This has been something that I have been meaning to write about for a long time, but between one thing and another it never happened. I have been spurred on to write this now as it has begun to dawn on me that people are beginning to use this as an example of the triumph of rationality in cultural institutions or is continuously trotted out as an example of how such institutions get science “wrong”.
Without doubt the best known science-related public relations initiative of the last few years was NASA’s Curiosity mission to Mars.
In recent years NASA has faced shrinking budgets, which in turn has led to a cessation of manned spaceflight within the US. Their focus has been on robotic missions to nearby planets, Messenger to Mercury, Juno to Jupiter and of course the three main Martian rover missions, Spirit, Opportunity and Curiosity.
Curiosity had an initial launch-date of September 2009 however, due to the late delivery of components, NASA delayed the launch (NASA 2011). This may have proved to be a boon in PR terms, as Curiosity was able to ride a zeitgeist of social media when it eventually landed in 2012.
This is a bit of a cross post from my blog (www.ickletayto.com) re: my upcoming panels at CONvergence in Minneapolis:
It’s all out geekery with books, films, radio plays, science, skepticism and party rooms.
I’m going to be on a number of panels, some of which are part of the SkepchickCon… So I’m super excited.
Here’s my “absolutely will be at as I am on the top table” schedule:
Thursday 4th July:
Never rains but it pours, and given that it is now April it is fitting that we have not one but two Dublin Skeptics events! Both will take place in the Exchange, 2 Exchange Street Upper.
Now we are going to engage in a little shameless self promotion.
Last year myself and Finn very much enjoyed the Saturday evening entertainments at QEDcon, including the first ever “Ockhams” or Skeptic Awards. As The Skeprechauns was not long into its revival we didn’t entertain the idea of being mentioned at all but this year is a different barrel of skeptical fish!
If you enjoy our podcast and think it deserves a nomination or a vote, please head to the Skeptic website (http://www.skeptic.org.uk/) and pop us into the Best Podcast catagory. Nominations close on 15th February 2013.
“We in Ireland we are proud of our reputation for creativity, for originality and for our unique and imaginative view of the world.”(Higgins, 2012)
This summer Ireland hosted the Euroscience Open Forum. This science conference had speakers from all aspects of the scientific community. From those who study the basic structure of the Universe, like Rolf-Dieter Heuer, to food specialists such as Hervé This. It is this diverse nature of science we need to communicate to the public.
There are a few blogs that I have in my RSS feed just to give me a bit of motivation with my own pet projects. One of these is the Time Management Ninja who recently blogged about 21 Signs You Are Failing At Time Management. Don’t get me wrong, these blogs (along with ones on frugality, creativity and decluttering) I read in an aspirational way and very little makes its way into my daily routine in any meaningful sense. It was that last post by TMN that really made me think about how apathetic I can be towards my skepticism. As listeners to the podcast will know, I find it easy to speak to my skepticism but much, much harder to write about it much less anything more involved. I am also under no illusions that I will ever have the where-with-all to organise something like the 1023 campaign or Project Barnum. I do find myself frustrated with how jaded I feel towards “our” cause at times. I do really feel like I am often up that creek without a paddle, so I thought I would air my 21 Signs You Are Jaded as a Skeptic in the hopes that I can reinvigorate my own passion for science, skepticism and critical thinking.
I have been lucky enough that I have been asked to give my talk “Confessions of a Former Help Food Shop Worker” in the UK twice this year.
Firstly for the Greater Manchester Skeptics in July, at which I had a great time! They are a great group of people and I just loved the amount of audience interaction. We had a good laugh, mostly at my expense but what else are the Irish good at if not self deprecation. Having been to QED Con twice now (have you bought your 2013 ticket yet?!) it was great to see the Mancunian Skeptics in a less hectic environment.
Somewhat annoyingly, we recently had to change the URL of the Skeprechauns’ Podcast, and despite all our best efforts at this end we were unable to get iTunes to start picking up the new feed. This has now been resolved but only by getting Apple to remove and resubmit the podcast. Bad news is that you will need to remove and resub the podcast from your iTunes program if you didn’t change it manually to the new feed (which is http://theskeprechauns.com/?feed=rss2)
Good news is we are now findable by searching in iTunes and show up directly here: http://www.itunes.com/podcast?id=562709976. Yay!
The next talk will take place on Sunday 15th July in the Exchange, Temple Bar.
Our Speaker on the night will be Martin Robbins a Berkshire-based researcher and science writer. He writes about science, pseudoscience and evidence-based politics… (Bio nicked from the Guardian website).
His talk will centre around the work he did last year tracking down homeopaths in East Africa for a documentary that’s in production at the moment.