I’m fascinated by the recent study in Science that argues the medieval Roman Catholic Church’s prohibitions against incest were crucial in laying the foundation for “individualism, nonconformity, and the inclination to trust and help strangers,” traits the authors associate with the evolution of “WEIRD” societies — western, educated, industrialized, rich and democratic.…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
There’s no “right” way to communicate research (although there are plenty of ineffective ways). There are only tradeoffs between accuracy on the one hand and precision, relevance and impact on the other.
Pretending those tradeoffs don’t exist — or not being crystal clear about which is more important for the goals you want to achieve — is an excellent way to make your expertise invisible, or visible for the wrong reasons.…Read More
“You think you’re reading an essay. You’re not. You’re moving through a funnel. This shouldn’t surprise you. You’ve been moving through funnels all day.”
That’s how the data visualizer Elijah Meeks opens his Medium essay “We Live in a World of Funnels.” If you’re online, Meeks says, you’re in a funnel.…Read More
What’s the most important thing about how you communicate your research and expertise?
If it’s too early in the morning for such a big question, look at what the Apple data visualization engineer Elijah Meeks — executive director of the Data Visualization Society — says should be the most important thing about a chart, one of the fundamental units of research communication:
… Read More
The most important thing about a chart is not its aesthetics, the technology used to create it, the kind of data visualization layout or even the data it represents.
How do you know when your research has changed things? And when do you say: “I’ve made enough change — I’ve hit my goal”?
When you’ve changed your field? Or is your ambition a bit larger?
It’s rare, says Tim Harford, to read an economics paper that makes one think: “this changes everything.” But he writes in the Financial Times that he read one over a decade ago: the late environmental economist Martin Weitzman’s review of the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change.…Read More
You saw or heard the headlines: three billion birds (or 30 percent) have been lost in North America since 1970, according to a new study out in Science.
It was covered by media worldwide, with an apocalyptic portentousness increasingly obligatory in our time.…Read More
List member David Chapin (CEO of Forma Life Science Marketing) responded to yesterday’s post about the difference between asking great research questions and asking great thought leadership questions with this graphic:
Quoting David’s email to me (with his permission):
… Read More
We’re making much the same argument:
Science advances by “Proving” the answers to questions.
The world, it seems, is now calling climate change an emergency. And climate activists are calling for a “World War II-style mobilization” to combat it. So are candidates for US president. Working papers have been published about using the WWII economic mobilization as a model for a climate-emergency economy.…Read More