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The political views and scary information reflected by Chinese cartoons about genetically modification

Prof. Wang Guoyan's science communication team of Soochow University researched cartoons on Chinese genetical modification (GM).  They found that topics on GM in China peaked from 2013 to 2016 when controversies on GM food fueled the spread of political conspiracy theories. GM cartoons in China reflect strong political views and contain scary information. The findings and opinions presented in this article have been published on  Public Understanding of Science . The study analyzed 257 GM cartoons that appeared on the Internet in China from 2012 to May 2018. Only 19 new cartoons were added after a retrieval conducted in August 2020. The findings showed that the number of China's GM cartoons is consistent with the Baidu Media Index on the headline news about GM. The hottest GM events, e.g., the debate between Cui Yongyuan and Fang Zhouzi and the “Golden Rice” incident that lasted from the end of 2012 to 2016, generated enormous media attention and public opinion, resulting in
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Your Chance of Finding Quality Scientific Information on Google Depends on the Language You Search In

The language divide in scientific information available to Internet users  Choose your language: Hebrew Arabic We are often told that nowadays, all the world's knowledge is available at our fingertips – just a quick Google search away. But what happens when users search for information in their own language? For example, when searching for a scientific term, do search engines provide English-, Hebrew- and Arabic-speaking students with the same level of access to quality scientific information? This question is addressed by a new study, conducted at the Technion and recently published in Public Understanding of Science. The study found that search results for terms in English are of better quality than those provided for equivalent terms in Hebrew and Arabic. Additionally, most of the differences between the languages pertained to pedagogical aspects of quality, that is, the extent to which the content was geared towards young users, rather than

Science outreach through social media: an experience from Colombia

By Sofía Villa Instagram, Twitter, Youtube, and now Tiktok are becoming strong platforms for communicating science. Nevertheless, the most visible science influencers are Northamerican publishing content in English. To explore new perspectives for science in social media, we talked with Astromaiky, a Colombian astrophysicist who started a career as a science influencer. Throughout his profiles on Instagram (1.400 followers) and Tiktok (13.500 followers), he is building an environment to share science with short videos about physics, climate change, teaching, and astrophysics, engaging the public with fun and creativity. We talked with Astromaiky about beginning a career as a scientific influencer and about engaging with young people using social media. Why did you start doing science outreach on social networks? Because I wanted to reach people and make them like science a little bit the way I like it.  That's why I tried to start with Youtube, which I already knew, but I fell i

Diverse public in Africa: the main challenge for Scicomm

By Sofía Villa In the vast continent of Africa -which includes 54 countries- different cultures, languages and social contexts converge. This diverse audience demands specific formats and language to engage with them. To better understand the picture about Science Communication in Africa and particularly in South Africa, I talked with Marina Joubert. She is a Senior Researcher and Lecturer in science communication at The Centre for Research on Evaluation, Science and Technology at Stellenbosch University in South Africa. Marina collaborates with the scientific committee of the global Public Communication of Science and Technology (PCST) network, with the editorial board of Science Communication and with the Journal of Science Communication. Marina, what have been the main challenges in sharing science information about Covid-19 in South Africa and Africa? I can really only speak from the South African perspective. As usual, the challenges in communicating information about Covid-19 are

Scicomm in Latin America: Perspectives from Brazil

BY Sofía Villa The year 2020 was very challenging in many aspects, also for Science Communication that has to struggle in the chaotic relationship between science and society in the middle of a pandemic. For talking about this and the perspectives of the field in Brazil, I spoke with Luisa Massarani on the most visible authorities in Brazilian scicomm. Massarani is a journalist, coordinator for Latin American of SciDev.Net, of the master on Science Communication at House of Oswaldo Cruz and the National Brazilian Institute of Public Communication of Science and Technology. Luisa, do you think that the Covid pandemic changes somehow the communication of science and the relation between science and society in Latin America?  As the World Health Organisation has been highlighting, fake news and misinformation can spread as quickly as the SARS-CoV-2 and can be as harmful as this virus. In Latin America, we have been flooded with misinformation and fake news – meanwhile, 900,000 deaths were

How online public challenge Chinese scientists’ authority

BY Zheng Yang, PhD Scientists are always considered the only ‘legitimate’ communicators in the online science communication process, especially in the Chinese context where science and scientists enjoy very lofty social status with their discourse authority. However, the digital media environment and the public - who are good at taking advantages of such an environment - are changing this phenomenon. Through a long-term online ethnography on Zhihu (the biggest Chinese knowledge-sharing network), it has been found that about 61.8% of scientific questions around the topic of genetically modified food were answered by non-scientists users, which are also called ‘citizen science communicators’. Those answers provided by citizen science communicators also received many likes and comments. It indicates that also other users have accepted them on Zhihu as ‘science communicators. In other words on Zhihu, the Chinese online knowledge-sharing network, scientists are no longer the only ‘legitima

Finding the style of science communication

BY Sofía Villa From Galileo’s observation until the first flight on Mars...all scientific milestones needed a catchy and clear way to be communicated to reach the public. This “style” is the subject of the mini-course "Style in Science Communication" created by Massimiano Bucchi, Professor at the University of Trento, and Jordan Collver, freelance illustrator, comic artist, and science communicator. Both of them work together to create the illustrated cards of the mini-course for  Lifeology.    scenes on our SciComm Program course "Style in Science Communication" with @MassiBucchi and @JordanCollver ! What does it mean for #scicomm to have style, and why is that an important signal of its quality? https://t.co/3gIowctnpG #scicomm #sciart #SciArtTweetStorm pic.twitter.com/NjHALClS5I — Lifeology (@LifeologyApp) April 7, 2021 To know more about this experience, I interviewed professor Bucchi (who is also the Director of the SciComm Master) about exploring new