I love viruses.

And so should you.

:-D

Once again, a BIG THANK YOU to The Thinking Atheist for putting this together and uploading it for us!!!

1– I never talk more than 30-35 minutes, because that is the extent of my attention-span :-/  Which leaves at least 10 minutes for a Q&A!

2– They didnt record the Q&A :-/ Which sucks because the audience always has THE BEST QUESTIONS.  THE BEST QUESTIONS!  Its always my favorite part of any presentation. Laymen never give themselves enough credit– often prefacing their question with ‘This is probably a dumb question…’ NO! Theyre always GREAT questions! ASK THEM!!!

3– In this talk, I touch on a pet-peeve of mine: Treating the audience like theyre stupid. The assumption that regular folks wont get/be interested in real science unless you explain science to them in the context of a retro video game or currently popular movie/TV show/fad. “Understand epidemiology through ‘Walking Dead’!!! DERP!!!”

Isnt it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?

Isnt it enough viruses have killed and maimed millions and millions and millions of people, without having to make up ‘ZOMG ZOMBIES!!!’?

Isnt it enough that we are using viruses to change, to save peoples lives, without having to dumb these modern feats of man down to Pokemon and Resident Evil analogies?

Science, reality, is freaking cool. I hope I conveyed that in this talk.

Comments

  1. #1 Optimus Primate
    January 21, 2013

    So worth the wait!

  2. #2 Theo51
    January 23, 2013

    Thank you. Great information, great presentation. I like that you wear jeans and give this essential talk.

  3. #3 kad
    January 23, 2013

    Very well done!

  4. #4 Gary Jones
    Omaha
    January 25, 2013

    We owe a lot to bacterial viruses. It’s now thought that cholera outbreaks have always been brought under control by an explosion in the population of a bacterial virus (phage) that kills the cholera bug (VIbrio cholerae).

  5. #5 Kevin Bonham
    January 25, 2013

    Can I still talk about zombies because I think they’re cool?

  6. #6 Julia Lynne
    USA
    January 29, 2013

    Delightful presentation. Exactly at the level (happy face on the immune system cell) I found engaging and informative.
    Elsewise, reality is just too complex for me to grasp (curse you reality!!) My mental model of scientists has you inferring the construction algorithms behind one of those geometric pattern generating screen savers which so amuse us visually oriented primates. In real time!!
    One question: I was taught that viruses are obligate parasites of cells and so cannot exist without (before) cells. True? If not, and some viruses, much simpler than cells, are happily (anthropomorphism noted) multiplying without their cellular machinery, does this make viruses reasonable candidates for the original organic replicator? solving the abiogenesis problem.

  7. [...] Smith just finished a talk at FreeOK in Oklahoma. Her fascinating research is finding ways to kick HIV/AIDS [...]

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