February 17, 2015

10:24 AM | Science of Science Communication 2.0, Session 6.1: Communicating climate science, part 1
It's time for session 6 of virtual "Science of Science Communication 2.0" (time for real-space version in about 4 hrs)! Reading list here.  Reactions?

February 16, 2015

3:55 PM | Is there already a legal obligation for parents to vaccinate their children?
The certainty in vaccine science may mean that there is already a legal obligation for parents to vaccinate their children in order to meet a standard of care.

February 15, 2015

4:28 PM | Ceci N’est Pas Un Chien
I simply love this: Nothing like Auntie Beeb making sure we have all the news we can use. I do not love this: For comparison sake, here’s Tuesday’s shot (posted yesterday): This is getting ridiculous.  I’ve spent the morning looking at stuff like this, just to remind me that the at least an idea of […]

February 14, 2015

4:37 PM | Snowpocalypse Now
This was the view from my back door sometime in early January: As you can see, the first faint flakes of snow are visible streaking across the frame. Here’s the same view as of last Tuesday: We’ve got as much as two feet more coming tonight and tomorrow according to a true Valentine’s Day gift of a […]

February 13, 2015

5:29 PM | On David Carr
I know a lot of people who are both tremendously fortunate and terribly abandoned today. They are the ones who knew well David Carr,who died yesterday. You can find testimony today to the depth of feeling Carr, the New York Times’ media correspondent, inspired across the mediascape among those who worked with him, knew him, benefited from his kindness […]
3:17 PM | A submarine on Titan in 2040
Nothing bespeaks humankind’s potential more than the following statement: Around 2040, NASA plans to splash down a submarine to explore a liquid hydrocarbon lake on Titan. Fore more than a decade now, Titan has captivated astronomers not simply by being Saturn’s largest moon by far but also with its vast seas of liquid methane and ethane. NASA has its … Continue reading A submarine on Titan in 2040 →
Editor's Pick
1:01 PM | "Let's shame them!": part and parcel of the dangerous seat-of-the-pants, evidence-free style of risk communication we are using to protect universal vaccination in US
A thoughtful correspondent asked me what I thought of proposals to "shame" parents who don't vaccinate their children.  I'm against doing that. Actually, I'm not opposed to "shaming" when it makes sense; but I am opposed to doing anything in public policy that disregards the best evidence we have on the challenges we face and the best strategies for combatting them. Here is what I had to say about why shaming parents who don't vaccinate should be viewed as falling into that category: I […]
9:05 AM | What can we do to promote person-centred primary care? Response to BMJ spotlight
 Patient centred care invites doctors and patients to work collaboratively to improve the way healthcare is designed and delivered so that it better meets the needs and priorities of patients. Charlotte Paddison reflects on the BMJ spotlight on patient centred care, and asks what this might mean for primary care? How can we get better more

February 12, 2015

4:10 PM | Turbulence and shifting gusts of hot air: the forecast for perceptions of "scientific consensus" in response to NAS geoengineering reports
They aren’t the first National Academy of Sciences Reports to call for stepping up research on geoengineering, but the ones the Academy issued Tuesday are definitely raising both the volume and intensity of this recommendation. In response, I predict an interesting counter-reaction by many of the advocacy groups involved in promoting graeater public engagement with climate science.  A prominent if not dominant stance among such groups, I’m guessing, will be to dismiss […]

February 11, 2015

5:19 PM | Out of the frying pan and into the fire? Translocation spells trouble for social species
Translocation - taking animals from one place and moving them to another - is be...
7:16 AM | "What is the 'science of science communication'?" (new paper)
A short essay that tries to tie some bigger themes together...
4:15 AM | A book on the Otherside
I walked into the bookshop. The first row of books had a label on it saying ‘Recommended’. I never touched those books. They were always too mainstream, and populism never read well. Instead, I was adept at finding books that had found mention in some article, review, conversation, somewhere. A book that had caught someone… Continue reading A book on the Otherside

February 10, 2015

1:47 PM | Science of Science Communication 2.0, Session 5.1: the (mis)communication of vaccine-risk perception
It's been a while -- at least 45 mins -- since I've written about vaccine-risk perception and communication.  Well, conveniently, today's session -- #5 -- of  Science of Science Communication course ver 2.0 happens to be on this very topic.  To get the "virtual class" discussion going (real-space class is starting in 60 mins!), consider this case study, which was appended to this week's reading list: Case Study: Vaccine Risk Communication 1. The Wakefield affair. In […]
4:44 AM | A Mini-Guide to Minimizing Back and Shoulder Injuries
Lifting and moving objects safely at work is something many people have to deal with — especially if they work in a factory or warehouse. Yet not everyone knows how to safely lift objects from the floor, and not everyone has the strength to lift. So, before you throw your back out, here’s what you [...]
4:23 AM | Most-Cited OSHA Standards and Their Cost to Businesses
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that in the year 2013, 4,405 fatal injuries happened at workplaces in the United States. The figure may seem large when considered by itself, but comparatively, it represents a reduction of almost 25 percent in fatal injuries since 2003. Nowadays, businesses are prioritizing safety and have made progress [...]
3:47 AM | Ashley Furniture Faces $1.76M in OSHA Fines
A huge OSHA fine, a “severe violator” label and public shaming by the U.S. Secretary of Labor. Not a good day for the U.S.’s largest furniture manufacturer, and it all started with one worker’s finger amputations. Ashley Furniture faces $1,766,000 in OSHA fines following an inspection at its plant in Arcadia, WI in July 2014. OSHA [...]
3:04 AM | (VIDEO) Truck Accident Compilation
Related Training DVDs: EYE ON Defensive Driving – DVD Training Program Instructs drivers on defensive driving techniques using hazard perception challenge methodology. View Product Hours of Service Driver Training Program – DVD Training Kit All of the new Hours-of-Service rules drivers must comply with as of February 27, 2012 and July 1, 2013. [...]

