Hiya, Leonardo!

Ah, so that’s what this thing is all about: we’re a Vehicle for Upscale Ads. It feels a bit strange to be viewed as a “vehicle”. I see this as more of a virus, with the corporate world as the host vehicle, and I’m exploiting them in order to get fast free network hosting.

So that doesn’t bother me in the slightest. This simplistic characterization of you readers, though, is a bit disturbing.

The research has identified about 20 million Americans, 7 percent of the population, who are labeled in the study as “Leonardos,” named after da Vinci for their avid, Renaissance-style interest in science as well as subjects like art and politics.

Leonardos are mostly male, in their 30’s and middle to upper class, said Eliza Esquivel, a planner at JWT New York who is working with Ms. Cortizo on the study.

Yeesh. I think of my readers as much more diverse than that, and I hope I never end up pandering to a narrow demographic.

It’s very weird to read about this particular endeavor filtered through the eyes of business drones—it has no relationship at all to how I think about it. Fortunately, I am isolated from the business end of all this, and don’t worry—if some 30 year old guy in a business suit with an MBA tries to tell me what content to put here, I’ll be gone.


  1. #1 LJ
    January 20, 2006

    I have noticed that I am not the only one hanging around these parts who is more like twice their ‘average’ age. I guess we average Alon and me and get thirtysomething.

    Being called a Rennaisance guy has always been on my list of complimentary descriptions though.

    I wonder how the rest of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles feel about being ignored though.

    Ich bien ein Leonardo

  2. #2 LJ
    January 20, 2006

    Ads? The only ad I have noticed is the Seed one.

  3. #3 Erik
    January 20, 2006

    I am a leonardo, lol… though it amuses the heck out of me to be cast in that mold 🙂

    Informal poll: how many other leonardos here?

  4. #4 Tara
    January 20, 2006

    I see this as more of a virus, with the corporate world as the host vehicle, and I’m exploiting them in order to get fast free network hosting.

    I’m closer to that view, but we could cut the difference and look at it as a symbiotic relationship: we each benefit. We are the Rhizobium to their legume.

  5. #5 Kieran
    January 20, 2006

    I hate marketing people.

  6. #6 Jason Malloy
    January 20, 2006

    I’ve unearthed a behind-the-scenes audio clip of SEED execs explaining their operation to PZ.

  7. #7 Jim H
    January 20, 2006

    Damn it, I fit the demographic.

  8. #8 LJ
    January 20, 2006

    Actually I subscribe to the NYT online for the pleasure of being subjected to upscale advertising.

    And I am still ticked off that they want me to pay to read Paul Krugman. Fortunately I can see his stuff a day later in the Register Guard.

  9. #9 Savagemutt
    January 20, 2006

    I do too. Although, I’m probably just squeaking by into the “middle class” range.

  10. #10 Jeff Fecke
    January 20, 2006

    I’m 31 and male, but I’m lower middle class, so there!

    What the marketers don’t realize is that PZ will also bring in the Pygmy/Dwarf/Squid afficianados (or PDSAs), who represent 0.4% of the population, are generally male, in their 40’s, wear only shoes made by adidias, and prefer Coke to Pepsi by a 3-to-2 margin.

  11. #11 Catana
    January 20, 2006

    Another demogaphic-breaker(Leonarda)–female, 69, poverty-level income. And I almost always read posts via Bloglines, so the ads are irrelevant.

  12. #12 Ian in New Jersey
    January 20, 2006

    Hey, wait a minute! I fit squarely into that demo, and I think it’s terrific. Sure, it’d be nice if that included women, but guys in their 30’s are supposed to be raising kids (if not currently, then soon), and I think it’s good if there is a solid block of free-thinking men raising kids.

  13. #13 rrt
    January 20, 2006

    Looks like PZ could really hit the Big Time here!

    I think we’re not seeing these ads yet because Scienceblogs is still officially in “beta.”

    I hope the calibre of advertiser they’re shooting for, and the potentially vast wealth they’ll offer (yeah, right!) doesn’t leave them open to suggestions of “toning down” the content of the blogs. Yeah, I know PZ got assurances that wouldn’t happen.

