Monthly Archives : December 2009

Schooling Scientists on the Art of Improv

In yesterday’s NYT, I learned that Alan Alda has taught scientists how to use improvisational acting techniques so they can be better communicators. Alda explains: The idea is you can’t really communicate ideas unless you know what’s going on in the other person’s mind.

Why Some Science Blogs Rock

This is not the Donald Duck I grew up with! Oh, lordy, Carl Zimmer peels back the curtain on freaky duck sex. And not just the evolutionary scoop. He’s got slow motion video, too. All set up by this killer lede: There comes a time in every science writer’s career when one must write about…Continue Reading…

Looming Enviro Wars

During George W. Bush’s two terms, environmentalists and archaeologists complained (with justification) that the oil & gas industry was allowed to run roughshod over Western public lands. I wrote a bunch about this for numerous magazines, from Audubon and Mother Jones to High Country News and Archaeology. The same question arose in all these stories:…Continue Reading…

Journalism all Tanked Up

The reinvention of journalism in the digital age is happening, let there be no mistake about that. Yet, despite the promise of crowdsourcing, hyperlocals and even the Huffington Poacher, it’s not as if anyone has figured out how to make newspaper reporting as we know it economically viable on the web. Hence the unending stream…Continue Reading…

The Freebie Delusion

The LA Times has an amusing profile on Arianna Huffington, in which she said this howler: Our site is not built around the freebie. In the next breath, she also said this, apparently with a straight face: Our site is built around very hard-working editors and reporters who do all the curating and aggregating and…Continue Reading…

Copenhagen's Reality Show

In a short, snappy video interview with Nature, Stanford climatologist Stephen Schneider veers between hope, resignation, and realism. He makes a good case for what can be salvaged from Copenhagen, and why that matters. Along those lines, he offers this clever twist on an over-used phrase: We can’t let the perfect be the enemy of…Continue Reading…

Reviving Science Journalism

In recent years, as newspapers have severely downsized and/or gone under, much of the concern has focused on investigative reporting. But the call to action has been taken up by numerous foundations and individual donors, who have helped launch well-funded and well-staffed new media outlets, such as Pro Publica. There appears to be no such…Continue Reading…

Carter's Energy Speech

There’s an interesting exchange over at The Oil Drum about the legacy of President Carter’s infamous 1977 energy speech. For my money, this commenter (who also posts essays at The Oil Drum), is spot on: It is almost impossible to quantify the damage that this one speech did to the very real need for a…Continue Reading…

Proxy Climate Blogging

I’m not a fan of cross-posts, because it muddies the blog waters. So when environmental ethicist Ben Hale guest blogs for the Wonk room at the Center for American Progress¬† (CAP) or he’s cross-posting from Climate Progress to his own site, I have to wonder if this is an implicit endorsement of CAP’s views on…Continue Reading…

Don't Publish, or Perish

Should the Washington Post’s value as a newspaper be measured solely by the content on it’s op-ed pages? This seems to be the yardstick that Tim Lambert, a widely read climate blogger, uses in a current post, titled, The Washington Post can’t go out of business fast enough Now why would he wish that? Well,…Continue Reading…