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Five Science blogs for Non-Scientists 
19th-Oct-2009 08:40 pm
heart + stomach
The reason I opened the floor to questions is because there's something I've been wanted to try for a while - reactionary blogging. Occasionally people ask me something, and I think the best way to answer would be in one separate blog post, but then I forget, or it falls to the wayside or I just convince myself no one cares. And then I want to blog and can't think of anything to write about.

So I thought I'd try a series of 'Ask Debi' posts, that I've been meaning to do for a while, starting with this most recent question from the_croupier:

What would be awesome: an LJ post with a list of your fave science blogs best for non-scientists.

I read a lot of blogs by scientists. They're not always about science - Pharyungula, f'rinstance, is more a humanist blog than a scientific one, and while I do find it a useful blog to read, I wouldn't recommend it as a science blog. So these are blogs I nominate for their science content.

Incidentally, I misread 'fave' as 'five'. Which is why they're numbered as followed:

  1. Bad Science by Ben Goldacre should probably be on the reading list of anyone with a passing interest in science. Ben's a great writer who focuses a lot on the misrepresentation of science and the predominance of pseudoscience in the mainstream media, so you can see why I like him. He's occasionally too keen to criticise and is at risk of catching that disease that so many scientists in the public eye come down with -  smugness. However, he does make the attempt to be transparent with his assertions and I've always found his writing easy to draw facts from underneath the layer of narrative every writer is bound to use. I've been reading his book during my breaks at work, and that's also great at what it claims to do  - explaining science and dissecting ways in which it's misused and misrepresented.
  2. Science Women by Science Woman and Alice Pawley balances research based blogging - geoscience and engineering  - with political issues surrounding being women in science and educating children and women in science.
  3. Tetrapod Zoology by Darren Naish is a natural history based blog - my blogroll generally is that or medicine - which has the rather narrow focus on tetrapod vertebrates. Still, that's enough to provide regular detailed posts about animals that may be topical, or just may be plain cool. Darren talks to scientists, but he talks about macrozoology and I generally assume most people have enough grounding in that.
  4. davegodfrey has a life at the moment, and that's why his front page is mostly twitter. BUT. When he is on form he's top notch at explaining science - palaeontology mostly, and that's no bad thing. In fact, if anyone ever wonders why I haven't talked about something, it's usually because Dave's done it much better over in his space. Also, he's a great guy.
  5. The Lay Scientist by Martin Robbins and guests focuses on the conflict with the skeptic movement and pseudoscience in the mainstream media, although it also coveres other topical science issues.
19th-Oct-2009 08:19 pm (UTC)
Such links are always welcome and always timely. I found the following story today on, of all things, a baseball blog:

"So I go to the science museum with the kids yesterday. They have this feature where, via a gigantic lever, a person can lift up a full-sized car. My five year-old daughter and four year-old boy think it's awesome. When they ask me how they could lift a car, I tell them that the thing attached to the car and the rope is a lever, and that while the reasons are kind of complicated, it's basically a machine that helps people move heavy things. They accept that, later talking about 'the machine that helped them lift a car.' A few minutes after the kids used it, some full-grown adults of the redneck persuasion lift the car. Overheard: 'there's gotta be some trick to this thing.' Also overheard was a sentence that had 'one of them optical illusions' in it.

"Question of the day: are we sliding back into a dark age in which science is viewed as magic -- and in some cases sorcery -- or did we never truly leave the dark ages in the first place?"

It's an uphill battle, and every little bit of knowledge helps.
19th-Oct-2009 11:02 pm (UTC)
*blushes* and feels he really ought to find something to write about.
20th-Oct-2009 12:15 am (UTC)

Thanks for doing this. I'm looking forward to checking them out. =)
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