John Leonard, the Einstein Factor

To: "Birding Aus" <>
Subject: John Leonard, the Einstein Factor
From: "Bill Jolly" <>
Date: Mon, 27 Jun 2005 13:13:00 +1000
Thanks to John for his courage in sharing his television appearance with us!
It's a show I always watch, and I had been watching out for him for weeks.

Give most of us those bird questions on a piece of paper, and we should have
no trouble writing the answers in, but add television cameras and a ticking
clock, and the knowledge that friends and strangers are all watching, and I
know that I would have fared nowhere near as well as John did.

A couple of times, I really wanted to put my hand up to the host and say
"Before I give an answer, could you just tell me what you actually mean?"
And tick, tick, tick would have gone the clock, and I'd have ended up with
maybe 100 or 200 points, and never dared tell anyone when the programme was

So, well done John, for waving the flag, for resisting the temptation to
correct every misconception that was thrown in your way, and for your skill
in interpreting without fuss the host's attempts at pronouncing scientific

This question of the difficulty for media people in producing meaningful
questions on any specialist subject reminds me of a couple of occasions
where the producers of Mastermind had to scour the academic world for an
expert to set the questions for an esoteric topic, only to find that the
acknowledged expert in the field was their contestant.

All the best

Bill Jolly

Lockyer Valley, Queensland.

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