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A few words for our sponsor : Comments

By Julian Cribb, published 8/4/2008

Sadly the dissemination of scientific findings is one of the lowest priorities on the agenda.

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The problem is bigger than science it encompasses just about every aspect of society.

Part of the challenge in communications is translating complex and often ephemeral ideas into cold, hard, digestible language.

There are a few science communicators who do this well and Dr Karl Kruszelnicki is one who springs to mind but too often these translators are frowned upon by people who want to keep the mystique surrounding science. Scientific papers, by design, avoid generalisations, they keep language impersonal and are the antithesis of journalistic writing; but in order to make those groundbreaking stories more accessible we need to make them short, tangible and colourful.

We lament the plethora of stories in the popular media about Britney or Paris but we never hear of those celebrities leveraging synergies or moving forward or having client-focused approaches.

The language that shrouds complex ideas in our society places those ideas out of the reach of people with below-par literacy skills or people who speak English as a second language. We confound, obfuscate and confuse and when all else fails it is easier to read some chewing-gum for the mind about a celebrity and their dependence on drugs than it is to read about the latest research for measuring fluctuations in gravity.

We have lost a generation of people or even more because we failed to fascinate them with science and now no matter how we package ideas they turn off. Itís almost Pavlovian; they donít want to be challenged, they are afraid of the unknown and they have been left behind.

It is the children who we need to be addressing, getting them fascinated with science and hooked on ideas, not only to grow the next generation of scientist but to build a community where knowledge and learning is revered.
Posted by Nigel from Jerrabomberra, Tuesday, 8 April 2008 2:21:14 PM
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Professor Julien Cribb, you write of science and a decade of regulation, managerial oppression, legal and commercial impediments, selfishness and peer discouragement. You refer to a forest of weeds that block the path of knowledge to society. In response I submit this situation is very damaging.

As you should be aware, for years I endeavoured to come forward with information warning about serious and general fish stock devastation and impact including higher fish prices and malnutrition and disease affecting Pacific islanders. But I have been gagged. Information of irrefutable substance has been suppressed. Science has been stifled, solutions ignored.

Has anything changed? To find out I now ask science to communicate, is there an eddy between Fraser Island and the Swain Reefs or is there not? At present an eddy is postulated to exist between Fraser and the Swains but scientific postulation has existed for years, apparently without confirmation. (Reference: Prof Ron Boyd, Newcastle Uni).

I submit the eddy exists and is a key mechanism spreading southern city and town sewage nutrient pollution transported by northerly flowing alongshore current, onto the GBR, into the Coral Sea and beyond. I submit northern farmers are blamed for nutrient pollution on the GBR but who can differentiate between southern city and northern rural nutrients? Solutions can not be found unless all pollution is totalled. Downstream Qld farmers can not pollute upstream NSW estuary seagrass.

Eastern Coral Sea traditional fish resources are devastated with impact including collapse of islander subsistence barter trade, protein deficiency malnutrition, disease, death, civil unrest and coup now costing Australia a fortune to police.

Nutrient pollution is proliferating algae, smothering coral followed by bleaching, damaging World Heritage GBR. Nutrient pollution is feeding epiphyte and algae growth, smothering estuary seagrass food web nursery with consequences including unprecedented marine animal starvation. Bigger fish are deprived of food. Sharks must be hungry and scavenge for alternative food. Shark attack on humans is linked right now to media call for nets and drum lines with even more impact on marine animal life.

Does the eddy confirm need to reduce ocean nutrient pollution or not?
Posted by JF Aus, Wednesday, 9 April 2008 9:05:42 AM
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