students regardless of race. Apparently she can’t do that.

I think that the Public (meaning, those of us that summarize, editorialize, and propagate current events) was more accepting of public apologies and other acts of honest transparency, it might usher in a new era of social responsibility from businesses and public figures.

Sadly, I think we’re caught between two ideals.

On on hand we have prioritized “safe” speech because public outcry has become so immediate, shrill, and widespread that people are gun-shy from addressing difficult topics. I think most people want to talk about sensitive social topics but are uncomfortable with the degree that so many ideas are explosive. You might hit a landmine without even knowing it’s there. (And, of course, not every black person is interested in race issues just like every white person isn’t… not all issues touch everybody.)

On the other hand we (the people) are feeling disenfranchised and alienated from governmental and corporate policy because these important conversations are happening behind closed doors. When inequities emerge — in law enforcement, education, wages, social issues — the result often seems deliberately biased. The only place we can talk about race and law enforcement is through bullhorns at marches… because those conversations sure aren’t being talked about by our political candidates.

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Freedom of Speech: Garland, TX style

Certainly any institution can easily get caught up in a public relations gaff with today’s social media just like this woman. If she has racial biases, she really has no business in education. She’s going to lose her job and probably will have a hard time finding another one, and that sucks for her. I feel bad for the woman losing her job, but I’m glad that one more racist is taken out of education.

And maybe someone that might have agreed with her will stop and reflect for a minute while they consider the consequences of those racial ideas. People are free to be racists, and other people are free to not want to have anything to do with them.

When some media pundits and shock-jocks start bitching about political correctness and feminazis and smear campaigns for “harmless” quips, what they’re essentially saying is that the popular voice doesn’t matter — that the popular voice shouldn’t matter. What we’re seeing is that it may very well be that the popular voice is the first to matter.

When people are outraged that white police officers are acquitted of shooting an unarmed black man, they may understand that the white officers are innocent… but the outrage comes from a pattern of inequity that often finds white officers innocent after shooting unarmed black men. It’s hard to make change against a pattern because each piece of the pattern has its own unique qualities, yet the pattern is unmistakable.

I’m glad people are demanding change.

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Why the Kong SD forum is as close to perfection as you can get.

The thing was, Gygax wasn’t playing against the Knicks. He wasn’t playing with or against anyone but himself. That may be next-level but it was pretty surreal when you’re just there to have a conversation and maybe hear about the history of roleplaying games.

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Freedom of Speech: Garland, TX style

I fully support their right to sell shitty drawings for stupid amounts of money.

And I support their right to draw any kind of inflammatory nonsense they want. Maybe they should draw something horrific to suburbanites… not that I probably need to go into any details for anyone. Wonder what their stance is on that style of Freedom of Speech.

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Freedom of Speech: Garland, TX style

Those hands are poorly drawn. The crime here is that you’d frame such a lousy drawing. Frame sucks, too.

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Yahoo says Domino's is best pizza

Vika’s recipe doesn’t require Susan B Anthony dollars because it’s from the UK!

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Yahoo says Domino's is best pizza

I make my own. It’s delicious and costs about $3.00… or $0.37 per slice.

1 pound refrigerated pizza dough (you can make it with flour and yeast, little salt and sugar, add garlic, whatever)
1/4 cup sauce (I buy it by the jar because it’s probably a bitch to make… it’s basically just spaghetti sauce and you can try weird ones, post your results)
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (any kind of cheese is good if you already have some, even cheddar… but probably not that shitty sliced, plasticky stuff.)
1/2 cup sliced pepperoni (you totally don’t need this much if you’re cool with 10 slices or so on your pie)
other toppings pineapples, orange slices, marshmallows, Susan B Anthony dollars…

1 packet yeast if you’re making your own dough
few cups of flour
minced or powder garlic Mixing garlic in the dough is the bomb. This can be left out by people with lousy taste.

