June 26, 2007

Still MIA

So once upon a time there was a scientist who found a really freaking huge fossil of a flightless bird.

And there was a science writer at the scientist's university, who had to write about the fossil's discovery, and prepare the scientist for the resulting publicity--of which there was Quite A Lot.

And lo, all of the poor science writer's time--including free time, because of those pesky time differences and the Global Hunger For Giant Flightless Bird Fossil News--was sucked into the vortex of really freaking huge flightless bird fossils, resulting in the science writer being forced away from things she liked, such as blogging.

But there may be a light at the end of the tunnel, and perhaps tomorrow will find the science writer once again able to indulge a hobby.

Or the writer's article might get translated into Chinese, as promised by the Giant Science Funding Foundation, in which case she may never be heard from again.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at June 26, 2007 03:04 PM | TrackBack

Here's a flightless bird that turned up just a week or so ago , not yet a fossil.

Posted by: Ron Hardin at June 26, 2007 09:16 PM

I want to know more about the huge fossil of the flightless bird. Now, before the Chinese start calling at all hours of the day and night.

Posted by: dhanson at June 27, 2007 03:27 PM

dhanson -

Go here and enjoy:

Everything you ever wanted to know and then some.

Posted by: BAW at June 27, 2007 08:40 PM

Now I have one:

There was once a scientist whose organization wanted some info about her work to put into a publication they were doing. So the scientist, not knowing what exactly this publication was (because no one bothered to tell her), wrote up a little blurb that was pitched more or less toward the non-expert scientist, or perhaps a very interested layman.

A billion years later, the organization sent back the copy for the scientist's approval. It was now pitched for People magazine, and described the scientist's work only in very general terms. This was unfortunate, since in this case the specifics were something the general public may actually have heard of. Furthermore, many of the generalities were wrong, and the ones that were right were not germaine to the work in question.

After the scientist got done cursing, she sent back a corrected copy, with no hopes that it would actually see daylight. She had to write the covering email three times to rid it of any vestiges of irritation, settling only for A Marked Manner which no one will pick up on.

And then she thought of you.

Posted by: Angie Schultz at June 27, 2007 11:37 PM

Angie -

See, if you had a specific news/science writer in your university assigned to cover your college, things would go much more smoothly.

Mainly because you would have hashed all this crap out beforehand...

But your experience pretty much bears out every time science meets media: what they want is never what the scientist finds important, and the sloppy use of terminology drives them nuts.

Discover soft tissue in a fossil? Let's talk about Jurassic Park!

Huge flightless fowl? Happy Feet!

My job in a nutshell? Keep everyone happy.

Yeah. That works out about as well as you might imagine.

Posted by: BAW at June 28, 2007 11:40 AM

Angie -

I meant "organization" and "area," - I'm too terminologically entrenched over here...

Posted by: BAW at June 28, 2007 11:42 AM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?