Sunday, August 14, 2022

BIG Mouth

How to talk to a journalist who uses the term ‘climate change denier’

Dear Media Friends, PLEASE stop using phrases such as "the fight to stop climate change", "climate change deniers", and especially "climate denier". Seriously – you are embarrassing yourselves. Anyone who made it past Grade 6 or who pays minimal attention to the lessons of history should be aware that climate change is a naturally occurring process on this planet that cannot be stopped by humans. Of course, we should continue to work on developing strategies and technologies...

Wanted: intelligent humans who can string together a few sentences

BIG Media Ltd. is expanding to become a global platform, and in order to do so effectively, we need editorial contributors in all corners of the world. (Please note that we have good reason to believe that Earth is not flat, so the term "corners" is not to be taken literally.) We are looking for correspondents based in South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia/Oceania, and Antarctica. We are NOT looking for journalists trained in the traditional...

Reductio ad absurdum and the war of principles over abortion

On June 24, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Roe v Wade ruling, which had determined in 1973 that the Constitution of the United States generally protects the right to choose to have an abortion. It is speculated that about one-half of the U.S. states will legislate new bans or restrictions on abortion.This decision is of interest throughout the world, despite the fact that law in the United States only holds jurisdiction within that country. Canada has...

Science and morality – ethics and judgment

There is a common misperception that science is all about equations, formulas, and clear-cut, unambiguous measurements conducted by serious intellectuals in lab coats. In fact, there is considerable room for creativity, and, very often, non-analytical judgment and choice are involved. These choices and judgments are sometimes about right and wrong, the determination of which depends upon a certain interpretation of morality. Whose morality? What criteria? Are there lines beyond which we all agree something...

Facts, in fact, are facts

What is a fact? A lot of folks these days will tell you that everyone has their own truth, and that facts are subjective. I disagree. I believe that it is very important to distinguish between facts, opinions, theories, conjecture, and falsehoods. Using the #1 definition from dictionary.com, a fact is … "something that actually exists; reality; truth: (e.g.) Your fears have no basis in fact." I hope a lot of people take that example to heart. Some of the...

Staying on high road is well worth the struggle

It is not easy to stick to the high road. It was not easy to turn down a $25,000 cheque from a gentleman who wanted me to support a particular political party. However, I vowed to never hitch my cart to a political party, and I never will – personally or professionally. It is not easy to recruit accomplished scientists as journalists and then push them to make regular contributions despite extremely busy professional lives. But...

Manipulating science – activism and advocacy

In a court of law, witnesses swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. This means they promise not to knowingly lie, leave anything relevant out of the story, or embellish what they know with something they think they know or assume to be true – with or without the intent to mislead. The spirit of this oath should be adopted by scientists and those who use science as...

Top 7 Things You Are Probably Wrong About

Inspired by recent conversations with otherwise intelligent people who are quite misguided on the big issues, I bring you the Top 7 Things You Are Probably Wrong About ... unless you are a member at BIG Media. 🙂 7. The Great Pacific Plastic Patch – it is not actually a thing ... well, at least not a thing that is big enough for oceanographers or satellite imagery to detect. Perhaps we should have the name changed to...

Post-surgery breathing issues inspire examination of opioid crisis

“Breathe,” the pleasant voice advised as I floated in and out of consciousness in the recovery room following ankle surgery on May 24. I had stopped breathing, a condition called apnea, which is not uncommon following anesthesia or anesthesia with opioids. This happened again and again. Sometimes I was aware of my breathing stopping, hovering on the edge of consciousness, I would feel myself … just … stop … breathing. Other times, I would...

Calibre of journalists behind bold claim

When I make a claim such as "Fifteen months after the launch of BIG Media , we have established an industry-leading level of accuracy and integrity in news reporting," a typical response might be "Yeah, right – who the #$%! does this guy think he is?" But hear me out. Two years ago, disillusioned with almost universally irresponsible media coverage and a related increase in societal division and vitriol, I set out to create a trustworthy source...