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The Black Hole

Where Do You Get Your Scientific Information From?

BY BETH | NOV 01 2009

Science is integral to many, many of the decisions we make every day.  But where do people get the scientific information on which they base their decisions?

The current H1N1 vaccine campaign is a good illustration of this.  It seems you can’t turn on the television or read a news website (or even a Facebook wall) without being inundated with opinions about the H1N1 flu vaccine – and you hear every possibility stated as absolute fact: “H1N1 vaccine is safe and effective” to “H1N1 vaccine will give you Guillian-Barre Syndrome” to “H1N1 is no more harmful than any other flu, the media/government is just fear mongering and it’s all a conspiracy by Donald Rumsfeld to increase sales of Tamiflu.” Part of the problem is that we live in a time of information overload (e.g., the media, the Internet ((The National Science Foundation reports that most Americans use TV (39%) or the Internet (23%) as their primary source of science & technology information.  Not sure what the stats are for Canadians, but I imagine they’d be similar.))), so there’s no shortage of information – but do people have the skills to be able to sort out the wheat from the chaff?

This was one of the things that the group of us who Dave mentioned in his first posting talked about at length.  We’d all come across situations where people were very adamant about things that are absolutely not supported by the scientific evidence.  Or news stories that took the findings from a scientific experiment and completely misrepresented it (whether that was by  oversimplifying the findings or making sweeping generalizations that extend much beyond what the evidence could support, or sometimes even getting the basic facts totally wrong).  Often times news stories presented “two sides of the debate” (such as evolution vs. creationism) as if they had equal scientific evidence behind them, when clearly (to anyone familiar with the scientific evidence at least) this was not the case.

Another thing that we talked about was the Conservative government getting rid of  Science Adviser to the Prime Minister – a position that had only been created in 2004. The Science Adviser’s job was to be an independent expert on science underlying issues of the day, but the position was first demoted from the Prime Minister’s Office down to Industry Canada and then eliminated completely.  As with the general public, the government is constantly needing to make decisions on scientific issues (think of the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen), but where, exactly, do the politicians get their scientific information from?

I can’t say we came up with a lot of answers, but our discussions did generate a lot of questions and ideas, such as:

  • how do we ensure the best and most accurate scientific information gets communicated to all levels of government?
  • how much scientific training, if any, do journalists have? (apparently, there are fewer and fewer journalists who are scientific specialists)
  • how can scientists work with journals to ensure the science they present is correct and complete?
  • how can we help the general public to understand how science works and assess the accuracy and validity of information they receive so that they can make evidence-based decisions?


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  1. Dave K / November 1, 2009 at 08:49

    Hey Beth,
    Just to append to this, I’ve added links to the Canadian Council of Academics (the group our science adviser had established to be a science information hub for government and others) and the new Science Technology and Innovation Council who now receive all such information and make recommendations to the government. It seems odd that our country’s “independent scientific advice” is shuttled into the ministry of industry and a board of individuals who seem to be very business related – almost to suggest that all scientific information should have an industrial or economic theme in order to grab the attention of our government. I’ll be talking a little about this in a few blogs time…stay tuned!

