Author Topic: constructive criticism  (Read 7752 times)

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Offline Alkmene

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constructive criticism
« on: July 01, 2009, 08:03:12 PM »
Hi there,

Not being a native speaker I have a good ear for the English language and the language used in the podcast is lacking.

First, Steven is very good and precise. He has a very good command of the English language and is very good at explaining difficult concepts.

Evan is a very eloquent person too.

However, the other guys do not come accross as the smart people they, undoubtedly, are. Some examples, without attributing them to specific presenters:

"stuff" is a poor word to use in any context; it only shows the lack of understanding or vagueness or the presenters knowledge.

"significant" is a word that skeptics should use wisely and rarely. I am not the person who says it can only be used in a statistical context and in its strict scientific definition. But because you guys use it in a scientific context, it should be used correctly.

*Randi*, in one of the old episodes, talked about how poor our language has become - we use words to fill the void rather than to express; when did a table become a matrix? A link a linkage? A method a methodology? the list is endless. Unfortunatly, you guys are guilty of all the things that Randy was criticising.

Anyway, I am in the typical glass house situation but my language skills and my use of words reaches and influences far less people than you guys do every week!

Kind Regards,
Alk
« Last Edit: July 01, 2009, 08:14:50 PM by Alkmene »

Offline stands2reason

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Re: constructive criticism
« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2009, 08:07:42 PM »
Ooh, burn.

Offline MisterMarc

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Re: constructive criticism
« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2009, 08:10:28 PM »
Randy, in one of the old episodes, talked about how poor our language has become - we use words to fill the void rather than to express; when did a table become a matrix? A link a linkage? A method a methodology? the list is endless. Unfortunatly, you guys are guilty of all the things that Randy was criticising.

Who is Randy?

Offline stands2reason

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Re: constructive criticism
« Reply #3 on: July 01, 2009, 08:11:30 PM »
Randy, in one of the old episodes, talked about how poor our language has become - we use words to fill the void rather than to express; when did a table become a matrix? A link a linkage? A method a methodology? the list is endless. Unfortunatly, you guys are guilty of all the things that Randy was criticising.

Who is Randy?

Presumably, Randi.

Offline Alkmene

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Re: constructive criticism
« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2009, 08:16:30 PM »
Randi it is - modified. Sorry, I *listen* to the the podcast, and barely read the SGU site ..  :-[

Offline MisterMarc

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Re: constructive criticism
« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2009, 10:06:15 PM »
Randy, in one of the old episodes, talked about how poor our language has become - we use words to fill the void rather than to express; when did a table become a matrix? A link a linkage? A method a methodology? the list is endless. Unfortunatly, you guys are guilty of all the things that Randy was criticising.

Who is Randy?

Presumably, Randi.

Oh, duh! I r not 2 brite. Sorry.

Offline TalkingBook

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Re: constructive criticism
« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2009, 03:25:05 AM »
Hi there,

Not being a native speaker I have a good ear for the English language and the language used in the podcast is lacking.

....[Rant about correct English]....

Kind Regards,
Alk

The fact that Neil Adams isn't a geologist doesn't help him when analyzing the earth, and the fact that you're not a native speaker doesn't help you judge what is proper English.  :P

The podcast has always been, and hopefully will always be, presented as a mix of science, skepticism, and silliness. These are real people having a real conversation, and the word 'stuff' is going to crop up now and again. Were everything scripted I'm sure the podcast would be almost entirely grammatically correct -- and devoid of personality.

I think most people here seemed to take the stance that Randi was being a bit of a curmudgeon with his language rant, and I feel the same. Just relax and enjoy all the significant stuff, rather than worrying about Rebecca's colloquialisms (not to mention penis jokes).
"Truth gains more even by the errors of one who, with due study, and preparation, thinks for himself, than by the true opinions of those who only hold them because they do not suffer themselves to think." ~John Stuart Mill, On Liberty (1859)

Offline Alkmene

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Re: constructive criticism
« Reply #7 on: July 02, 2009, 03:48:25 AM »
Hobbyist,

This might have come across incorrectly. Colloquialisms are not a bad way to communicate. It is a problem if language is not used well to communicate important concepts that I take the stance that things are not very clean in the show at times.

Please give me some credit that I can and do understand the need for banter, but some of the explanations of subatomic issues and especially quantums is very poor but only for the language used. Maybe using colloquialisms is the way to go here. But words like "stuff" don't help.

Not a good example but something form the last shows along the lines of (not a quote) "Spin is ah not really spin ah just a hook for all that stuff. They entangled ah its ah spin with another ion they say that one is up the other one would have to be spin down if you measured it. They transfer the spin entanglement to an oscilating back and forth entanglement."

This is not the worst but quite poor (and what is back and forth oscilation but a form of real spin)?

What is wrong with scripting some parts of the show. Some concepts are difficult to convey (obviously).

Anyway, I am not out to rubbish the show, I like it quite a bit, but I think you just gave me a good idea. Myabe completely unscripted shows with technically diffcult topics are not a good idea?

