Science & Society

Here's a short tale about scientific journal editing, to complement my lament about the lack of Editors in Web2.0.  At the risk of being a scientific pariah, I believe some works can be overedited.

After much polishing at my home institute, I submitted a paper for consideration to a scientific journal.  We then went through a quite reasonable set of 3 stages of edits before they declared the paper was accepted for publication.  It then went through one more round of editing by a different editor to match house style.  Then it went to the proofers, for one last round, and I was told it was ready and final.
OK, the lawyer thing is no surprise.  Check out this table from the recent Pew survey on science and the public that's been generating buzz on the blogs:



Savor the irony: in the US we fight bitter court battles over evolution, and yet scientists win out over clergy when it comes to who's got a better reputation with the public.

I'd love to hear from readers who are science journalists. PZ Myers has posted this story from one of his readers who's trying to start a career as a freelance science journalist:
The public looks up to scientists but scientists tend to look down on the public; and science journalism gets a lot of the blame.  So say the findings of a new report by the Pew Research Center for the People&the Press which finds that overwhelming majorities of Americans believe that science has had a positive effect on society and that science has made life easier for most people. The public - even those skeptical of climate change and evolution - rates scientists highly and believes government investments in science pay off in the long term. 

Michael White recently blogged about Rock Stars of Science (July 8), which is an educational effort to attract kids to careers in science.  (Michael characterized this as “another hopeless attempt to make nerds look cool.”) 

PhRMA is trying to up their street cred with the newest star pulled into its galaxy: rapper/actor Ice-T.

Honestly, I like Ice-T. As one of the original hip-hoppers and pioneer of gangsta rap, he actuallly had some creativity and intelligence; he's spoken out about war, poor conditions in prison, ghettos, and "good" hip-hop versus "whack" hip-hop. And he's great on Law&Order: SVU.

And I admire that he's trying to reach out to people about high blood pressure (a condition he has) and the risk of heart disease, which is so prevalent in African-Americans.
Even though you're already the mathematical Wizard of Oz, you can still benefit from the Wow factor of hoisting a new curtain of number tricks to impress your friends and intimidate your enemies.

Here, dear geek, are three nifty mind widgets to make mates want you and peers want to be you.

Multiply up to 20x20
1. For example, take 17x13
2. Place the larger number on top, in your head
3. Imagine a box, encompassing the 17 and the 3
4. Add these to make 20
5. Add a zero to this, to make it 200
6. Multiply the 7 and the 3 to get 21
7. Add this to 200 to get the answer: 221

Multiply any two-digit number by 11
1. For example, take 79
Photo Shoots that Should Never Be Done I'm sure I'm not the first to blog about this, but while I was out of the loop for a few days, someone made another hopeless attempt to make nerds look cool: Rock Stars of Science. Here's what it's about:
The Rock S.O.S campaign idea was generated in part by a recent Research!America public opinion poll finding: 74% of Americans can’t name a living scientist. ROCK S.O.S aims to bridge that recognition gap.
The Young People's Development Programme (YPDP) in England, a government-backed youth development pilot program aimed at reducing teenage pregnancies, drunkenness and cannabis use not only didn't reduce teenage pregnancies or drunkenness or marijuana use, it might actually have increased pregnancies, according to research led by Meg Wiggins of the Institute of Education, University of London and Chris Bonell at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

They were commissioned by the Department of Health to carry out an independent evaluation of the YPDP, which was initiated in 2004.
Who hasn't thought about starting a food fight at a formal dinner function? Telling your interviewer about some embarrassing personal story? The worst thing to do at the wrong time? And then the internal fight starts: "The impulse increases to a wish, the wish to a desire, the desire to an uncontrollable longing," says Poe, as quoted in the NY Times Science Tuesday article on why the imp in your brain gets out.