slugnads’ adventures in wonderland: through the looking-glass(es)

Oh Frabjous Day! Time to slay some jabber-demons and admit it: I have, on occasion, been known to take photos in mirrors and through microscope lenses…and telescopes. And binoculars. …and it’s totally possible that at least one of my dissertation defense slides originated this way. But let’s get some methodology straight: “this way” doesn’t mean I…

Continue Reading

Interview tips

I’m not the sharpest tack in the box. De-mystifying science, the job of a science writer, is difficult for me because I am easily mystified. I feel comfortable in my world of wildlife biology, but when I venture out to cover physical science stories in chemistry, physics, etc., it’s pretty daunting. In these cases, the…

Continue Reading

Please don’t shake my head

This weekend I was telling someone about all the assignments we have taken on over the past weeks in SciCom — double earth quakes, oil eating bacteria, etc. He said, “Wow, you should be really smart by the time you write 10 months worth of articles on subjects like that.” I should be. Unfortunately, once…

Continue Reading
Silhouettes of the Oberlin family

It doesn’t allow for psychoanalysis

My science career was in social psychology. It’s a field full of individuals, but a common motivation I found I shared with many of my colleagues is a serious understanding and critique of stereotypes, prejudice and discrimination. These topics are the core of the field, and one of our best tales of success in applying…

Continue Reading
Source: HMC Spring 2010 Bulletin

How often is science distorted in the media?

You know you’re back in college when conversations start, “So, what are you studying?” But when I replied to this question at a recent dinner gathering of fellow grad students, I got an unexpected response.  I explained that I was learning how to communicate science to the general public, but a computer engineer offered this…

Continue Reading

Crowdsourcing Science

Can science be crowdsourced? That is, can scientists turn to the average citizen for help in collecting data? Earlier this week, Genomes Unzipped, a group of genetics-savvy bloggers, announced that its 12 members had made the results of their direct-to-consumer genetic tests freely available online. Members of another group, the Personal Genomes Project , have…

Continue Reading

Slugs Lede 3-1

After class on on Tuesday, I had an epiphany. We had each submitted a delayed lede for a story covering Terry Hazen’s talk about bioremediation in the Gulf of Mexico. In class, Ken projected them all on the board, and critiques them one by one. I has struggled with my lede for a simple reason:…

Continue Reading
A writing robot. Lacks personality. Credit: Mirko Tobias Schaefer, http://www.flickr.com/photos/gastev/2174504149/

From ‘science-robot’ to science writing cyborg

Whenever I have to write about science in detail, or explain a concept, I find that I default to ‘science-robot’ mode. I write in very dry, technical terms, just getting all the facts in there. And I end up with something that, while technically correct and factually accurate, no one could possibly read without his…

Continue Reading

tales of a twitterpated writer

The Story By William Blake-Drake Story! Story! yet to write In the newsrooms of the night, What nocturnal journalist Could frame thy lede and nutgraf/gist? In what distant source or two Burn the quotes I need for you? On what site dare facts reside? What the Google, at my side? And what structure, and what…

Continue Reading