A shout-out from Jad Abumrad

OMG—a reader called to my attention a profile in today’s New York Times of Jad Abumrad, who is the creator and co-host of NPR’s Radiolab, a science-y show with a humorous twist. The piece details what he’s reading, watching, listening to, and following on social media. A friend emailed me to read the piece carefully, and I did. I didn’t see anything unusual, and said so.  I was then told to look at what Twitter feeds he follows, and I found that I had read right through this without noticing:

Picture 1

Well that brightens up my Sunday, particularly because the guy is science-y and I’ve been on RadioLab with Abumrad and Robert Krulwich (go here for my botfly piece, starting at 44:20).  Plus, I don’t really tweet:  the “@evolutionistrue” feed is simply a chronological list of posts at this site.  I’m not sure, though, what Abumrad means by “curator types”! The only things I curate are boots and cigars.


Abumrad (from the NYT piece)

At any rate, you’re all invited to follow this @evolutionistrue on Twitter, but don’t expect more than a notice of new posts. I don’t engage in Twitter wars, tell everyone what I’ve had for breakfast, and simply don’t understand why so many people either find it necessary to tweet or have time to do it. (Yes, I know I’m acting like a curmudgeon.)

h/t: WW


  1. Mark Joseph
    Posted April 28, 2013 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    Not curmudgeony at all. I don’t use Twitter, and don’t have a Facebook page, because what would I be doing, other than wasting my time, and adding to the white noise level? I have better things to do, like learn science and understand the world as it really is, and not as those who would like to control it and me try to make me believe it is. For that, I find this website quite helpful.

    • Dominic
      Posted April 29, 2013 at 2:28 am | Permalink

      It is all about communication. It is all very well someone writing a new article or doing some research – – but it does not increase the level of knowledge or information if you do not let other people know. I believe in adding content rather than noise – when I write a ‘blog’ entry for our library that is exactly what I try to achieve. It is not for me to judge whether I succeed!

  2. Diana MacPherson
    Posted April 28, 2013 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    I like Twitter for its ability to interact with people quickly but this site kind of fulfills that as well.

    I loved this post. It was so sweet that you were excited about the follow. That’s how we feel when you interact with us! 🙂

    • SA Gould
      Posted April 28, 2013 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

      Yes! And that is why you should also go out of your way to see Dr Coyne in person! He gave a magnificent talk at Purdue U, very honored to meet him before the lecture, much more charming and fun in person.

      • Dominic
        Posted April 29, 2013 at 2:34 am | Permalink

        You mean NOT a curmudgeon?! How disappointing! 😉

        • SA Gould
          Posted April 29, 2013 at 6:07 am | Permalink

          Maybe if he had received more challenging questions… no one was really picking on Evolution.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted April 29, 2013 at 7:08 am | Permalink

          Ha ha! I would love to meet Jerry of course and I hope to have to opportunity to do so someday!

  3. Posted April 28, 2013 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    Jad, Jerry, and a Cohiba Behike BHK 52.

    Make it happen.

  4. Jeff D
    Posted April 28, 2013 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    I don’t use Twitter or Facebook either; no time for it. I don’t even have an iPod. but I have burned RadioLab podcasts onto audio CDs so that I could listen to them on long, long drives.

    RadioLab is a superb radio show. Intellectual curiosity, turbocharged. Even those individual shows that are only mediocre in toto (compared to the best ones) always have terrific minutes and moments.

  5. steve oberski
    Posted April 28, 2013 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    You’re not a curmudgeon, you just have a real life.

    No twitter or facebook for this social media luddite either.

  6. Posted April 28, 2013 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    I use Twitter as my WEIT feed 🙂

  7. Sidd
    Posted April 28, 2013 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    The sound editing that goes into Radiolab is completely intolerable to me. It’s done in an idiosyncratic style wherein whoever is speaking is constantly interrupted by random sounds and other speakers. It’s like nails on a chalkboard. I honestly don’t understand how people can listen to it. The connection with Twitter seems fitting, since it too is engineered for one distraction per sentence.

