November 6th, 2009
One story you can’t have missed in the past week or so was the sacking of Professor David Nutt in a situation where the government (yet again) disregarded evidence. Sadly it’s something we’ve got used to with this current administration. There’s been an interesting discussion about this over on Bad Science forums, although my favourite story on the issue comes courtesy of the Daily Mail whose attempts to smear scientists is pure comedy gold. I’d strongly recommend using this piece in teaching around journalism/science communication. I particularly like the Mail’s understanding of science as lab-based, unimaginative, not working in the real world, arrogant, and resistant to being questioned/challenged. Unfortunately many people also hold those views about science – although they probably don’t go as far as the Mail and equate scientists to Hitler :-0
While we’re on the topic of science communication and evidence based practice, here are two very useful dates for your diary. On November 16 2009 Westminster Skeptics in the Pub are hosting an event ‘Evidence based policy making’ with Dr Evan Harris MP and Professor David Nutt. On November 24 (again hosted by Westminster Skeptics) there’s an event ‘What next for Science Activism and New Media’ where a group of science bloggers and activists will be discussing issues around science communication and the impact of science blogging. If you’re a science journalist it would be particularly great to see you there to get some additional input from you about your views on science blogging/activism.
Stonewall hosted their annual awards ceremony this week (which seemed a lot less controversial than last year). They named journalist Jan Moir as their ‘bigot of the year’ following her attack on the late Stephen Gately. It’s always good to see those supporting LGBT issues rewarded, although while the folk at Stonewall are celebrating it might be worth looking to other countries where thinks are not so good for lesbians and gays. Like Uganda, who are seeking the death penalty for LGBT people (and requiring friends/family to turn in their loved ones suspected of being LGBT). It’s truly terrifying stuff, but worth reminding ourselves about the situation many LGBT people are faced with across the world.
I’ll leave you with a spoof documentary from The Onion about sexual arson (which actually does exist, although not perhaps in the way described in this clipTweet