I felt that the question ‘why don’t you see white dog poo anymore?’ should not have made it through moderation, considering that we had received over 700 other questions for answering, and they were significantly more relevant to cancer research and science in general than that one. For instance, I have received questions about wormholes, time travel, abortion and pain due to cancer – I felt that the question was a flippant one which didn’t need answering at that time. Had I had somewhat less than 700 questions to get through, I might have felt differently. I don’t think that what I said was ‘mean’, but I was frustrated that I didn’t think the moderators were being selective enough.
Taking part is IAS has meant a significant time commitment out of my full-time studies, which I am more than happy to give if I feel that the outcome is positive and useful. So I am happy to address any genuine science related question (or question I am happy to answer if it has a positive outcome, like getting to know me better). However, that question was so throwaway and uninteresting (given the gravity and thoughtfulness of so many of the other questions) I didn’t feel that my time should have been given over to addressing it. Also remember that we scientists don’t often know the answers to your questions, so must research it properly before answering. Researching the answer to that question seemed unnecessary in the wider context of the competition.
I am sorry if you think that my comments were ‘mean’, but they were simply directed at the moderators, and not at whoever asked it. I also hope that you eventually find out why you don’t see white dog poo any more.