Making your own dough is fun but messy. Find the little packets of yeast in the baking aisle of any ordinary grocery store. (Even independent little corner stores usually have yeast hidden away somewhere.) The dough recipe is probably on the back of the yeast packet. You want the yeast that says “fast-acting” and they might even have yeast that says “pizza dough”… if so, get that!

If you expect to need to do anything with clean fingers (phone, music, post stupid recipes) for the next 20 minutes, forget it or do it now.

Follow the recipe on the back of the yeast packet for making the dough. You’ll mix all the stuff in a bowl… oil, hot water, some sugar and a little salt, I think… then when it starts to firm up you’ll knead it on the counter (like a porno vid) then transfer it to a cookie sheet. It’s gonna get a little messy… mixing the stuff with your fingers then kneading it on the counter like a stud.

Roll out the dough with a 2-liter bottle or your fingers or whatever. Do this right on your cookie sheet, but you can start in on the counter then try to transfer it. You’ll figure it out. Try to get it as thin as you can before it starts to look transparent or get holes. No thick spots if you can help it.

Once your dough is all flat and resembles a very boring pizza, put all your shit on it… sauce, cheese, artichokes, q-tips, old spark plugs, bird seed, thumb drives… cook until it looks done (on a cookie sheet) on about 325 for about 15 minutes, but check it often because once it starts burning it will burn kind of quick. If you’re lazy, get used to eating crunchy dark pizza.

This is a super cheap meal but it makes a bit of a mess. I usually try to clean up as it’s cooking so that afterwards I only have a plate, knife (or pizza cutter) and a cookie sheet to wipe up.


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Topic: Serious Discussion / Freedom of Speech: Garland, TX style

I’m a visual thinker and so I’ve sketched out my understanding as it currently stands (based heavily on this conversation, my own notes and impressions, and resources online).

We’ve established that public opinion is the paramount goal when advocating for social change, and that freedom of speech ideals and laws guide and protect our ability to influence public opinion.

Science, represented by the scientific and academic community, is a bit of an outlier in the fight for public opinion. A lot of public opinion is impervious to fact and science (as we know)… but ultimately it appears that scientific wisdom prevails and becomes the norm. It just takes time… and during that time there are arguments and disagreements. Few people argue that the earth is flat but once people died over it.

In the chart, public opinion is informed by three major categories:

Personal Interest
This is all of the stuff that relates the issue to our personal existence. I don’t have a strong opinion about relations between China and Tibet but I hold issues of social equity in the United States close because it relates to people I personally know and love, and I’m in a position to influence change.

Schema are our categories of beliefs. One strongly held belief may bring with it other beliefs in the schema. Our political positions are often based on this. If you believe this thing, you are likely to also believe that thing. Schema help us cover more ground and not get mired in microscopic details or logistical loops. Our schema are influenced by our social groups, experiences, and ideologies.

Leaders provide urgency and focus. (Caveat: “Good” leaders.) They set the tone and provide the language that we use to attack an issue. Without leadership, an issue (regardless of its existential importance) gets ignored.

Naturally, the overarching diagram has interesting bits in it as well. The emergence and catalysts for change require a lot of work to get out of the first two stages, and in outcomes must be defined before the public can begin to “set up their camps” on the issue.

In terms of framing, I find it amusing when opposing viewpoints claim the same desired outcome. “We all want higher levels of employment,” but it’s the path we take to get there that’s under scrutiny.

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Freedom of Speech: Garland, TX style

That’s a good article and I think it defines the boundaries of hate speech nicely. Here is the biggest takeaway that I could find:

The Washington Post said:

Finally, “hostile environment harassment law” has sometimes been read as applying civil liability — or administrative discipline by universities — to allegedly bigoted speech in workplaces, universities, and places of public accommodation. There is a hot debate on whether those restrictions are indeed constitutional; they have generally been held unconstitutional when applied to universities, but decisions are mixed as to civil liability based on speech that creates hostile environments in workplaces. But even when those restrictions have been upheld, they have been justified precisely on the rationale that they do not criminalize speech (or otherwise punish it) in society at large, but only apply to particular contexts, such as workplaces. None of them represent a “hate speech” exception, nor have they been defined in terms of “hate speech.”

