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Stories by 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
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

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

The Messy (and Risky) Ways That Governments Try to Manage Risks

The very concept of risk is tricky. To you and me, it means pretty much what the dictionary says…the probability that something bad might happen. And to us, the part of that definition that most influences how worried a risk makes us feel is the subjective ‘bad’ part, more than the objectively quantifiable likelihood.

March 1, 2013 — David Ropeik

Could You Look Down from 24 Miles Up and Jump? Felix Baumgartner Just Did

DID YOU WATCH! Did your heart pound, your palms get sweaty, your muscles tense! Did you join the millions around the world gripped by fear and tension as Felix Baumgartner rose to more than 24 miles in a balloon-lifted capsule, opened the door (OH MY GOD!) stood out on the bar outside with a camera over his head looking down (OH MY GOD!!!!!),…AND JUMPED!!!!!!!!!!!

October 14, 2012 — 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

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

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 truth.In the response to Christie Wilcox’s challenge of the organic orthodoxy both sides wielded their data and experts like weapons, but underneath this war is not about the details.

August 11, 2011 — 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