Monday, January 16, 2012

Lecture 4: Science Journalism

Before we dig into the lecture today 2 admin notes:

  1. PLEASE remember to fill in the Twitter Alias form so that we can track your participation (you can find it on the Lecture 3 post)
  2. Remember that Friday is an ONLINE class. More information will be given during Wednesday's lecture AND during your labs this week.

Part of our homework review, please fill in the following very short (1 question!) survey:

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey, the world's leading questionnaire tool.

ED. NOTE: As of 3:34pm on Monday (Jan. 16th) 101 students have responded to the survey and only 4 (yes FOUR) students had heard of or visited the PLoS Blogs before. Thanks for answering the survey!

Related to the story about unvetted science journalism, watch this video of Financial Post editor Terence Corcoran, on "Junk Science in Journalism."


  1. Before this course, and this lecture specifically, I never knew just how popular blogging was. Now every website I go onto it seems I see a blog link. Once I understand more about them after this course it will be a great way to get to know businesses and ideas.

  2. Shannon, it is amazing how prolific blogs have become and how they have moved far away (thankfully) from those originally ideas of just an online diary.

  3. I found the article on “The Loom” called Inside Darwin’s Tumor quite interesting. I knew there was always a chance of remission when you went through chemotherapy but I didn’t realize the cells could shrink so much to not be detected and then begin to grow again. This is a scary fact especially because of the rising rate of cancer; it could be a loved one that ends up with AML who goes through chemotherapy and the doctors say the cancer is gone but you soon find out that it isn’t and they might pass away.
    When reading the article on “NeuroTribes” called Why Can’t the Heroic Intern Who Saved Giffords’ Life Get Married in Arizona? it opened my eyes to realize how inconsiderate people are to others feelings and the way they live their lives. Whether or not someone is gay should not restrict them to live their lives a certain way and do the things they have a desire to do. No matter what sexuality someone prefers shouldn’t alienate them, a lot of the time they tend to be some of the nicest people; Hernandez is just an example of this. Hopefully after this blog and many of other blogs written on this topic will change the military’s, politics and other areas of our society that alienates gays from living their lives to turn it into a society that accepts everyone no matter what.

  4. The article on The Loom about Drew Barry and his visualizations of molecular biology was really interesting. I think its hard for people to really wrap thier minds around the TINY processes that are happening inside every cell of our body. With his use of technology and visualizations, I think it will be an excellent tool in education.

    1. I just watched this video as well, I thought it was so intriguing. I had never been able to fully visualize what was happening in all those tiny processes, and the pictures we were shown to demonstrate the concepts were never very helpful. I think this should be shown in high school class rooms to help kids understand these concepts because they would have the background to understand what the videos are demonstrating.

  5. Wow, just finished reading the article on PLOS blogs about autism. Very interesting article that really shed light on autism through an autistic persons view. It was mentioned in the article that social media is a great way for people affected with autism to get their voices heard. As well, brought up the issue of instead of trying to cure these people of autism why not love them and accept them for who they are. Very interesting article that has really made me reflect on my encounters and views of those affected by autism. And has also made me an even bigger fan of social media!

  6. Just finished reading "Why Can’t the Heroic Intern Who Saved Giffords’ Life Get Married in Arizona?".
    There are so many information on PLoS blogs. I didn't know where I can start to know more about this interesting blog, so I just began to read the article for Wed. lecture from the PLoS blogs. It is very interesting, I like reading story and it is a good story which is real.
    I found that if you want readers to go on reading your stuff, you should make the first paragraph attractive.
    In this article, it said"a junior who saved Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ life by tending to her wounds...", which did attract me to go on reading to know what happened.
    Making your first paragraph attractive is not very easy, we should read enough article to study.
    Now, I know some good blogs on the ALES class, so I can read lots of articles to study the writing skills or even the social communicate skills.

  7. I'm still trying to figure out the PLoS blogs and I may be on a completely different wavelength than everyone else (not in the good sense, either!) and I came across a blog called Obesity Panacea. The blog was posted by Peter Janiszewski and the title is: "Can you limit your sitting and sleeping to just 23.5 hrs per day?" Interestingly enough, I've seen the video they posted a few weeks ago and I think it's somewhat relevant to this class in the way that the information is presented. To reference class, I believe it falls under the "science popularization" bracket. The video is intriguing and catches your attention. It's basic knowledge that we all know, however, they address the info in a fun and interactive way. It's not the nitty gritty science, rather it is simplified and to-the-point.

    Anyways, for people who haven't seen the video, here's a link:

  8. I thought that the different science blogs that we looked at were a great new way to look at this type of knowledge. My blog is at and I am in lab H7 with MC.