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message 1: by Ibis3 (new)

Ibis3 | 23 comments Memoirs of an Addicted Brain A Neuroscientist Examines his Former Life on Drugs by Marc LewisMemoirs of an Addicted Brain: A Neuroscientist Examines his Former Life on Drugs

It's by a neuroscientist who became interested in the effects of drugs on the brain after being a drug user since the age of 15. An article and podcast interview can be found here: http://www.cbc.ca/books/2011/10/a-a-n...


message 2: by Kenny (new)

Kenny Chaffin (kennychaffin) | 590 comments Thanks for posting that Ibis3!


message 3: by Betsy, co-mod (new)

Betsy | 874 comments Mod
Has anyone read Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens our Future? It sounds interesting, but I'd like to give some more opinions on it.


message 4: by Kenny (new)

Kenny Chaffin (kennychaffin) | 590 comments I've not read it, but the concept is something that echos with me and I've been concerned about for many years.


message 5: by Betsy, co-mod (new)

Betsy | 874 comments Mod
It's got mixed reviews on GR, but it's so short it might be worth reading regardless.


message 6: by Kenny (new)

Kenny Chaffin (kennychaffin) | 590 comments Same mixed on Amazon, but mostly favorable....


message 7: by Tippy (new)

Tippy Jackson | 6 comments Betsy wrote: "Has anyone read Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens our Future? It sounds interesting, but I'd like to give some more opinions on it."

I was not impressed with it. Honestly, I don't think you'll find anything in this book that you don't already know. There are no good solutions offered for the problems presented and he doesn't even delve into "How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens our Future." There is no reason for that to be in the title, since the book offers no more than 2 or 3 sentences on the subject. As someone who works in informal science education, I was really hoping for more.

Essentially, here is the story: There is a rift between scientists and the public. (duh) This is because a. False dichotomy between religion and science b. sensationalist, dramatic media coverage isn't interested in long tedious research that often doesn't lead to an immediately relevant insight. c. scientists don't know how or don't have the desire to talk to people and are criticized if they do (example given, Carl Sagan). His solution? Scientists should be rewarded for talking to the media and we should teach scientists to communicate better, especially for the sensationalist media. Personally, I thought this was dumb, since I know many scientists who communicate perfectly well. I think the problem is that scientists don't want to talk to the media because their research or their words end up getting stretched and exaggerated.

Also, I question whether this should be the role of scientists or if science museums, magazines, blogs, websites and educators should be responsible for translating scientific publications to the masses. Also, it would probably help if everyone could have access to scientific documents without having to pay ridiculous amounts of money for every article they want to read.

Anyway, sorry for the rant. Hope this helps.


message 8: by Betsy, co-mod (new)

Betsy | 874 comments Mod
Tippy wrote: "Hope this helps."

It does, thanks. That's just the kind of insight I was looking for.


message 9: by Angus (new)

Angus Mcfarlane | 66 comments Tippy wrote: "Betsy wrote: "Has anyone read Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens our Future? It sounds interesting, but I'd like to give some more opinions on it."

I was not..."


A useful summary Tippy. The observations sound familiar but a shame the book did not offer anything more. There have been some interesting comments on science and public discourse in (Australian) newspaper articles recently. One article (by a sociologist) suggests that science gets taken beyond it's mandate, in areas of government policy for example. A related observation (by a historian) is that science is too easily given the benefit of the doubt, as religion once was, giving it a false reputation of infallibility. Sorry to be off topic somewhat.


message 10: by Betsy, co-mod (new)

Betsy | 874 comments Mod
I think it might be a useful discussion; maybe we should start a new topic somewhere. Does anyone know of any other books on the subject? Why is America scientifically illiterate and what can be done about it? Is it just America? Does the rest of the developed world suffer the same myopia? Is it even true?


message 11: by David (last edited Nov 01, 2011 04:52PM) (new)

David | 631 comments Mod
There are a few books on the subject:
Fool Me Twice: Fighting the Assault on Science in America looks like the best one, by far. It was published just last month.


message 12: by Betsy, co-mod (new)

Betsy | 874 comments Mod
Thanks, David, I've added that to one of my TBR lists.


message 13: by Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (last edited Nov 02, 2011 01:29PM) (new)

Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (SusannaG) | 266 comments Very useful, Tippy.

ETA: Fool Me Twice looks very interesting.


message 14: by Betsy, co-mod (new)

Betsy | 874 comments Mod
Interesting article about a book in progress re ongoing research on genes that in some situations (i.e. environments) seem to result in emotional disorders but in other environments have positive emotional results:

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/201...


message 15: by DeLene (new)

DeLene Beeland (tdelene) I've been skimming an advance galley of FRANKENSTEIN'S CAT: Cuddling Up to Biotech's Brave New Beasts -- it's quite interesting! Due for release on 3/12/13. It's all about animal biotech, from frivoulous projects to conservation uses to agricultural applications.

http://www.amazon.com/Frankensteins-C...


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Books mentioned in this topic

Memoirs of an Addicted Brain: A Neuroscientist Examines his Former Life on Drugs (other topics)
Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens our Future (other topics)
Fool Me Twice: Fighting the Assault on Science in America (other topics)