Links for 2011-02-25

  • "The team's 46-45 home victory over Occidental, in the final game of the season, was the first Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference victory for Caltech since a 1-point win over La Verne more than 26 years ago, before any of the current players were born.

    Ryan Elmquist scored the winning point by making the first of two free throws with three seconds left. He missed the second, and Occidental's desperation shot from halfcourt was off target, sending students and fans in the small Braun Athletic Center gym onto the court for a celebration of hugs and whoops."

  • "Scientists and science journalists have all sorts of reasons for writing about science. They may want to share their latest discovery with the world, run a hypothesis by a critical audience, increase their personal profile, or show that they're cut out for bigger things, like the gossip column.

    What I'm going to talk about here is specifically how to write a good research blog post; the kind that might get picked as an Editor's Selection on We typically look for posts that will be interesting to a wider audience than just experts in a field. So it's important to be clear and engaging, and to give your readers a little help understanding a study that's probably out of field for them."

  • "First of all, it's clear that a paper is a publication but not every publication should be a paper, or much better, not every research result has to be disseminated by means of a paper, or even better, different channels (including papers) can be used to communicate our research results to different audiences.

    Second, to avoid publishing for the sake of publishing we must remember that publishing supposes communication, and communication requires us to be sure that the audience has understood our message.

    So in short, scientific dissemination is much more than publishing papers and researchers need to master different communication channels such as visual presentations (e.g. slide decks, screen casts, or video), verbal communication, and even networking and social media. Besides mastering those different channels the message must be crystal clear for the audience.

    To achieve those goals I propose the following "10 principles of (good) scientific dissemination":"

  • "JUDGE: Can you present any evidence that recognizing that same-sex couples have the same legal rights as other couples would harm the institution of marriage, or harm children, or harm the common good, or harm public health?

    SAME-SEX MARRIAGE OPPONENT: [cricket. ... cricket. ... tumbleweed.]

    That silence, I think, partly accounts for the generational chasm that seems to have opened in two of the vanguard groups opposed to equal legal rights for GLBT people: Republicans and evangelical Christians."


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Thanks for the helpful links about science writing, Chad. You have a knack for finding interesting and useful links about various things. One institution trying to draw out ideas from a wider body is the Foundational Questions Institute. Their stated purpose:

FQXi catalyzes, supports, and disseminates research on questions at the foundations of physics and cosmology, particularly new frontiers and innovative ideas integral to a deep understanding of reality, but unlikely to be supported by conventional funding sources.

Science blogger Sabine Hossenfelder won a 2nd Place award in their previous Essay Contest, "What is Ultimately Possible in Physics?" My own essay is among those for the latest FQXi Contest, "Is Reality Digital or Analog."

Science blogger Sabine Hossenfelder won a 2nd Place award in their previous Essay Contest, "What is Ultimately Possible in Physics?" My own essay is among those for the latest FQXi Contest, "Is Reality Digital or Analog."