Alan Alda gets UCSD excited, and educated, about communicating science!! #scicomm #storify @AldaCenter


If you follow CauseScience on twitter, you may have seen us retweet Alan Alda’s talk about communicating science at UCSD (above). Check out this terrific storify on Alda’s talk at UCSD, which describes the message and highlights of the talk. Alan Alda, and the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science, have CauseScience excited about science communication. Now let’s spread that enthusiasm!!!

Alan Alda’s “Getting The Public Past a Blind Date with Science” Talk at UCSD January 2015 #aldacentersd #scicomm

Turns out academic research is only one career option for biomedical scientists!! #science #NotAlternateCareerPaths

CSHL Press has a new resource for biomedical scientists (Edited by Kaaren Janssen and Richard Sever) looking for career paths other than academic research. Turns out there are a lot!!

Also, these are NOT alternate career paths… they are career paths.

Most people who do a PhD and postdoctoral work in the biomedical sciences do not end up as principal investigators in a research lab. Despite this, graduate courses and postdoctoral fellowships tend to focus almost exclusively on training for bench science rather than other career paths. This book plugs the gap by providing information about a wide variety of different careers that individuals with a PhD in the life sciences can pursue.

Covering everything from science writing and grant administration to patent law and management consultancy, the book includes firsthand accounts of what the jobs are like, the skills required, and advice on how to get a foot in the door. It will be a valuable resource for all life scientists considering their career options and laboratory heads who want to give career advice to their students and postdocs.

Check the tons of cool stuff CauseScience writer @pinar_gurel is live tweeting from @ASCBiology conference!!

If you aren’t following CauseScience writer @pinar_gurel on twitter, you definitely should be!! psgurel is currently at the ACSB conference in Philadelphia and is live tweeting a lot of cool and informative stuff from the conference!! Including a call for students and trainees to become active advocates for science!!

See this previous CauseScience post encouraging scientists to become advocates for scientific research!!

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From the looks of it, the ACSB conference has lots of innovative presentations and symposia that are the future of scientific conferences!! Future of Research, ePosters, lighting talks, selfies, to name a few!!

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@NASA_Orion test flight complete with splashdown and recovery! Congrats @NASA! #space

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Unearthing a new Defender of #Science!! Evolution debate between ESPN baseball analysts results in firing, then reinstatement of @KeithLaw

In case you missed it, we have a new Defender of Science (and evolution) in an unexpected place!

Background hereCurt Shilling and Keith Law, both ESPN baseball analysts, engaged in a twitter debate about evolution and science. Curt Shilling posted a number of tweets questioning evolution, which Keith Law rebutted with SCIENCE! ESPN then suspended Law for defending evolution, but then later reinstated him. Obviously all of this caused a huge commotion in the twitter-verse. More on the story here and here. Keith Law not only wins for defending science, but also for his tweet response after being reinstated by ESPN…. shout out to science heretic history~!


Props to Keith Law! and to EPSN for not being on the wrong side of history.

Apparently, Curt Shilling was taken aback by the resulting twitter storm in response to his comments.

Neil deGrasse Tyson thinks out loud about the film ‘Interstellar’ on twitter! @neiltyson

Neil deGrasse Tyson has made a number of comments about the film “Interstellar”… and made comments about his comments. Check out his twitter feed for all the fun fact-checking, science, comments, and random thoughts! @neiltyson! Summary article from Time here.

Great Newsweek feature on @astro_reid and his social media presence!! But don’t forget @Astro_Alex and other ISS members!

9gpvvNewsweek has great article about Reid Wiseman and his amazing presence on social media from the International Space Station. For CauseScience readers this shouldn’t be a surprise since a lot of CauseScience posts have featured @astro_reid! Reid Wiseman has now returned to earth after 6 months in orbit, but hopefully he’ll continue posting about space and life in space! Check out the great article.

Also, in addition to @astro_reid, check out the great tweets from fellow ISS astronauts @Astro_Alex and @Msuraev!

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CauseScience weekly roundup of science news and goings on!!

This week was busier than usual and CauseScience didn’t get to post all of the awesome science-y things we wanted to. Here is a roundup of cool science news and happenings to check out!

The NIH has awarded $31 million to enhance diversity amongst biomedical researchers!

President Obama’s moratorium on controversial research about certain viruses is stopping some scientists research in its tracks.

A video in the world’s largest vacuum chamber confirms that a feather and bowling ball will fall at the same rate.

New study finds that the urban legend that NYC has 1 rat per person is wrong. It’s actually more like 1 rat for every 4 people.