  14. #14 Rahel
    January 20, 2006

    I don’t fit it either, but I mostly lurk here (although I would of course see tha ads like anyone else) – I’m female, in my 20’s, lower middle class, and not American. So there.

  15. #15 jimBOB
    January 20, 2006

    As someone who works in the periphery of marketing, I can tell you that all these oddball demographic descriptions are really just overpaid consultants trying to justify their salaries by imposing fanciful categories onto raw data. It’s suits talking to other suits. Pay it no mind.

  16. #16 Dr. Joan Bushwell
    January 20, 2006

    So the “Leonardos” caught your attention as well. Based on my experience with Pharyngula, likewise, I surmise that your readership is more diverse. Certainly my age and sex would place me among the outliers of the JWT-New York/Seed study demographic.

    Don’t worry overly much about the devils in advertising and marketing. Those of us scientists who whore ourselves to evil corporation must deal with our pimps, er, “business drones,” some of whom were actually scientists (!) in a past life, quite frequently. We manage to survive, and view marketing as a necessary component of what we do, even if it is sometimes unsavory to us. Typically, marketing cuts a broader swath in R&D, and tends not to micromanage, or at least that is the case in my little world. So, I doubt that a 30 year old guy from Pfizer’s marketing department is going to ask you to write an endorsement for the latest and greatest second generation phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitor, something of a non-sequitor in the midst of your lucid and entertaining offerings on things evolutionary.

    In any case, congratulations on the move.

  17. #17 Kevin
    January 20, 2006

    I think the demographic is that way because of your content. I doubt you’d be asked to change it in any way.

  18. #18 Steven Thomas Smith
    January 20, 2006

    Kvetch kvetch kvetch. Someone giftwraps a great name for you like “Leonardos” and you call him a business drone.

    What would you say to “Alberts” or “Isaacs”?

    Why don’t you embrace the Leonardos in your own unique way and write about Da Vinci as a freethinker or discoverer of anatomy by dissecting stolen cadavers?

  19. #19 Flex
    January 20, 2006


    Color me Leonardo. (But I’ll take is as a complement.)

    I’m male, late thirties, upper-middle class, and an engineer in the middle of an MBA program. (I just wish I had Leonardo’s hair ….)

    However, I promise to use the knowledge I’m learning in the MBA program for good rather than evil. It’s amazing how much knowledge they are giving us which can be used to justify government regulation and intervention into the workings of business. Now if only we could elect federal officals who not only have acquired this knowledge but are prepared to use it to better the lives of citizens.



  20. #20 DouglasG
    January 20, 2006

    I’m almost in my thirties. (40 would almost make me thirty-something right???) Oh well, I guess I’ll have to settle for one of the other Turtles. I’m thinking Donatello…

  21. #21 Kristine
    January 20, 2006

    “Middle to upper class,” sheesh. I make much less money at the museum than my Dad did working in sheet metal. No car, but I’m proud of that. And ahem! What about Leonardas?

  22. #22 jmorrison
    January 20, 2006

    i think it’s scary that an interest in “science, politics, and the arts” is such an odd, anachronistic set of interests that it needs to be characterized as “Renaissance-style.” that’s just plain scary. they have to go back as far as leonardo to find a model for an interest in this particular grouping of things? i thought the characterization would simply be something like, “sentient” or “awake.” question is, what are the other 93 percent interested in?

  23. #23 Dr. Free-Ride
    January 20, 2006

    I’m a bit confused about the classification of our “natural audience” as “Leonardos”. Leonardo, after all, was a producer of science and art and who knows what else. The audience coming here are (at least if the ad guys get their way) primarily consumers of cool stuff (including, post-Beta, upscale goods advertised discreetly in the right sidebar).

    Seems to me, the bloggers here are the Leonardos. Are the readers … de Medicis?

  24. #24 Sotek
    January 20, 2006

    Hmm. By the age and “class” criteria, I’m not a Leonardo … yet.

    Twenty-one, and getting an MS (and thus, I have the income of, well, a college student.) … give me a decade and I’ll probably fit the criteria to a tee.