This is an interesting segue into hostile environments. When the student body feels that an upcoming lecture by a controversial figure would contribute to an environment that is hostile to a minority group—or represents inflammatory positions on the matters in our lives—they have ample choices on how to react. Most students simply do nothing. Some may opt not to attend the lecture while others may be interested (for reasons subversive or supportive), and some may choose to disrupt the event in some way. It’s the last group here that is exercising their right to express their priorities and opinions.

Their claim will be that the speaker contributes to an environment of hostility. Is that a legal definition or a cultural buzzword? I believe it’s a little bit of both.

The US Equal Opportunity Commission has published definitions of a “hostile environment” though they primarily deal with workplace environments. I suspect they would include educational environments in the same way… but maybe someone here can clarify that.

Sorry for the spamalicious cut-n-paste but here’s how they define harassment… slightly different than “hostile environment” but kissing cousins, at least:

Harassment is unwelcome conduct that is based on race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. Harassment becomes unlawful where 1) enduring the offensive conduct becomes a condition of continued employment, or 2) the conduct is severe or pervasive enough to create a work environment that a reasonable person would consider intimidating, hostile, or abusive.

Anti-discrimination laws also prohibit harassment against individuals in retaliation for filing a discrimination charge, testifying, or participating in any way in an investigation, proceeding, or lawsuit under these laws; or opposing employment practices that they reasonably believe discriminate against individuals, in violation of these laws.

Petty slights, annoyances, and isolated incidents (unless extremely serious) will not rise to the level of illegality. To be unlawful, the conduct must create a work environment that would be intimidating, hostile, or offensive to reasonable people.

Offensive conduct may include, but is not limited to, offensive jokes, slurs, epithets or name calling, physical assaults or threats, intimidation, ridicule or mockery, insults or put-downs, offensive objects or pictures, and interference with work performance. Harassment can occur in a variety of circumstances, including, but not limited to, the following:

• The harasser can be the victim’s supervisor, a supervisor in another area, an agent of the employer, a co-worker, or a non-employee.
• The victim does not have to be the person harassed, but can be anyone affected by the offensive conduct.
• Unlawful harassment may occur without economic injury to, or discharge of, the victim.

One could reasonably hold this standard to the unpopular speaker or to the university itself. Should the university uphold the students’ wishes, they are potentially liable for a loss of income (employment) by the speaker. Should the university uphold the speaker’s privilege, they are potentially liable for contributing to an environment that negatively impacts student performance… essentially their “employment.”


But that’s not the end of the story. The story of the speaker speaking or not-speaking enters the public sphere (usually in real time). The wider public opinion then gets a shot at the justification for letting the person speak or not speak.

This is relevant because the public, by and large, will not have their employment impacted by the outcome of the university’s decision, right? We are armchair quarterbacks. But the university has a vested interest in our opinion because it affects their institutional reputation… enrollment, donor base, etc.

Is the public then held to the same standard as the individual or company? Are “We The People” also expected to not have an opinion on matters that don’t concern us when we recognize that our opinion does have an effect on the outcome? Our public opinion will put people out of work, and that’s illegal… right? So, who is accountable here?

That, to me, is an interesting question.

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Freedom of Speech: Garland, TX style

Vika said:

Pete, you can claim all day that science is just another field of politics and empty rhetoric where anyone has the right to hold anything as Truth evident, whether it is backed by data or backed by lies, and it doesn’t matter… but this is simply not the case.

I feel like you’re trying to frame my message for me, but I don’t feel like that’s accurate. I’m certainly not intending to sound like “science is just another field,” or ignore the specific constraints and priorities that exist within the science community. I personally recognize the integrity that the science community has in their contribution to public discourse.

