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No Illusions podcast interview (and elocution lessons from an 11 year old)

Posted on 2 March 2011 by John Cook

Earlier this week, I received an email from podcaster Cameron Reilly of No Illusions. Cameron happens to live in my hometown of Brisbane so this morning, in a rare and unique experience for a blogger, I dropped by his office and actually got to meet a real life human being in the flesh and talk face-to-face. Cameron posted the podcast interview this afternoon, where we talk climate change skepticism, the iPhone app and the customary rapid fire succession of skeptic arguments that always seem to get fired at me.

Here's a direct link to an mp3 of the interview (or you can also find No Illusions on iTunes).

Incidentally, I loaded the podcast onto my iPod and my 11 year old daughter listened to the start of the interview. After the first few minutes, she commented, "Daddy, you don't speak very well. You say umm a lot. My teacher says you say umm when you talk too fast. You should talk slower".

I explained to the Geoffrey-Rush-wanna-be that it's not easy to speak when you have to give a long, continuous answer in an interview. To illustrate the point, I conducted a mock interview with her where I asked her questions and she had to give long, continuous answers. She answered every question slowly, deliberately and flawlessly. Punk kids, think they know everything these days!

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Comments 1 to 6:

  1. Maybe your daughter can give you some interviewing lessons!
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    Response: I'm picturing a sequel to "The King's Speech"... "The Blogger's Interview" :-)

    She was obviously buoyed by her speaking skills as last night, she challenged me to a "rematch" where Wendy would interview both of us and the first person to "umm" lost the competition. Unfortunately she won again! I'll be challenging her to a 3rd contest tonight - can't let an 11 year old get the better of me!
  2. You might get more hits on your website if you have her read the next podcast.
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  3. Have just listened to the podcast - not a bad discussion of the issues, thanks for that. I'd agree about the um's and ar's, in that it can be very difficult to avoid them. I would agree with your daughter's teacher, though - speak a little slower, consider your words a bit more, and it becomes much easier to avoid them. Slowing down your diction allows your brain to get ahead of what you're saying and have the next few words lined up - or so I've found, anyway, even if you have a few drawn out words or slight pauses in your sentence. (My boss is absolutely terrible at that, on phone conferences sometimes he'll say umm four or five times in a single sentence, and he speaks very quickly - which was not much fun when we were on a call to some guys in Brazil who have limited english!)
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  4. Prompted by the podcast, I just looked up the Office of the Chief Scientist and what statements on climate science there were. I found this in the transcript of Professor Sackett's statements to the Senate Estimates committee hearing:
    "Scientists in every area of science are broadly telling us the same thing. And, when I say ‘scientists’, I would like to point out again—because I think it has been mentioned in these chambers before—that we are talking about all of science; we are talking about physics, we are talking about chemistry, we are talking about the science of the oceans. That is a very important message for people to hear. It is not a particular sort of scientist. It is not a scientist who works in government labs but not those who do not. It is not the scientists of one country only or a few countries only. It is scientists of all sorts in all countries, in all sorts of laboratories that are telling us the same thing. That is a message that I have great concern is not reaching the general populous at a level that engages them and enables them to ask the questions that they have in an environment where those discussions can take place without distractions of policy, without distractions of politics, if I may say. That is a great concern to me."
    Well said, indeed!
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  5. Unless I’ve just listened to an expurgated edition, I found it an informative interview, fluent replies and all defensible. Well done John Cook.
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    Response: I'll pass on your comments to my 11 year old daughter but I think you'll find she'll agree to disagree :-)
  6. invicta Maybe the question is what 'matters most, style or substance?' I have to agree with Johns daughter regarding his front of microphone technique but the replies he gave directly addressed the question and were scientifically defendable. If you compare this with for example the performance of Monckton (see Monckton Myths) whose utterances litter the web, he (Monckton) is able to answer any question with breathtaking disregard for the science and ,if this doesn't break the posting policy of sks, the universally accepted truth without so much as an er um or hint of a blush. 97% of climate scientist agree the basic argument of AGW is won but the struggle to convince the wider public and therefore electorate has a long way to go. Communication is a key part of this. BTW if you think things are bad with a eleven year old knowing everything just wait until she's sixteen.
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