    Then again, I’d hope that from the marketing perspective, the most important part of the criteria is the “Renaissance-style interests” – which is what you’re actively appealing to.

  25. #25 pupdog
    January 20, 2006

    Marketing? Heh, heh…it’s just a clever way to round up liberals and evilutionists so the godly Administration can take care of them. Marketing is a front.

  26. #26 PZ Myers
    January 20, 2006

    You know, I don’t fit into their “Leonardo” category.

  27. #27 Dianne
    January 20, 2006

    I think I may just qualify as a “Leonarda”: I’m still in my thirties (for another two years), middle class by most standards (though lower by the Congressional definition), and interested in science, art, and politics. But neither male nor, technically, anglo, if that helps your demographics any.

    At risk of either derailing the thread or being ignored, I’m curious about what PZ and anyone else reading thinks of this finding It seems to me to indicate that men should, generally, not be trusted to be judges, soldiers, diplomats, or politicians because they find enjoyment in the pain of others and are therefore more likely to start wars or act unjustly in order to get their kicks. At least, that’s how I think it would be interpreted if the results were the opposite and it were women who enjoyed watching “bad guys” be punished. I’m also curious as to why this story hasn’t made it to the blogosphere. Thoughts?

  28. #28 Alex R
    January 20, 2006

    PZ, I think the difference between you and the marketers is that *you* probably care about *all* of your readers, while the marketers only care about the ones that are likely to spend money on products advertised here…

  29. #29 donna
    January 20, 2006

    Hot damn, I’m only in my 30s and I’m male! What a surprise to my husband of 20+ years….

  30. #30 theophylact
    January 20, 2006

    I think of myself as more of a Giralamo Cardano, myself; I can’t draw worth shit. I’m twice the age of the “Leonardo”, anyway.

  31. #31 Dave D.
    January 20, 2006

    “I hope I never end up pandering to a narrow demographic.”

    Ah yes, much better that you should continue to pander to everyone. 😉

  32. #32 Kevin
    January 20, 2006

    I’m definately a leonardo as a male, age 35 who works in software. And you should all be a little kinder to us Marketeers, because without us you wouldn’t be able to buy or sell, or barter, or distribute anything, ever.

    Arguably, us godless liberals could use some better marketing, given the state of the state these days.

  33. #33 LJ
    January 20, 2006


    Your link would have been just as appropriate over on the Drum’s Dilema thread.

    In the area cited, I hope my feminine side dominates.

  34. #34 un malheureux vetu de noir
    January 20, 2006

    Although I believe it is rather difficult to be a Renaissance Man in the information age, I kinda like being a Leonardo. Although I don’t fit their demographic very well – a too old, piss-poor, composer of classical music, lover of all things artistic, working for a living in a scientific research facility (attached to an arts organization). If keeping my mind alert, active, and inquisitive helps my standing as a Leonardo, I’ll take the label. Hey…what about substituting “leonardos” for “brights?”

  35. #35 jre
    January 20, 2006

    Yeah, PZ — the reason I come by is to tell you that this Leonardo guy they got in their demographic, is nothing like me! He’s a mook, a mama’s-boy who should be home with his mother and his little-sisters. He’s… he’s a mook, you know?!

  36. #36 Steve
    January 20, 2006

    Hm… well I’m male, but I’m a college student, so I must really throw off their demographics…

    Averages are so deceitful…

  37. #37 Keith Douglas
    January 20, 2006

    Yeah, Steve, what’s the standard deviation on our ages. 😉

  38. #38 Maureen Lycaon
    January 20, 2006

    I could point out I’m 46, female, and my income is poverty-level.

    However, look at it from an advertiser’s point of view. (The article’s in the business section, after all.) Mostly male, in their thirties, middle and upper class — this is the demographic that has the biggest disposable income and the urge to spend it. So what Esquivel is really saying here is: “Science blog readers are a new, affluent group of consumers, so they would be well worth advertising to. They’re an unexploited market just waiting to be tapped.”

  39. #39 Steve LaBonne
    January 20, 2006

    Cool, I can pretend to be in my 30s. If only I can remember my 30s. 😉

  40. #40 Leo
    January 20, 2006

    Man, I always knew that you were a sell-out. I am so outta here!


