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The SCICOMM 25 (2.4.16)

Welcome to the SCICOMM 25! This is where I pull together 25 (or more) of 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, which includes posts I found over the past two weeks.  Top Stories:... Read more

 

Empathy, Connectedness and Responsibility: German Academics Discuss the Refugee Crisis

Nearly half a million applications for asylum submitted by refugees were processed by German authorities in 2015, according to the German Federal Office for Refugees and Migration. The number of people who were officially registered in Germany as potential asylum seekers was even far higher-roughly one million in 2015 – which suggests that Germany anticipates an even higher number of official asylum applications for 2016. Chancellor Angela Merkel has defied many critics even in her own party and cabinet by... Read more

 

World Cancer Day 2016: Children Get Second Chance

“Your child has cancer.” This is one of the very worst sentences a parent can hear. But for parents whose child has already been treated for cancer in the past, there is only one worse: “The cancer is back.” In general, cancer in children is quite rare. In Germany, half a million adults receive a cancer diagnosis every year, compared to about 2,000 children. And up to 500 parental couples hear the sentence about the cancer coming back. In developed... Read more

 

Bovine Blackguards, A Profound Potboiler

Having been born and growing up in India, the land of the sacred cow, I am no stranger to this domesticated, quadrupedal ungulate of the subfamily Bovinae, genus Bos. It's difficult not to have respect for an animal whose scientific name already proclaims it to be the boss, and I am culturally well-conditioned ('well-done', one might say) to accord an immediate reverence to this multi-faceted (not to mention, delectable) animal. After all, Gau-mata, or Cow the Mother, is an enduring... Read more

 

Using Twitter to Interact, But Science Communication to Preach

“Science blogs were heralded for their potential to transform dialogue between science and society, yet studies suggest they have failed to do so.” – Alison Smith Can Twitter do any better? In a paper recently published in the Journal of Promotional Communications, Alison Smith investigates the ways that scientists use Twitter for science communication. Twitter, Smith proposes, may provide a medium for true public engagement with science by “allowing users to have conversations, form communities, share content, and build relationships.”... Read more

 

Pioneering New Ways to Capture Life.

Images have always been important to science. The revolutions in biology and astronomy took off with the invention of the microscope and telescope, respectively. It was a new perspective on things. Images opened up whole new worlds to explore. In the study of botany and plants one of the main ways to capture nature was through paintings, drawings, and etchings. And it's a field that women have long contributed to. Botanical artists are still around today and still able to... Read more

 

A Response To Eileen Pollack’s ‘The Only Woman in the Room’

I was so excited when I heard about Eileen Pollack’s new book and first nonfiction work, The Only Woman in the Room. It’s a narrative that explores her personal journey through a rigorous science degree at Yale and also dissects the reasons she went into writing instead of physics. It's an examination of why so few women start in the sciences and why so many of them drop out of science fields after they get their degree or even halfway... Read more

 

Morsels For The Mind – 29/01/2016

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

 

Happy Birthday, SciCheck – How Was Your First Year?

On January 29 of 2015, FactCheck.org – the nonpartisan fact-checking site based at the Annenberg Public Policy Center – launched a new feature called SciCheck. At the time, Eugene Kiely, the director of FactCheck.org, said in a statement that SciCheck “will focus exclusively on false and misleading scientific claims that are made by partisans to influence public policy.” I was curious about how SciCheck has done in its first year, so reached out to Dave Levitan, who was the primary... Read more

 

Martin Karplus – A Visionary Pioneer

Martin Karplus, honorary citizen of Vienna, Austria, Foto: Franz Johann Morgenbesser, CC BY-SA 2.0 Martin Karplus was born in Vienna in 1930 and later became a US citizen through naturalisation. Following the annexation of Austria by National Socialist Germany, his family managed to escape to America via Switzerland – his parents had already organised English lessons for their sons in the years leading up to the move so that they would be able to continue their schooling immediately on arrival... Read more

 

Come visit our booth at AAAS Washington next month!

For the first time, the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings will be among the exhibitors at the AAAS 2016 Annual Meeting that will take place from 11 to 15 February in Washington, D.C. Together with the Heidelberg Laureate Forum (supported by the Klaus Tschira Stiftung), the Lindau Meetings present themselves as a forum for intergenerational dialogue to an audience of American and international members of the scientific community. We cordially invite attendees of the AAAS meeting to visit us at booth... Read more

 

Seeing sea ice formation

The structure of an ice core tells a story about its life cycle; you can take a look and read it like a timeline. Geophysicist Andy Mahoney, assistant research professor in the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute, extracted a sea ice core offshore from Barrow, Alaska. He described how sea ice takes form. When a freeze begins in open water it creates a mixture of grainy ice crystals suspended near the surface of the water, not yet solidified into... Read more

 

Wilbur Scoville and His Famous Heat Scale.

Friday, January 22nd was the 151st anniversary of Wilbur Scoville's birthday, commemorated by the Google Doodle with a fun game: Scoville was born in 1865. Another famous Wilbur, Wilbur Wright, just a few years late (A post US Civil War baby Wilbur boom?). Both of course were contributors to our modern age and culture (and no, I am not quite putting peppers on par with controlled flight). Scoville was a trained pharmacist and spent most of his career, mostly for a... Read more

 

Nanoparticles in Homeopathic Dilutions? More Like, Wishful Thinking. Or Magic Pixie Dust.

Those who read my regular posts (Yes, that rare breed of people...) are amply aware that I am no fan of pseudoscience and quackery, as well as the relentless invasion of quackery into academia, leading invariably to scientifically implausible, nonsensical "research", for which Dr. Harriet Hall had aptly coined the term "Tooth Fairy Science" several years ago over at Science Based Medicine. You could measure how much money the Tooth Fairy leaves under the pillow, whether she leaves more cash... Read more

 

Morsels For The Mind – 22/01/2016

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