PZ and I are on Blogging Heads TV today!


Clip below the fold (epigenetics!), full video at BloggingHeads!


  1. #1 Lledowyn
    July 12, 2008

    But where are PZ’s evil lazer eyes, and tentacles? I’ms confuzzled…. 🙁

    Seriously though, that was very entertaining! I learned a lot, and I particularly liked the science, and all the other fun stuff that you guys discussed. 🙂

  2. #2 Strider
    July 12, 2008

    Okay, I can’t hold it any longer, could you possibly take down the hideous picture of your doggie, who I’m sure is very nice, under your profile and put up a picture of yourself? I’ll probably incur your exquisitely acid tongue but that is a seriously ugly picture and you’re very pretty. I’m not trying to butter you up, just sayin’. Interesting discussion with PeeZed, btw.

  3. #3 MH
    July 12, 2008

    Awww, I was hoping to see Arnie. Great chat, though!

  4. #4 John Kwok
    July 12, 2008


    There’s actually a lovely black and white photograph of Abbie posted elsewhere online, but I am sworn to secrecy as to where it is. So if you think her video image is delightful….



  5. #5 WR
    July 12, 2008

    Minor point: The conference is held at the Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research in Altenberg, near Vienna, Austria (not in Italy).
    Cheers, Wilfried

  6. #6 JanieBelle
    July 12, 2008

    Abbie with the wine glass is definitely my fave.

    Very cool video, but I’ll have to watch it a few times. Some of that is pretty far over my head, and I’ll have to look some stuff up.

  7. #7 Andrew
    July 12, 2008

    You’re Beautiful!

  8. #8 Jason Dick
    July 12, 2008

    I really enjoyed that blogging heads. I’d like to make a little comment on one of the things you mentioned, though, about grad school. You mentioned that it’s a really good idea to join a summer research program to get to see what it’s like working in a lab.

    What I’d like to add to this is that there is a huge variety of different sorts of research available, both within and between different disciplines. Some people work in labs. Some people design instruments. Some people program computers. Some people work purely with pencil and paper. Some people do a lot of work out in the field. If you get a summer research program, and don’t enjoy it, it may not necessarily mean you’re not cut out for research. It may just mean that you’d be better-off doing a different sort of research. Or it may just mean that you didn’t get along with those particular people.

    Either way, though, one thing does seem to be constant across all disciplines of science: research, of whatever type, tends to take up all available time. I think this is mostly a function of the love all scientists have for their jobs, though, so that’s not entirely a bad thing!

  9. #9 JG
    July 12, 2008

    I think it was really neat and interesting!

    Looking forward to the second part.

  10. #10 Optimus Primate
    July 12, 2008

    What a fascinating (and informative!) discussion. Thanks for posting this, Abbie.

    P.S. Bugger off, Strider. Arnie is gorgeous! He may not be nearly as beautiful as his momma, but not many of us are.

  11. #11 JanieBelle
    July 12, 2008

    I’ve watched it a few more times, and that’s helpful.

  12. #12 Strider
    July 12, 2008

    Yah, Arnie’s stunningly gorgeous in that picture, OP. Must be me and my crazy definition of gorgeous.

  13. #13 NP
    July 12, 2008

    Just got out of bed a little over an hour ago, and decided to spend my waking hour watching two of the coolest people on the interwebz chatting about science and magicalism. Time well spent!

  14. #14 JD
    July 12, 2008

    There’s actually a lovely black and white photograph of Abbie posted elsewhere online, but I am sworn to secrecy as to where it is. So if you think her video image is delightful….

    I know many prefer this one from her post “Why CNN should want to invite me to speak on their network about atheism” because it’s in color 😉

  15. #15 MH
    July 12, 2008

    “I know many prefer this one…”

    Abbie, I’ve read your posts for a while now, and always knew you were gifted. I just didn’t realise that you were that gifted!


  16. #16 Steven
    July 12, 2008

    Reposted from bloggingheads.tv

    “First of all. Abbie, will you marry me? A sexy, smart, funny, atheistic, microbiologist chick. I didn’t think you existed.

