Today I was in a videoconference. Sitting in the videoconference suite (in the same place as Richard Dawkins once sat: cor) there were two screens opposite me, one showing a live image of me and the other the same image after it had been through the network, with about half a second delay.
First I worked out that if I kept my head still, looked away with my eyes and looked back at the screen, I could see my own eyes apparently move independently.
Then I worked out that if I lifted up one hand and then the other very quickly, I could do a Mexican wave with myself.
That’s what technology is for.
#2417: shake hands with Richard Dawkins.
Whereas he probably woke up fully expecting to shake hands with a lot of instantly forgettable people he will never see again, and I’d guess he wasn’t disappointed.
The great man came to work to use our videoconference suite to talk to the Royal Society of New Zealand, as part of the Auckland Writers & Readers Festival, on the theory of evolution today, 150 years after publication of On the Origin of Species. Apparently it went well. He at least had read the briefing notes about not wearing stripes or strong colours (both no-nos as far as good videoconferencing is concerned). The New Zealand host was wearing a black jacket and striped shirt, but hey, he’s not the one the kiwis came out to listen to.
RD had also agreed to answer questions and I got a look at some of the ones sent in advance. Do you think there’s a faith gene; why do Darwin’s theories suggest a progression from simplicity to complexity when the tendency in the universe as a whole is towards entropy; and “If the phenotype is the chicken and DNA is the egg, why do you insist that the egg is more important?” And my favourite: “Is it possible for you to come to New Zealand and hold a debate with [redacted], (Head of [redacted] Church, Has a huge Maori/Pacific Island following, political power openly hates homosexuality and advocates strict adherence to fundamentalist biblical morality) and [redacted], who argues that evolutionary theory is being used as fodder, for a secular campaign against Christianity?”
Let me see. Guessing … no.