It's now been a week since the big earthquake struck the Himalayas, and Tabitha M. Powledge rounds up reports on the disaster's potential death toll, along with video and information about relief efforts: "People have begun to behave as if the immediate crisis is over, but now there will be worries about coming health risks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is telling U.S. residents not to go to Nepal unless they must." Also, a trove of earthquake graphics.
Josh Stearns and Leighton Walter Kille offer suggestions for separating truth from rumor in the social media age. They include links to three tools for detecting altered images, plus fact-checking sites and other new tools: "The issue has become even knottier in the era of collaborative journalism, when nonprofessional reporting and images can be included in mainstream coverage. The information can be crucial — but it also can be wrong, and even intentionally faked."
From Jack Limpert comes a discussion of non-English terms like "folie à deux" and reflections on their overuse from the likes of Orwell: "Except for the useful abbreviations i.e., e.g., and etc., there is no real need for any of the hundreds of foreign phrases now current in the English language. Bad writers, and especially scientific, political, and sociological writers, are nearly always haunted by the notion that Latin or Greek words are grander than Saxon ones."
The World Federation of Science Journalists is offering scholarships to attend the Abel Prize award ceremony and related events in Oslo from May 18-25, 2015. The winners will be selected by the World Federation of Science Journalists (WFSJ) and will have travel, hotel, and meal expenses covered. For more information and to apply by May 1, visit the WFSJ website.
It might be tempting to use a song's lyrics in your story and not bother securing the rights, but Helen Sedwick warns that powerful music publishers can make you regret your actions: "This is one case where it is cheaper to get permission than to ask forgiveness. The cost of getting permission to use lyrics in self-published books is often affordable, typically between $10 and $50." Sedwick explains how to find out who to ask for rights — which is seldom the songwriter.