To coin a phrase…

It’s a small world. One that requires some joined up thinking. We need to see the contours among the shadows, to extract the signal from the noise, to construct synchrony from the chaos. You know what I mean. We need to become pattern detectors. (Just nod. I am going somewhere with this.)

Last year, I was giving a public lecture for the Irish Skeptics Society in Dublin and I needed a snappy title. I wanted to describe the awkward trade-off between accuracy and simplicity that so often perplexes public science communicators. Drawing on The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy I came up with a name for this problem. I called it the Babel Fish Dilemma (to help reverse engineer this term, see here). I was quite proud of that. I thought it was cute. I wondered whether anyone else would like it.

Well, it so happened that the lecture was covered in the media a bit, including on And lo and behold, just today I was reading an interesting piece on the Wellcome Trust’s pretty good blog when suddenly, amongst the coal-black text, resplendent in hyperlink-teal, stood my own little aphorism: Continue reading “To coin a phrase…” covers “The Babel Fish”

Following up on last week’s Irish Skeptics Society lecture on science communication, journalist John Holden filed a report on the Irish politics and current affairs website,

As part of his analysis, Holden notes that: “In the Irish media there is still only one page per week devoted to ‘hard science’ (in The Irish Times) and sporadic articles here and there in other papers. Science related to health is more widely covered due to its social relevance. But unless other science news can be linked to popular culture… it’s not going to generate much interest outside of the proverbial lab.” Continue reading “ covers “The Babel Fish””

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