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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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This week’s +It's Okay To Be Smart might sound like a really boring horror film that’s set at a salad bar, but it’s actually a tale of culinary chemistry, quirky caterpillars, and coevolution!

Watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Ofgj2KDbfk
#science   #evolution  
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Joe Hanson

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I sat down for an in-depth interview about +It's Okay To Be Smart with Peter from Go Verb A Noun. Here in Part 2 we dig deep into science communication and creativity. If you've ever wanted to look inside my brain, here's your chance!

Check out the full interview here: https://www.youtube.com/user/goVERBaNOUN
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Check out videos evolution is a lie and people are not animals on youtube
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NEW VIDEO! Will we ever run out of oil? And considering this whole climate change business,, should we wait that long before we stop using it?

Enjoy part 2 of this special series on energy! Special thanks to +Sheril Kirshenbaum and UT-Austin's Webber Energy Group for helping me put this together.

Check out +It's Okay To Be Smart for more: https://www.youtube.com/user/itsokaytobesmart
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Joe Hanson

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I agree wholeheartedly with your "passing through" concept, but w.r.t. infrastructure, I'd argue that the interstate highway system did far more to hurt the road trip than to help it. Rather, the original U.S. highway system is the quintessential piece of pavement for "passing through". The road trip is more Route 66, less I-10. 

The interstate highway system seems to encourage less passing through and more passing around. Sound insulating walls and off-ramps don't really encourage experiencing the trip as much as using the road as a conduit from point A to point B (which is exactly what Eisenhower et al. wanted, because HoJo's and the Corn Palace aren't strategic centers). The highway exit itself, which came along with the interstate, determines when and where you pause your trip and what you see there. It's a pretty unempowering arrangement.

The U.S. highways used to, and in many places still do, pass right through the centers of towns. They very nearly literally defined "Main Street USA", although that does sort of invite the paradox of "which came first, the street or the city?" The U.S. highway system also coincides better with the rise of car culture in Amurika, being implemented in 1926 and likely enabling the evolution of the car from lumbering city carriage to sleek, gas-guzzling ship-o'-the-highway.

We can discuss this more during our road trip from Phoenix to the Grand Canyon after Phoenix Comic-Con which everyone should come see me and Mike at yayyy!

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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"

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
Have him in circles
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Joe Hanson

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NEW VIDEO on +It's Okay To Be Smart!!! Here's the story of how Thomas Jefferson saved America using science (and a giant moose) 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7lwRZ6AUY44
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Golem in a powdered wig.  Priceless.
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NEW VIDEO on +It's Okay To Be Smart: Did dinosaurs really go extinct?

This might change the way you look at buffalo wings and Thanksgiving dinner forever.
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Check out this week's new +It's Okay To Be Smart, it's 1.21 Gigawatts of electrifying energy essentials!

The world of energy, that complex system behind the gas pump and the electrical socket, can be confusing, but if you're going to be an energy-conscious citizen you've got to speak the language. This week's video gives you a fun intro to some important principles of energy (with the help of Doc Brown)
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If this GIF featuring me and Flava Flav "filming" a cooking show doesn't make any sense, it's because you haven't watched this week's new video yet!  

Remedy that here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tuBWjY9BpEc
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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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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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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, video-maker, and rubber of puppy bellies
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
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