  8. Posted April 28, 2013 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    What’s this Twitter thing?

  9. Gregory Kusnick
    Posted April 28, 2013 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    I don’t engage in Twitter wars, tell everyone what I’ve had for breakfast…

    I guess I must have hallucinated the Weetabix post then.

    • Posted April 28, 2013 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

      That wasn’t brekkie. That was an artefact. 😛

  10. Stephen P
    Posted April 28, 2013 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    Like others here I use neither Twitter nor Facebook, but those things seem to me completely different. Twitter is something I would use if I ever found a use for it – so far I haven’t. Facebook, on the other hand, I wouldn’t touch with a barge-pole, as I consider its operators fundamentally untrustworthy. Their main aim in life seems to be to confuse users into posting things to a larger group of people than they intended.

  11. Jeff Johnson
    Posted April 28, 2013 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    The only things I curate are boots and cigars.

    But you also curate a diverse menagerie of religious nuts, creationist whackos, waffling accomodationists, and Sophisticated Theologians®, not to mention a variety of interesting biological specimens.

  12. Posted April 28, 2013 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    The only things I curate are boots and cigars.

    NOBODY curates cats.

    • Jeff Johnson
      Posted April 28, 2013 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

      Cats are too cool to curate?

  13. Posted April 28, 2013 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    Me too. No twitter, no facebook.

    Twitter is way too short for serious thought. I agree there’s legitimate uses for twitter, short notices, etc. Otherwise, it’s more like drive-by comments. It’s ideal for trolls, and boring people who want to log their bowel movements.

    Facebook is way too creepy for me. I’m not handing over my entire life to the Web corporates. At least I will resist.

    • Dominic
      Posted April 29, 2013 at 2:36 am | Permalink

      You are looking at the tweets of individuals then when you should be looking at the tweets of organisations or journals & serious news sources. I would say!

      • Posted April 29, 2013 at 3:58 am | Permalink

        I still use RSS as my main source for serious news.

        • Jeff Johnson
          Posted April 29, 2013 at 7:28 am | Permalink

          So do I. I’m worried what’s going to happen after July 1 when google reader shuts down. Many of the applications for RSS actually use google’s RSS server to aggregate RSS feeds.

          Do you have some plan about how to deal with the demise of the google server?

          I like to use RSS readers on the iPad. Lately Mr. Reader has been my favorite, but its functionality is totally dependent on the google reader server API.

          Some have suggested that twitter can serve a function similar to RSS feeds. For example, since Jerry’s posting generates tweets each time, following @evolutionistrue provides the same kind of notification of new posts that RSS provides. You just have to browse the links everytime, which can be a pain. Good RSS readers, which utilize Readability or Instapaper or Pocket, provide most or all of the content without all of the web noise like flashing blinking ads. It’s really no wonder RSS is disliked by those worried about generating revenue. But sites have felt compelled for sometime to provide RSS feeds. Google’s action is kind of a test of the demand for RSS. Will this kill RSS? It’s nearly like a union busting type action to force people into more lucrative ad space.

          This idea of twitter replacing RSS is bogus in my opinion, but it might serve as a reasonable substitute if judicious following is used. Lots of bloggers (and websites) tweet a link for each post. But here’s the key: you are then forced to view the ads.

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted April 29, 2013 at 7:39 am | Permalink

            I’ve started using Feedly (feedly.com). It will suck in your Google feeds & when Google’s app goes away, the feeds will still be there in feedly without you even knowing any better. I’ve been pretty happy with feedly so far.

          • Posted April 29, 2013 at 9:09 am | Permalink

            Twitter can’t replace RSS for me, particularly since RSS feeds often include an entire article, or at least enough of an article that you can judge whether you want to read the rest of it or not.

            For now I’m trying to get by with using the stand-alone feedreader in Opera browser or the one in Internet Explorer. But it’s not like having an online aggregator and server.

            I don’t know what I’m going to do long-term. I haven’t found any really satisfactory alternatives. I think there will be serious competition to be the next “Reader”. I’m waiting to see what Digg comes up with. They are promising a new reader. Many alternatives are upgrading their capabilities in advance of Google’s departure.

            One observation though. Previously Reader was my homepage, and I was permanently logged in – so Google could track me everywhere. Now I NEVER log in to Google. So I have just about disappeared from their system.

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