The plight of the tireless scientists…

A few weeks ago (after a particularly distasteful incident with what can only be described as an anti-science nutcase) I wrote a post relaying the incident. I wrote it immediately after the exchange had taken place and, while I had done my best to temper my response, reading it now I feel I may have moderated it a touch more.

While I still fully agree with my original reaction and viewpoint, I did throw the word “idiot” around quite a lot. And while that sentiment may be accurate, it is not for me to label or judge. I’ll leave that to the actions of those themselves.

Upon rereading my post, I realize it is not just the individuals themselves that tire me with their ignorance, it’s the massive gap between the public understanding of science and the actual science itself that causes the problem. Despite the best efforts of organizations such as PUB (Public Understanding of Biotechnology), the masses sometime simply do not understand, mostly because no effort has been made to properly explain it to them.

Enter the countless “watchdog” agencies and organizations which protest GMOs and vaccines and anything that sounds a little too evil. All most of them manage to do, is muddy the waters, confuse the masses and give scientists a bad reputation. I’ve always been outspoken about the misunderstanding of science and the fallacies spread by the agents against it.

Up until now, my reactions have always been tainted with annoyance. Understandably. Science is something I feel very strongly about, it piques my interest and it’s part of my daily job. I don’t mind when people get it wrong, but why do they scoff at attempts to help them get it right? But I digress.

Bottom line, I need to find a way to get involved in developing and promoting the understanding of science by the public. Not just on the superficial levels. I mean really get stuck in and help chip away at the “evil scientist” image that seems to be so prevalent lately.

Now, to figure out where and how to start my crusade….

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Anti-science morons and the people that will be the end of us

I’m writing this post on the fly, so excuse any lack of elegance in my writing (espcially the title…).

I just had a lengthy exchange with an anti-vaccine, anti-GMO, anti-science nutter all the way from the UK. The exchange ended up with her calling me a “misinformed twat who believes in fairytales”. Now – for those who don’t know me or haven’t read my bio – I hold a Masters degree in biotechnology and currently work in a virology research laboratory. So while I’m no PhD, Nobel prize-winning scientist, I do know my genes from my Levis and my science from my quackery.

Below a tweet-by-tweet account of my exchange with the quack. It started with my tweeting of a link about the new HPV vaccine finishing up its clinical trial.

I received this reply (I do not follow this woman at all and I’m quite unsure as to where she found me on the Twittersphere) The cretin in question is @ursulariches if you want to go look for her on Twitter. I’m pretty sure she just blocked me. I also think she deleted the tweets directed at me. But too late, I have them all right here…

Admittedly, I was more annoyed towards the end of the exchange than I should have been. The woman is clearly a loon and a troll. Her lack of sensible reply or willingness to discuss anything rationally coupled with her insulting and blocking me really tells me all I need to know. And I know I shouldn’t waste my energy on these idiots.

But the problem is, these idiots are everywhere.

The make me feel so very, very tired. They  may very well be the end of us one day.

Get the Scoop(.it)

I’ve recently discovered an interesting website called Scoop.it. Now, I know it’s probably old news for most. I’ve seen it in my Twitter timeline occasionally but it’s always been on of those things that you notice but never actually make the effort of checking it out. A few weeks ago, I made that effort and have since been obsessed.

If you’re unfamiliar with it, Scoop.it, it’s a sit that allows you to “scoop” and curate interesting articles you come across during your hours of surfing the ol’ net. You can create Topics under which you sort these little nuggets under and using the Scoop.it! bookmarklet that installs to your web browser, anything you read can instantly be “scooped” to your page.

My Twitter followers might have noticed the sudden additions of very sciency stuff to my timeline. This is another useful feature of Scoop.it. You can link your social media accounts (e.g Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, LinkedIn etc) to your page and with each scoop, choose which (if any) accounts you want the scoop shared with.

It’s like Pinterest for nerds. But instead of pinning pictures, you collect and share articles.

I currently have two Scoop.it topics running, a science and biotech focused one called Biology & Biotech Baubles and one all about wine called The Wine Glass.

That’s my contribution to the collective awareness of fun and epic stuff on the internet for today.

Rock the weekend.

M

P.S. This was by  no means an in-depth review of Scoop.it!. For more you can check out some reviews and articles here and here

Simplicity

I have no reluctance to say that I was a bright child. I also believe that I was incredibly insightful at a very young age. I’m not sure when that bit got lost. Possibly around the time the breasts appeared. And the accompanying hormones. Who knows. But I do often remember a thought I had quite early on, at the age of maybe 7 or 8, which now seems to have been exceptionally brilliant and understanding for that age. I remember thinking that I should keep a journal or write a book, but not of frivolous daily activities. Rather, an account of the joy found in simple things so that in future, I can be reminded what had made me happy.  Continue reading

Art of the Muses

“After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music” – Aldous Huxley

Halisi. Cerddoriaeth. Glazba. La musique. Musik. Musica. The word makes no difference as they all refer to the same language. Music. Derived from the Greek mousike meaning “the art of the Muses”. There are as many different forms of music as there are instruments it is played on. It defines nations, cultures and individuals alike. It can be organized, improvised or indeterminate; classical, popular, indigenous or folk. In whichever form, there is a beauty and a magic to it that, from it’s ability to stir emotions to a mathematical connection. Continue reading