Category Archives: science journalism

A conference on hype in science

Last December, Ford Doolittle, a biochemist at Dalhousie University who has actually done a lot, organized a symposium called “Hype in science“, which I announced on at the time though it hadn’t yet taken place. Now Florian Maderspacher, the senior reviews editor for Current Biology,  has written a three-page summary of the conference for the journal, “Hype in […]

Funny “New Scientist” headline generator

Whoever writes the “Endless Forms . . ” website has made a deliberate tour de force: he/she created a Twitter account that automatically generates the type of gee-whiz headlines characteristic of the popular-science mag New Scientist. In the website post on this, the author avers that he/she likes New Scientist (I don’t: I deplore its […]

The limits of science

This would make a great slide for Eric Hedin’s “Boundaries of science” class at Ball State University. Contributed by the artist, Pliny the in Between at Pictoral Theology (and with the Labels: Ball State, Creationism, limits of science [links go to related cartoons]):

Ball State Provost talks about Hedin investigation, and some Hoosier reaction

UPDATE:  The new stuff about Guillermo Gonzalez being hired at Ball State will, according to Discovery Institute flak David Klinghoffer, be discussed on today’s Michael Medved show.  The DI naturally feels persecuted by my revelation that creationist Gonzalez will be teaching there, even though I added that I have no idea whether he’ll teach intelligent […]

More on HedinGate

There’s another in the continuing series of articles by Seth Slabaugh, the Muncie Star-Press reporter who is covering the case of Dr. Eric Hedin, the Ball State University (BSU) professor under investigation for teaching intelligent design and proselytizing Christianity in a science class. Slabaugh’s piece, “Professor left twisting in the wind?“, takes its title from […]

More on placental mammals

by Greg Mayer There have been a number of interesting comments by readers on my post on the recent paper on the radiation of placental mammals by Maureen O’Leary and colleagues. I want to respond briefly to a few of them here. Biogeography. Does this paper imply that the origin and geographic distribution of the  […]

The orders of modern placental mammals originated after the extinction of the dinosaurs

by Greg Mayer (Updates below.) A new study just published in Science by Maureen O’Leary and colleagues examines the phylogeny of 40 fossil and 46 extant mammals based on a very large data set of morphological and molecular characters (the latter only from the living taxa). The study has gotten a fair amount of attention […]

Dreadful science journalism: Time Magazine’s nomination of the Higgs boson for “Person of the Year” is five sentences long, each one wrong

Well, Time Magazine has tried to do science an honor by nominating a particle, the Higgs boson, for “Person of the Year” (there are other candidates and the winner will be announced in April). As Michael Moyer writes on the Scientific American “Observations” website, every sentence in the nomination has at least one error. Here’s […]

Steve Pinker on how to write science

I have it on reliable authority that Steve Pinker’s next book will be on modern grammar and usage: a Pinkerian update of Strunk and White’s famous The Elements of Style (a book I wore out with frequent use, but learn from the lecture below is flawed). And Steve’s already giving talks about this book to […]

Anti-science in American politics: two must-read articles

I don’t often tell readers about articles that they simply have to read, but this pair qualifies. Together they’re not terribly short (about 7000 words in toto), but I like to think that my readers have decent attention spans—and the interest in science and politics that makes this Scientific American essay, “Antiscience beliefs jeopardize U.S. […]


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