  41. #41 Dave
    January 20, 2006

    damn- I’m 33. Artist, musician, have always been interested in science and nature, have been more and more interested in politics as I get older. Lower $50K income – but that’s in California, so that’s lower middle class.

    Man, they got me pegged. I’ll fill out a survey for a free iPod.

  42. #42 PZ Myers
    January 20, 2006

    And don’t forget: all good Leonardos should have the latest issue of Seed prominently displayed on their coffee tables!

  43. #43 Polliwog
    January 20, 2006

    I agree on the idea of substituting Leonardos for Brights.
    And since we know that Richard Dawkins is lurking…

  44. #44 Ed
    January 20, 2006

    Hey, I guess I´m a leonardo, and I´m not even american. I´m brazilian, but I´m in the mid 30s and I´m middle class (at least at brazilian standards…)

  45. #45 Theo Bromine
    January 20, 2006

    jmorrison: what are the other 93 percent interested in?

    Sports and reality TV, from what I can tell.

    (Personally, I’m the wrong gender and too old, and though I have the desired income level, it’s not particularaly disposable, as much of it is currently designated towards educating offspring.)

  46. #46 Emily
    January 20, 2006

    Being a 24yr-old Puerto Rican female grad student in astrophysics, I obviously don’t fit in the demographic…

    But to keep with the spirit of some commenters here, may I suggest that I am in the April O’Neil demographic?


  47. #47 coturnix
    January 20, 2006

    I also thought of Leonardo as a producer and the targeted audience of science blogs as consumers.

    I also thought that a usual name for a person of wide interests and broad knowledge is “Victorian scholar”.

    But, how many of those readers will think of themselves as Leonardo DiCaprios? Or, perhaps it is the 93% of the non-readers who identify with that younger Leonardo….

  48. #48 Ian B Gibson
    January 20, 2006

    Please, please don’t try to resurrect that whole ‘Brights’ idea (how about ‘Natural’ instead…) – it blows, as they say. I like to think that Dawkins and Dennett have realised this by now, too.

    Also, as an immigrant to the US, I was under the impression that America is supposed to be a classless society, or is that just something the governments own marketing guys came up with?

    Thirdly, is it considered my moral duty to let ads be downloaded & displayed on my PC screen, and should I therefore feel guilty about using Adblock..?

  49. #49 Torbjorn Larsson
    January 20, 2006

    “Renaissance-style interest”

    Hmpf! Not only am I another deviant from their demographic in most details (and why do they confine themselves to US?), I usually describe my interest as simply “curious”. Renaissance was as much about rediscovery of the ancients as about revitalization, and I ain’t interested in old buffoonery. Even so, ‘Leonardo’ is a nice tag!

    One experiment with a few subjects where you can’t have any reference subjects but look at possible differences instead isn’t enough material to convince. I can’t MRI myself but I think after introspection that I would end up in the ‘women’ cathegory here.

    Maybe they can establish a individual or grouped difference over more trials. Then I think your interpretation is correct. One could MRI officials to establish how their reward system is wired. Those who doesn’t fit the bill (wired for too easy bribing, revenge, narcotics, harmful sexual behaviour, et cetera) could be dismissed. Hopefully some people would remain. 🙂

  50. #50 Dianne
    January 20, 2006

    Torbjorn: I guess it wasn’t clear that I was being sarcastic about the conclusions one might draw from the study…I haven’t even seen the actual study (just the Times’ take on it) and I would never suggest radical social engineering on the basis of a study that is both small in size and limited in scope without seeing the primary data first (yep, more sarcasm: I wouldn’t really suggest anything more than further study on the basis of current knowledge).

    I am amused, however, at the fact that the NYT took the trouble to explain how the results really meant that men were **superior** and didn’t come to any of the obvious conclusions about what it implies for men’s fitness as people in charge of situations that might lead to aggression or acts of punishment. Compare the amount of attention given to this study versus the amount given to the study which suggested that monkeys play with gender stereotyped toys, for example, and the scope of the conclusions drawn from each.

  51. #51 Ereshkigal
    January 20, 2006

    Leonardo? What about the rest of the Teenage Mutant Renaissance Heroes?

