So long for now… And a few parting thoughts.

3 February 2013 by Victoria Charlton, posted in Uncategorized

It’s funny how life goes.  After an embarrassingly short tenure here on SciLogs, I am now the proud owner of a shiny new job in science policy, and will sadly be putting away my netbook for the time being in the name of political neutrality.  

But before I sign-off for the last time, I thought I’d share some of the ideas that have been on my “to blog” list over the past few weeks.  Thoughts are my own, as always.

The Great Graveyard of Good Ideas:  When a technology company goes bust, what happens to all of the cool scientific ideas it might still possess?  Sure, some of the patented assets might get sold, and a few academic papers might have been published, but what about the rest?  Is there a chance that the cure for cancer is sitting abandoned in a dusty filing cabinet somewhere on the outskirts of Swindon?  Probably not, but it makes you think.

“93% of women agree…” Marketing, statistics and defining scientific evidence:  Just how scientific do the scientific claims on marketing material have to be?  What are the penalties for those who break the rules?  And does anyone actually believe the frankly unbelievable statistics I often see on cosmetic products?  Answers on a postcard please.

Crazy is as crazy does:  Question: What do internet addiction, skin-picking and fear of smelling bad all have in common? Answer: They have all been proposed for inclusion in the latest version of the psychiatric diagnostic bible, DSM-V, due for publication this May. But who proposes these additions? Do ever-expanding diagnostic categories actually help people? And does the drug industry have anything to do with it?  Just asking.

Out of sight, out of mind:  Offshore wind-farms are often seen as a NIMBY-friendly step towards carbon neutrality and general green goodness.  But are they really as good as they seem?  How efficient is it to send electrons along power-lines hundreds of miles long, and how much damage are we unwittingly doing to the marine environment?  In a nutshell, are offshore turbines potential saviours of the industrialised world, or just a very expensive way of giving Nemo a headache?

And finally… In recent months, several airlines and shipping companies have announced that they will no longer be transporting animals intended for experimental use.  But what has been the impact on science?  And on lab animals, for that matter?  Do these changes genuinely reflect a new attitude to animal welfare, or simply a temporary capitulation in the face of anti-vivisection extremism and the risk of bad PR?

So, hopefully there’s some food for thought.  If anyone fancies taking up the mantle and blogging about any of these topics, please feel free – just don’t forget to tweet me the link!

Thanks to all at SciLogs, and bye for now. x

2 Responses to “So long for now… And a few parting thoughts.”

  1. Neurobonkers Reply | Permalink

    A terrible shame, I've often wondered whether decision maker would make better decisions if they blogged and received feedback on their thoughts before they implemented them. Best of luck in your new job, but please consider returning, a blog on science policy I'm sure would go down a storm!

  2. Khalil A. Cassimally Reply | Permalink

    Sad to see you go Victoria but many congratulations on the new position. Blog is always here and I'm hoping you jump back in some time in the future.

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