2022 - February
Slips of the tongue and what to do about them
by Philip Yaffe
Each "Communication Corner" essay is self-contained; however, they build on each other. For best results, before reading this essay and doing the exercise, go to the first essay "How an Ugly Duckling Became a Swan," then read each succeeding essay.
One of the most dreaded hobgoblins of public speaking is the pervasive fear that you will say something you didn't really mean to say. This is indeed a problem, but perhaps much less so than you might imagine.
Workings of science: Can mankind survive scientific illiteracy?
by Phil Yaffe
This symposium contribution is a reworking of a blog published by Ubiquity in July 2016. It laments the pitiful lack of scientific literacy among great portions of the population not directly engaged in recognized scientific disciplines. In the wake of the now two-year COVID-19 pandemic, the poignancy of the title of this blog is reinforced. At the beginning of December 2021, the number of deaths worldwide from COVID-19 stood at more than 5 million; and the virus continues to rage. How many of these deaths should be attributed to mistaken opposition to basic safety protocols and vaccination stemming from fundamental scientific illiteracy cannot be measured. But if it could, whatever the number the figure might be, it certainly wouldn't be insignificant.