  52. #52 Torbjorn Larsson
    January 20, 2006


    I see you beat me to the punch – I was coming back here because on second thought I was intrigued and disconcerted by your idea.

    It would disqualify male doctors treating females for example, because heterosexual males are interested in the female form. At least outside their professions, perhaps the general behaviour can be unlearned to be situational.

    It is much better to have systems that stop behaviours to be nuisances, and that is what I think we (mostly) have.

    No, I didn’t recognise the sarcasm. Hopefully because I was hurried – then I might do better. 🙂

    Okay, I also didn’t note their conclusions drawn from the supposed gender difference. On second read, I don’t see that the article says that the males are superior. I think they say that it was necessary for one large group to display revenge behaviour to make cheating a less winning strategy.

    I found a lot of google hits (‘googlits’ ?) for “monkeys play with gender stereotyped toys”. It _is_ interesting, and the scope of the conclusions were neutral as you imply. For example, : “Males and females evolved with different styles of visual perception and colour sensitivity. This may explain why boys and girls prefer different different colours and why boys’ prefer active toys”.

    I like that explanation and hope it will be found to be true. Probably because I prefer not to have been indoctrinated wholesale into a certain role, but prefer to think I at least partly choosed it. (However stupid the outcome. 🙂

  53. #53 flynn
    January 20, 2006

    The “monkeys play with gender-stereotyped toys” study I remember made a big deal of the fact that males played most with something like a ball or a truck, and females played most with a pan. Uhh, monkeys don’t cook; how is a pan a “girl monkey” thing? Dolls also got some (less) attention from females, but everyone, both males and females, was into the pan.

  54. #54 Ronald Brak
    January 20, 2006

    Well people often mistake me for Leonardo DiCaprio, but I usually just slap them and tell them I look like Brad Pitt.

  55. #55 Tim
    January 20, 2006

    I don’t know if I’m “mostly” male, but I’m at least 45% male.

  56. #56 idlemind
    January 20, 2006

    Well, of a pan, ball, or toy truck, which makes the best weapon?

  57. #57 Torbjorn Larsson
    January 20, 2006


    Without reading the study, I would think that one of the points were exactly that the monkeys probably didn’t know what the toys were used for. So the pan probably wasn’t a ‘girl monkey’ thing but a ‘girl’ thing.

    But as you point out, there could be some subjectivity involved in drawing boundaries between types of things. They probably used human childs to sort out the groups in a first phase. At least that is one way to do it which is consistent with the later monkey study.

  58. #58 David
    January 20, 2006

    What ads? Of course, I long ago learned not to notice any ads in any medium I peruse. Before the do not call list it drove telemarketers nuts. I made one explain “Drivers Wanted” to me. It didn’t make much sense, but I believed him.

  59. #59 Tara Mobley
    January 20, 2006

    26 and female here. And thinking about starting to use a pseudonym here so I don’t get mixed up with Tara Smith of Aetiology, not that I post here often enough to get confused with her anyhow.

  60. #60 Jenna
    January 20, 2006

    28, female, and I have a B.A. in art and going to get a B.S. in physiology. Also interested in philosophy, literature, basic comparative religion, cognitive neuroscience, etc. I’m a poor student, so not of upper middle class. Nope, don’t fit into that demographic at all.

  61. #61 Dave Harmon
    January 20, 2006

    I’m happy to be a Leonardo! The real point of the reference, and the “demographic”, is our avaricious curiosity and breadth of interests. “It’s a good thing!”

    PZ: That “dual exploitation” thing makes me think “symbiosis”. Just try to avoid letting it become obligate….

  62. #62 SEF
    January 20, 2006

    I hate marketing people.

    That’s OK – they’ll be sent away on the B-ark, while the “Leonardo”s, being A-ark material, won’t be.

    I’m too old for that marketing demographic – and not much of a consumer. So they probably care as little for me as I do for them. I have previously described myself as something of a Renaissance man though.

  63. #63 Danny Yee
    January 20, 2006

    I hate fitting in with the crowd, but I have to own up to being in my mid-30s and having a middle-class income and lifestyle.

