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19 February 2015

Four Ways Scientists Can Give Good Answers to Bad Questions

One of the reasons I love working with scientists is that they tend to be very direct. Ask a question: get an answer. Sometimes the answer is a little long and makes me revisit basic physics I haven’t thought about since middle school, but I definitely get an answer. Thankfully, most of the questions journalists, policymakers and citizens ask scientists are straightforward. But many are off-base and sometimes even badly framed. If a scientist provides a direct answer to a bad question, they can inadvertently leave audiences with an inaccurate impression of their work.

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17 February 2015

Science communication as a “responsibility”

“I am a scientist, first and foremost, but I feel it is my responsibility to answer questions from the public when I am asked,” Diffenbaugh said during a panel on communications Feb. 12 at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting in San Jose, California.

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13 February 2015

Video in Education and Outreach

Video is an excellent tool for conveying emotion and generating excitement. It’s got beautiful moving images, ambient sound, and music (if you dare). It’s got human connection if you talk with people on camera or see them active on screen. It’s the most visceral way to capture an audience and tell a story. It’s not the best at communicating the details of a story however. Text, well written, still does a good job at that. But if your audience is prepped and excited about a topic or in my current case, a research expedition (because they watched an interesting or compelling video), they may be more inclined to sit down and read more about it.

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2 February 2015

The Funny Side of A Missed Forecast

I made an appearance on our local talk show Delmarva Life last Friday with Mike Lichniak our weekend meteorologist, and we talked about the funny side of a missed forecast. Our morning meteorologist Brian Keane also chimed in with some of the messages from social media. I also talked about how we forecasters can communicate a difficult forecast in a better way. Note: Skip to about 20 secs into the …

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22 December 2014

Guest Post – Natural Hazards Education and Communications

Welcome to the first-ever guest post on the GeoEd Trek blog, focusing on the teaching of landslides and earthquake dynamics in the Himalayas and the EGU 2015 session on Natural Hazards Education and Communications

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21 December 2014

AGU Fall Meeting: Day 4

Thursday was a really exciting day. In the morning I sat in on a session about the hydrology of landslides, and especially how water storage in pore space affects landslide dynamics and discharge.

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8 December 2014

Geoscientist and singer-songwriter shares her creative side at AGU’s Open Mic Night – and you can, too

Science is about discovering universal truths. Music, they say, is a universal language. So what better way to communicate science than through music?

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3 December 2014

“Yes, And …”: How Improvisational Acting Improves Your Communication Skills

The idea is not new – doing improv does improve your ability to communicate. While the specific vehicle – improvisational acting – may seem foreign from the scientific process, the concept connects the realities of life (improvised, after all) with the vagaries of doing science (experiments don’t always go according to plan, right?).

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11 November 2014

Scientists Engage With the Public During Lava Flow Threat

On 27 June, lava from Kīlauea, an active volcano on the island of Hawai`i, began flowing to the northeast, threatening the residents in Pāhoa. Eos recently spoke with Michael Poland, a geophysicist at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) and a member of the Eos Editorial Advisory Board, to discuss how he and his colleagues communicated this threat to the public.

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3 November 2014

Doodling in Science Class: Using Stick Figure Animations to Explain Complex Science at Stanford University (Videos)

Emma Hutchinson discusses how climate change might impact the strongest wind system on Earth, and what that means for ocean circulation patterns in this Stanford University video. Traer partnered with Hutchinson to animate her story with white board drawings in the hopes of making it easier for the public to understand her complex research. Video courtesy of Stanford School of Earth Sciences. By Miles Traer From my time as an …

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16 October 2014

And now for the fun part: choosing your outreach activities!

The wonderful thing about science communication and outreach is that there are an almost infinite number of ways to share your science. We’ve made a quick list of some of the kinds of activities you can be involved in to share your science.

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8 October 2014

Scientists and Reporters Just Want to Get to the Bottom of It All

After just a few short months, my desk at the Los Angeles Times had succumbed to the same peculiar malady as my desk at Oregon State University, where I did my Ph.D. in paleoclimatology: It seemed to have sprouted a thin coat of fluorescent sticky notes. Each tiny square bore a fact that merited remembering or a question that demanded answering, and, every day, they multiplied.

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1 October 2014

Science haiku to communicate research and more

NOAA is doing it. Even the entire IPCC Report was boiled down to 19 illustrated haiku. Can science-themed haiku be used for education & outreach, or just for fun?

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8 August 2014

Worried about Speaking in Public? Try Toastmasters. Really.

That’s right, Toastmasters, the outfit with the retro name that seems to promise insurance salesmen who shake your hand too hard, like that guy in the movie Groundhog Day who keeps pestering Bill Murray. “It’s Ned! NED RYERSON!”

Yes, I was dubious, too.

But then la few weeks ago I actually went to a meeting…

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28 July 2014

Want to Really Communicate Your Science to the Public? Go on a Journey and They’ll Follow

Consider these three related stories. Little Red Riding Hood sets off through the forest to Grandmother’s house. Mad Captain Ahab sails the Pacific in search of Moby Dick. You hit the road for a season of field work. Yes, Red Riding Hood, Ahab, you. All related.

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24 July 2014

Calling all scientists: Artify your Abstracts!

Abstracts are the quintessential means of getting the gist of your research out there to other scientists. But what if you want to reach a broader audience? What if you want to give your abstract that extra oomph that will combine its scientific rigor with some artistic creativity? Why, in that case you artify your abstract!

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16 July 2014

Adventures in the (other) field: Mass Media Fellow Julia Rosen reports from the Los Angeles Times

“Buzz! Buzz! We want you to have time to speak with the Los Angeles Times,” a woman named Christina interjected. I was standing, clutching my notepad and recorder, in Buzz Aldrin’s office in West Los Angeles on probably the most challenging assignment of my summer (so far) as a scientist-turned-reporter for the LA Times.

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2 July 2014

Students: Submit Your Design or Video to the 2014 AGU Student T-Shirt Design and Video Contests

Do you think you have what it takes to create the next viral video or geo-style trend? Prove it by taking part in the 2014 Student T-shirt Design and Student Video contests. The winner of each contest will receive free registration to the 2014 AGU Fall Meeting. Plus, T-Shirts with the winning design will be sold at the AGU Fall Meeting, with proceeds going to the Student Travel Grant Fund. More about each contest is below.

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Branching out at the New Horizons In Science Symposium (Mexico City)

A little while ago, as some of you may have guessed from my tweets, I was in Mexico City on a business trip. My reason for the whirlwind visit was to present a talk about volcanic hazards to the New Horizons in Science Symposium, a joint effort between the National Academies of Mexico, Canada and the United States.

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23 June 2014

Three tips for sharing science with any audience

When researchers run an experiment in the laboratory, it is usually after taking time to craft and design the experiment that will provide the most accurate results. Science communication is the same: crafting a complex message about science before delivering it to the public takes time and editing to yield the best results.

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