  2. Darby Martin / September 26, 2012 at 02:08

    I think that the URF and the RRF would be two parts of the same thing. nether getting rid of the ether or saying its existence as me know it is there. I believe it is more of a liquid. Just a liquid with a charge of + and – the “wets” EVERYTHING that would change depending on the environment I also think this is where magnets get there power form. The magentas structure being aligned in the way it spins and I think everything has the same kind of “spin” effect. But the magnets spins in the right way “because its protons and electrons and neutrons are different and completely separated making its spin greater” but my reasoning for the URF and the RRF being the same thing not two contradictory things is being. I think its more of a misunderstanding. I think it would be just a flat out given that anything like that. Would be effected on a .. Great level having to do with every force known and unknown to mankind. Meaning the URF would be constantly moving. And changing’. spinning and moving up down left right side ways for words back words in all 5 dimensions. And all for the others we don’t know. Meaning that everything as whole would be a URF. Everything else would be moving with it. Just some parts slower or faster than others there for the only way to accurately study it would be like breaking it up in to a grid of you where thinking of thought processes to find the relative frames to it. So that its separated and whole at the same time. Even eventually after studying “like terms” or “like conductions” you could study “unlike terms” and “unlike conductions” the reason I said 5 dimensions. Is think of the forth and 5 being that liquid called the ether. The substance “spins” or “reacts” going one direction if it were to move the opposite way then it would give us back words in time instead of what we understand to be forward. And if it were to move like a tornado moving backs and forwards colliding and a “harmony”. We would get hole or a vortex in the ether. And more of what I think it is. Is much like the small sliver balls in the big bang theory. It’s a liquid of that almost. And it wets everything in the universe down when we get a black whole is when those balls start to drift apart “wither its form nothing being perfect because that means it couldn’t improve in any way shape or form. Or because its of the ether spinning in the opposite direction causing gravity friction vibrations to change and alter everything in ways we don’t necessarily understand all the way ” but would cause the area in the middle being a literal nothing to tare and implode on its self. And a worm hole being when a balls is more or less in the center of that tare causing everything in that area to change the tare and reaction to it on the implosion creating a new “5th” dimension wither it is a big or small or wither we could go through it or not does not matter. I think we would not be able to go through and that the whole or wholes would be very small for the simple fact even that much force imploding or exploding coming out in that way would be great it would have that ether substance or balls of liquid as I see it. Pressing it back down in to a circle. And keeping it contained. Even if it was big at first the much force compressing it would not leave it big for long if it did at all. I think It would be almost instance “bang” then retreating back in or being compressed back in the 4th d is a form the ether and which way it is spinning. The 4 th d is the way the ether is spinning. The direction of the spin. Not which way its flowing but like how an electron spins. It could go a different path and still spin the same direction. The 5th d would be if like that tordanido thing is said and two opposite spins of the 4th d coming to gather. Then after that you could make a “endless” “I say the term endless because nothing can be endless I have came to that conclusion In my thoughts. Just because the number is far behind are sub c comprehends does not mean its endless if it was then it would be “perfect ” and nothing can be perfect because that would mean it could improve in some way shape or form” any ways you could make an endless combos of dimensions . as a whole there would only be 4 still if you think of it in a abstract way just the 4th moveing every way twist and turn. The forth being like the first 3 dimensions being different combos of the first just moving in every way shape in form. And in all honesty I even see time just the first d moving in a different way. hence why I say both the URF and the RRF or two of the same. As a whole it is the URF but in the terms of understanding it its like the RRF. So as a whole everything is at rest. But at the same time. It still moves even in different spots like a RRF only as a whole is it URF. I think there two different names for the same theory. One that uses both of them. I this sounds redundant. Its just it fits in my head and its hard for me to explain the alot of the things that my head comes up with. Its like I can close my eyes and see all of it. But its like I don’t know the right words to describe it.
    My name is Darby Jay Martin right now I am a student working at fort sim coe job corps I am studying auto movtive. I have very little researching knowledge on anything. All the stuff I come up with or think is based on the stuff I “know” and I use logic to determine what would be a possibility. I red maybe two or three paragraphs. And this is what I came up with after reading it. In about 10 mins. The in for I read basically said the URF and the RRF used the concept of the ether but that one basically removed it. And this was not a lot thinking for me this essentially was my BASIC thinking process. Keep in mind I did not spend time on thinking this stuff. Or refining them. This was just as my thoughts came. And granted that the whole liquid ball stuff and everything being made of it or “weting” everything down I came up with about 3 years ago. When I was thinking about what could have started everything the only thing I know about the big bang is that everything started form a small liquid ball exploding. But I would very much so like help in knowing where I should go what I should do or an of that stuff. All of this stuff.. iv been thinking about since I was a little kid it was my way of escaping. And its so much fun to me its not even funny and I understand the importance of something being fun to you and being able to be linked to child hood stuff to increases the functions of the brain. But I am a broke white kid. An di know I could be much help or do good in this field of study or ones similar people think all of thoughts that I think about are random and abstract. But to me all of the link to gather. And I understand how abstract is just a complex one two three or logic. Needing much help in what to do Darby Martin. Email [email protected]

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