More Darwinius masillae Buzz: Ida Goes Google Logo
Matthew C. Nisbet, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Communication Studies, Public Policy, and Urban Affairs at Northeastern University. Nisbet studies the role of communication and advocacy in policymaking and public affairs, focusing on debates over over climate change, energy, and sustainability. Among awards and recognition, Nisbet has been a Visiting Shorenstein Fellow on Press, Politics, and Public Policy at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, a Health Policy Investigator at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and a Google Science Communication Fellow. In 2011, the editors at the journal Nature recommended Nisbet's research as “essential reading for anyone with a passing interest in the climate change debate,” and the New Republic highlighted his work as a “fascinating dissection of the shortcomings of climate activism."
Talk about "going broad" with a science communication strategy: If an open access journal article, a front page NY Times article, Good Morning America, and a two-hour History Channel documentary weren't enough, the "missing link" known as Ida now appears as today's logo at Google's search engine.
In the academic and professional fields of science communication, the story of Ida will be analyzed and debated for some time. At one level, as I explained yesterday, the innovative strategy and resources spent on popularizing this finding to a broader audience is exactly the type of method needed to reach a mass public in an age of fragmented audiences. Indeed, it's likely that Ida has been a major conversation starter at water coolers across the world. And "talking science" is a good thing, sparking incidental attention and interest in science that for some portion of this temporary audience will lead to a longer term engagement with science through the media.
Yet at a second level, as I also discussed yesterday, when this strategy is applied to promote a single study rather than a body of research or wider subject such as environmental science, there is the incentive and tendency towards hype. Put at risk then, is public trust and the communication capital of scientists and journalists. On this angle, the New Scientist has a good round up.
Both schizophrenics and people with a common personality type share similar brain patterns.
- A new study shows that people with a common personality type share brain activity with patients diagnosed with schizophrenia.
- The study gives insight into how the brain activity associated with mental illnesses relates to brain activity in healthy individuals.
- This finding not only improves our understanding of how the brain works but may one day be applied to treatments.
It's a development that could one day lead to much better treatments for osteoporosis, joint damage, and bone fractures.
- Scientists have isolated skeletal stem cells in adult and fetal bones for the first time.
- These cells could one day help treat damaged bone and cartilage.
- The team was able to grow skeletal stem cells from cells found within liposuctioned fat.
Gut bacteria play an important role in how you feel and think and how well your body fights off disease. New research shows that exercise can give your gut bacteria a boost.
- Two studies from the University of Illinois show that gut bacteria can be changed by exercise alone.
- Our understanding of how gut bacteria impacts our overall health is an emerging field, and this research sheds light on the many different ways exercise affects your body.
- Exercising to improve your gut bacteria will prevent diseases and encourage brain health.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.