David Ropeik is a science journalist and consultant. He formerly taught at Harvard University, wrote a science column for the Boston Globe, and was a Knight Science Journalism Fellow at MIT. He is the author of Curing Cancerphobia.
To most journalists, a good story is defined in large measure by how much attention it will get. A story that makes page one, or leads the newscast, is […]
Will the people sounding dramatic warnings about the latest risk-du-jour ever realize that in some cases the fear they cause may well do more harm than whatever it is they’re […]
‘Personhood’, Environmentalism, and Hypocrisy. The disconnect between what we say and what we believe.
You listen in on a conversation among your conservative friends. “You know what I HATE,” says Rick. “I hate the government telling me what to do. I hate them […]
Have you seen “Miss Representation”, the documentary that challenges the sexist, demeaning way the information and entertainment media depict women? See it. It’s important, and spot on…even if it is […]
Suppose you have a disease…an incurable fatal disease…and a drug has just been approved that can treat that disease. The drug only works in about half the people who […]
For all their apparent differences, the Occupy Wall Street protestors and the Tea Party are far more alike than either side, or the punditocracy, would like to admit. There […]
We may like to think that “it’s just a game”, but rooting for our teams, and all the other groups to which we belong, is tied to nothing less than our very drive to survive.
The ground shook violently in L’Aquila, Italy, early in the morning of April 6, 2009, more violently than it had during the tremors the area had been experiencing for months. […]
A friend of mine posted a snarky comment on Facebook about how foolish FEMA sounds, announcing it’s preparing for the crash landing of a satellite somewhere this week. Somewhere […]
White-hot conservative and libertarian anger at the size and intrusiveness of government is getting a lot of attention these days. It seems so fierce, so single-minded; Let the federal […]
A potentially serious hurricane bears down on tens of millions of people in the Northeast. How will they respond? The psychology of risk perception suggests that some might be at risk not just from the weather itself but also from the danger that arises when our fears don’t match the facts.
The Fukushima nuclear disaster has offered the world a lot of important lessons. We can only hope that one of the most important…a lesson that’s staring us all in the […]
Four year-old Khafra was near death three days ago when he was brought to the refugee camp hospital. He was emaciated, his ribs showing through his taut dry […]
I’ve had an interesting conversation with a colleague the past few days about an earlier piece I wrote here, Cool Dudes, Hot Temps: The Climate Change Battle Will Get […]
What do Rush Limbaugh, John Boehner, James Inhofe, and George Will have in common? Several things. They are influential members of society, ‘elites’ who have a big effect on […]
What if you could radically reduce how many people get sick from foodborne diseases like e.coli and salmonella and norovirus; one American in six (48 million people) gets sick, […]
Funny thing about fear. By the time you feel it, your body is already quite busy keeping you safe.
Earlier this week I wrote a series of pieces (below, at Scientific American,Los Angeles Times) suggesting that society regulate (with lots of open and democratic discussion) the behavior of those […]
The evidence is overwhelming that declining vaccination rates are contributing to outbreaks of disease. What should we do about people who decline vaccination for themselves or their children?
The bulb wars burn brightly on. The members of the U.S. House who represent people for whom anti-government ideology burns more brightly than common sense have come back from […]
It is not overstating it to say that the world will be watching Washington these next couple weeks, nervously, since the global economy relies on the full faith and […]