ScienceWriters excerpts

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  • Even as American citizens took to the polls in this past fall's historic national presidential election, our own NASW members were casting ballots for our organization's new slate of officers and the members at large of the board of directors. To some people, the U.S. presidential election felt overdue. In NASW's case, the 2008 election really was overdue — and that flawed timing is something that we need your help to rectify in yet another membership vote; you'll be able to cast ballots electronically from mid-May to the end of June.

  • I won't try and sell you on Twitter, but I'll tell you how it's useful to me as someone who produces a web site about space.

  • David Perlman, award-winning science editor of the San Francisco Chronicle, has been reporting on science and technology for more than 50 years. In addition, he's been a colleague, mentor, and personal hero to legions of NASW members, one of whom is Cristine Russell, who recently spoke at length with Perlman about his illustrious career. The following is an edited and condensed version of that conversation. Perlman celebrated his 90th birthday on Dec. 30, 2008.

  • As had been announced, Diane McGurgan leaves NASW in June, after 30 years of dedicated service. At a luncheon at the ScienceWriters 2008 meeting, a couple hundred attendees gathered to honor her. The sunny patio of the Crowne Plaza hotel, in Palo Alto, was filled with longtime friends and new members, alike in their appreciation of Diane's monumental contributions to our organization. Inside the hotel, friends viewed a slideshow and wrote fond wishes in an overflowing scrapbook.

  • A treasure trove on the history of science and technology has a new, permanent home on the west coast. The Burndy Library, composed of some 67,000 rare books and reference volumes, as well as a collection of scientific instruments, is now part of The Huntington Library in San Marino, Calif.

  • The pathetic term "word processor" is exactly the right description for Microsoft Word. Fortunately, there are nimble alternatives for both Mac and Windows, some of them free. They all let you write without getting in your way. A few are even designed for writers.

  • NASW members Terry Devitt, Nigel S. Hey, and S. Holly Stocking have been elected fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. All are members of Section Y (General Interest in Science and Engineering). They will receive formal recognition of this honor at a ceremony during the 2008 AAAS annual meeting, in Boston.

  • Cornell University's Center for Life Science Enterprise holds a poster session each year for its grant recipients as a requirement of the funding process. This year the poster session had a different spin: Scientists presented their grant-funded research to a lay audience in the form of a contest with a handsome prize and judged by community members.

  • The Great Turtle Race embraced everything web. It was interactive, participatory, solution-oriented, immediately accessible, updated several times a day, visual (videos, photos, charts, maps), and animated. It seeded and linked social networking, and had lots of context and continuity. It was useful and entertaining.