What we do
Palaeo After Dark is first and foremost a podcast where three scientist friends sit down and discuss some scientific papers. Sometimes drinks are involved. Our core aims are twofold. First, to show scientists as people; opinionated, flawed, sometimes infuriating, people. Ordinary people, that just happen to do a bit of a weird job. We want to share some of our everyday discussions, and show that we have interests beyond just our jobs. Conversations will be focused around scientific papers, topics and concepts, but there’ll be many digressions into films, video games, music, television – whatever catches our interest. Occasionally we’ll do something extra that’s completely different – we have to keep ourselves amused.
Secondly, we want to present papers from a slightly more balanced, critical, standpoint. Most science outreach involving actual scientists tends to act as a form of promotion: scientists talk about their own work. We rather pointedly talk about our own projects as little as possible, and prefer to talk about things other people have done. Think of us as scientists that are also looking at things from a journalistic standpoint. But rather than focus on the usual hype and spin of science in the media, we give our honest opinion.
And that’s what it is: our opinion. Depending on the paper, it could be a more or less informed standpoint. We try to be clear about what we do and do not know. But what you’ll get are thoughts on science by scientists, presented in an informal and hopefully somewhat amusing manner. There are also many good, interesting papers that never get a media push. A great deal of important, fundamentally wide-reaching papers are never in the public eye. It’s these papers that we find of particular interest, and it’s these papers that we enjoy bringing to you the most.
How we pick the papers
The long and short of it is that papers are chosen largely based on what catches our eye. Sometimes it will be the latest big release you’ve seen in the news, other times it’ll be something a few decades old. We try to build some variety into the papers we look at, but inevitably we’ll have our biases and we’ll pick things that we find interesting in some way. This in itself is not a bad thing – if we’re not enthused about what we’re talking about, we’re not going to be very interesting to listen to. We really only have one rule: we never pick a paper with the idea of attacking it. We will sometimes pick a paper that initially seems interesting but we end up disliking for some reason, or pick a paper that we may disagree with but think raises interesting points, but we’ll never chose a paper simply to tear it down. We want to share cool studies, interesting ideas, and intriguing debates, not cast aspersions or throw shade around at fellow scientists. Even if we end up thinking that a paper is flawed in some way, that doesn’t mean it’s bad. And hey, maybe you disagree. That’s cool too.