Stop. Breathe. Take a step back. This can all be incredibly overwhelming. Pick the fight that matters most to you and take a few days deciding what success looks like, what strategies will work, and what tactics are available to you. And then hoist your flag and get to work.
And when you meet someone fighting a different fight, remember to support them. There are already enough fronts to advance without taking friendly fire from our flanks.
What role should scientist play in correcting bad science, fake science, and pseudoscience presented in popular media? Here, we present a case study based on fake documentaries and discuss effective social media strategies for scientists who want to engage with the public on issues of bad science, pseudoscience, and fake science. We identify two tracks that scientists can use to maximize the broad dissemination of corrective and educational content: that of an audience builder or an expert resource. Finally, we suggests that scientists familiarize themselves with common sources of misinformation within their field, so that they can be better able to respond quickly when factually inaccurate content begins to spread.
The entire paper is published open access and written for a non-specialist audience. Please read, share, and enjoy.
This, incidentally, is the first of two papers this year that were funded, in part, through contributions from my Patreon patrons. To those who have contributed, an extra special Thank You!
All week I’m posting the first five chapters from my absurd work-in-progress, Breaching Blue. Check out Chapters 1, 2, 3, and4. This concludes our week long mermaid adventure. Enjoy. And, if you don’t enjoy, blame Shiffman.
The reef made them strong. Janthina no longer hesitated to swim above the sunbreak, to explore the illuminated waters above. Each morning, as the sunlight penetrated the twilight waters of the reef, Janthina would rise into the realm of light. The animals that lived in the sun were new. They were active, vibrant, powerful. They moved as if the whole ocean was theirs to command.
Janthina spied Tornus below. The arch of her back was unmistakable. She had grown into a powerful, confident mermaid, broad across the shoulders and strong. Resting on the seafloor, she look like nothing so much as a massive boulder. Tornus sat in a circle with Simnia, Luidia, and several others, fashioning spearheads from a pile of discarded stingray carcasses, their meal from the previous day. The long, jagged barbs were perfect for hunting. They could puncture the toughest scales and would remain lodged until their prey went limp.
The barbs were cheap. The spears, though, required great effort to prepare. The instructions for their manufacture were scattered across the reef. It took nearly a full lunar cycle for Tornus and her compatriots to find enough driftwood, another cycle to grind them down into long, sturdy shafts. They were solid and stout. There were none to spare.
All week I’m posting the first five chapters from my absurd work-in-progress, Breaching Blue. Check out Chapters 1, 2, and 3. Enjoy. And, if you don’t enjoy, blame Shiffman.
Clymene swam just below the sunbreak, testing the limits of her own courage. The reef was behind her, its unexplored pinnacles rising into sunlit waters. She cut a lazy circle around the coralline towers as she drifted upwards with each circuit. Luidia watched from a distance.
Clymene cast an elegant profile as Luidia looked up from her sentry. Her tail was long and graceful, slimmer than Janthina’s, with a broader fluke. Her arms were long and limber; her fingers reached nearly to her peduncle, where there powerful muscles of her tail met the wide blades of her fluke. Luidia admired her sister. Her own stumpy hands barely reached past her waist, and hers was a bulkier build. Luidia had one advantage over her more streamlined sister. The massive pelvic fins that sprung from the base of her tail were fantastically versatile, she could to pivot and turn with exceptional precision. Where Clymene was constantly frustrated by the tight narrow corridors they continued to discover within the reef, Luidia could traverse them with ease.