    I have just finished 3rd year of a 4 year microbiology degree in Glasgow, Scotland. Hoping to eventually go on to do research. My problem is that I enjoy a lot of different subject matters.

    Found it amusing that two of the most vehement critics of the “science retardation” which is creationism are actually fairly soft spoken and polite when you get them on camera and actually talking.

    Hopefully more to come from the PZ/Abbie vlog category.”

    – Epicurus on bloggingheads

    Keep fighting the good fight (haha total platitude)



  17. #17 Sili
    July 12, 2008

    Your enthusiasm is contageous. Very inspiring. And I feel I’ve learnt something!

    I know it doesn’t matter, but I fear I dislike your accent – I had the same problem with that Oklahoma presentation you put up on palaeo-ERV. Not the worst I’ve ever heard, but just doesn’t jive with me. But to be fair, I sound utterly dorky, myself, so I’m shouldn’t point fingers.

    Those eyes are amazingly beautiful (reminds me a little of those LoTR posters with Elijah Wood …). I’m glad Arnie’s in the blog picture, or else I doubt I’d ever be able to concentrate on the entries …

  18. #18 philos
    July 12, 2008

    Abbie hawt?


    Apparently the audience here doesn’t get out much.

    First, quit smirking like an idiot. I know a boy is talking
    to you but you’ll get over it – it’s just PZ, after all.

    Can’t she try to sell her ideas instead of her ‘grade C’ body. Attempts at tight tanktops and pictures of ‘your’ teats for CNN? (elsewhere)

    Now that’s impressive and scholarly.

    Hey eyes are big & spooky; the right is like an inch higher.

  19. #19 wazza
    July 12, 2008

    Philos: Sounds like someone’s jealous…

    Don’t worry, Abby, out of all the bloggers I read, you’re easily the hottest.

  20. #20 ERV
    July 12, 2008

    LOL! No worries, wazza, its just a TARD. A very old TARD. Its in PZs dungeon.

    Glad you all liked it!

    Arnie talked to PZ when we were setting things up– I should have been recording then 🙁 But if you watch behind me, you can see him playing around the whole time hehe!

  21. #21 Dustin
    July 12, 2008

    Philos is going to be Exhibit A in my defense at the Galactic War Crimes Tribunal after I sell you puny humans out to the Blorgaxian Interstellar Empire.

    I expect to be acquitted.

  22. #22 windy
    July 12, 2008

    Philos is going to be Exhibit A in my defense at the Galactic War Crimes Tribunal after I sell you puny humans out to the Blorgaxian Interstellar Empire.
    I expect to be acquitted.

    You’ll be tried for selling them substandard merchandise.

  23. #23 Dustin
    July 12, 2008

    Blorgaxians are not known for their due process of law. In any case, they’re just looking for a cheap source for canned and processed lunchmeats.

    I think I’ll only have my hide turned into a lampshade if I don’t give them fair warning about this transubstantiation business first…

  24. #24 Doog
    July 12, 2008

    Interesting stuff. That was fun to watch.

    “Cause, like, when you’re, when you’re like older than 5 years old you never get to talk about dinosaurs…”

    Oh I beg to differ. You could talk to me about that stuff ’till the cows come home.

  25. #25 Don Smith, FCD
    July 12, 2008

    Great talk ERV+PZ!

    Could you give me the name of that third epigenetic process you were talking about. I couldn’t make out what PZ called it. It’s so cool ’cause I’d never thought about the olfactory receptors problem before. I mean, sure, all those nerve endings must have different receptors on their surfaces, but I’d never stopped to think how they all got different. I wonder if there is some kind of pattern to their respective locations relative to each other? Are those sensitive to more volatile chemicals tuck in out-of-the-way corners of the sinuses and those for heavier molecules direct in the path of the airflow? Seems logical.

  26. #26 Paul Lundgren
    July 13, 2008

    Philos, it’s obvious after the debacle on Pharyngula that you dont’ know when to quit; nor, based on your critique of Abbie’s looks do you recognize a good thing when you see one. Maybe you don’t find her attractive because she still has all of her own teeth?

    You’re STILL out of your league here, Christianist scum, and after what you said after the I-35 bridge collapse on PZ’s blog, you should crawl back under a rock and evolve some manners, because it’s obvious you weren’t intelligently designed with any.

