You’ve probably already seen this week’s big science journalism bust-up involving Ben Goldacre, Jeremy Laurance, Fiona Fox, myself and others. I have already responded to Laurance’s bizarre views on journalism and considered whether science journalists are overly criticised (a post that’s riddled with links to last week’s Twitter conversations). You should also read Martin Robbins’s take at Lay Scientist
Steven Pinker wrote a piece in the NYT arguing against techno-panic. “Far from making us stupid, these technologies are the only things that will keep us smart,” he says. Meanwhile, Susan Greenfield is spreading the usual unsubstantiated nonsense in Australia. This article, however, is brilliant because of the bullet points at the top: “Youths find it ‘hard to relate’”, “Expert says Facebook to blame”, “Join us over on Facebook”.
Journalists at the BMJ and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism published a report alleging that the WHO may have “been unduly influenced by the pharmaceutical industry in declaring H1N1 flu a pandemic, and in backing widespread vaccination and stockpiling of antiviral drugs”. But in a lovely piece of investigative journalism Nature News pulled apart the argument. The key fact: vaccine orders preceded the pandemic decision rather than the other way round. Gimpy did a great analysis of the whole affair and has some sound things to say about general implications for journalism.
Do not get sneezed on by a walrus. This is very important.
Bora Zivkovic has a great piece on the essence of online science journalism, breaking things down by signaller and audience.
Mark Henderson at the Times has a great extended interview with our new science minister, David ‘Two-Brains' Willetts
Most of the wildlife photography you see is fake. Alex Wild explains why at Myrmecos.
Think you know technology? Try reading this interview with ace science reporter Chris Mims to learn how far behind you are!
Rebecca Skloot is in London for a week. Brits will at last be able to buy her incredible book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks as of June 18^th. Currently it has spent 17 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. Let’s see if we can make lightning strike twice, eh?
The hunting strategies of sharks are more like physics than biology, says Brandon Keim at Wired (Levy flights for the technically minded)
Georgia’s laughable creationist museum is liquidating its entire collection through an auction. The full list includes authentic mammoth teeth and hair, dinosaur replicas and animated pandas (with display case!)
Brian Dettmer creates incredible works of art by cutting into books and revealing the illustrations within. There’s one of Gray’s Anatomy at the Wellcome Trust now.
Bulldog bats honk when they meet a stranger, says New Scientist. Lots of bumper-sticker merchandising opportunities here.
I gave a talk to City University’s science journalism students a few weeks back on the value and practice of using links in online journalism. Now Nieman Labs has a nice series of articles looking at the reasons for linking and comparing the use of links across different organisations.
Sciencepunk describes how scientists use an atomic force microscope to listen to the internal sounds of insects.
Daniel Macarthur at Genetic Future broke an incredible story about how personal genomics company 23andMe managed to send the wrong data to up to 96 customers.