Scientific literacy

The Babel Fish Dilemma: Talking Science with Non-Scientists

Last night I gave a public lecture in Dublin for the Irish Skeptics Society, entitled “The Babel Fish Dilemma: Talking Science with Non-Scientists“. The Irish Skeptics, under the leadership of psychologists Paul O’Donoghue and Nóirín Buckley, have been organizing a public lecture series on science engagement, critical thinking, and skepticism […]

“Radiation is good for Japan”: Coulter’s case dissected

Have a listen to Ann Coulter talking to Bill O’Reilly on Fox News last week (the show aired on St Patrick’s Day, hence O’Reilly’s green tie). Coulter is a social conservative columnist and lawyer, well known in the US for her right-wing diatribes. Here she is talking about recent events […]

When is a nuclear meltdown not a nuclear meltdown?

The horror of human suffering caused by the catastrophe in Japan is vicariously traumatic, and only compounded by the fearful prospect of mass radioactivity contamination. News organizations have a pivotal role when reporting such events in both informing and, if appropriate, reassuring a frightened public. In reality, of course, the […]

Right-wingers are better looking, study doesn’t show

Last week, the news agency Agence France-Presse (AFP) issued a press release with the title, “Rightwing candidates are better looking, says study”. The item described a study conducted by Swedish and Finnish economists in which 2,500 non-Finns rated 1,357 Finnish election candidates for attractiveness. The authors identified two main conclusions. […]

“Pregnant thanks to acupuncture”

One of the most troubling aspect of this newspaper story — “I’d lost my baby then somehow fell pregnant thanks to acupuncture”– is knowing quite where to begin discussing it (although I know I should start by thanking @johnbirrane for tweeting it to me). The story appeared in the “Mothers […]

‘Science News’ and Football: Together at last

The Daily Telegraph recently reported — in their “Science News” section, notice — a story headlined “Secret of match success: Suits for the dugout, tracksuits for training”. According to the byline, “sports coaches who wear suits on match days and tracksuits on training days are more likely to get the […]