Are you an owl or a lark?

Are you an Owl or a Lark?


  • Total voters
    25

sufi

lala
um, are you sure we're talking about the same thing? perhaps you should describe what you mean by "sensationalist & presumptive language". of course, it's a magazine, they don't use the same language as you'd find in a peer-reviewed journal article. the entire point is that they're getting science across to a popular audience w/some modicum of intelligence. every article, for example, cites peer-reviewed journal articles for people more interested in the topic. and it almost never, to my knowledge, "sensationalizes" scientific discoveries.

wow we're off on another interesting but totally unrelated tangent (i thought we were talking about wanking on this thread?)

science mags - i have an issue:

what the fuck is with the astronomical subscriptions and the total lack of accessibility for people outside of academic organisations (i heard that joining the royal society of geographers or some such group only costs you £15 or so and can get you onto ingenta, athens and all that, but otherwise as an outsider i can't get access)

it's like a virtual ivory tower or something, totally blocking the free exchange of knowledge, and leaving us plebs with this sort of semi-digested rubbish in the mainstream press & at the mercy bad science from the corporates... :mad:
 

padraig (u.s.)

a monkey that will go ape
Surely I can criticise science magazines without making a living in, or being involved in academic science???

the point is that peer-reviewed journals are totally, completely different from popular science magazines. something like SciAm & the Journal of Cell Biology (or whatever) have naught to do with each other except insomuch as any research must be published in a journal before it disseminates down to various strata of the media. peer-reviewed articles aren't "journalism". I'm perfectly fine with people making valid criticisms of the way science is reported on in the media - there are many, after all, to be made. I'm just against conflating "reporting on science" with peer-reviewed journals.

so, no, you can't really criticize peer-reviewed journals without being in academic science (of some kind, including the social sciences) & having familiarity w/them, but you can definitely criticize popular science magazines, if you like. I don't have to take your criticisms seriously, mind.

what the fuck is with the astronomical subscriptions and the total lack of accessibility for people outside of academic organisations

totally valid complaint. I dunno really know enough about it to say - the obv thing that comes to mind is the likely lack of general interest, I just can't see a wide swathe of the public clamoring to get access to academic journals (maybe I'm wrong though, who knows...)
 

grizzleb

Well-known member
Here's what I'm talking about. It's maybe more to do with the kind of silly language that is used than anything else but I go onto the same mag I read's website

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=the-power-to-persuade

* Some people are masters of “supersuasion,” but the skill is not inborn; their techniques can be taught to anyone.
* Humor is the key, especially if it catches your listeners off guard, leaving them laughing and open to suggestion.
* Make people believe you have their best interests at heart, and you can persuade them to do almost anything.

It's just rubbish. 'Supersuasion'???
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
"My brother's fiancee is one of those ridiculously good looking people who gets slack-jawed stares wherever she goes. (She's Polish and Native American and has bright green eyes and very dark skin...she's like a prettier version of Lisa Edelstein) And she has the best body I've ever seen in my life. (My brother's this huge doofy obnoxious guy, I don't know how he ended up with her. She told me she likes him because he's smart! Which really made me chuckle. Anyway...)"
Huge penis?
 

swears

preppy-kei
I should think this kind of attitude is on the way out though, as more women get into well-paid professional roles...

It's the women in well paid jobs who expect the gold card treatment the most.

I'm fucked if my gf gets a good position after uni. (Or not, as the case may be)
 

padraig (u.s.)

a monkey that will go ape
It's just rubbish

well, clearly one article with a stupid word in it disqualifies the entire idea of popular science magazines. I stand corrected. I'm not surprised you picked a social psychology-type article to ridicule, being that's it a field often given over to an excess of silliness. however, if you take 5 minutes it's not very hard to find more serious entries on protein folding or the biochemical processes affecting memory. is there some rubbish? of course. and some silly titles. things are imperfect. in an ideal world it wouldn't be so difficult to communicate science to non-scientists in an interesting way that doesn't lose something in translation.

I'm pretty sure dudes like Carl Sagan & Richard Feynman (as well as, of course, your own David Attenbourough) would've disagreed with you about the importance of popular science but, again, you're entitled to your dislikes.
 
Last edited:

nomadthethird

more issues than Time mag
Was I doing that? I have read journals before too. Doesn't make you a fucking genius to do so...

Here's where I'm going to get snooty and say that, yeah, ok, maybe some of the general population is educated and has the knowledge basis necessary to interpret scientific journal articles. But the vast majority don't.

In fact, it's hard for most scientists to properly interpret stuff published in journals outside of their field of specialty.

Like, look up anything in the journal Plant Physiology or Molecular Genetics or Nuclear Medicine & Biology and tell me you have a damn clue what it's about, and I won't believe you for a second.

Huge penis?

I wouldn't know. But I have heard some legends.
 

padraig (u.s.)

a monkey that will go ape
In fact, it's hard for most scientists to properly interpret stuff published in journals outside of their field of specialty.

this is a pretty key point. journals are niche even in the world of science. you actually do have to a fair bit of training to get through them. not a graduate degree or anything, but a solid grounding in whatever you're looking at. maybe not the social sciences quite as much. in my - limited - experience people pretty much stick to what's relevant to their own work when it comes to peer-reviewed journals.
 

grizzleb

Well-known member
What I wasn't saying was that science journalism was pointless, just that it is quite often done very badly, that's what i was getting at when I said that popular science annoyed me. It's probably significant that the magazine I read was the 'MIND' one, where there's probably alot more fruity stuff in there. Also, yes, science journals are difficult and I don't read them before bed. Tbh I've only read a few articles about stuff I was actively interested in, so you're probably right.That doesn't mean that they are always off limits to a reasonably intelligent person who knows a bit about what they are reading, and can understand that everything doesn't have to come in neat little packages. Anyway, you two love feelin' good cause you're scientists haha. I'm just going to spit the dummy and go back to my origins of british welfare policy. :p
 

grizzleb

Well-known member
I mean I'd rather read something and leave it thinking "I didn't quite understand this bit" rather than "why did they make these claims as if they were fact". It's really just a dislike for over-simplification and the idea that the common man can't rationally deal with things they don't fully understand. It's the paternalism I object to. Anyways....
 

nomadthethird

more issues than Time mag

That one's particularly bad, but it's also really beligerently made up. Usually they contain some kernel of truth that makes it even more galling that they actually published such misleading crap.

Then you realize, this is probably the writer doing the best they can to interpret science with what they've got going on upstairs. And you can't really be angry, just disappointed.
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Haha, "This article is subject to a Press Complaints Commission complaint".

For a 'quality' paper, I've noticed before that the Times has particularly bad science reporting.
 

zhao

there are no accidents
that article is plainly false. we all know blondes are dumber than people with other hair color.
 

nomadthethird

more issues than Time mag
that article is plainly false. we all know blondes are dumber than people with other hair color.

Yeah, seeing as blondes are "self-selected" (since only about 2% of the world's adult population has naturally blond hair), this could be true. Provided that the people choosing to dye their hair blond are all stupid, of course.
 

zhao

there are no accidents
only 2%? didn't know that. perhaps some kind of economic law of rarity is somehow applicable in explaining the trait's desireability?

and above statement does not apply to my GF. who is a blonde redhead anyway.
 
Top