[ASC-list] Perth: UWA SciComm Reminder- Book Club this Friday!

longneck at cyllene.uwa.edu.au longneck at cyllene.uwa.edu.au
Wed Apr 14 03:15:23 UTC 2010

Have text books and journals taken over your bedside table?

    Then take back the power of the written word - join the Science
    Communication Book Club and pick up a book guilt-free!

The feature book for our next meeting is Manthropology by Peter  
McAllister, our Writer-in-residence. Meet Peter, hear about the joys  
and trials of writing Mathropology and discuss the book with other  
science communicators.

    Drawing from archaeology, anthropology and evolutionary psychology, the
    author (a qualified palaeoanthropologist) confirms the awful truth:
    every man in history, back to the dawn of the species, did everything
    better, faster, stronger and smarter than any man today.

    Find out more about the book at

    Location:_ Seminar Room, CLT, Physics UWA
    (map available at http://sponsored.uwa.edu.au/spice/contact)
    Time & Date:_ 4-5pm Friday 16th April 2010
    Drinks and nibbles provided.

Following week on Friday the 23rd of April, we will be joined by guest  
speaker *Sean O'Halloran*, who has recently submitted his PhD on  
science communication about roadside drug testing.

The story of the implementation of legislation dealing with the  
effects of drugs on road safety is an interesting case study at the  
boundary of policy and science. The story helps to demonstrate that  
science is not always the dominant influence in political  
decision-making, even when scientific issues affect the assessment of  
the problem or the presentation of solutions.

Technocratic assessments of risk are necessarily balanced by public  
perceptions of risk, where politicians are under pressure to act, or  
at least be seen to act, to combat perceived threats to community  
health and safety. Traditional expectations of scientific expertise  
are also challenged by a 'democratisation' of expertise, where  
'appropriate' scientific evidence is considered more important than  
'reliable' scientific evidence.

Rhetorical strategies for communicating the many scientific  
complexities surrounding the effects of drugs on road safety also help  
to demonstrate the framing of risk, not only in the context of road  
safety, but in many other contexts - GMO, climate change, uranium  
mining, nanotechnology and the like. Risks associated with illicit  
drugs are often framed in value-laden and emotionally charged language  
where science is co-opted to legitimise problem framing and legitimise  
unvalidated technological solutions.

    For the full Science Communication events calendar, visit

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