Saturday, August 29, 2009

Talk with Larry Moran: Paraphrased

As one or two other people on the Internet that I don't know may have noticed, Larry Moran invited me to his blog and U of T after reading my interview with Bora Zivcovic (now found at

We talked for a couple of hours about various things, part of it over some buns from a Chinese bakery (they were good, except for that one chicken bun that went bad). At first, I asked about the fields of medicine and physics, including careers and schooling, and he enlightened me about various the various career paths and what one can and can't do in each one. Shortly: the divide in between research and care is huge, it's essentially one or the other. He (being a professor in the department of biochemistry at U of T) had speculated that it would be substantially harder to get into research fields in medicine than physics. Of course, Michael Nielsen had earlier given his only really short answer to how hard it would be to get into physics, with a resoundingly to the point yes.

We also talked a bit about how people behave on Facebook, and just generally with their identities online. More to the point, how the younger generation (including me) does it, and why we're so loose with damaging information about ourselves and others. I figured our arrogance and stupidity had at least something to do with it, but that answer seemed a bit too simple standing alone, and I don't actually know what leads people to post pictures of themselves naked and drunk online. I also speculated that maybe we don't care about these things as much as people used to, but then there are still stories of people dearly regretting it when it comes to employers and the morning after, when they awake to a parent screaming.

We didn't get into views on religion, or lack thereof; the theory I currently accept as strong, my dad's, is that he didn't want to scare me away from U of T and himself with his very strong ideals. What he didn't know... is that I'm usually up for a good debate. This is why I'm also fine with going to York, and entering the debates it's famous for (or shouting matches... maybe there's something to be learned from listening to those too, hopefully).

Finally, although this was the first thing we talked about, was talking very briefly about Science Online (the conference, one in which I had a blast, is very new and is held yearly in North Carolina; more info here and in the following two posts). He barely made it to '08, and couldn't go to '09, because January's got a ton of work in store for professors that include him, and I went to the opposite one. He figured it wouldn't be likely we'd meet there; or at least, it would take a number of years. To recap: he thought it was good stuff, I reiterated that I thought it was awesome.

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