January 14, 2014
to be posted on nobabies.net

Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science
Melville Library N4004
Stony Brook University
Stony Brook, NY 11794-3384
631 632 2130

Over the holidays one of my great-nephews, age 9, said, “You ought to be a comedian.”  He was being most kind.  In fact he was setting me up for sallies of wit.  Indeed I have spent weekends for years doing improve entertainment at the Bay Area Renaissance Festival during season; yes we were taught to say, “Yes, and …”  And I did a few months Wednesday nights doing amateur stand up comedy at a local club.  Can’t say I was very good in either venue. 

Then I saw an article about your program.  (Spontaneous Scientists Rachael Bernstein NATURE vol. 505 no. 7481 January 2, 2014 page 121) My obsession is the fact that fertility in the long run, over generations, requires marrying fairly close cousins.  That is not my theory; it has been demonstrated in the scientific literature, and there is no debate on the matter.  I call your attention to my web site mentioned above if you are interested.

The question reminds me of an old cartoon showing two archeolgists who have dug down a couple of feet in the desert and uncovered six inches of the top of a pyramid.  One is saying, “It could be the find of the century, depending on how far it goes of course.”  The question is how important is it?  For me it is totally important, the biggest issue that faces the world, in fact just about the biggest issue that faces any multi-cellular life form.  Calling attention to it has become my life’s work.   My effectiveness as a prophet is about the same as my effectiveness as a comedian.  I have, however, published a paper demonstrating the effect in fruit flies.  (attached)

So if you are presenting courses that teach a scientist how to communicate, I am all ears.  Looking over your web site it appears to me that your material is only offered to those already in a PhD program.  I have an MD degree, but currently my only institutional relationship is that I volunteer for the local county health department as a radiologist.  But were desperation a credential, I would make the cut. 

Please let me know if there is way I can come to one of your courses.

Thank you.


M. Linton Herbert MD

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