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Joe Hanson
Worked at University of Texas at Austin
Attended University of Texas at Austin
Lived in Austin, TX
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Joe Hanson

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I like to imagine that, like, one day in the past, he was just Hozy. And then he became more himself than he was before, and he was like "Guys, I think that, now… I'm Hozier"
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Joe Hanson

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Of course life itself, all the processes that make it possible and create complex forms from disorganized ingredients, that's a reduction of entropy. Schrödinger called this so-called "negative entropy" a universal sign of living systems "drinking orderliness from a suitable environment."

Life sequesters energy, if only for a bit, and lets us do interesting things with it before giving it back to the universe.
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Joe Hanson

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How did you make it through this entire episode, and a mention of Jay Rosen, without referencing the "View From Nowhere"?! He has stated, and I agree, that the VFN is really the root problem, the unrealistic ideal that simultaneously dumbs down journalism and sets up unrealistic expectations for it in the public's mind.

The value of a piece of journalism, and journalists themselves, is ultimately tied to authority. Today's media are challenging the source of that authority, and Serial is but one example of that (see also: bloggers, Twitter, YouTube). For most of American history (or at least how it looks from the perspective of today), journalism held an unearned, sort of assumed authority, based on this nebulous concept of "objectivity" and journalists saying "you should believe me because I am a sterile conduit for information who calls him/herself journalist" and that because they could zoom out infinitely that they were giving you the "whole story". 

Now people are starting to see that this unearned authority is hollow and doesn't always provide us with the most useful information. We are (I think) entering a time when authority is earned by, as you said, transparency, but also through experience, accuracy and verification, comprehensive (but not always equal) consideration, honest assessment of reality, and ultimately using the expertise gained by years or decades of exposure to a beat to deliver information that is useful and valuable. All of this rests on transparency, though.

And before anyone starts screaming "authority fallacy", I don't think this qualifies, because it is an earned authority, it is applicable expertise, and therefore has value.

"Objectivity" doesn't even have just one useful definition, at least in the public's mind. Here I'll rip off a few from Rosen: Should claims be based on verifiable facts? Yes. Should journos report what is and not what we want to be? Of course. Should it mean pulling back and showing where journos are coming from on an issue? Yes. Should journos be able to describe without offering opinion? Yep. But should should journalists only describe without offering opinion? That is where objectivity fails. 

Journalists establish a much more real authority by being honest about their process, their knowledge, their experience, and their POV. This is essentially what you said about transparency, but without the "A-word". Koenig didn't do this perfectly (her white privilege is a failure of POV, her failure to contact Urick is failure of process) but she did it openly. Mostly.

Jay Rosen also makes a point that American journalism is in almost every way dumber than the journalists who make it. That is a sign of a broken system. Koenig's transparency and openness wrt her process and research (and you alluded to this) allows us complete access to what she knows, the journalism she produces is no dumber than she is. It may not be perfect, but it is a reflection of her knowledge, her process, and makes her authority (even if it is limited) very clear.
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+PBS Idea Channel +Joe Hanson 
Reminds me of something MedievalPOC from tumblr mentions directly, and indirectly, as well. She runs a blog about inherent biases in art academia and history and emphasise that there is no such thing as objectivity. There are plenty of codes and symbols that she points out which allude to objectivity, such as academic lingo or referring to unexamined texts of old translations and interpretations, that defend and obscure one's own biases and promotes those biases as factual knowledge decades after they've been made.

She also openly promotes critical engagement of audiences by stating that she doesn't supply factual historical proof (which she explains is impossible) but instead gives access to information and objects that might create debate and criticism which would allow said audience to identify their own social/cultural biases and misinformation and promote their critical thinking. But even then it's more complicated than merely objectivity and authority and facts. There's agenda and biases, and who gets access to what information, and who has permission to discuss said information (without ridicule or dismissal). I think it also ties a bit with the Hank Green article linked earlier, relating to who has the 'legitimacy' nowadays. Trust in something, be it academia or or journalists, is a layered concept that I think we like to pretend or hope is objective but has so many other issues packed away under it all. 

Either way I probably made a mess but it's a great tumblr page and I think it has a lot of interesting and potential topics for the Idea Channel to tackle! 
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Joe Hanson

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NEW VIDEO! 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UnMULQDHIjk

Do you ever talk to your dog? Do they ever talk back? Humans and dogs have a truly amazing relationship, developed along an evolutionary journey that goes back nearly 10,000 years. Do they really understand what we say, think, and feel? Recent research suggests dogs know more about our language and emotions than you might think.

Find out more on this week's +It's Okay To Be Smart!!!
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+ucktay because of  google plus
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Joe Hanson

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NEW VIDEO! Where Do Birds Go In Winter?

