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19 September 2019

Storytelling basics: The story arc

By Shane M Hanlon  All good stories have an arc.* A beginning, middle, end. The action goes up and down. The tension leads to twists and turns. So, what does the basic story arc look like? Well:   This is an arc. Or, at this point, it’s a line. The beginning of the arc is the beginning of the story. Set the scene: where are we? Who are the characters? …

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22 July 2019

Add common names to your manuscript and talk titles

I’m walking down a row of posters at a meeting of ecologists and a see the title, Non-target effects of an organochlorine pesticide on Mentior tacomii in aquatic settings. I think, “Neat!” I studied the effects of pesticides on amphibians and reptiles as a researcher so I’m always up for learning about contamination in other systems. The problem is that I have no freaking clue what M. tacomii is. And I’m not alone.

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5 July 2019

Lyme Disease in Winter

Similar to other wildlife diseases, there are myths about Lyme disease. While many myths exists, one of the most interesting myths about Lyme disease pertains to transmission. People believe that ticks cannot survive in the winter; so, Lyme disease cannot be transmitted during winter.

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3 July 2019

Climate Change is Now Harming… Our Dogs?

As if climate change did not seem to be negatively impacting everything as we know it already, it also has recently been shown to trigger the spread of diseases throughout the United States.

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7 June 2019

Community (and Communication) Don’t Happen Naturally

Six months ago, I had no idea what a community manager was.

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27 May 2019

Revealing the baseline of geoscience outreach

Geoscience has been one of the least diverse STEM fields for nearly four decades, perhaps in part because our science isn’t making it to those who are outside our departments and institutions. In the era of climate change skepticism, geoscientists who practice science communication could provide immense value to their local and global communities by serving as Earth experts who can empower non-scientists to engage in reasoning and analysis in all aspects of life.

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9 May 2019

Earth’s Past in Poetry

How do we regard the vast planetary time scales that span the Earth Sciences?  How do we regard a figure showing changes in Earth’s temperature since the age of dinosaurs, as spring rains pelt against the window, making rivulets that will evaporate before we leave the office, before we finish that email, and check our analysis, and pay that bill, and tweet that article, and lead that meeting, and, and, and…all in the next three hours. The Paleocene was 65 million years ago. The average human lifespan is just 79 years. 

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22 April 2019

Connecting Kids to Real World Science through Children’s Books

Many science education projects for elementary school age kids start with the assumption that, in order to get kids interested in the science, there needs to be a character like “Barbara Bacteria” or “Larry the Lava Flow” to get their attention. In my over twenty years of experience as a science educator and children’s author, I feel confident in saying that this is not the case.

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16 April 2019

Stare into the Lens Until You Feel Comfortable

As a classical pianist and composer, my natural talent was present but practice was essential. You need one or the other to be good, and both to be exceptional. All the hours each day I spent writing and experimenting with musical devices, or exercising a variety of quirky, intricate techniques on the piano, were crucial to forming solid skills and artistry. Practice makes perfect, and it also provides confidence, endurance, and mastery for when the stage is set.

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1 April 2019

Embedding science within the art world

Art and science are often seen as complete opposites: art is subjective, while science aims to discover objective facts about nature. But more and more, we are realising that there are commonalities between the two and art-science collaborations have become more common. From the scientists’ perspective, such efforts can potentially reach audiences outside of the scientific echo chamber, however, it’s not always clear whether they always successfully do this in practice.

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