Science is super fucking important. I agree; it is above politics and has a trusted method based on thousands of years of consistent pursuit… unlike political or religious ideology. Science is our guiding light.

BUT… this discussion is not about the undeniable credibility of the scientific method (and the messages it produces), but rather how capable are those messages in performing for the public interest… and I think that the answer comes and goes with the passing generations. Some are more scientific, while others are less, but science always prevails. It’s the long game that matters.

Science is largely exempt from traditional freedom of speech and first amendment constraints because it establishes legitimacy using its own refined methods. Religion, not so much. And social change generally starts with an emotional quality and embraces scientific evidence as it is available.

Anyway, I certainly would never intentionally suggest that science was just empty rhetoric. So hopefully that clears up my position on that.

Issendorf said:

Is data that contradicts the main narrative published in the New York Times or mentioned on the NBC Nightly News? Nope.

This isn’t where the viability of a scientific body of evidence is proven, though. I know that we can all agree that nobody wants evidence presented by our media as “scientific” if it hasn’t be thoroughly vetted through the scientific community and its exacting standards. You don’t want it; nobody does.

However, if it is a viable hypothesis, it should be studied and looked into. Again, how questions are introduced to the scientific scrutiny has its own process… and if the sponsors of the research have a vested interest in a particular outcome (and most do… and that’s okay!), then the results of that study are exposed to more scrutiny. That’s good! We want truth.

It’s almost as if you’re concluding that the scientific community and the media are working together to some specific goal, and that’s just bordering on conspiracy theory. There are plenty of threads for that kind of stuff.

You can type in “global warming issendorf” and many threads on this topic that I’ve contributed to will pop up. You can browse to your heart’s content because this is an endless, circular topic where the same points get rehashed over and over and over again.

Incidentally, in case nobody noticed, this thread is not about climate change. That may bear repeating.

At the end of the day, regular people don’t read the research firsthand; they hear about it second hand through the media.

This is a bombshell observation. I slog my way through academic papers every once in a while and they are pretty difficult for an ordinary person like me to understand. (My friend, a doctor and professor, lives in that world and sometimes translates for me with mock amusement.) The nonprofit world is where a lot of social change takes place and increasingly donors want to look at specific impact measurement. They want to know that their dollars are doing something positive and that it is specific and that it can be identified. That usually means some method for measuring social change, and (as a result) social impact measurement and theory of change are some of the hottest buzzwords in NGO and nonprofits right now.

So we (nonprofit managers) collect data from academic research and present that data in a narrative that will resonate with our donors and service communities. This is one place where academia gets translated into Normal Joe. And it shapes public opinion. And we struggle to draw the compelling narrative out of academia… that’s an important step. The media doesn’t pick the stuff up until it begins to get excitement within academia and the scientific community.

This is the real filter for what academic or scientific stories make it to the public… it’s not the media alone. They’re just one of the steps.

And I agree with you, Issendorf, that the narrative that packages data can play a huge role in how it is perceived by the audience… particularly if they are not prone to skepticism.

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Freedom of Speech: Garland, TX style

Public opinion informs scientific funding;
Scientific research informs public opinion.

Public opinion informs governmental policy;
Governmental policy informs public opinion.

Public opinion informs religious doctrine;
Religious doctrine informs public opinion.

Public opinion informs product marketing;
Product marketing informs public opinion.

Public opinion informs social behavior, and vice versa.
Public opinion informs corporate practices, and vice versa.

It is the common ground where all of these vectors meet. The degree in which we allow public opinion to be expressed (and heard) is protect to some degree by the First Amendment in the United States… and why it’s such a fundamental concern to our well-being.

Interesting to note that the UK doesn’t have a constitutional version of the First Amendment. As a result, religious freedoms (of expression, primarily) are more at risk in the UK than they are in the US. I don’t really know this to be true… I just uncovered it while reading about free speech issues abroad.