As winter approaches, V-shaped flocks glide overhead as the world’s birds begin their long treks to warmer climates. Humans used to have some pretty crazy theories about where birds went when it got cold, like the moon, or to the bottom of the ocean. Seriously.

How did we learn the real story of bird migrations? Which bird takes the longest/highest trip? How do birds store up energy for their long journey? How do birds navigate? Why do they fly in a V-shape?

Find out in this week’s video! http://youtu.be/ds2XFvSQzBg

If you like the videos we're making, please consider subscribing on YouTube: http://bit.ly/iotbs_sub
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Hey, a friend of mine told me about a study he did about tribes through the theme of peace making people weaker, prosperity spoiling to the point they had no incentive to be strong and how that facilitated their annihilation at the hands of other tribes that were in dire need of resources... I'm paraphrasing, but I wanna know... Is there any truth in it?
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Joe Hanson

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I think hyperbole has also become a way to sort of inject steroids into our shared interests, to mash our personal Venn diagrams together in forced social amplification. We're hyperbolizing our social interactions by using hyperbole.

Gray area positions on something, or (glob forbid) not knowing about something, are also not fashionable, so declaring BEST/WORSTs are an unfortunate side effect. 

Do you think hyperbole might be used as a ham-handed way to invite debate and challenge? So we have to defend and discuss nuances of something we have feelings about? Instead of, you know, just doing that in the first place?
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Joe Hanson

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Found your video on this Facebook page, hopefully they've paid you licensing fees! https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=924945157538105&fref=nf
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Joe Hanson

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Here's an idea: Everyone in the comments who is providing an opinion on "objectivity" should have to define what they mean by "objectivity" because there is no objective definition of that word
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Objectivity: striving for absolute truth. What you really mean is that different entities have different definitions of objectivity which isn't really a new concept. Try again.
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Joe Hanson

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Here's one of Facebook's worst repeat offenders: https://www.facebook.com/willyfoo

What if we all messaged him this video and posted it on his wall? Let's try!
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oh snap he's onto us no longer allowing wall posts... wait, I mean we're onto him!
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NEW VIDEO! Climate Science: What you need to know (in 24 easy steps!)

Maybe you believe what climate scientists are telling us, that the climate is changing and we're to blame, but you have trouble explaining exactly WHY? This video is for you.

Or maybe you don't believe what climate scientists are telling us? Fear not, this videos is for you too! 

Please SHARE with your friends. Knowing is half the battle!
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+Dave Holden Thats from The Santa Claus (2 I think) XD Also, he said he you want to 'proof' him wrong.
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Joe Hanson

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NEW +It's Okay To Be Smart VIDEO! There's a whole lot of dying going on. Welcome to the Sixth Extinction.

Earth's species are dying at an alarming rate, and, well… I don't know how to tell you this, but it's your fault.

Check out more: https://www.youtube.com/user/itsokaytobesmart
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I am LOVING your environmental videos!
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Joe Hanson

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NEW VIDEO on +It's Okay To Be Smart: Why are some people left-handed?

This is some sinister science. 

Why Are Some People Left-Handed?
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I hadn't appreciated that this "left footer" term (meaning Catholic) had made it to North America.
I wonder how well known it is that the spade in Ireland was traditionally thin, off-centred, having a place to push it in with your left foot and sometimes a long handle on whose left side you would stand. (http://cdn.c.photoshelter.com/img-get/I0000KLKzD5o9DIw/s/850/850/MG-9190.jpg).
The planters who arrived from Scotland and England used the symmetrical wide, short-handled spade which is familiar today, which it was more natural to stand behind and press with the right foot. This became the norm in the more developed, often Protestant, areas and by the 19th C, if you used a left-footed spade you were more probably from a rural area where this had not taken hold, and were probably Catholic.
[Edited for typo & clarity]
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Work
Occupation
Chief Science Dude at It's Okay To Be Smart
Skills
Science + Teaching + Internet
Employment
  • University of Texas at Austin
    Graduate Research Assistant, 2006 - 2013
  • Amgen
    Quality Associate, 2004 - 2005
  • M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
    Research Assistant, 2003 - 2004
Places
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Previously
Austin, TX - Los Angeles, CA - Houston, TX - Albuquerque, NM
Story
Tagline
Ph.D. biologist, science writer and video-maker, whiskey-lover, man-about-town
Introduction
The universe is awesome. It's my job to show people the how and why.
Bragging rights
Once did the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs, with a beer in my hand and one hand tied behind my back.
Education
  • University of Texas at Austin
    Ph.D. - Cell and Molecular Biology, 2006 - 2013
  • University of Texas at Austin
    B.A. - Biochemistry, 1999 - 2003
Basic Information
Gender
Male