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A-L-E-X
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Space chats with your friendly neighbourhood anthropologist!

27 Sep 2017 12:03

Anthro_Danielle wrote:
Hi A-L-E-X - it's always so wonderful to hear your thoughts and perspectives!

A-L-E-X wrote:
Source of the post I think we're entering a new era of awareness, with access to so much information, you get a better idea of what's going on and can better prepare for the future.  Humanity has had to learn that rather than fight the environment and nature we have to learn to live with it because we are a part of it.  Fighting it is the same as fighting ourselves.

Another thing which you just reminded me about is how important creativity is in science- not just for making new discoveries but also fostering interest in science.  Knowledge might nurture the mind but creativity soothes the soul, and I find that when both are used together, they make for an explosive combination to explore undiscovered lands.

I like the way you put it, a new era of awareness - I guess (correct me if this wasn't what you meant though) that's kind of a cool way of looking at it, it suggests new kinds of awareness, new paradigms or perspectives, which I think we do have and are finding/making now (simply having a view of Earth from space, being able to collect all kinds of data over long periods of time and across cases ie., Earth observation and monitoring, and from that being able to infer all kinds of complex and subtle or slow trends, patterns, and developments). Accessing and thinking about things in these ways, with these tools, at these scales, seems relatively novel! But it's also not just automatically good, it can be complicated with multiple outcomes in different cases, so I guess I kind of like the frame of 'awareness', maybe compared to something like 'improvement' or 'revolution'? I'm not sure if I'm communicating that super clearly, kind of just thinking through it myself!

I love your points about creativity! As part of the scientific process, and also for getting people involved and invested in that scientific process! Inspiration, stories, positive feelings and experiences, personal relevance and the 'human touch' all seem to play such a key role in motivating people to get into (space) science, and are also prioritised now by many science communicators (rather than just like, provision of facts to correct knowledge gaps in the public, for example). Finding the best ways to creatively engage people like this for which outcomes, can be a challenge, and is one I think practitioners are starting to grapple with more concretely - like just giving people a positive encounter with science, or sharing a really relevant and engaging story, are really wonderful! But what are the desired outcomes in those specific cases? Getting people to get on scientific career tracks themselves? Or getting them to attend more events, or lean a certain way or certain policies or matters of public opinion & voting? Which approaches best suit specific goals, and the best ways to implement them to achieve those goals optimally, is a pretty interesting challenge and topic of discussion at the moment, and it's pretty interesting seeing the different ways people try to optimise or fine-tune their own approaches and work as they go for desired outcomes.

I think social media helps heighten the awareness because people function more as a global community instead of how things were in the past, which was mostly within the artificial borders created by whatever society they live in,.  It's really great to see all different perspectives, I believe it not only leads to accelerated learning about the outside world, it also helps us understand ourselves better!
I think it's extremely important to communicate science effectively to the public, because if that isn't done than there will be other influences which have their own reasons for doing so (climate change denialists for example.)  A scientifically literate society is the only kind which is sustainable, as only a rational long-term approach can help maintain the natural balance that we all need to exist.
 
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Anthro_Danielle
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Space chats with your friendly neighbourhood anthropologist!

15 Oct 2017 23:42

A-L-E-X, You make some really great points about the different ways in which using social media affects or feeds into our awareness. I thought about what you said in terms of these key words - do you think this is a fair distinction?
  • Accessibility (we can access more different content from around the world, easily)
  • Connection/Sociality (forming a larger 'global community' that we can interact with, not just bound to one small physical locality like town or country)
  • Reflexivity (access to wider perspectives gives us better knowledge about ourselves)
A-L-E-X wrote:
Source of the post I think it's extremely important to communicate science effectively to the public, because if that isn't done than there will be other influences which have their own reasons for doing so (climate change denialists for example.)  A scientifically literate society is the only kind which is sustainable, as only a rational long-term approach can help maintain the natural balance that we all need to exist.

Thanks for articulating your opinions about science communication so clearly, I think it's probably really important to factor in those kinds of large-scale perspectives when we're considering or evaluating scicomm outcomes - like, maybe it is harder to really clearly quantify big, general outcomes like increased exposure/access/influence to science or increased literacy, and maybe increasing those things doesn't necessarily always directly correlate to clear and concrete outcomes amongst the public (like people taking up careers in science, or increased enrolment in science courses, or better performance on tests of scientific understanding, or statistics on public involvement in science policy lobbying, etc.), but it might still be important in terms of just setting general societal attitudes and understandings, and in preventing certain negative shifts that might occur if we don't counter them (like rise of climate change denialists, etc.).

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, I'm loving these discussions!

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