    Whenever it comes to registering online, however, I’m a 20-something woman.

  64. #64 Christopher M
    January 20, 2006

    This reminds me – next week I want you to blog about how great it is to wash down a Pizza Hut personal pan pizza with a tall, frosty glass of Pepsi. 😉

  65. #65 Violet Socks
    January 21, 2006

    Leonardo my ass. I’m a 40ish woman and I know more about science, politics, and art than almost any man I’ve ever known.

    Middle-class men in their 30s are downloading porn, for chrissake.

  66. #66 Loris
    January 21, 2006

    We’re not all consumers! I’m a scientist myself (hmm grad student trying working on PhD) and so not thirty-something (try mid-twenties) or male. I’m poor too! I read PZ because he always seems to sum up all the goings on that I never seem to have time to read myself. Besides, it’s nice to find that there are people out there who are liberal atheists and still have jobs!

  67. #67 Alon Levy
    January 21, 2006

    Being called a Rennaisance guy has always been on my list of complimentary descriptions though.

    The last thing I care about is how the marketing department calls me. I don’t think I’ve ever been called a Renaissance man, but then again the nobody I know has ever been called or called anyone a Renaissance man.

    Ich bien ein Leonardo

    I believe the “ein” is redundant. I know for a fact that when you describe yourself you never use “ein” (Ich bin Student, ich bin Berliner, etc.), but I’m not sure whether you need “ein” before Leonardo.

    I hate marketing people.

    I hate marketing (in the sense that I hate to market, akin to “I hate calling people at night”). Whenever I have to do it, I get metaphorical nausea.

    But to keep with the spirit of some commenters here, may I suggest that I am in the April O’Neil demographic?

    I’m sad to report I understood the reference.

    Also, as an immigrant to the US, I was under the impression that America is supposed to be a classless society, or is that just something the governments own marketing guys came up with?

    It’s just something the government’s own marketing guys came up with.

    and why do they confine themselves to US?

    Because for many Americans, including American marketers, there are no non-Americans, even if they can bring their companies profits.

    That’s OK – they’ll be sent away on the B-ark, while the “Leonardo”s, being A-ark material, won’t be.

    We descend from these B-ark people, remember? That’s why everything’s so screwed up on this planet.

    Middle-class men in their 30s are downloading porn, for chrissake.

    I’ll do my best not to be middle-class, then. If I ever become middle-class, I’ll make sure I shoot myself when I turn 30.

  68. #68 SEF
    January 21, 2006

    That plan won’t help if you’ve already turned 30 before you become middle-class. You need to work a bit more on your conditional!

  69. #69 hank
    January 21, 2006


    And these how-you-say “Advertisers” — do they not understand that moderately intelligent people who read know about:

    –> “Firefox — AdBlock — Greasemonkey — BugMeNot — popup_blocker — Hosts_file — AdAware …..”

    –> “when I want something I am smart enough to find out about it for myself”

    –> “look, something flashy” is about as interesting on a web page as any other troll’s attempt to grab attention?

    Maybe I should look into this “advertising” thing again, I’ve been avoiding it. It sounds like it’s gotten stupider.

  70. #70 Republic of Palau
    January 22, 2006

    Violet Socks: “Leonardo my ass. I’m a 40ish woman and I know more about science, politics, and art than almost any man I’ve ever known. ”

    I’d say ‘right on, sister’, but that would be frightfully anachronistic of me.

  71. #71 David Harmon
    January 22, 2006

    “‘Ich bien ein Leonardo’

    I believe the “ein” is redundant. …”

    As I heard the tale, the rule is that “ein” is not used for proper nouns, i.e. people. Thus, when JFK told a Berlin audience “Ich bein ein Berliner”, he was saying, not that he was a “Berlin person”, but that he was something called “a Berliner”. As it happens, “a Berliner” is a kind of jelly doughnut. It could have been worse — he could have been in Frankfurt!

    Fortunately or not, I don’t think “Leo” actually bestowed his name on any given invention…. Like others have said, don’t get hung up on the “gender-age-class” thing, that’s just statistical handwaving.

