Facebook and and the Future of Science Communication
Facebook and similar social networking sites hold vast potential for reaching non-traditional audiences for science. As the NY Times reports today, Facebook has 25 million users and growing as the company plans bold new features and opens up its user base to almost anyone with an email account. Social networking sites are important new platforms for science communication since they facilitate two of the key strategies I have pushed in the past in reaching broader American audiences about science.
First, they have the potential to facilitate incidental exposure, in other words they can reach non-traditional audiences with content about science in an online space where they are not otherwise looking for it. Facebook takes on the big problems of choice and audience preference gaps in reaching the wider public.
Second, users with an interest in and enthusiasm for science can serve as "science navigators" or opinion-leaders, passing on information to friends about new science-related events or issues in science, recruiting friends to participate in science-related activities or campaigns.
There is already a fertile network of "Common Interest-Science" groups on Facebook. And there is untapped potential for cross-cutting ties between these members and other content areas such as Politics, Current Events, Philosophy, Beliefs & Causes, and Religion & Spirituality. (Indeed, sociologists who study boundary work could have a field day studying how the arbitrary lines we often draw in the "real world" between institutions and areas of knowledge are blurred at social networking sites.)
So here's an idea: How about official Facebook pages and groups for the Exploratorium, 2009: The Year of Science, NASA, AAAS, the National Academies or other scientific organizations?
Step inside the unlikely friendship of a former ACLU president and an ultra-conservative Supreme Court Justice.
- Former president of the ACLU Nadine Strossen and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia were unlikely friends. They debated each other at events all over the world, and because of that developed a deep and rewarding friendship – despite their immense differences.
- Scalia, a famous conservative, was invited to circles that were not his "home territory", such as the ACLU, to debate his views. Here, Strossen expresses her gratitude and respect for his commitment to the exchange of ideas.
- "It's really sad that people seem to think that if you disagree with somebody on some issues you can't be mutually respectful, you can't enjoy each other's company, you can't learn from each other and grow in yourself," says Strossen.
- The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily reflect the views of the Charles Koch Foundation, which encourages the expression of diverse viewpoints within a culture of civil discourse and mutual respect.
Learn how to redesign your job for maximum reward.
- Broaching the question "What is my purpose?" is daunting – it's a grandiose idea, but research can make it a little more approachable if work is where you find your meaning. It turns out you can redesign your job to have maximum purpose.
- There are 3 ways people find meaning at work, what Aaron Hurst calls the three elevations of impact. About a third of the population finds meaning at an individual level, from seeing the direct impact of their work on other people. Another third of people find their purpose at an organizational level. And the last third of people find meaning at a social level.
- "What's interesting about these three elevations of impact is they enable us to find meaning in any job if we approach it the right way. And it shows how accessible purpose can be when we take responsibility for it in our work," says Hurst.
Erik Verlinde has been compared to Einstein for completely rethinking the nature of gravity.
- The Dutch physicist Erik Verlinde's hypothesis describes gravity as an "emergent" force not fundamental.
- The scientist thinks his ideas describe the universe better than existing models, without resorting to "dark matter".
- While some question his previous papers, Verlinde is reworking his ideas as a full-fledged theory.
TuSimple, an autonomous trucking company, has also engaged in test programs with the United States Postal Service and Amazon.
PAUL RATJE / Contributor
- This week, UPS announced that it's working with autonomous trucking startup TuSimple on a pilot project to deliver cargo in Arizona using self-driving trucks.
- UPS has also acquired a minority stake in TuSimple.
- TuSimple hopes its trucks will be fully autonomous — without a human driver — by late 2020, though regulatory questions remain.