Category Archives: science writer

Not enough science in “The Science of ‘Inside Out'”, and other musings on “Gray Matter”

An op-ed column called “Gray Matter” appeared a few years ago in the Sunday Review section of the New York Times with little fanfare or explanation, with the subtitle “Science and Society.”  It quickly became clear that it was intended … Continue reading

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Posted in cognitive neuroscience, communication, mathematics, news media, physics, psychology, reporting, science writer, scientist | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“I’m back” and then back again, still looking for the sweet spot

Back last May, I initiated a blog mechanism that I called “What We’re Reading Now”, which I hoped would give me a basis for more regular, if shorter posts.  That didn’t work the way that I had hoped, for two … Continue reading

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Measles surge years after vaccine-autism scare: science denial comes home to roost

The AP reported this past week that the incidence of measles has surged in the UK since Andrew Wakefield and colleagues first made their report in 1998, now considered fraudulent, that cases of autism are linked to administration of the … Continue reading

Posted in biology, controls, doubt, medicine, news media, science denial, science writer, scientific method, scientist, unintended consequences | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What tooth chemistry says about Neanderthal behavior: a classical example of science sleuthing

It’s only one case.  One tooth from a Neanderthal infant.  One tooth that provides a suggestive piece of evidence for when that infant may have transitioned from mother’s milk to solid food some 100,000 years ago. But the foundation of science built … Continue reading

Posted in biology, controls, evolution, hypothesis, news media, paleontology, science writer, scientific method, scientist | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The moral and scientific issues surrounding Plan B

I have struggled with the appropriate reading of the issues swirling around the implementation of Plan B as an approved and freely available emergency contraceptive. On the one hand, there is the clear scientific evidence that Plan B is a … Continue reading

Posted in biology, contraception and abortion, doubt, medicine, news media, science denial, science writer | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Say it isn’t so, CJR

The Columbia Journalism Review may be cutting back or dropping The Observatory and its editor, Curtis Brainard, according to a post by Paul Raeburn at the Knight Science Journalism Tracker, based on an article by Joe Pompeo at Capital New … Continue reading

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Overbye’s teaching moment about scientific discovery and uncertainty

In my humble opinion (alright:  IMHO), the best science writing combines reporting on current advances in science — the knowledge or content — with insights into the process of science — how the new knowledge was acquired, and with what … Continue reading

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Our “Darwin problem” is really about power and influence (and doubt)

A key challenge to the public perception and acceptance of science, and to the scientists and science writers charged with communicating scientific results to an interested public, is the increasingly common rejection of mainstream science by influential non-scientists. A long-standing … Continue reading

Posted in biology, blog, book, climate science, doubt, evolution, peer review, reporting, science denial, science vs. religion, science writer, scientist, theory | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Searching for objectivity in the nature vs. nurture debate

We like to think that science is objective, that its approach to knowledge derives from the lack of bias. Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth. Despite the best of intentions, scientists confront and fight with bias all the … Continue reading

Posted in blog, nature vs. nurture, news media, objectivity, peer review, psychology, science writer | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Hitting sweet spot in reporting on new subatomic particle

So, Wednesday, July 4, was supposed to be THE day, when physicists scheduled an announcement about the 30-year search for the existence of a subatomic particle known as the Higgs Boson.  The Higgs Boson is predicted to exist by the … Continue reading

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