Podcast episode

Episode Fifty-Five – On The Geek Manifesto – Interview With Mark Henderson

A special episode about The Geek Manifesto!

Direct link to mp3 download here.

When I was in London, I was fortunate enough to secure an interview with Mark Henderson, who is the Science Editor of The Times. He’s in the process of writing and crowd-sourcing information for his book about science and politics. It’s called The Geek Manifesto, and it will be published next spring by Bantam Press.

As he writes on his site at www.geekmanifesto.wordpress.com:

The idea behind the book is fairly simple. The geeks, nerds and dorks of this world are no longer apologising for their slightly obsessive interest in science and critical thinking. Through events such as Simon Singh’s libel case, the sacking of Professor David Nutt as the British Government’s chief drugs adviser, and the Science is Vital campaign to protect British science against spending cuts, they’re beginning to gather the confidence to fight for the causes that matter to them. They are creating an emerging political force, and one that is sorely needed.

Science and politics have never got as much out of one another as they could. Science doesn’t always get the support it deserves from politicians: poor funding, badly-framed regulation, and policy initiatives such as the immigration cap often hamper researchers and their research. Equally, politics doesn’t draw often enough on the problem-solving power of the scientific method — the best tool yet developed for working out what works.

…In The Geek Manifesto, I’ll be exploring some of the policy failures that have emerged from this disconnect between science and politics. I’ll also be looking for answers: what can governments do to improve matters, and what can geeks themselves do to put science more firmly on their radar?

Thanks to James O’Malley of The Pod Delusion and the fine people of Westminster Skeptics, the talk he gave about The Geek Manifesto on Monday 11th January with Evan Harris was recorded. You can listen to it here.

I wrote this before at my blog over at Podblack.com – but it deserves repeating on the show too!

Special big thanks to Janis, Marsh, Andy, Nic, Mike, all the presenters who chatted with me and didn’t seem fazed at all by that ‘Australian lady who keeps enthusiastically appearing at conferences’ – especially Simon, Bruce, Hayley, Kat, Colin, Eugenie, all the fellow podcasters, everyone I interviewed (I’ll get to you Hayley, I absolutely promise!!) and Shell and any Tim Minchin fans that were there and the standing-room-only crowd for the panel I was on called ‘Reaching Out Reasonably’ – such an honor to have you attend! And I feel awful that I nearly, nearly forgot Auntyfuzz and Kibbet! Thanks so much for breakfast and more!

Also – Wendy, everyone who was with me during the Gala Dinner (that was so much fun!) and plenty of others who talked to me and hugged me and waved cheerfully at me with my camera – I’ll kick myself for forgetting due to the jet lag, but I know you were a big part of making it wonderful.

Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE at Westminster Skeptics and especially Deborah, Mark and all of the ‘regulars’ who recognised me and those who had no idea but were so welcoming. All the researchers and teachers at Goldsmiths (I’m certain I’ll forget someone, which is dreadful of me, but that includes Mark, the Magdas – both of them! – Rob, Panka, Alistair, and of course, Chris French – again!!) and the students who didn’t mind me in the corner of their lecture theatre and their tutorial session, being far more enthusiastic than I ever was back in the day when I was an undergrad (if that were possible).

Of course, never forgetting – Alom, Milton and Bridget who really, really were more support than they probably realise. :):) Thanks for keeping me with one foot on the ground throughout.

Thanks once again to everyone at QEDCon, London, the APRU and everyone who kept in touch with me online during my travels – hope you enjoy the additional Australian 10:23 videos that are in the feed – they are from Sydney, Melbourne, Bells Beach, Brisbane, Antarctica and Perth!

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