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Posts Tagged "communication"

Anecdotes from the Archive

Airborne Scouts, 1915

Aircraft scouts: Before two-way radio was developed, it was suggested that an Edison recording machine might be useful for airplane observers. Image: Scientific American, February 20, 1915

Reported in Scientific American, This Week in World War I: February 20, 1915 The usefulness of scouting from the air had been demonstrated in the early days of the Great War. But gathering information from an airplane is one thing; it is another thing to give that information to people on the ground who could [...]

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Anthropology in Practice

Share This: Chain Letters and Social Networks

Photo by Liz West. CC; Click on image for license and information.

Did you hear about the seventeen year old girl who was pushed into an open manhole by bullies in her school? Her name was Carmen and she had made up her mind to tell someone that she was being bullied, but she didn’t get a chance. During a fire drill the bullies kept crowding her [...]

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Anthropology in Practice

The Psychology of Sexting

Photo by Jonas Seaman | CC, Click on image for license and information.

For those of us old enough to remember the deluge of “A/S/L?” messages that predominated the chatroom landscape of the nineties, sexting hardly seems that scandalous. Considering the murky exchanges that often ensued once A/S/L had been satisfied and body measurements had been exchanged, it’s a wonder that we stopped touching ourselves long enough do [...]

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Anthropology in Practice

Don’t read the comments! (Why do we read the online comments when we know they’ll be bad?)

Why did he read the comments? | CC, Photo by Troublemakers, Inc. Click on image for license and information.

One of the best things about the web is that it allows people to share ideas across boundaries. Right at this very moment, there could be someone from Saudi Arabia and Peru and Australia reading this article—and as a writer that is immensely cool. However, there’s no obligation for all three of those folks to [...]

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Anthropology in Practice

Why Are We Signing Our Emails With “Thank You”?

When was the last time you used some variation of the phrase “Thank you”? At the coffee shop this morning? While you were having dinner last night? Because someone held the elevator for you? How about online? Have you used it to sign an email recently? Did you intentionally not use that phrase? And did [...]

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Anthropology in Practice

Talking With Our Hands: The Significance of Gestures

This post originally appeared on Anthropology in Practice on December 6th, 2010. New Yorkers are hand talkers. We often use gestures to add emphasis to our conversations; from pointing to direct tourists, or waving to demonstrate our exasperation with traffic, drivers, or pedestrians, or trying to interject—because New Yorkers don’t interrupt!—we gesticulate. We’re not the [...]

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Anthropology in Practice

Save the Date for the First #NYCSciTweetUp of 2012

That’s right! After a bit of a delay, the #NYCSciTweetUp is back! Save the date for March 29th, at the Peculier Pub in NYC. Updated details will be posted on the Facebook page (as they always are). And as per the norm, for more information you can always: Read “What Is: #NYCSciTweetUp” Follow the #NYCSciTweetUp hashtag on Twitter [...]

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Dog Spies

Three Ways Dogs Fail At Halloween

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Halloween is a peculiar holiday, especially for dogs. We two-legged beings all look different, and what’s with the constant doorbell-ringing? Weren’t you just here. Oh, I’m sorry. You’re Batman. He-Man was just here. My bad. I’ll keep barking. Dogs don’t exactly excel at Halloween, and here’s the lowdown on dogs, costumes, tricks, and treats. 1) [...]

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Expeditions

Call of the Orangutan: The Importance of Play

Suci breastfeeding 3-year-old Siboy, who must still be carried by his mother while traveling through the canopy. (Photo: James Askew)

The past couple of months have been excellent for our data collection, as we’ve encountered a number of parties of orangutans. This is a more common occurrence in the high productivity forests of Sumatra, where we’re working, than on Borneo, where animals tend to be much more dispersed due to limitations in food availability. For [...]

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Frontiers for Young Minds

Aiming Too High (Or Too Low) When Communicating Science

Slide1

I recently had the opportunity to take part in a workshop for researchers about communicating science to the public. At one point the speaker suggested that the first step for anyone would be to learn how to translate scientific concepts so that a child would be able to understand them. When one of the researchers [...]

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Guest Blog

How Designers Can Improve Health Care for Everyone

Designers craft experiences that function with humans, not in spite of them.

The last place anyone expects to find a designer is in a hospital, clinic or operating room, but those are exactly the spaces where I embed myself. My first step toward this world occurred when I made fourteen paintings of microorganisms that explored the relationship between human development and disease. I was a sophomore at [...]

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Guest Blog

Effective Communication, Better Science

science communication

Science communication is part of a scientist’s everyday life. Scientists must give talks, write papers and proposals, communicate with a variety of audiences, and educate others. Thus to be successful, regardless of field or career path, scientists must learn how to communicate. Moreover, scientists must learn how to communicate effectively. In other words, to be [...]

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Guest Blog

Vilifying Parents Who Don’t Vaccinate Their Kids Is Counterproductive

Credit:  JD Hancock/Flickr

The ongoing measles outbreak in the U.S., which has spread to 14 states, has provoked a rising vilification of parents who refuse to vaccinate their children. This vilification is understandable, but it’s also potentially dangerous. Many who are being castigated aren’t changing their minds. Under attack, they are instead defending their choices more fiercely and [...]

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Guest Blog

The Frustrations of Being Scientifically Literate

Life's dirty little secret. (Credit: Debaird via Flickr)

Editors note: Craig Fay will be appearing live at the Laughing Devil Comedy Festival in New York City May 14-18. Here’s a theory for you: ignorance is bliss. If that’s true then being scientifically literate has got to be one of the most miserable and frustrating things possible. And when you think about it that [...]

