I went to a State honeybee association meeting yesterday. It was expecting it to have a lot of speakers that would talk about honey bees and beekeeping techniques.
I am a bottomline guy and expect a clear and direct answer to my questions. I want the data / information that I can use to make practical decisions in the bee yard. I don’t want an academic to get up in front and lecture to show off all the big words they know, like they are talking to other academics.
Yesterday I saw a college researcher get up in front of the group of several hundred South Carolinian beekeepers. He was a 40 something college professor, who had tattoos, nose ring and shaved head. He had a British oxford accent, large and oddly colored glasses, complete with this smirk on his face. He was dressed how you would imagine a buddhist meditator fellow would dress. Behind his name was a string of letters that describe a bunch of degrees and designations. I thought to myself, oh boy this is going to be a waste of time. If it turns out to be as bad as I think it will, I will slip out and get a cup of coffee. At least I can stop starting at the nose ring.
He was very, very smart. He had really good data that you could apply to a bee yard. His presentation wowed me!!!! He talked at the level of a beekeeper, even though you knew he could turn on the big worded academic talk at anytime. I was so excited by his talk, that I was disappointed it was only 1 hour long.
One of the highest compliments I can give to a person, is to say that they are intellectually honest. This man was intellectually honest.
He had data that he freely admitted was a shock. He and his fellow researchers set up an experiment that everyone knew should turn out a certain way. He wanted to produce a kind of a normalized set of data to get started. He then took the (control/normalized) data and crunched the numbers. The data showed something completely different than everyones opinions at the start. He said, they all were surprised so they did it again and got the same results. The data was solid and now beekeepers and researchers will have to go back 30 years and come up with new conclusions about how to raise bees. He said the data is the data, and you just have to deal with the data, even if it looks different than you expected.
He was explaining with his data, what I had just done to him when he walked up front. I expected one set of conclusions but by looking at the data/person, I ended up with a different set of conclusions.
That is how I learned one more time, too NOT jump to conclusions and judge people by how they look or where they work. Good advice for me to give myself every morning in the mirror. Maybe you all could use the same advice.