Monday, 8 August 2011

Toastmasters - Humorous Speech Contest

... it's tonight: 5-7mins. Here's the draft:

I have a confession to make: I am a scientist. 
Before you judge: it isn't my fault! I tried hard not to become a scientist! 
I joined fringe religious cults.
I saluted the sun in the morning and danced naked in the moonlight. I partook of esoteric tantric rites - sometimes with company. 
I studied mystic crystal vibrations and alternative herbal medicines ... and that is the problem right there people: it's a slippery slope. 
It starts with the crystals and the herbs and it morphs grotesquely into geology, chemistry, botany and biology. All sciences! 
Seeking the middle path I studied perpetual motion and tried to get my over-unity engine supressed by the government but it was no good.  There was a last-ditch scrabble with pseudosciences, cold fusion, and flogistron but it was all over. The physics sucked me in! Dragging me down to the depraved depths of rational thought, critical analysis and skepticism! I must face the facts: I have become a science geek. 
For goodness sake: I have just spent the last three days working out the logistics of building a nucear power plant in my back yard! I need help! (Some of the bits are heavy.)

But I refuse to give it up! Though I am occasionally wrong... all right: frequently wrong ... I am addicted! It is a drug!

It is the lot of the scientist to be wrong. A lot. This is probably why women are under-represented. They just don't have the knack.
We have this big prize for the scientists who are the most wrong in each field. It's the Nobel Prize. 
Alfred Nobel worked out how to stabilise nitroglycerine. He figured this would be the end of warfare since the explosive was so powerful noone would dare to use it. This is an example of the special kind of wrong that scientists aspire to. He didn't get the Nobel Prize because, unlike politicians, when scientists invent an honor they do not automatically award it to themselves. 
Rutherford split the atom. He was a physicist, worked his whole life in physics. His major contributions were all to physics and he published in physics journals. So, naturally, he got the Nobel Prize for chemistry. He figured that the energy released in a nuclear disintegration was too small to ever have any practical use. This showed what a genius he was because this statement was so wrong that the opposite of it is also wrong - demonstrated by Oppenheimer, who also got the prize. 
The Nobel prize committee is usually stacked with women, and men being advised by women. It seems that even though women are bad at being wrong, they know it when they see it. Which leads to the question: if a man is wrong in the woods and there is no woman to hear him, how will he know? 
So please please please don't judge me too harshly - thank you.

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