Truth vs. Publication (or Science is the New Clickbait)


There are catchphrases out there in webland, circling the lamp like tattered moths:  Dumbing-down of America, Alt-Left, Alt-Right, others I largely ignore, but also this one:

Scientists Prove Something You Wanted to Believe. Clickbait

The popular profile of science is twisting like a plastic pinwheel from the fair. Actual science seems to be dying...or is it? There's good work being done. How do we filter it down to the America that watches Reality TV? 
“But the results are the results,” I exclaimed. “Shouldn’t we just let the data tell the story?” He shook his head. “That’s not how science works, Chris. Data don’t tell stories, scientists tell stories.” - Chris Chambers, The 7 Deadly Sins of Psychology
 The British Psychological Society published Chris Chambers' own version of the story:
The article will show you the foundation under the dumbing-down of sensationalist scientific articles so they'll fit on your Facebook page and smartphone.  The article has all the too-many-words that don't fit in comfortable spaces, but they are available. If you care about truth, read them all. Thank you, Chris Chambers.

@sciencegeekmel will tell you why storytelling is important in science, but with eloquent words as she is wont to do, here: 
What if I told you that for my PhD research I studied a group of neurons in the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus, that are estrogen-dependent and project to thermoregulatory centers of the brain to control vasodilation? Did you even read that whole sentence? Of course not, it was hellllla boring. And it was my research! But what if, instead, I told you that we looked at the part of the brain that controls temperature - the thermostat - and how it was affected by hormones so that we can better understand hot flashes? Now, I'm willing to bet many of you are bored silly by the idea of hot flashes, save for maybe 1 or 2 of you. That's fine, but all of you understood that much better, right? It was at least digestible AND it was factual. I told you a story about my work. It was accessible to you.
Truth is constant, and the means to discover it remains the same:  do your research, diligently. Do not spout off that stuff you read on your screen during your commute - don't share those facebook posts -  until you dig deeper.

Further Reading from Melinda:

Simple Language; Complex Concepts - Melinda Writes
"In case you need a sensationalizing hook: I discuss coffee, boners, and thermodynamics! But it's totally serious :)

ChallengeMe - Science-based Poetry
This is the best. nerd. game. ever. We provide three words, and Mel writes a poem which incorporates all three. The title of each piece is comprised of the three challenge words.  Mine is Bulbous Sanguine Corpus Callosum; my favorite title is Ocean Blue Desk.  That one needs to be a song.

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