Saturday, December 1, 2012

Media Consumption 11/26/12-12/1/12

Curating links again this week for interesting things I recently read. But, be sure to check out Bora's picks and Ed's missing links too!

Cancer Pick
Can a Jellyfish Unlock the Secret of Immortality? – Nathaniel Rich for The New York Times and First we get proof of heaven; now the secret of immortality by Paul Raeburn for the Knight Science Journalism Tracker
Might seem like an odd choice for cancer story of the week, but I chose the jellyfish and Raeburn's great takedown because I think the ways that the Times article fails readers are important to take a look at. In my opinion Raeburn lays it out it perfectly when he says, "It's conceivable that hundreds or thousands of Times readers will get in touch with Kubota, desperately trying to save a dying parent, or a spouse, or themselves. They will come away empty-handed." Rich draws a parallel between cancer cells and jellyfish "immortality" and it's a dangerous one, creating false hope is a serious disservice to readers.

Science Pick
Yasser Arafat and the Mysteries of Polonium 210 – Deborah Blum for Elemental at Wired
I’m admittedly biased since Deborah was my advisor for my graduate program at UW-Madison, but I was really enthralled by her blog post about the issues surrounding the recent exhumation of former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and the claims that he was assassinated by Polonium 210. She just does a fantastic job putting things into context.

Writing Pick
Generalists and Specialists Can Coexist – Kathleen Raven on Science Tomorrow
Kathleen is one of the journalists that I’m working with on a panel discussion for the World Conference of Science Journalists in Helsinki in June 2013. Our panel, the Killer Science Journalists of the Future, tackles a lot of different issues being faced by new and young science writers. The issue of how journalists should be trained, and if or when to specialize is important and definitely something that could be debated. She even frames the issue around Nate Silver of election prediction fame.

Bonus Pick
Bigfoot DNA, because this is happening. Insert face palm here. And just one of many valiant debunking efforts, this one by Eric Berger for the Houston Chronicle

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