Citizen science contributed to a groundbreaking air quality study published this week!

While GMO labeling measures in Colorado and Oregon failed at the polls, apparently Bill Nye is still on the fence about GMO‘s.

Body Horrors blog posted a great piece on the history of miners and their unknown nemesis… the hookworm.

Can you tell when New Yorkers are slacking off based on twitter?? (gif: Carl Engelking)?


ScienceCareers posted an terrific article about Postdocs ‘speaking up’ for themselves featuring findings from the ‘Future of Research Symposium

Young student scientists are doing their part to help fight Ebola!‘s Absurd Creature of the Week is a beautiful sea slug with a secret weapon!

NPR fills us in on what the election results will mean for Environmental Policy.

Alfred Hermida tells Americans not to get their #Ebola news from twitter – @ConversationUK

#Ebola in the USA: don’t trust what you read on Twitter

By Alfred Hermida, University of British Columbia

Whatever you do, don’t turn to Twitter for news about Ebola. The volume and tone of tweets and retweets about the disease will make you wish you were watching the zombie apocalypse of The Walking Dead instead. It is much less scary.

Ebola has been spreading since it was first diagnosed in March 2014 in Guinea. More than two-thirds who got the disease in this current outbreak in West Africa didn’t survive. Almost 4,500 have died so far. It is the deadliest outbreak of Ebola in history.

But if you’re reading this in a country with an advanced health care system, you’re highly unlikely to catch Ebola, even if there is an infected person on the same continent.

Despite this, in the first two weeks of October, there were more than 2.2 million Ebola hashtag tweets tracked by Crimson Hexagon’s Forsight social media analytics tool. That is just a fraction of the chatter – there were more than 18 million tweets with the word “Ebola”.

This is just what happens when a crisis hits. When the world hiccups, Twitter twitches. People use hashtags to tag their tweets and make them visible to more than just their circle of contacts. They want to be part of a discussion involving a dispersed audience.

At times of a natural disaster such as an earthquake, the flood of real-time information on social media from the ground can help speed up rescue efforts, get supplies to where they are needed and raise money for relief efforts.

Ebola, though, shows how social media serves as both a blessing and a curse. The World Health Organization, UNICEF, the UN and similar bodies have taken to Twitter to spread information and advice, and counter half-truths. Alongside are constant updates from news outlets about who in the West has contracted the disease or the level of preparedness of the local hospitals. And then there are the millions of other messages as people pile in to pass on the latest news reports, rumours or a witty snippet of snark.

But my analysis of tweets using the Ebola hashtag since the start of October shows that only a handful have come from the ground in West Africa, where the crisis is most acute. The number of tweets from three of the most affected countries, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, can be counted in the hundreds using Crimson Hexagon’s Forsight tool. Even Nigeria, where three-quarters of people have a mobile phone, barely accounted for 1% of tweets with a geographic location.

Guess where the bulk of the #Ebola tweets are from? The US. Out of the more than a million tweets with an identifiable location, around 60% have come from Americans. The figure holds for millions more messages that contain the word “Ebola.” So far, Canadians have been a more measured on #Ebola, making up barely 4% of the tweets. And 5% of tweets have come from the UK.

The most frequent terms and prevalent themes on #Ebola. The inner rings represent frequently used terms and the outside rings provide a more granular look at words and terms and how they relate to the topics of conversation.
Crimson Hexagon, Author provided

It all started when Thomas Duncan, who traveled from Liberia to Dallas, was diagnosed with Ebola. The background chatter on Twitter about the disease spiked as Americans discovered Ebola had made landfall. Duncan’s death a week later prompted another flurry in activity on the hashtag.

The largest single spike of chatter on #Ebola was on October 16 after news emerged that Amber Vinson, a nurse who treated Duncan, had contracted the virus. On that day, more than three-quarters of tweets came from the US.

It hardly surprising that tweets about Ebola are dominated by Americans. After all, the US has the largest number of Twitter users. But it also gives cause to pause and remember that social media is no proxy for public opinion. Or, with Ebola, for the tone of the global conversation.

Ebola largely reflects the hopes and fears of Americans, driven by the latest news tidbits about the disease on the US mainland. The real story is happening thousands of kilometers away, where doctors, nurses and medical workers are trying to contain the outbreak with stretched resources. Those tweets from West Africa are simply drowned out by the volume and visibility of Americans tweeting about Ebola.

The Conversation

Alfred Hermida receives funding from the Canadian Media Research Consortium.

This article was originally published on The Conversation.
Read the original article.