Taxonomy term

communication

The '100-year flood' fallacy: Return periods misleading in communication of flood risk

The “100-year flood” is a familiar term to anyone who lives in a flood-prone area or has ever looked at a flood map before buying homeowner’s insurance. Return periods, or recurrence intervals, like this are standard parlance for describing the magnitude and potential hazard of floods, as well as other hydrologic events like storms and droughts. Although such terms have long helped policymakers and the public try to make sense of severe weather, one researcher suggests they may confuse the issue more than clarify it.

11 Jan 2015

Geologic Column: What geoscientists can learn from TED Talks

TED talks have become an international — and Internet — phenomenon. The presentations are pithy, conversational, focused and entertaining; they are often inspirational and sometimes very personal. Geoscientists — whether presenting conference papers, classroom lectures or presentations for general audiences — can learn a lot from TED talks, especially from the structure and guidance applied to preparing the talks.

27 Dec 2014

When science meets film at MIT

Across the Internet, science shows abound, such as “Crash Course,” “The Brain Scoop” and “Vsauce.” A good educational video is like watching a professional ballerina — if the dance is done well, it looks effortless. Of course, neither ballet nor film is actually easy, especially when the medium is meant to carry a message. A new class at MIT is helping students break down the steps and twirls of video and having them choreograph their own short educational films — with the goal of teaching them to better communicate, and deepen their own sense of the science, by explaining complex ideas like the Big Bang, the architecture of the Wheatstone Bridge or the chemistry of bread.

13 Dec 2014

Down to Earth With: Glaciologist Richard Alley

If you don’t know who Richard Alley is, stop reading for a minute and search for him on YouTube. Go on, this can wait. Back? What you likely saw was Alley singing his rendition of Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire,” in which he explains subduction zones, or another similar song. In addition to being something of an Internet sensation for his energetic lectures and songs about geologic processes, Alley is a glaciologist who studies the effects of climate change.

13 Mar 2012

Down to Earth With: Randy Olson

Marine biologist-turned-filmmaker Randy Olson made a name for himself in 2006 with the release of his first feature-length movie, “Flock of the Dodos: The Evolution-Intelligent Design Circus.” He followed that success with last year’s “Sizzle: A Global Warming Comedy.” These movies feature hot-button science issues, but they are not documentaries. Rather, Olson says, they are designed to entertain and spark an interest in the scientific topic — whether evolution or climate change — so that viewers will want to learn more.

23 Jun 2009

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