That “new breakthrough scientific discovery” you just read about on that news site/blog/Facebook page? It’s almost certainly wrong. This article from Vox is a seriously important thing that, if you care about science, you really need to read, like right now. 

My take: The tendency of the media to report on what is *NEW* in science is indicative of what I think is the largest perspective gap between scientists and nonscientists. 

The general public (<- apologies, I hate how homogenous that word is, because there is no single “general public”, but I have to use it here) seems to crave novelty and has a tendency to view every scientific finding as forward progress and individually meaningful, but science is a an ongoing process of self-correction and repetition. It doesn’t have an “end” and any single study is almost certainly wrong in that it is essentially impossible for one study to tell the full story.

This is why I have tried to steer clear of reporting on “breaking” science news in my own efforts here on OKTBS. Science communicators and journalists, we need to make a commitment to covering science as a process and not as a series of breakthroughs. When science IS reported that way, we run the risk of losing people’s trust when science later must later correct or contradict itself, which is something that will absolutely happen, because that’s what science does. We must also make people comfortable with the idea uncertainty and science-as-a-process is a good thing!

I’ll shut up now. Go read this.


GET TO KNOW ME MEME: [2/5] favorite actors : Joseph Gordon-Levitt

When I was a teenager, if anyone recognized me for anything I did, it would ruin my day. I couldn’t handle it. It was some sort of neurotic phobia. I guess I was paranoid that people would treat me differently, or in an unfair way, because of my job.

How to Cope with Uncertainty

1. Instead of worrying about the things that you CANT control, focus on the things you CAN control.

2. Develop an internal, rather than an external, locus of control. People who have an external locus of control see other people and events as being in control of their moods and destiny. That generally leads to unhappiness and a victim mentality. People with an internal locus of control see themselves as being the author of their life.  Thus, regardless of what happens, they still believe they choose their own responses and destiny.

3. When everything feels uncertain, prioritise and take control of the one or two things that are most important to you. For example, if you move away, the most important thing might be to find accommodation. If you are in debt, the most important thing might be to find a job.

4.  When it feels as if decisions are outside your control, keep making small decisions so you feel you have control - and are not just at the mercy of others or events. This can be something as small as choosing which new clothes to buy, or deciding where to go, or who to see, at the weekend.

5. Finally, remind yourself that even when things don’t go according to plan, there are usually other options that work out just as well. One answer or decision will rarely wreck your life!