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Royal Institution talks

14 March 2012

In the last month I have been to three talks at the R.I.

The first was UCL’s own ‘disaster man’, Professor Bill McGuire. He says we have failed to do what we needed to to halt climate change. Very gloomy but realistic view of us as a species. Buy the book – Waking the Giant

The second was Mark Pagel, talking about his new book, Wired for Culture. See more here.

Last night it was Science and the Media, a discussion about the interface between science journalism and scientists. Alice Bell on the left, Dr Chris Chambers and Dr Ananyo Bhattacharya on the centre and right.

You can read more about it here – http://blogs.nature.com/ofschemesandmemes/2012/03/14/scientists-and-journalists-need-different-things-from-science-or-do-they2

I have lots of views on this – as with many things on which I have views, as opposed to fence sitting [that they can be contradictory reflects among other things my ‘outsider’ outlook (I mean in the Camusian sense)]! I think there is more and better science coverage in the ‘media’ than ever before. On the whole it is about right. I have been known to moan about the Daily Mail ‘cure for X’ headlines, but the headlines are not written by the journalists who write the articles. As Ananyo pointed out, the online version of the Daliy Mail is massive, but distinct from the paper version and it appears without the same checks. Clearly newspapers have an agenda, sometimes political – take the serotonin story from Joan Chiao for example (not a new story but for some reason in the news this week). The Mail had this slant –
Why the British are free-thinking and the Chinese love conformity: It’s all in the genes claim scientists

We all know they love to promote conservatism and primitive flag waving at the drop of a royal curtsey (“Gawd bless you ma’am”)!

From → Ideas, Science

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