    Oh, and Steven, #16:

    First of all. Abbie, will you marry me?

    I SAW HER FIRST!!! In fact, I popped the QUESTION first, too, after she referenced Salusa Secundus in a prior post. The offer still stands.

    I think I might have blown my chances by using a semicolon in this comment, though. Forgive me, Abbie, for I know not what I do…

  27. #27 LisaJ
    July 13, 2008

    Hi Abbie, I really enjoyed your bloggingheads with PZ! I am also a female graduate student, studying the Rb/E2F tumour supressor pathway in neural stem cells. My head is also full of epigenetic mechanisms and polycomb proteins!

    I learned alot from the post, it was great. You’ve got a great energy too, so keep up the good work! Good luck with your HIV research.

  28. #28 Muse142
    July 13, 2008

    That was possibly the most squee-tastic Blogging Heads I’ve ever seen.

    Abbie, you are both brilliant and beautiful. (I don’t need to tell you that though!)

    Fuck the trolls.

  29. #29 Kristjan Wager
    July 13, 2008

    I haven’t seen all of it yet (am currently downloading the episode, since my connection is a bit shaky at the moment), however, what I’ve seen of it is great. It’s always good to see two of my favorite bloggers discuss interesting stuff.

  30. #30 John Kwok
    July 13, 2008

    Hi Paul,

    Sorry, but I scooped you last summer by popping the question. In fact, there are a few who posted recently over at anti-evolution.org who think we ought to be an item.



  31. #31 baley
    July 13, 2008

    That was an amazing discussion, looking forward for the next one, don’t forget to show arnie aswell.


  32. #32 mcmillan
    July 13, 2008

    I hadn’t seen a summary of what your research focus is before, that’s a really cool project you’ve found. My own research is looking at how changes in a protein affect structure and physical properties. If you need a collaborator to figure out what your varients are doing you should track me down (though I probably have enough to look at for my thesis to keep me busy as it is) 🙂

    The discussion about women entering grad school for science brought to mind my thinking it interesting how I’ve seen that in some subfields of biology but not others. Like you saw, I’ve encountered lots of women going into micro, but my entering class of 12 in our biophysics program only had 3 women. What I found weird is it doesn’t seem to be just more physical science has less women, since I’ve seen lots of female chem grad students.

    I also want to say I really like the phrasing of “it’s not magic, it’s just new”. I think that pretty well sums up what is so cool about science. The whole point is to try and understand how these things work, it’s so depressing to encounter people that just want to accept that it’s magic.

  33. #33 Rachael
    July 13, 2008


    Just so you know… we ladies in science generally don’t appreciate it when you sit around and discuss our appearance.

    We usually find it some combination of creepy, sexist, rude, and REALLY ANNOYING. We are not flattered.

    Of course I can’t speak for Abigail specifically, but maybe that’s why she has a picture of her dog – and not herself – up in the corner.

    Smarten up.

  34. #34 Rachael
    July 13, 2008

    And BTW, Steven –

    “A sexy, smart, funny, atheistic, microbiologist chick. I didn’t think you existed.”

    This is extremely fucking offensive and ignorant.

  35. #35 Strider
    July 13, 2008

    Lighten up, Rachael.

  36. #36 Strider
    July 13, 2008

    Point taken, though.

  37. #37 Bob of QF
    July 13, 2008

    Most interesting video.

    What I remember most, though is Abbie’s comment that there are more women in research than there are in professorship.

    It lightens my heart to hear that: for this means than in a few more years, the gender balance will be tipped towards the center.

    This can only be a good thing– for regardless of which side you fall on, women and men often DO approach a problem from different points of view.

    Having more female points-of-view on the cutting edges of research can only result in new discoveries.

    I hope to live long enough to enjoy the fruits of that.

    Keep up the excellent work, Abbie.

  38. #38 Daniel R
    July 13, 2008


    Just so you know… we ladies in science generally don’t appreciate it when you sit around and discuss our appearance.

    Why? Do you think we consider you as less intelligent because you are pretty? Not at all! You know, men work with their eyes, you may not like it, but you cannot change that.

