June 28th, 2011
A screening of “Sizzle” at the World Conference on Science Journalism in Doha brought a great response from a lot of people from foreign countries who understood only part of what was said, but throughly appreciated the idea of a bringing a little humor to the driest topic on the planet. If only the American environmental movement had as good of a sense of humor as these folks.
THE BOYS FROM CAIRO: Me with my homies from Cairo University — a group of communications students who ate up every single word of, “SIzzle,” from start to finish at the World Conference on Science Journalism conference. Great guys who make you see why Mubarek had to go.
June 22nd, 2011
I said it last fall and I’ll say it again. The science and environmental communities suffer desperately from a lack of leadership skills. Plain and simple, eggheads and Nerd Loopers make lousy leaders. There is one voice that did manage to establish himself on the subject of climate change — Al Gore. He’s not the perfect voice, but he is a loud, clear voice. Bring him back and make him better. It’s that simple.
The climate community has a clear and powerful voice in Al Gore. When he speaks to Obama he is heard (as he is doing this month in Rolling Stone). Why in the world wouldn’t the entire climate crowd use him to their maximum ability?
June 20th, 2011
Encounters with a robotic anti-evolutionist.
A nice man when you talk to him at his local grocery store (but so was Hitler, probably).
Ben Stein, the funny man who made a movie saying Darwin and Hitler were soulmates (“Expelled,” 2008) shops at my local grocery store. I’ve seen him a couple times and wanted to say something, but never had the right circumstances. Yesterday evening I finally found myself in the store near closing time with it pretty much just him and me. I held off as best I could until I finally went out to the parking lot and there he was, parked next to my car loading his groceries into his trunk. As much as I hate accosting celebrities, I had to say something. Here’s roughly how it went.
June 16th, 2011
I know you’ll laugh, but this is actually a science topic presented by a very effective communicator. Hollywood special effects veteran, and my old buddy, Mike Backes gives you the scoop on dope.
WEED: I’m not any sort of pot crusader, but this is an excellent conversation packed full of details on a fascinating subject.
What a long, strange trip it’s been. A couple weeks ago I did a television interview for a show in which they were talking about people who had pulled off successful mid-career changes. They kept drilling me about whether it was worth it to change careers. All I could say was “you betcha.” It’s been truly fun and truly fascinating. And here’s one of my fondest memories — my friend Mike Backes who guided me during the most important parts of the journey, including steering me into the crazy acting class that formed the core of my book.
I met Mike in 1992 when he was Michael Crichton’s writing partner. We’re the same age, he has an undergrad degree in biology, is incredibly funny, incredibly smart, won a national pingpong championship in his youth, wrote the screenplay for Crichton’s movie, “Rising Sun,” played a major role in the special effects on “Jurassic Park,” and we became good buddies.
Over the years he developed an interest in medical marijuana and now, given his sharp science mind, he is a major expert and resource on the subject. Which makes you chuckle at first, but if you watch this video and get beyond the stoner culture to accepting that marijuana is a gargantuan industry in this country, and as he says, it is used ALWAYS in a medicinal way … I think you’ll find what he has to say interesting.
I’m not a big stoner (though I did eat a pot brownie recently at a Prince concert and visited outer space for a while), but I’m increasingly interested in public health issues, and given the enormity of the industry, this is without a doubt one of the biggest. What I found really fascinating was his comments about the international agreement on narcotics that prevents this country from ever legalizing marijuana.
June 14th, 2011
It’s time for The Shifties! The Shifting Baselines Videomaking Awards. After 6 years and 10 iterations of our 3 day intensive videomaking workshops for science students, our one man team of judges (me) has settled on the following awards, which bring with them no cash, no trophy, no fame, no fortune, but a large amount of admiration from myself and the other folks who have taken part in these workshops. These are all PSA’s that fight The Nerd Loop. GREAT WORK!
It’s the Shifty! The most uncoveted award in the world of science communication!
June 3rd, 2011
They translated my book into Korean! I have no earthly idea of what it says. The cover could say, “This is a book by a very confused man who used to be a scientist and probably should have stayed one.” I may be the laughing stock of the Korean science community. But at least the cover artwork seems to be sending the right signal.
Gooooooooo South Korea!
Don’t Be SUCH a South Korean Scientist!
Some things are internationally recognizable.