Don’t Eat Up Everything You Read

It’s been a crazy week here, but the sun is finally shining, the Indians have had back-to-back wins, and everyone here is healthy and well. Here’s hoping you enjoy some fun in the sun this weekend and most other days too!

Before you sign off the computer and head outside, let me pass along some sage advice from science writer Tabitha M. Powledge. On today’s On Science Blogs feature for the National Association of Science Writers, Powledge talks about the realistic risks posed by avian flu. The World Health Organization says the disease presents a possible pandemic threat. That doesn’t mean the sky is falling, however. No sustained human-to-human transmission or community-level transmission has shown up yet.

Powledge ponders whether writers are often too alarmist. Powledge also makes this point for everyone who follows blogs or Tweets:

More than ever, it’s important to be skeptical about the sources of the information you consume.

In other words, think about who’s writing and spreading the information and why. Is the person a responsible journalist or respected authority in a field? How verifiable is the information? Are conclusions supported by sources and data?

On a lighter note, Powledge includes a link to Mark Lorch’s post for The Guardian last week. April 25 was the 60th anniversary of Watson and Crick’s Nature article on the double-helix structure of DNA. In honor of the occasion, Lorch showed how to make a DNA model from licorice whips and British jelly babies. Apparently they’re a tasty treat on Dr. Who. I’m not sure whether they’re vegetarian.

Whether you’re scarfing down sweets or soaking in the sunshine, have a great weekend!


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