Science in society

How scientific choices need to be made, bearing in mind the effect it could have to society

The importance of accurate online medical information and what you can do about it

It is common for people to search for health information online. Indeed over 60% do so per year, and only 2% of them will use sites requiring payment. Searches range from specific questions about drugs and procedures, to how to interpret test results. More than half state that the information they found influenced a medical decision, and over a third don’t follow up their internet searches by consulting a doctor. The accuracy of free online medical information is therefore pretty important for public health. Of the competing free sources online, traffic to Wikipedia’s heath content is the highest (with only the American NIH coming close). And it’s not only the general public. Unsurprisingly, Wikipedia’s medical pages are used by 95% of medical students, but also over by half of practicing clinicians. Read more [...]
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Barcelona attacks: Twelve of our own kind

Many public statements condemning the recent attacks in Barcelona—which saw a van trample over people in La Ramblas on a crowded summer evening—aim to disregard the terrorists by classifying them as “mere murderers”, “crude criminals” or other similar insults. The following analogy may sound harsh, however it seems to me that this strategy is as mistaken. And it is equally dangerous to one that brands a man who murders his wife as someone mentally disturbed. In both cases the goal is to reduce the perpetrator to a condition of irrationality. And in doing so refusing to comprehend the complex structure of radicalisation. Read more [...]
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Scientific Evidence about vaccines and the EU Court

A controversial European Union court decision about vaccines raises two interesting scientific questions: How do scientists decide whether vaccines can cause conditions such as autism or multiple sclerosis? And how certain can they be when they make their conclusions? Recently news outlets ran headlines saying that the highest court of the European Union ruled, “Vaccines can be blamed for illnesses without proof” or “without scientific evidence.” But the EU court decision is a bit more complex than the headlines claim. In this piece of investigative journalism, Vanessa Schipani examines the case. Read more [...]
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Artist Olafur Eliasson on art, science and environmental consciousness

I believe art can offer people direct experiences of phenomena … I feel that this is an important step towards motivating people not just to know something but also to respond to it, to feel the urgency of it and to take action. Read more [...]
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A Call for a New Theology for the Modern Age

We cannot go into the future carrying with us the fellow traveller of ancient religions. The time has come for a new form of theology, which is in line with our mathematical understanding of the world. In this opinion piece, mathematician and author Chris Ransford, takes us by the hand on the path to reinventing a new way of looking at God and religion, taking into account our current understanding of the mathematical world to analysis the concept of God. Read more [...]
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Helena González: a stand-up comedian with a scientific flavour

Stand up comedy is very popular. Yet, when Helena González decided this could be a way for her to engage the public about her own research topic, she did not know how the public would respond. Together with colleagues from Big Van Science, she took to the stage back in 2013 and has not left since. Find out more how to turn life in a lab into the most compelling show. Read more [...]
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Lance Dann: behind the scenes of the Blood Culture podcast

There is innovation in the podcast world. The new audio and digital media drama series Blood Culture is case in point, as it goes beyond traditional borders of podcasting by encompassing website, film, life discussion with scientific experts and even and SMS text game. Find out from the mouth of his producer, Lance Dann how this bio-medical thriller series came about. Initially centred on the concept of blood research, it explores people's anxieties of the marketisation of the human body, exploitation of Millennial interns and the pervasiveness of corporate control in our everyday lives. The series results from a combination between creative practice and science, with experts and scientists contributing throughout the development of the narrative. Read more [...]
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Darren Sugrue: the art of crafting science thrillers

Irish author Darren Sugrue talks about how his own experience as a scientist has had an influence on his writing. His novels also reveal a fine analysis of differences between characters from Ireland and The Netherlands, giving his work the level of depth that European readers will enjoy. In this interview with EuroScientist, Sugrue shares his perspective on how science can fit in nicely in works of fictions, as long as it is credible enough to add to the suspense and make for a compelling read. Read more [...]
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Lorenz Adlung: slam poetry makes science more accessible

Lorenz Adlung did not go unnoticed when he took part in the March for Science in Heidelberg, on 22nd April 2017. In this interview, he shares his passion for communicating science in less conventional ways. He also explains his aspiration to associate a wider audience to his scientific journey, and argues why it matters that others follow suit. Included at the end are some samples in German and English of his poetic slams. Read more [...]
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A pan-European Scientists’ Community Promoting an Open Science in an Open World

The 2nd Homo scientificus europaeus Meeting will be organized at the Ateneu Barcelones on 16 May 2017. Its aim is to foster the creation of a large pan-European community of citizen-scientists supporting the new social contract between science and society. In the morning, representatives of grassroots associations and organisers of March-for-Science from across Europe will discuss national initiatives. They will lead to discussions about their convergence. The afternoon will focus on the concept of Science Open to Society and will feature scientists from Barcelona. The meeting, which will be streamed live on the internet to ensure a broad reach. It will conclude with a general debate on how to proceed for promoting an Open Science in an Open World. Read more [...]
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South Africa’s Forgotten Dead

Every year, thousands of people are murdered in South Africa, at a rate that has been steadily increasing over the past three years. On average, some 50 people a day fall victim to violence at the hands of those motivated by rage, opportunity, or some dark compulsion it is difficult for others to imagine. In this three part series of investigative journalism, Sarah Wild explores how forensic scientists work to try and identify people from the most vulnerable groups, including women, children, and particularly illegal immigrants, many of whom “come down into South Africa, and they die in a field and no one is looking”, according to one forensic scientist. She then explore how they eventually get buried. Read more [...]
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