  72. #72 Alon Levy
    January 22, 2006

    That plan won’t help if you’ve already turned 30 before you become middle-class. You need to work a bit more on your conditional!

    I think the probability I’ll become middle-class in my 30s is much lower than the probability I’ll become middle-class in my 20s. Either way, I’ll make a mental note to kill myself if I become middle class between the day I turn 30 and the day I turn 40.

    Of course an easier thing would be just not looking at ugly pictures of blowjobs, something apparently many guys my age do, too.

  73. #73 SEF
    January 22, 2006

    That last one sounds like a better plan. What about the possibility (which you’ve inadvertently introduced) of attractive pictures though. 😉 Perhaps we can conclude it’s vanishingly small.

  74. #74 Alon Levy
    January 22, 2006

    Either the porn site I accidentally stumbled upon a few months ago had unusually bad pictures (unlikely since it had tons of porn ads, which had equally ugly and disturbing pictures), or there are no attractive pornographic pictures.

  75. #75 Violet Socks
    January 22, 2006

    For some reason I thought of this post again today and it’s still cracking me up. This is so totally some marketing moron’s bullshit. I went and looked at the WSJ article, and found this:

    To be sure, there have been previous periods when science captured the fancy of Americans who did not live or work at Cape Canaveral, the Livermore National Laboratory or Los Alamos. In the 1950’s and 1960’s, the space race produced a generation that said “A-O.K.,” drank Tang and yearned to embody “the right stuff.”

    So before you proudly label yourself a Leonardo, consider just what these advertising geniuses have in mind when they think of someone avidly interested in science: drinking Tang, saying A-OK, and fantasizing about how you’d look in a flight suit.

    The research has identified about 20 million Americans, 7 percent of the population, who are labeled in the study as “Leonardos,” named after da Vinci for their avid, Renaissance-style interest in science as well as subjects like art and politics.


    Science: Viagra online
    Art: Hot Asian Teens
    Politics: Free Republic

  76. #76 Torbjorn Larsson
    January 22, 2006

    “Either the porn site I accidentally stumbled upon”

    Even though it’s suspect that you took the time to overview the quality of the pictures, I know the feeling.

    I had a discussion with a visitor to my company about patents. We had to check up on former art on the european patent site. Unfortunately I didn’t take the time to find the saved link but typed a search and then hit the first link.

    A very beatiful nude appeared… Looked like there was an entry site for high quality porn covering the search key I used. What are patent clerks doing during business hours???

  77. #77 Torbjorn Larsson
    January 22, 2006

    Eh, that question should probably be: “What do these porn sellers think patent clerks are doing during business hours?” And since the site existed, the answer to that one, and the former too, is obvious… 🙂

  78. #78 Alon Levy
    January 22, 2006

    Even though it’s suspect that you took the time to overview the quality of the pictures, I know the feeling.

    If “overview” mean “get disgusted immediately,” then I did in fact overview them.

  79. #79 Torbjorn Larsson
    January 23, 2006


    Of course offensive pictures makes one take notice. Sorry about that jest, I now realise it was insensitive. Porn is private business, so I shouldn’t make a public joke.

  80. #80 Soren
    February 2, 2006

    Guys… give the girl a break.

    Given a single sentence by the NYT to sum up a complicated group (interested in science, art, politics and the intersection of each) she gave a generalization

    ‘They TEND to be 30s, male, middle class’

    As someone who has been on the raw end of ‘in 12 words or less’ journalism I’d like to give the study a break until I see some more of the detail (and the data!)

    And I agree ‘Leonardos’ is a peach of a name – so much better than being an ‘unersexual’

  81. #81 Soren
    February 2, 2006

    or even ‘ubersexual’


  82. #82 Robert S.
    March 27, 2006

    I’m 35, middle-class, with a deep interest in science, politics and the arts . . . and I feel so *used*!


  83. #83 Barry
    April 20, 2006

    “I see this as more of a virus, with the corporate world as the host vehicle, and I’m exploiting them in order to get fast free network hosting.”

    To the marketers, you’re more like genetically-modified e. coli in a vat, enjoying the beneficial environment, while cranking out the desired chemical.

    Does that make you feel better?

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