Lots of people have already written lots of great posts about the ScienceOnline2010 unconference already – you can see a list of them from this post of Bora’s (Thanks, Bora, for collecting these!), with lots of good analysis and observation (including these: ). I know I am a bit slow, but I just can’t let something so special go by without trying to add to the discussion.
For anyone not familiar with ScienceOnline, it is an unconference for anyone interested in science communication. I’ve blogged about it in the past, but I think the best descriptions of it come in posts by some of its organizers, Anton Zuiker, here, and Bora Zivkovic, here.
As I tried to figure out what I could add, it occurred to me that OpenHelix might have a cool dichotomy of ScienceOnline experiences. You see, I am a less-experienced blogger and I attended in person. Mary is a savvy blogger & she attended virtually. We are going to collaborate on a series of posts that cover various collections of topics associated with the conference. I hope this series is informative, interesting, and inspires you to join the conversation too!
Due to the luck of my local I again have the distinct pleasure of attending the ScienceOnline un conference. This is apparently the 4th year of the meeting, three of which OpenHelix has attended (both in person and virtually). Tonight was the kickoff event – dinner and a speaker at the RTP headquarters. For anyone who isn’t familiar with RTP, it stands for Research Triangle Park and it is a research collaboration/region in North Carolina. I have heard figures that this region is third in the nation (behind only San Fransisco & Boston) for volume of research. Our hosts did a nice job, the food & drink was pleasant & the venue allowed for extensive & enthusiastic mixing & conversing.
I heard a lot of good things about the pre-conference workshops – I should have arranged my schedule better so that I could have attended them. I guess there were a few wifi issues, but the people that I spoke to said most sessions were either well documented ahead of time, or were being well tweeted during. Anton said that tomorrow’s sessions will have wifi from the same guys doing the superbowl (I think) so there should be no troubles.
Tonight’s speaker was Michael Specter, a staff writer at The New Yorker and author of the book, “Denialism: How Irrational Thinking Hinders Scientific Progress, Harms the Planet, and Threatens Our Lives”. It was a good and amusing talk, and largely preached to the converted. I took his main point to be “use your head & help others to do the same. Most issues have two sides, if not 7 or 10 sides. But just because you don’t get it, or don’t like it, that’s not a reason to deny it exists”. According to him, a lot of people vilify him for what is & isn’t in the book. I haven’t read it so I can’t say, but I do agree that scientist need to get more involved in the conversation (we’ve posted on that before), and that science education should be good. I of course believe in education – it is what OpenHelix was founded to do!
EDIT from Mary: the twitter feed from the #scio10 tag is excellent. And reports are the recordings will be up Monday. We’ll link to them in subsequent posts.
A while back, we attended the North Carolina Science Blogging Conference (now named ScienceOnline) and I had a stream of thoughts about almost every thing I attended. It was a great conference, and we hope to attend next year. I wrote this post soon after, but never actually posted, so here it is because after rereading it, I still agree with myself (hey, that’s actually a less frequent occurrence than you’d expect). This was in response to a panel on Framing Science (I can not find the old site, which seems defunct now, with links to the forums, etc. If anyone has that archive, please let me know)
Let me say, I agree with the basic premise that citizens in society, media and the political realm need, unequivocally require, a better understanding of science. If there ever was an age that needs it, it’s now: climate change, personalized genomics, health care, stem-cell research, evolution in classrooms and so much more. I also agree with the basic premise behind the article in Science by Nisbet and Mooney (the latter of which was one of the panel members): Framing Science, it would be helpful to find scientists focusing more on how to make complex topics relevant to the public.
One of the premises of the first speaker of the panel mentioned above, Jennifer Jacquet of Shifting Baselines, seemed to be that as a society we were more scientifically literate, or at least aware, and that the media then was better reporting science in the era of Sputnik. I’m not so sure this is the case.:
“Nostalgia is like a grammar lesson: You find the present tense and the past perfect”
I recently met Karen James at the SBC. She is a scientist at The Natural History Museum, London and is also part of The HMS Beagle Project. That in itself is cool enough & I suggest you check out each of those entities, but in this blog I want to talk about something else she made me aware of: the Barcode of Life Data (BoLD) system. As I understand it, BoLD is a very cool data management system that allows the integration of DNA sequence data with its source specimen data for the documentation and analysis of both new and existing specimens in museum collections. Continue reading
Lots to report from the Science Blogging Conference. I have a stack of cards with notes and thoughts of things I want to do, things I want to report on and things I want to change or add to the blog here :). It was definitely a stimulating conference with lots of great people to meet.
Today’s my day off (having returned from the conference just yesterday and since it’s Martin Luther King day (daughter at home), but I wanted to get started. Tomorrow till have to be the longer post of my impressions and the things I learned. But before I go off today, I’d like to mention researchblogging.org…
We are here at the science blogging conference this morning. It starts in 30 minutes. I’m looking forward to attending several sessions. First one im attending is on “open science” or how the Internet has changed science. I just wrote a post about that :). The next session I’m going to will be on teaching science online. Then there is the making your blog more interactive. Last are the general sessions. I’ll report on them all later. Right now I’m testing out my iPhone blog posting interface
EDIT by Mary: I’m watching this conference remotely on UStream.tv from this link: http://ustream.tv/channel/waynesuttontv
We’ll be attending January 19th, Jennifer and I, so hope to see you there. We haven’t been ‘science blogging’ long (of course we’ve been doing and teaching science for quite a while :), but we are excited to be joining the ranks of other science bloggers and look forward to the conversation. We’ll be writing more about the conference as we approach the date (and of course after!).