  39. #39 Brian X
    July 13, 2008


    You do realize that it’s largely a case of implied nerdiness making a hot woman even hotter, and doing wonders for the attractiveness of modestly attractive women? Look, a lot of us nerdy types like hot women. Many of us lefties still struggle with prejudices on a daily basis. Would we be better off keeping our beauty/brains sentiments to ourselves? I suppose so; it does have overtones of not only sexism but classism to it. But it sure beats attempting to chat up the dumbest waitress at Hooters because she has the largest natural-looking breasts in the room. (Which is not really fair to Hooters girls, because most of the ones I’ve met are very good conversationalists and don’t really fit the stereotype at all.)

  40. #40 Dustin
    July 13, 2008

    I think it works this way. There are these kids, right? And they have rings. In their rings are, variously, the powers of: Sexual Frustration, Boobism, Starting Posts With “Ummm, actually…”, Firefly References, Semantic Bickering and Disingenuity. Then, when they point there rings together, some turquoise fucker with a mullet named “Captain Scienceblog Thread” breaks out of the ground and prances around in a speedo.

    It is then that we know the thread has failed.

  41. #41 Torbj�rn Larsson, OM
    July 13, 2008

    Aww, too bad about Arnie. At least he made a lol skulking around.

    Had to watch this straight up – I haven’t seen either of you in action. Must say that PZ came over a lot less of a child devouring squid than it appears from his blog, and you had definitively more charisma than gag, pol, and env.

    Good discussion, considering it started out as discussing “whatever”. [Rolls eyes.] Nice to hear you have already firm plans that will keep you busy, not only “lazers and OMG! results”. But you know that the best science tactics never survives meeting reality… Good luck, tho’.

    Um, and congrats on the females clawing their way into the biology hierarchy.

  42. #42 Torbj�rn Larsson, OM
    July 13, 2008

    Um, and congrats

    Ummm, actually, now noticing Dustin’s comment, that should be “Ummm, actually, also congrats”.

    So close to a stereotype, but still failing. Damn!

  43. #43 wazza
    July 14, 2008

    Personally, I’d feel extremely flattered if people started discussing how good looking I was…

    maybe that’s just me

  44. #44 bunnycatch3r
    July 14, 2008

    @Philos #18
    Personal insults are not very nice. What if you had hurt Abbie’s feelings?

  45. #45 Felstatsu
    July 14, 2008

    I’m with you wazza. I’m no model, but I do my best to keep in good shape, and getting complimented on it is always good.

    I thought that most people enjoyed getting told they look good, but it seems I was wrong.

  46. #46 Scott
    July 14, 2008

    I was reading the Pharyngula blog when I saw a familiar face… Keep up the good work and kudos for representing this University!

  47. #47 AJ
    July 14, 2008

    Re #33, Rachael,

    I haven’t commented on her looks, and I’m not defending anyone who objectifies her because she is “hot” or anything like that, but I did find myself rather smitten by her personality, and I imagine that is what several others are referring to when they called her cute.

    It’s just refreshing to see an intelligent woman being passionate about science. That and her smile never fades throughout the entire video. Sexism and objectification is a bad thing of course, but we can still appreciate her for who she is. It’s just as demeaning to “evaluate” her solely on her book knowledge or accomplishments.

  48. #48 Alex M
    July 14, 2008

    I was quite pleased to actually be able to watch a BloggingHeads broadcast, for once! Usually it craps out on me, but not this time. You should do more of them, talk with everyone!

    Am I the only one who’s terrified when Abby or PZ make eye contact with the camera? I feel like they’re looking at me, expecting me to make a thoughtful contribution.

  49. #49 dNorrisM
    July 15, 2008

    As I recall, months ago at her earlier digs, Abby had not yet developed that beautiful black muzzle, LOLling tongue, nor those come hither eyes:
    “Why Abby!, What big teeth you have!”

  50. #50 Martin
    July 15, 2008

    OMFG! How can a biologist be so damned hot!!!!

    That cute beard, and the slightly goofy expression he has on his face, and the way his facial hair moves when he smiles… Oh man, I could watch P.Z. all day.

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