The “Invisible Web” Undermines Health Information Privacy

"The goal of privacy is not to protect some stable self from erosion but to create boundaries where this self can emerge, mutate, and stabilize. What matters here is the framework— or the procedure— rather than the outcome or the substance. Limits and constraints, in other words, can be productive— even if the entire conceit of "the Internet" suggests otherwise.          Evgeny Morozov in "To Save Everything, Click Here: The Folly of Technological Solutionism"   We cherish privacy in health matters... Read more


How Do You Define Science Communication? (#DefineScicomm)

Think about it for a second... How many different ways do you describe science communication in an ordinary day? In the morning you may call it outreach, around at lunchtime you reference engagement, and by the end of the day you’re having a heated discussion about widening participation or sharing knowledge. It can certainly be confusing... I came across this interesting paper which offers some definitions that may serve as a starting point for a broader discussion. What’s in a... Read more


Scientific research pivotal to middle class prosperity – say Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Elijah Cummings

Yesterday, Senator Elizabeth Warren and Representative Elijah Cummings made the case that federal investment in scientific research was essential for middle class Americans. This was at the 6th forum held as part of the Middle Class Prosperity Project. The forum, called Why Federal Investments in Science and Innovation Matter received insight from economist Dr. Mariano Mazzucato, pharmacoeconomist Dr. Aaron Kesselheim, computer engineer and entrepreneur Dr. Carol Epsy-Wilson, as well as science’s favorite champion of recent days, former Speaker of the... Read more


2015 John Maddox Prize for Standing up for Science: nomination deadline fast approaching, August 20

A quick note today via a friend, Dr. Prateek Buch, the Policy Director of Evidence Matters. Do you know someone who has promoted sound science and evidence? Nominate them for the 2015 John Maddox Prize for Standing up for Science. The John Maddox Prize rewards an individual who has promoted sound science and evidence on a matter of public interest. Its emphasis is on those who have faced difficulty or hostility in doing so. Do you know someone who stands... Read more


Speed cells – Speedometer in the brain

Only last year, the Norwegian couple May-Britt and Edvard Moser was awarded the Nobel Prize for the discovery of the navigation system in the brain – in the form of grid cells in the entorhinal cortex – and they have already come up with their next discovery: so-called speed cells. May-Britt and Edvard Moser, Copyright: Geir Mogen, NTNU, CC BY-NC 2.0 So what’s it all about? The speed cells, which were located in tests on rats, continuously fire signals during... Read more


First Workshop on Progress in Modelling Galaxy Formation and Evolution in Milgromian dynamics — first results achieved with the Phantom of Ramses (PoR) code

[Note: This web-page is being updated continuously: current status: 27.07.15] LOCATION and TIME: Observatoire de Strasbourg, Sept. 21st - 25th 2015 Below are provided 1.Background/Motivation, 2.How to register, 3.PARTICIPANTS, 4.HOTELS, 5.PROGRAMME ORGANISERS: Benoit Famaey (Strasbourg) and Pavel Kroupa (Bonn) 1.BACKGROUND / MOTIVATION: Galaxy-scale data seem to be in accordance with the hypothesis that the extrapolation of Newtonian gravitation by orders of magnitude below the Solar system space-time curvature breaks down completely, and that collisionless astronomical systems behave according to space-time... Read more


The Origins of Life: Where Did We Come From and How Did We get Here?

Fun Facts to go with this video: The main 7 characteristics that are commonly recognized by the scientific community as being the requirements for being considered 'alive' Homeostasis: The ability to regulate one's internal environment Organization: Being composed of one or more cells Metabolism: Taking energy in one form and turning it into energy in another form Growth: Increasing in size Adaptation: Being bale to change over time in response to the surrounding situation Response to stimuli (this one is... Read more


Vox Media Report On Pandemrix And Narcolepsy Misses A Key Highlight, Progress By Trial

I read with a great deal of interest a report on Vox by their science and health reporter Julia Belluz (@juliaoftoronto on Twitter) on the recently publicized story of Pandemrix, an H1N1 pandemic influenza (a.k.a. "Swine Flu") vaccine manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), and the condition of narcolepsy (a debilitating sleep disorder) that affected a small fraction of individuals who received this vaccine. The facts of the story are not in dispute. During the 2009-10 Swine Flu pandemic in Europe, GSK's... Read more


Birdbooker Report 382-3

SUMMARY: Books, books, beautiful books! This is a list of biology, ecology, environment, natural history and animal books that are (or will soon be) available to occupy your bookshelves and your thoughts. “Words in leather and wood”. Bookshelves in the “Long Room” at the old Trinity College Library in Dublin. Image: Nic McPhee from Morris, MN, USA. 2007. (Creative Commons.) Books to the ceiling, Books to the sky, My pile of books is a mile high. How I love them!... Read more


Morsels For The Mind – 24/07/2015

Every day we provide you with Six Incredible Things Before Breakfast to nibble away at. Here you can fill your brain with the most intellectually stimulating “amuse bouches” from the past week – a veritable smorgasbord for the cranium. They’re all here for you to load up your plate – this week’s “Morsels for the mind”. Enjoy! If you do nothing else, make sure to check out the “Reads / views / listens of the week”. **** Feather, fur &... Read more


Best Friend, Indeed

I love dogs. I grew up in households with dogs, and feel very comfortable around most dogs. And they seem to return the feeling. This has happened not only with familiar pets in the households of friends and family, but also with strange, unfamiliar dogs under otherwise trying circumstances. Through my childhood and young adulthood, I lived in an enclosed residential area which happened to serve as a sort of shelter for many random stray or abandoned, ill-nourished and emaciated street-dogs... Read more


The SCICOMM 25 (7.24.15)

Welcome to the SCICOMM 25! This is where I pull together the week's 25 most talked about science communication stories, determined by the engagement rate of stories I've shared on Twitter. Many are written by the world's leading science communicators. Some offer tips and advice, while others tackle important issues we need to discuss and debate. All of them are worth checking out. I hope you enjoy this week's list. Top Stories: Sharing science using only the 1,000 most common words in... Read more


Five questions to a Nobel Laureate: Jack Szostak

  How much sleep do you need and does it affect your work? I sleep about 6 or 7 hours. If you can’t get enough sleep, you can’t really pay attention to things.   Are you addicted to something? Science cannot be the answer Not really. I drink coffee in the mornings, but that’s about it. At conferences I drink more than usual, but that’s about it.   What’s your idea of a perfect holiday? I like lots of different... Read more


So, I Wrote a Book

So, I wrote a book. It’s called The Handbook for Science Public Information Officers, and if you’re the sort of person who enjoys reading this blog, I have high hopes that you’ll find it useful and interesting. What was I thinking? I’ve spent the past three years writing about the practical aspects of science communication, on this blog and elsewhere. Somewhat to my surprise, a lot of folks were interested in what I had to say. It occurred to me... Read more


Bringing the Media to You: A Marketing Tip from the National Speakers Association Meeting

This week I’m writing to you from the National Speakers Association annual meeting, a great place to learn new marketing tricks.  I’m going to share with you a tip I just learned from journalist Geeta Nadkarni. It’s an idea that sounds simple and obvious–and I bet you haven’t tried it yet. First, let me introduce Geeta.  Her dress is covered with glass beads that sparkle furiously at me. She gives me a hug even though she’s never met me before.... Read more