It’s now an article of both evidence and faith among science communicators that the information deficit model of communicating science (the idea that you, a non-scientist, have a deficit of information or knowledge about something and I, the expert, am going to give you enough information to remove your deficit) doesn’t work.…Read More
Climate change is a potential widespread catastrophe, and in some cases an actual living catastrophe.
Our species uses big numbers as one of its primary signifiers of catastrophe: deaths; property damage; lost economic growth; etc.
It’s understandable, then, that some scientists have gravitated to using big numbers to bring into focus the catastrophe of the recent Australian wildfires.…Read More
Among my top-five most-hated science communications tactics: let’s write a letter to X journal and get Y number of people to sign it. That’ll get their attention and change things!
Sadly: while Y might get their attention (briefly), it’s never nearly enough to change things.…Read More
A church in my neighborhood holds a Saturday morning yoga class that I attend off and on. While the class was settling in, I overheard a discussion among some of the participants about kids and their smartphones — they’re on them all the time, they create bad posture, etc.…Read More
A list member writes in response to my column yesterday about whether Greta Thunberg has made it safe to use science as a trump card again (I quote from it below, with permission):
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To your question, “has she changed the rules?”
I don’t know if Greta Thunberg is going to change the world.
I know that she and her fellow under-20 climate activists have already changed research communications.
But I don’t know if it’s for the better.
Greta Thunberg argues that politicians and private-sector leaders — Davos and UNGA types — need to “listen to the science.”…Read More