Editor’s note: As we continue to invite bloggers out there in the wild to compose our monthly Blogroll column, Mitchell Antalek penned the February 2015 column.
Misinformation abounds, but bloggers are setting the record straight.
Science is often misrepresented — in advertising, in popular culture, and even in the press — and sometimes the facts don’t come out right. Ben Goldacre, who writes at Bad Science, describes his frustration regarding misleading press releases about scientific research. Indeed, it appears that sensationalism transcends all reporting disciplines. In an editorial in The BMJ, Goldacre addresses the issue of improving accountability in academic press releases.
Meanwhile the ever-watchful eyes of See Arr Oh, the pseudonymous blogger behind Just Like Cooking, caught a more whimsical example of bad science. The popular TV show Always Sunny aired an episode featuring some structures that eschew typical understandings of chemical bonding. See Arr Oh posits that “perhaps these ‘scientists’ should win a Nobel,” while coining the term “Wyoming nitrogen.”
There’s been a fair amount of recent discussion about how science is portrayed in respect to advertising decisions. Are terms like ‘non-GMO’ and ‘all-natural’ inherently loaded? Chad Jones, blogging and podcasting at The Collapsed Wavefunction, argues that while the intent of health ‘fads’ may be noble prima facie, they often devolve into dangerous pseudoscience. When hard facts come up against public relations, the facts are all too frequently abandoned.
On a final note, See Arr Oh, along with the rest of the chemblogging community, bid a heartfelt farewell to long-time contributors Carmen Drahl of Chemical and Engineering News and Paul Docherty of Totally Synthetic. Both Drahl and Docherty, without a doubt, helped to shape the chemistry blogosphere for the better while it was still in its infancy.