February 09, 2015

2:31 PM | Hunt’s proposed ranking of hospitals on avoidable mortality rates is a bad idea
Over the weekend it was announced that Jeremy Hunt wanted the NHS to tackle “avoidable deaths” in English hospitals (see this BBC report). On the face of it this seems like a good thing. Plans to review case-notes to see if anything could be learned, and then using these to establish a national rate of more
1:18 PM | Let it be? Measuring partisan reactions to existing mandatory vaccination laws
In the last week or so, I’ve done somewhere between 2 and 406 blog posts on vaccine risk perceptions. The upshot is that, contrary to the empirically uniformed and reckless blathering of “news” reporters and commentators (not all reporters or commentators fall into those categories!), there is no meaningful public conflict over vaccine safety. Not only have U.S. vaccination rates held steady at over 90%--the public health target—for all recommended childhood […]
12:42 PM | Paper submitted to CAV 2015: “Dear CAV, We Need to Talk About Reproducibility”
Today, me, Ben Hall (Cambridge) and Samin Ishtiaq (Microsoft Research) submitted a paper to CAV 2015, the 27th International Conference on Computer Aided Verification, to be held in San Francisco in July. CAV is dedicated to the advancement of the theory and practice of computer-aided formal analysis methods for hardware and software systems; the conference […]
9:21 AM | February 2015 Open Thread
More thread.
4:30 AM | Curious Bends – air pollution, menstruation, self-admiration and more
1. The air that Indians breathe is dangerously toxic “Last year the WHO assessed 1,622 cities worldwide for PM2.5 and found India home to 13 of the 20 cities with the most polluted air. More cities in India than in China see extremely high levels of such pollution. Especially to blame are low standards for vehicle...Continue reading »

February 08, 2015

11:36 PM | Meet Science Cheerleaders from the Oakland Raiders at Family Science Days in San Jose, CA
We are partnering up with SciStarter, Science Cheerleaders from the Oakland Raiders, editors from Discover Magazine and Astronomy Magazine, and regional citizen science project owners (AirCasting and ZomBEE Watch) at Family Science Days (a free event presented by the American Association for the Advancement of Science). February 14 – 15, 2015 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. San Jose Convention Center Booth #43 Test your science knowledge at our Science JEOPARDY challenge on stage on 2/15 at […]
2:43 PM | Caste, healthcare and statistics
In late November 2014, the esteemed British medical journal The Lancet published an editorial calling for the end of casteism in India to mitigate the deteriorating health of the millions of rural poor, if nothing else. The central argument was that caste was hampering access to healthcare services. Caste has been blamed for hampering many things. As Amartya Sen and...Continue reading »

February 07, 2015

5:58 PM | A Response to Heather Mallick’s Column
If Heather Mallick's attitude on media criticism is reflective of attitudes at The Star generally, they have a problem.
1:15 PM | A close encounter with the mid-sized, icy kind
In three days, NASA’s Cassini mission will fly by Saturn’s second-largest moon Rhea. While interest in the Saturnian moons has been hogged by the largest – Titan – Cassini‘s images of Rhea could provide important new information about a class of natural satellites that it exemplifies: the so-called ‘mid-sized’ moons. While Titan is big enough to be a […]
3:00 AM | “Maybe the Higgs boson is fictitious!”
That’s an intriguing and, as he remarks, plausible speculation by the noted condensed-matter physicist Philip Warren Anderson. It appears in a short article penned by him in Nature Physics on January 26, in which he discusses how the Higgs mechanism as in particle physics was inspired by a similar phenomenon observed in superconductors. According to the Bardeen-Cooper-Schrieffer […]

February 06, 2015

8:38 PM | Brrrraaaaaiiiiiiinnnnssss…
Or rather… MMMMMorrrrrronnnnns: The reanimated corpse of Dr. Jonas Salk, the medical researcher who developed the first polio vaccine, rose from the grave Friday morning on what authorities believe is a mission to hunt down idiots. The usual suspects beware. Another drive-by post, but go read the whole of Andy Borowitz’s update to his eponymous […]
5:03 PM | Science Cheerleaders featured on NBC Nightly News
We really love this segment! Special thanks to the Patriots cheerleaders, Arizona State University, the Arizona Science Center and Pop Warner for making this appearance a super special event! Other recent news clips: ABC News: Super Bowl 2015: Meet the New England Patriots’ Cheerleader Pursuing a Ph.D. in Neuroscience Daily Mail: Will a cheerleader be the smartest person at the Super Bowl? Meet the Harvard educated neuroscientist cheering her way to a PhD Cosmopolitan: This Super Bowl […]
4:34 PM | NHS reforms: plus ça change
The King’s Fund today released the first half of its verdict on how well the coalition has done on the NHS.  The second half – looking at NHS performance since 2010 – will be released in March, but today’s report focuses on the Lansley reforms.  Their verdict?  To put it bluntly, damning.  ‘Distracting and damaging’ were more
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