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The Art of Translating Science

This article highlights a lot of concerns I’ve had as a science communicator and teacher. I remember having to spend a few days on students’ discomfort with evolution when I was student teaching biology. This article really highlights how something that is associated with somebody’s personal identity (IE personal beliefs) can be hard to educate or change somebody’s mind about.

What have you experienced with trying to teach others about science?


I have a guy working for me who isn’t dumb, bit severely undereducated. So I use food analogies to explain feeding and watering of plants.

NPK is like meat, starch and vegetables. If you only eat two, you probably don’t have a healthy diet.

Underfed plants? Think if you were stranded for a week with no food. Are you going to eat half a sandwich and a glass of water? No, you’ll probably want a lot of food to offset the difference.

Make the science of temperature and CO2 personal, or anthropomorphized. How would you feel if you were hot and had no air? Or your feet were ice cold all the time?

It sinks in through the thickest skulls.


JACK HERER’S REVENGE (Slightly Revised)
I would like to propose that we are now in the time period of “JACK HERER’S REVENGE”. Jack (deceased author of The Emperor Wears No Clothes) was entirely correct when he said cannabis is ONE plant that can do/provide multiple products and uses at the same time. Colorado, Oregon and WA (to some extent) now have legalized industrial, medical and recreational cannabis so it is now time that we advocate the removal of cannabis from the irrational classification system it is under completely by defining cannabis legally only by it’s end use. There should be no special restriction or taxation on industrial or medical use beyond what is in place for tomatoes ( as proposed to me by Ed Rosenthal) or any common vegetables. Recreational cannabis (if it is to be regulated and/or taxed at all) should be reclassified as a class five (V). All cannabis growers should start rebreeding old and new varieties and growing for multiple use- biomass/fiber(stalk), seed (for grain and oil), leaf and flower (medicinal & recreational) that can have any percent of cannabinoids desired while being grown in both seeded and “sinsemilla” forms. This would eliminate any conflict of interest from all types of growers enabling them to use any agronomic technique they want
By the way, the idea of characterizing Industrial Cannabis by it’s THC content makes no sense whatsoever , especially now that CBD is being derived from industrial hemp on a large scale and has been recognized by the OR State legislature as being a valid industrial hemp product… If we were to change things in this manner the price of recreational cannabis might fall as low as tobacco (but with an equivalent increase in overall sales size), and unless we put excessive taxation on it, it will destroy the black market for the plant totally. ISN"T THIS WHAT WE REALLY WANT? Free the plant from those ignorance based laws and regulations. if you want to save humanity and have sustainable human culture on this planet GROW MORE HEMP! THAT"S WHAT JACK SAID AND HE WAS RIGHT!
If we all get behind a concept with parameters like the ones suggested above, and we joined forces behind such a new model for cannabis, we can end up changing the whole thing right up to and including the States, the Federal government and the UN. D.Seber 2015