Cheers,
Alk

Offline Zabulon

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Re: constructive criticism
« Reply #8 on: July 02, 2009, 04:43:01 AM »
Seriously, who the hell cares if colloquial terms pop up now and again?
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Offline TalkingBook

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Re: constructive criticism
« Reply #9 on: July 02, 2009, 09:36:48 AM »
Not a good example but something form the last shows along the lines of (not a quote) "Spin is ah not really spin ah just a hook for all that stuff. They entangled ah its ah spin with another ion they say that one is up the other one would have to be spin down if you measured it. They transfer the spin entanglement to an oscilating back and forth entanglement."

I think we're expecting different things from the podcast. I see the podcast as having expertise in just a few of the areas they frequently discuss (neurology and critical thinking are probably the most notable), whereas their knowledge in the other subjects is about the level of the enthusiastic amateur. So what you basically have is laymen speaking about difficult topics, some of which are barely understood by the experts themselves other than in a mathematical sense, to other laymen. Or enthusiastic amateurs speaking to other enthusiastic amateurs, if you will. Of course if you happen to be an expert in the particular field they are discussing, their explanations will sound elementary and unclear; but this is the exception rather than the rule.

With this in mind, I find it perfectly reasonable for one layman to describe quantum spin to another in the manner that Bob did. I guess he could have said something like "Spin is a term coined to describe different characteristics of an ion... etc etc" but I understood the sentiment enough for the story to make sense, which is the real point. If you want a more detailed description, turn to a textbook.

Quote
Anyway, I am not out to rubbish the show, I like it quite a bit, but I think you just gave me a good idea. Myabe completely unscripted shows with technically diffcult topics are not a good idea?

It's not so much that unscripted shows with technically difficult topics are a bad idea, but rather that expecting an hour long podcast to thoroughly and clearly explain the intricacies of those topics is unreasonable.

As to the scripting questing, I think more speaks against it than for; but the question is likely academic, as I'm fairly sure the rogues have neither time nor interest enough to script their segments.

Of course you're right that the uhhs could be left away, but they are often difficult to get rid of when speaking off the cuff; I can't hold it against them.

Un-gramaticallie yers,  ;)
TalkingBook
"Truth gains more even by the errors of one who, with due study, and preparation, thinks for himself, than by the true opinions of those who only hold them because they do not suffer themselves to think." ~John Stuart Mill, On Liberty (1859)

Offline kem

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Re: constructive criticism
« Reply #10 on: July 02, 2009, 07:09:30 PM »

Who is Randy?

All of us, given the circumstance.
"Americans will always do the right thing-after they have exhausted all the alternatives."

Winston Churchill

Offline Alkmene

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Re: constructive criticism
« Reply #11 on: July 02, 2009, 10:31:12 PM »
Kem, you got it right! Some of us even all the time!

TalkingBook, thanks for your long reply. I totally agree with your sentiments and I do like the way the show is. I still think that it is not the level of detail presented that I think not to be perdect but that the the chosen level, whatever it is, could be done better.

I listen to most of the shows after I collected them for a couiple of months in reverse cronological order. So I just came across the one (episode 202) where these issues are touched - and Steve, again, is spot on that the language needs to be precise in certain areas, where terms have meaning and are not just gap fillers like some words simply are.

TalkingBook, I also think that you are pulling my leg saying that not being a native speaker disqualifies me from judging good English, right? Having learned English is probably a good startingpoint to judge it. Most Geologists learned their "profession"  in a very structured way and none of them were born and bred with a limited and biased view of what a family or social environment can give them of geology; they learned it from a boooook (as Manuel in Fawlty Towers" would say).

Regards,
Alk

Offline pandamonium

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Re: constructive criticism
« Reply #12 on: July 02, 2009, 11:32:01 PM »
if you want more detail, do research on the topic. the links are on the sgu homepage, and there are plenty of other resources out there.
I am become destroyer of biology.

Offline Alkmene

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Re: constructive criticism
« Reply #13 on: July 02, 2009, 11:58:16 PM »
Pandamonium (I don't get the pun in your nick? i am soooo uncool!),

I agree, whoever is interested should research the detail. I am mostly not interested in the detail but in the preceision of the little detail presented.

Cheers,
Alk

Offline spacemonkey

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Re: constructive criticism
« Reply #14 on: July 03, 2009, 12:15:06 AM »
There is a group of people who'd like the podcast to be in binary code, without jokes and zipped for maximum efficiency.

I agree that the podcast should have high standards but I rather they talk fluently and forgive their mistakes for what they are: mistakes and not hear a bunch of robots trying to be "scientifically correct" in every single little thing they say.

If you really cringe when they say "stuff" and not "random assortment of carbon based ,man-made objects" then you have to start taking things with some laxitude, SERIOUSLY. The Rogues are generally serious, smart, and know what they are talking about (most of the time). Don't be so strict on pople who KNOW when they are making a broad statement, who know when they're talking off the record and who rightfully expect their listeners to understand and deal with it.


This "politically correct" bullshit pisses me off
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