Science & Society

Carl Zimmer want to know where you get your science news. Go take his survey and let him know.

Why a survey? The science writing business is changing rapidly, and aspiring writers need some guideposts:

We writers, in case you didn’t know, are scratching our heads about what exactly to do next... Each writer has to figure out how best to use the twenty-four hours in a day.
Though people tend to give journalists a hard time for reporting overly negative news, the media is a little too optimistic when it comes to cancer research, experts say.

A study in the Archives of Internal Medicine reports that newspaper and magazine coverage of cancer research is more likely to discuss aggressive treatment and survival, than treatment failure, adverse events or death, and unlikely to mention end-of-life palliative or hospice care.
Just a reminder, the deadline to enter our spring University Science Writing Competition is tomorrow, March 15th at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time.  (and thanks to daylight savings time, you just lost an hour this morning!)

The competition is open to all graduate students.
We tend to think of firewalls as either trying to keep people outside from getting in, or to keep those inside from looking out. The Chinese have firewalls around government websites to protect them from prying eyes, as well as around the whole country to stop their people from seeing the whole big bad web. But I can't think of an example where other people will build a firewall around you to keep you in your place. It's like having the wall around your property built by all your neighbours; why don't they like you?
David Brin got his PhD and worked as a physicist before becoming a much-awarded sci-fi writer. He's got some great advice to would-be writers plus some interesting reflections on art vs science as a career:
As a child, despite my talents and background, it was science that struck me as truly grand and romantically noble -- a team effort in which egotism took a second seat to the main goal. The goal of getting around all the pretty lies we tell ourselves. I strove hard to be part of it.
After judging my fifth science fair (for this year), I've decided to share my secrets of a science-fair-judging scientist.  Appropriately, I made this as a Science Fair 3-fold poster.  At the risk of alienating Hank, the much put upon ScientificBlogging editor, I'm going to see if my poster breaks this article software.

But then again, I did say these were secrets.  So making them hard to blog about sort of fits!

.... oh, but I do put a pure-text version at the end.   Enjoy!

The Monckton Method

Lord Monckton's UKIP party would like to ban Al Gore's movie: 'An Inconvenient Truth'.

So much for freedom of speech.

The UKIP party's Lord Monckton is so convinced that reports of global climate change are a hoax that he would jail any scientist whose findings he disagrees with.

So much for rational debate.

“If you want to know the length of my tie you can call up all the tie
manufacturers and ask them the average length of the ties they sell and
produce a model based on that. Or you could just measure it.”
Lord Monckton
So much for the scientific method.
The Place Where Forever Ends

The idea of living forever has held great fascination for many great minds,
but just like the pursuit of a perpetual motion machine it is an impossible dream,
and for the same reasons.

Image source: Wikemedia, public domain.

Here are some basic logical requirements of living forever. 

In order to live forever one must first be alive.
Most Americans believe God is concerned with their personal well-being and is directly involved in their personal affairs, according to new research out of the University of Toronto.

Overall, most people believe that God is highly influential in the events and outcomes in their lives. Specifically:

  • 82 per cent say they depend on God for help and guidance in making decisions;

  • 71 per cent believe that when good or bad things happen, these occurrences are simply part of God's plan for them;

  • 61 per cent believe that God has determined the direction and course of their lives;

Climate Crook : Scam! Scam! Scam!

Followers of my blog will no doubt guess that this article is about Godfrey Bloom -
he of the famous quote:
"There appears to be a woeful lack of candour and commonsense in modern day politicians."

I have already written something of his own Woeful Lack Of Candour.

This is a follow-up.