Entries for the 2015 Science in Society Awards are now open. Visit nasw.org/scienceinsociety to see full rules and enter online. To access the awards entry site, you need to be logged in. NASW members and those who already have NASW guest accounts can use their existing NASW website login information. New users will be prompted to create a new guest account.
Since its inception in 2010, more than $350,000 has been awarded by NASW's Idea Grants program for projects that benefit science writing and its practitioners. Read more to see a list of all the awardees and their exciting science writing projects. Visit www.nasw.org/ideagrants2014 for the latest call for proposals due November 4, 2014.
NASW members are reminded that the IRS takes a dim view of freelance writers and other self-employed individuals who miss deadlines for filing federal tax returns or the due dates for making estimated tax payments. Miss just one, says the IRS, and it might exact a sizable, nondeductible penalty, which is based on the agency’s current interest rate for back taxes.
Leighton Walter Kille and John Wihbey review the data landscape and list some of the best-known — and least-known — sources of federal data, statistical reports and analyses, ranging from the Census Bureau and the IRS to the Food and Drug Administration: "It can seem overwhelming, but there are actually only 13 officially designated 'principal statistical agencies,' each covering a specific area such as education, transportation, criminal justice and economics."
The House of Representatives may have passed a $1.1 trillion spending bill before adjourning, but it didn't get to vote on a Freedom of Information bill that passed the Senate by unanimous consent. Kelly J O'Brien reports that "an almost complete lack of interest from the major publications most likely to benefit from better freedom of information laws" was partly to blame. More from The Hill. Details from RCFP.
Larissa MacFarquhar interviews writers ranging from Joseph Heller to Toni Morrison about the editor they all worked with, the legendary Robert Gottlieb, and Gottlieb comments on what they say, at times uncomfortably: "Of course, if anybody says nice things about me in print it’s pleasant. But the fact is, this glorification of editors, of which I have been an extreme example, is not a wholesome thing. The editor’s relationship to a book should be an invisible one."
Why did U.S. intelligence agents embrace the use of torture in the war on terrorism when the scientific consensus is that it doesn't yield useful information? Tabitha M. Powledge reviews coverage of the newly released report of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and concludes that one reason for their illogical enthusiasm may be television: "The idea that torture is effective is deeply ingrained, surely at least in part because pop culture fictions tell us so."
Jane Friedman discusses how to gauge results from your social media efforts. Google Analytics tracks how many visitors come to your website from social media platforms, and many platforms have their own analytics. But she adds: "If you find out that social media visitors seem to be a small percentage of your overall website traffic, or the lowest quality visitor, don’t automatically assume that social media doesn’t have any effect on your overall marketing or platform."