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The Self-Edited Woman

Posted 31 July 2014 by Paige Brown

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In 2004, Susan Herring and colleagues showed that “contemporary discourses about weblogs, such as those propagated through the mainstream media, in scholarly communication, and in weblogs themselves, tend to disproportionately feature adult, male bloggers.” And yet, female blog authors represent, in numbers, as great or greater a voice in the blogosphere as male bloggers. Many research studies have focused on exploring the reasons behind women’s relative lack of prominence in the blogosphere. A 2006 number-crunching analysis showed that men’s blogs... Read more

Science Blogging: Got Comments?

Posted 30 July 2014 by Paige Brown

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In a recent study of science bloggers, Merja Mahrt and Cornelius Puschmann found that the blog author very much influences the degree of commenting on his or her own blog posts. How? Through language complexity and topic selection. In a content analysis of over 200 posts at scienceblogs.com, researchblogging.org, hypotheses.org, amazings.es and scilogs.de (the German partner of SciLogs.com), these researchers found blog posts that received the most comments dealt either with common controversies (climate change, vaccinations, food safety) or political... Read more

Science Blogging that Boomerangs

Posted 27 July 2014 by Paige Brown

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“This impedes reasonable public risk communication in the long run and creates a social group of people who harbor fears and anxieties not grounded in reality, but are immune against correction.” - A Boomerang Effect of an All-Clear Message on Radiation Risk. Experts have concluded in many cases that the risks of nanotechnology, electromagnetic fields and nuclear energy are acceptable in the ways we currently use these technologies. Risks assessments of nanoparticles, for example, are typically complicated and rarely lead... Read more

Science Blogging as… (fill in the blank)

Posted 25 July 2014 by Paige Brown

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In science writing, there’s always something new to learn, some new adventure to try. Keep a beginner’s mind, look for new adventures, and have fun. — Dan Ferber (danferber.com, @DanFerber) Today, I decided to collect science writers’ thoughts on blogging from Ed Yong’s 2010 round-up of stories on the Origins of Science Writers. I thought it would be interesting to see how the 100+ science writers who commented on Ed’s post – many now professional science writers, journalists and editors... Read more

HIV-Killing Condoms: The real story from the dendrimer who knows

Posted 24 July 2014 by Paige Brown

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  In 2005, an estimated 4.1 million people worldwide were newly infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) (UNAIDS 2006). – Rupp, Rosenthal and Stanberry, 2007 Who am I? My name is SPL 7013. I am the active ingredient in those fancy new “HIV-killing condoms” you’ve been hearing about on Facebook and Twitter. The Washington Post claimed I could kill the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that causes AIDS. That is not true, for several reasons which I will get into later. The... Read more

False Balance: When Science Bloggers Get Science Right

Posted 23 July 2014 by Paige Brown

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“Let me start with an audacious assertion:  A major problem confronting science journalists is that they have trouble communicating what’s true. Even when competing claims are wildly lopsided — think climate change, for example — science journalists feel that they cannot tell their audience that one of the claims is surviving scientific scrutiny better than others.” – Sharon Dunwoody, on SciDev.net SciDev.net recently posted an excellent piece by Sharon Dunwoody, Evjue-Bascom Professor Emerita in the School of Journalism and Mass... Read more

This Is NOT a Story about Sniffing Farts for Health

Posted 20 July 2014 by Paige Brown

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Woe is the reporter who can’t help but make a new scientific paper into a fart joke. But seriously. Was there any reportable science behind headlines of Fart gas may help prevent dementia, heart disease: study and Cancer Risk Reduced by Smelling Farts Study Suggests? Forget farts, those headlines make me sick. A Liberty Voice reporter wrote “[h]ydrogen sulfide was previously considered to be a toxic molecule until more recent research has proved that in small doses it has its... Read more

Flying an Airplane isn’t Rocket Science. Wait…

Posted 19 July 2014 by Paige Brown

Shutterstock. Cessna. http://ow.ly/zl0Rf

FromTheLabBench note: My little sister Angie (a to-be undergraduate student at the University of Vermont) recently flew an airplane ALL BY HERSELF. If some of my readers don't know this about me, I am terrified of airplanes. So as soon as I heard she had landed safely, I did the first thing you'd expect me to do. I asked her to write a guest blog post here! “Are you good to go? No questions?” My flight instructor, Ron, asks me... Read more

Publiscize Your Research

Posted 17 July 2014 by Paige Brown

Publiscize

Author's Note: I recently came across an article talking about a new website called Publiscize, a platform that helps scientists break down and promote their published research for a lay audience. The platform, a service for science communication straight from researchers themselves, was founded by Robert Seigel, a postdoctoral research fellow in atmospheric sciences at the University of Miami. I contacted Robert to ask him a few questions about this new platform for sharing research. From The Lab Bench: Can you tell me more about publiscize.com, how... Read more

Why would you go and do THAT?

Posted 17 July 2014 by Paige Brown

Jason Snyder from Washington, DC, United States. Wiki.

“Kid, what do you want to be when you grow up?” "I’m going to be a writer!" Silence. "Or a dolphin trainer. Or a doctor like my dad." Fast forward. I’m a nerdy teenager who likes to dream big. One of my favorite memories from my homeschooling experience is sitting down in our sunroom every week with a heavily pierced and tattooed creative writing tutor who moonlighted as a fire baton-twirler. She would open a book of Georgia O’Keeffe paintings,... Read more