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Planet Earth

Missing Links, George Will, and Other Train Wrecks: My Keynote Talk at NECSS

The LoomBy Carl ZimmerDecember 31, 2010 8:13 PM


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Last year, I gave the keynote lecture at the first annual Northeast Conference on Science and Skepticism in New York. It was a nerve-wracking experience, given that James Randi was originally slated to give the keynote, but was too ill at the time to attend. So I brought some of my favorite head-slapping tales of the dysfunctional relationship between science and the media, from global warming disinformation to so-called missing links. My goals for the talk were laughter, tears, and a glimmer of hope. NECSS has now posted the video of all the talks at both their 2009 and 2010 meetings. I took a look at my talk, and it's (sadly) just as relevant today (

cough, arsenic, cough, ancient

Homo sapiens teeth) as it was when I originally delivered it. So I've embedded it below (it's also here). You may find the Q and A afterwards as interesting as I did: the audience had thought as long--and, in many cases, longer--about these issues as I had. Unfortunately, the video is a bit marred by my fondness for throwing way too many words on the screen. So if you want to take a closer look at my slides (and follow their links), I've posted a pdf file of my slides here. [Update: Let's try that again here.] Be sure to check out the other NECSS videos if you have a chance, such as the talk by Dr. Paul Offit on the real harm vaccine scares can cause.

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