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Food Fight: why are we so passionate about what enters our bodies

Why is that there can be such divergent views about basically the same body of evidence regarding organic and GM food? This debate/argument illustrates two things; the subjective and emotional nature of risk perception, and the fallacy of our faith in pure fact-based Cartesian reason as the be-all and end-all way of figuring out the [...]

August 11, 2011 — David Ropeik

In the wake of Wakefield: Risk-perception and vaccines

Last May British medical authorities stripped Dr. Andrew Wakefield of his license to practice medicine. In case the name isn’t familiar, Wakefield was the lead author of the 1998 paper published in The Lancet (and later retracted) that set off worldwide fear of vaccines.

January 6, 2011 — David Ropeik

Beware the fear of nuclear....FEAR!

It is frightening to watch what’s going on with Japan’s nuclear plant at Fukushima. It is also worrying to watch the fear racing around the world as a result of those events, fear that in some cases is far in excess of what’s going on, or even the worst case scenarios of what might happen.

March 12, 2011 — David Ropeik

Felt up or blown up? The psychology of the TSA, body scans and risk perception

The choice between felt up or blown up seems like a no-brainer. So does the choice between the low-dose radiation exposure of a backscatter x-ray exam at the airport or getting on the plane and spending a couple hours high enough in a thinner atmosphere that you’ll get far more exposure to cosmic radiation.

November 23, 2010 — David Ropeik

The Lesson of the Fear of Vaccines.

Time for Society to Say Enough is Enough.          The science community laments that people deny the evidence science produces.

July 18, 2011 — David Ropeik

Cell Phones, Cancer and the Dangers of Risk Perception

May 31, 2011, was a bad day for a society already wary of all sorts of risks from modern technology, a day of celebration for those who champion more concern about those risks, and a day that teaches important lessons about the messy subjective guesswork that goes into trying to make intelligent choices about risk in the first place, for policy makers or for you and me.

June 1, 2011 — David Ropeik

Dear chemists

Happy International Year of Chemistry. We hope things go well with your effort to increase public appreciation of chemistry and increase the interest of young people in chemistry and generate enthusiasm for the creative future of chemistry.Fat chance that’s going to get us to relax, though.

April 11, 2011 — David Ropeik
Europe Should Reject the Call to Eliminate Its Science Adviser

Europe Should Reject the Call to Eliminate Its Science Adviser

More and more often, societies around the world are facing a conflict that puts us all at risk. People reject scientific evidence when it does not fit their worldviews and values, challenging governments to make evidence-based policies that do the most good for the most people over the long term, but also respond to short-term [...]

August 13, 2014 — David Ropeik

Filipino Ruling on Bt Eggplant

A recent decision by an appeals court in the Phillipines about genetically modified food was a striking victory for environmentalists who oppose many modern technologies that are ‘destroying nature’, and an ominous defeat for science and reason and the thoughtful search for solutions to some of humanity’s biggest problems.

June 3, 2013 — David Ropeik

#SciAmBlogs Monday - hypocretin, terrifying worm, Jane Austen, bad zoos, #2012SVP, l Aquila Verdict, bacterial teams, dung beetles, and more.

  - Scicurious - Sleeping Beauty: magic or hypocretin?  - Becky Crew - Eunice aphroditois is rainbow, terrifying  - Maria Konnikova - What Jane Austen can teach us about how the brain pays attention  - Cassie Rodenberg - Anger, Crack and Duty: The Haze of Street Emotion  - Kevin Zelnio - Sweden Journal: Tragedies at the Zoos  - Bora Zivkovic - #2012SVP – what do Vertebrate Paleontologists talk about?  - Christina Agapakis - Our Smell Universe  - Robynne Boyd - Will Sea Level Rise Make the Final Debate?  - David Ropeik - The l’Aquila Verdict.

October 22, 2012 — Bora Zivkovic
Climate Report Nails Risk Communication

Climate Report Nails Risk Communication

The National Climate Assessment released Tuesday by the White House is a masterful piece of science and risk communication. Senior science writer Susan Joy Hassol, who turned massive contributions from hundreds of scientists into an accessible, persuasive report that will play an important role in getting the U.S.

May 6, 2014 — David Ropeik

WARNING!!! Health Warnings May be Hazardous to Your Health!!!

For all the benefits modern society provides, not least of which are vast improvements in public health and longevity, our advanced post-industrial technological/information age also produces risks, far too many for you and me to keep track of.

November 11, 2011 — David Ropeik

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