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Guest Blog

Poor risk communication in Japan is making the risk much worse

The radiation crisis in Japan worsens for two reasons: one that we’ve heard about, one that we haven’t but which may in the end do far more harm. The Japanese government, and the company in charge of the crippled nuclear complex, are struggling with their risk and crisis communications, and their missteps are fueling mistrust [...]

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Guest Blog

You’ll believe anything you read online, won’t you?

In July, 2010, one corner of the blogosphere erupted with the seething, burning rage that online communities seem to have a unique ability to muster. The spark that lit bloggers’ fuse was a decision by SEED Media Group decision-makers to allow a team of writers from PepsiCo Inc. to operate a blog about nutrition and [...]

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Guest Blog

An arsenic-laced bad-news letter: Who is the audience for online post-publication peer review?

Dear Dr. Shanahan, Thank you for your application to the Summer Institute on Unicorn Science. We appreciate the effort that went into all of the applications. We received over 1,000 excellent submissions and had a very difficult decision to make. Unfortunately, we were only able to select 10 applications and yours was not among those [...]

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MIND Guest Blog

Chimps Will Share Their Lunch—but Only If They Like You

Chimpanzees have a lot to gain from climbing the social ladder. It now appears that lower-ranking male chimps strengthen bonds with their friends in high places by alerting them to some good eats. Researchers experimentally captured this communication—amounting to “hey buddy, there’s some food over here”—for the first time among a society of wild chimpanzees [...]

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MIND Guest Blog

The Dark Side of Power Posing: Cape or Kryptonite?

In 1942, the mild mannered Clark Kent excused himself from his friend Lois Lane to take an important call. Clark slipped into a phone booth (remember those?), and moments later Superman emerged. Have you ever wished that you had ability to step into a phone booth or bathroom for a minute to shed your insecurities [...]

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MIND Guest Blog

Read the Thoughts of a Boy with Autism

Reprinted with permission from SFARI.org, an editorially independent division of the Simons Foundation. (Find original story here.) The autism described in The Reason I Jump is quite different from the mostly social disorder that I, as a researcher and clinician, find in textbooks and journal articles. The new bestselling book, featuring the remarkable testimony of [...]

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Not bad science

A Meeting of Art and Science

640px-Haeckel_Actiniae

Art and science are usually held up as two opposing disciplines. However, arguably very similar abilities are needed to be an artist and a scientist: an ability to observe the world in detail, to perhaps notice things that other people don’t, to creatively come up with ideas and to draw novel connections. Biology has a [...]

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Not bad science

A Glimpse Into the Sexual Lives of Chimpanzees

No prizes for guessing what this chimpanzee might be trying to communicate

Brittany Fallon is a PhD candidate at the Université de Neuchâtel  who works on the Sonso chimpanzee community of the Budongo Forest Reserve in Uganda. Here she shares some of her insights into their sexual displays.   In today’s focal party, the main characters are Nambi, the Alpha female who engages in regular sexual relations [...]

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Not bad science

How city birds change their songs

I live in a relatively small town: the centre has three roads, no railway station and you can’t walk ten feet without running into someone you know. However, even in a small town like this you notice birds acting differently to how you might expect if they were in a more natural setting. For example, [...]

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Observations

Do Words Match Deeds for WhatsApp CEO?

WhatsApp

Before Jan Koum sold his company, WhatsApp, to Facebook for a mind-numbing $19 billion, he had a Post-It note affixed to his desk—put there by WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton—that set out the company’s philosophy: “No ads, no games, no gimmicks.” Facebook relies heavily on all three. The contrast between the business model and philosophy of [...]

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Observations

Tiny, Tree-Dwelling Primate Called Tarsier Sends and Receives Ultrasonic Calls

Let’s be honest: tarsiers look odd. Among the smallest of all primates, most species of tarsier would fit easily in the palm of your hand. They have long, slender, largely hairless tails and elongated fingers with knobby knuckles and mushroom-cap finger pads. To fully confront the tarsier’s bizarre anatomy, you must stare it in the [...]

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Observations

Does Science Need More Compelling Stories to Foster Public Trust?

doctor and chart

The touching stories that advocacy groups are so good at telling—the 49-year old mother whose breast cancer was detected by an early mammogram before it had spread; the 60-year-old neighbor who had a prostate tumor removed thanks to a routine PSA test—should inspire scientists to use anecdotes of their own, argue two doctors from the [...]

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Observations

The line between science and journalism is getting blurry….again

Human #1: "Hello, nice weather today, isn’t it?" Human #2: "Ummm…actually not. It’s a gray, cold, windy, rainy kind of day!" Many a joke depends on confusion about the meaning of language, as in the example above. But understanding the sources of such confusion is important in realms other than stand-up comedy, including in the [...]

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Observations

Plants cannot “think and remember,” but there’s nothing stupid about them: They’re shockingly sophisticated

New research shows that plants "can think and remember," according to a news story published this week. Plants can transmit information "from leaf to leaf in a very similar way to our own nervous systems," BBC News wrote. The article continues to assert that plants remember information and use "information encrypted in the light to [...]

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Observations

Slime mold validates efficiency of Tokyo rail network

slime mold network train tokyo

What do Tokyo commuter-rail designers and the slime mold Physarum polycephalum have in common? The two will build strikingly similar networks. A Japan-based research team found that if they placed bits of food (oat flakes) around a central Physarum in the same location as 36 outlying cities around Tokyo, the mold created a network connecting [...]

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