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Brooke Gladstone is host of NPR’s On the Media and has now written a beautiful and very informative piece of graphic non-fiction. It’s called The Influencing Machine and although the book is about media and journalism as a whole, it makes some interesting points about science journalism, too. In her chapter about bias, for example, Gladstone explains how science coverage is often riddled by narrative bias [the (perceived) need of beginning, middle and end in each and every story]. And the Scientific American classic of April Fools Day in 2005 on “so-called evolution” gets a full page appearance, too.
Plus: On her way through the history of the media and its discontents Gladstone does quite a bit of (graphic) science reporting herself (on polls, on the neuroscience of free will, on cognitive dissonance etc.).
It is amazing how much information can go into a comic book!

The Influencing Machine: Brooke Gladstone on the Media on Vimeo on Vimeo

 

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Clearly, Ada Lovelace is one of the most remarkable women in science. And this comic by Sydney Padua is one of the most delightful accounts of her life I have come across so far (now also available as free iPad-app):

 

It was originally drawn for Ada Lovelace Day, an event that…

 …aims to raise the profile of women in science, technology, engineering and maths by encouraging people around the world to talk about the women whose work they admire. This international day of celebration helps people learn about the achievements of women in STEM, inspiring others and creating new role models for young and old alike.

The inspiration for Ada Lovelace Day came from psychologist Penelope Lockwood, who carried out a study which found that women need to see female role models more than men need to see male role models. “Outstanding women can function as inspirational examples of success,” she said, “illustrating the kinds of achievements that are possible for women around them. They demonstrate that it is possible to overcome traditional gender barriers, indicating to other women that high levels of success are indeed attainable.”

 

For more on Ada I recommend Janet Stemwedel’s post at Doing Good Science on Ada Lovelace and the Luddites, where – after making many other interesting connections – she writes on the activity of programming:

That this activity got its start with the technically minded daughter of the romantic poet who defended the Luddites somehow strikes me as exactly right.

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from: xkcd – A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language by Randall Munroe

By now, a classic in science communication.

Makes great infographics, too, like this radiation dose chart:

For explanation, see what Wired says about it.

 

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