Tag Archives: science

It’s not a science journalism problem, it’s a journalism problem

Late last month, Martin Robbins wrote a fantastic spoof of science journalism for the Guardian’s website – This is a news website article about a scientific paper. In his subsequent commentary on the reaction to that spoof he wrote,

Science is all about process, context and community, but reporting concentrates on single people, projects and events … Hundreds of interesting things happen in science every week, and yet journalists from all over the media seem driven by a herd mentality that ensures only a handful of stories are covered. And they’re not even the most interesting stories in many

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Opinion: science should be protected from the cuts

It’s been a heady week for British science in the wake of the Nobel prize announcements.

British reproductive biologist Robert Edwards was awarded the prize for medicine for his role in developing the in-vitro fertilisation techniques that led to the world’s first “test-tube baby”. In the same awards, the prize for physics was given to a pair of Russian-born scientists, Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov, who we are lucky enough to have currently working at Manchester University. Incidentally, Geim is also an Ig Nobel laureate for developing an experiment in which he levitated a live frog using magnetic fields acting …

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LibLink: Evan Harris – Vince Cable’s science spending cuts: how harsh will they be?

This morning’s news that Vince Cable will announce in a speech today how the cuts to his Business, Innovation and Skills department will impact on science attracted a vigorous reaction from commenters on the Voice today.

Former Lib Dem MP Dr Evan Harris — whose Political Science blog for the Guardian has quickly established itself as essential reading — has contributed his throughts to the debate there. Evan, as Lib Dems will know well, is firmly on the social liberal ‘wing’ of the party (a staunch defender, for example, of higher taxes for the wealthiest), and has great credibility …

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BBC: Vince signals science funding cuts

The BBC reports:

Business Secretary Vince Cable is expected to signal a squeeze on public funding for scientific research. He will urge universities to do “more for less” and say taxpayers should only back research that has a commercial use or was academically outstanding.

Mr Cable’s London audience will be told the government “values” UK science and research and spends £4.3bn a year. Lord Rees, president of the Royal Society, said cutting science funding would be a false economy. Mr Cable’s speech comes ahead of next month’s Comprehensive Spending Review, which is likely to squeeze resources.

Well, these are the realities …

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Julian Huppert says all MPs should brush up on their science

Julian Huppert MP promoting scientific researchThe Independent today carries an interview with Julian Huppert, Liberal Democrat MP for Cambridge, who is also the only scientist in the House of Commons:

Julian Huppert, a research biochemist who became the Liberal Democrat MP for Cambridge at the last election, said he was alarmed at the lack of scientific knowledge among colleagues.

In an interview with The Independent, he also accused political leaders of paying “lip service” to the importance of scientific proof and warned that looming cuts

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Dr Julian Huppert MP’s maiden speech

Back when Cix was the main way of talking to other Lib Dems online, a tradition emerged of posting Lib Dem MPs’ maiden speeches so that people could read them and respond – a tradition LDV would like to continue. The first new Lib Dem MP to speak in the 2010 Parliament was Gordon Birtwistle, with Julian Huppert shortly after.

Dr Julian Huppert (Cambridge) (LD): Thank you for giving me this chance to speak so early in this Parliament, Mr Deputy Speaker. It is great to see you in the Chair. There has been a long succession of maiden speeches …

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LibLink: Evan Harris – Here comes the Lib Dem science

Over at TheEngineer.co.uk, Lib Dem science spokesman Evan Harris – the party’s star Twitterer – sets out the party’s policy on all things scientific. Here’s an excerpt:

We have long-argued that the UK has become over-reliant on the financial services as a foundation for growth; that a knowledge-intensive economy is not only more reliable, but also more rewarding and a better strategic base in the long-term. It is the scientist and the engineer who will ultimately develop and build the supply of clean energy we will need, the artificial organisms key to future biotech, or the robotics crucial to our

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Nick Clegg calls for reform of UK libel law

Nick Clegg has taken the opportunity of a speech today to the Royal Society – on the relationship between science and politics – to press for reform to the UK’s “stifling” libel laws. Here’s how the Press Gazette reports it:

There appears to be a growing political consensus that Britain’s libel laws are too waited in favour of rich claimants and money-grubbing lawyers. Today Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg is set to use a speech to the Royal Society to call for libel laws to be reformed, The Independent reports.

“Libel tourism is making a mockery of British justice,” Clegg

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CommentIsLinked@LDV … An Evan Harris double-bill: embryon research and BNP teacher ban

It’s not only Vince Cable who’s been all over the papers – the Lib Dems’ science spokesman Evan Harris also has his say today on two very different issues.

First up, in today’s Independent, animal-human hybrid embryo research which, says Evan equires three things to prosper: legal permission, good scientists and more funding. Here’s an excerpt from his article:

Those of us involved in campaigning for human-animal embryo research to be legal during the passage of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill always knew that this was a controversial area of research. But we also knew it was a

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