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Do not take their advice, they are not known for their brains! January 7, 2009

Posted by dorigo in internet, news, science.
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Sense about Science, the british organization which

respond[s] to the misrepresentation of science and scientific evidence on issues that matter to society, from scares about plastic bottles, fluoride and the MMR vaccine to controversies about genetic modification, stem cell research and radiation [...],

has issued their 2008 report on many dangerous claims held by celebrities about scientific issues, exposing their falsity and the scientific facts that prove it. The claims that the Tom Cruises, the Mariah Careys, the  Kelly Osbournes distribute are dangerous not so much for their content, but because of the enormous amplification those claims get by the media, always hunting for anything connected to famous people.

While commendable, the report is a drop in the sea, as it does not address the source of the problem: the pseudo-scientific approach that newspapers and other media deliberately choose to support. It is in fact the responsibility of the journalists  if those claims are reported without commentary or the opinion of a scientist. It would take them the effort of a phone call in most instances, but they fear to bore or distract their readers. That is nonsense! Really, the newspapers and magazines would not sell fewer copies if they appended a few lines of healthy, matter-of-fact criticism to the farnetications of the starlet on duty.

My suggestion would be to expose the journalists rather than the celebrities! A well-organized site targeting professional writers and commenters would go a longer way in this fight against the diffusion of pseudo-science, because these people do it for a living. SAS does not seem to be aiming in that direction. Are readers of this blog aware of any such enterprise ? It would get my support.

In any case, the SAS report is interesting. You can download it from this link for an entertaining break. Happy reading!

Live streaming for the radio interview November 22, 2008

Posted by dorigo in internet, news, personal, physics, science.
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In less than an hour I will participate in the program “Caccia al Fotone”, aired by Radio Città Fujiko, on 103.1FM (if you are in Italy). If you want to follow it on the internet, there is a streaming available:

You can send an SMS or an email to ask questions. See the site of the program for directions.

Caccia al Fotone November 21, 2008

Posted by dorigo in internet, news, personal, physics, science.
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Radio Città Fujiko will feature an interview with yours truly tomorrow, at 10.30AM italian time. The blog of the scientific program called “Caccia al fotone” announces it in a nice post, which you can visit here.

Here is a quick-and-dirty translation:

A “ghost event” at the Tevatron”

10 years of work, a mysterious result, an italian researcher and a lot of hope are already good ingredients to create a “scientific case”. However… this news is much more well known abroad than in Italy…. In one of the two experiments at the Tevatron, the synchrotron operating at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, in the United States, some muons have crept out in a unknown way. Not muons from the standard model, generated by proton and antiproton collisions, but some more, and, in particular, from a direction that appears to be different from the collision point. In technical terms: muons that appear to have a different impact parameter.

[...]

About this, and a lot more, we will discuss in real time with Tommaso Dorigo, researcher at CDF, author of the paper, and author of one of the scientific blogs most visited in the blogosphere. Hands to your SMS and the PC for your curiosity!

When and Where

Saturday November 22nd, 10.30 – Caccia al Fotone – Radiocittà Fujiko – 103.1 FM – Bologna.

Interviewed for Nature (the magazine…) September 10, 2008

Posted by dorigo in internet, news, personal, physics, science.
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Yesterday I had lunch at the Meyrinoise (courtesy Nature) with Geoff Brumfiel, a reporter from Nature (the magazine, not the bitch) who came to CERN to witness the big media event of today. We talked about several things, but in the end what was left to discuss for the podcast we recorded was the least interesting thing of all -the fact that we are not going to disappear in a black hole after LHC will eventually start colliding beams operation (which, for the absent-minded among you, hasn’t happened yet -only a beam at a time has been circulated in the machine so far).

In any case, you can hear some more interesting interviews along with mine at the Nature site, specifically here.

UPDATE: fixed the link to the main page of Nature news. There, you find my pic (not a good one actually) linking to the interviews.

UPDATE: Hmm, if Nature (the magazine AND a little bit of a bitch today) keeps changing the address of pages I link, I am going to download the darn site here and stop worrying. Anyway, here is the updated link to the LHC special.

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