Category Archive: Communicating science

Dec 03 2013

Women and science on youtube

Emily Graslie asks where the women promoting science on youtube are, and then answers her own question: they’re out there, but youtube is not exactly an inviting environment, especially for women, because of (and she does not phrase it this rudely, but I will) all of the assholes infesting the place. I’m not a woman …

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Nov 25 2013

The women writers speak

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the strangely bland and cursory coverage of the women’s panel at NASW. Now you can watch the panel for yourself and judge whether it was adequate or not.

Nov 14 2013

You know I’m a sucker for heresy

So you won’t be surprised that I really like that Erin Podolak has asked, Can We Stop Talking About Carl Sagan? It feels like I’m committing an act of science communication sacrilege here, but I have a confession to make: Carl Sagan means absolutely nothing to me. No more than any other dude from my …

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Nov 01 2013

If you can’t get rid of garbage, worship it

Every time you use a plastic bag at the grocery store or buy another bottle of water you are contributing to the deluge of one-use, throw-away plastic products that pile up in our landfills or float out to sea. One group in Baton Rouge is trying to raise consciousness with Sacred Waste, a performance art …

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Oct 23 2013

Do better. Please just do better.

It’s been a rough couple of weeks in the community of science bloggers, with the abrupt downfall of Bora Zivkovic, a very well liked (I consider him a friend) and influential leader. If you haven’t been following it, here’s a summary and timeline of recent events. The simple version of the whole story is that …

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Oct 19 2013



I spent my first evening at the Paradigm Symposium last night. I’ve missed virtually all of the talks so far — I got to watch a panel about new media, podcasting and that sort of thing, and there wasn’t too much novelty to it, but it was fine…except for the bits where they mentioned how …

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Oct 16 2013

Sci Culture

Did you fall for this? Science published a paper which claimed that reading literary fiction, you know that stuff that gets taught as highbrow reading material in college literature classes, is objectively better than genre or popular fiction at improving your mind and making you better able to understand other people’s mental states. It was …

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Oct 08 2013

A hopeless muddle

James May, one of the presenters on Top Gear, is trying his hand at providing a little science education. I want to say…please stop. Here he is trying to answer the question, “Are humans still evolving?” In the end he says the right answer — yes they are! — but the path he takes to …

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Oct 07 2013

There’s a reason we need good science journalists

Media outlet: The Sun
Freelance journalist: Matthew Barbour
Query: Further to my last request, I also now urgently need an expert who will say tattoos can give you cancer. We can plug any relevant organisation, give copy approval, and pay a fee. Please get back to me asap if you can help.

It’s because the bad ones are appalling hacks. Here’s an ad for The Sun looking for a scientist to give them the answer they want. May I suggest that Matthew Barbour ought to be drummed out of journalism, and that any “expert” who is cited in his article promoting lies for cash ought to be …

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Oct 04 2013

Stones, glass houses, etc.

John Bohannon of Science magazine has developed a fake science paper generator. He wrote a little, simple program, pushes a button, and gets hundreds of phony papers, each unique with different authors and different molecules and different cancers, in a format that’s painfully familiar to anyone who has read any cancer journals recently. The goal …

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