This is a transcript taken from a lecture given by a penguin at Stanford University earlier this year. Unfortunately, although a video was made, it is now lost, suspected to have been stolen by a rogue albatross.
Neuroscience. I know nothing about it. I’m a penguin after all. What am I doing here? I guess… I’m not sure what I’m doing here, seriously. I know nothing about neuroscience. All I know is that… no, actually, I don’t think I know anything at all. I’m a penguin.
You see I was invited here today to talk to you, but… oh dear… I’ve got my notes mixed up. I was going to show you a slideshow.
Look, I said to them quite simply… I said, what on Earth do you want me to give a lecture on neuroscience for? I’m a penguin.
They said, “Well, it’s simple… you can talk can’t you? That’s a rather interesting tidbit isn’t it!” I said, “Yes, but there’s a sealion a couple of hundred metres away that can talk AND knit his own scarves. Beautiful designs, bright colours. He really has his own style. Ought to sell them at the market. Why don’t you have a chat with him?”
They asked, “Why does a sealion need scarves when he has enough blubber to keep him warm already?” And I said, “Yeah right!” Because sealions really do have a lot of blubber, the big fatheads. Not that I would say that to one’s face mind you! “But,” I said, “It gets really cold here in Antarctica. Really cold, I don’t think you realise.”
… very, very, very cold. Just so bloody cold. Yes, but they wouldn’t leave me alone! They said, “We want YOU to give the lecture”, and something about how I was an anomaly. I said, “What? I thought they must be mad! I’m not an anomaly I said!” “Yes you are!” they insisted. “An anomaly?” I asked. “Those things that live in the sea with the long spindly bits that suck up fishes and the like?” They assured me they were talking about something else. “Something else?” I said. “Here you are asking a penguin to give a lecture about neuroscience and you start talking about something else! Priorities people! Priorities! Why don’t you make the trip to one of the islands? Macquarie Island, Heard Island… there’s an albatross there that has built quite an ingenious nest out of a sleeping bag.”
But again… they said, “You must be joking!” I said “I’m not!” I told them! “It gets really freaking cold here!” At which point a polar bear turned up from out of nowhere – talk about camouflage! They do say their fur is translucent! And he’s not even supposed to be in Antarctica! Wrong pole! But anyway… I really should have spotted him earlier. He was wearing one of those furry hats with the ear covers. How he got there I don’t know… but I digress. He agreed with me of course. He said, “He’s right you know, it gets bloody cold here, I’m freezing!”
So anyway, what was I saying? Well… I don’t know really… I’m supposed to give you a lecture but I have no idea what I ought to talk about. Just because I’m a talking penguin wearing mittens doesn’t mean I know anything about neuroscience.
*STUDENT* What did you say?
I’m a talking penguin wearing…
*STUDENT* No, to the polar bear?
I didn’t say anything. I ran. It was a %^&*ing polar bear!