Jailing of Italian Seismologists Has Repercussions for Communicating Science
October 26, 2012
The global scientific community was left reeling this week by an Italian court’s decision to sentence a group of six seismologists to six years in jail for providing false assurances to the public prior to the earthquake that hit the town of L'Aquila in 2009. Judge Marco Billi's ruling has provoked fear and suggests a dangerous precedent in Italy for scientists involved in hazard prediction. Good science has always involved itself in open rigorous debate. If scientists...
Volunteering to Be The Spirit Of The Olympics
August 22, 2012
The most inspiring statistic that I have learned in relation to the Olympics is that of the 70,000 volunteers trained by the Olympic Organising Committee, only four per cent dropped out before the games began. The expectation was that there would be a 20-30 per cent attrition rate. Each volunteer was given one responsibility to perform and many jobs required staff to be outside the arenas for up to seven hours without the opportunity to...
Big Data – Are You Ready?
February 13, 2012
Corporate success is measured in terms of growth. Our clients, no matter what sector they operate in, know that in this fragile economy, growth can edge them ahead of their competition. The question for CEOs is how to generate growth? Attractive mergers and acquisitions targets are scarce, the rapid globalisation of the last twenty years has reduced the number of untapped geographic opportunities and funding is hard to find. The answer may well be found...
The Vonnegut Approach to PR
February 1, 2012
While watching a YouTube clip of a presentation given by the late American writer Kurt Vonnegut in 2005 I was struck by the simplicity of effective story telling. For his presentation Vonnegut presented his audience with a blank blackboard onto which he drew two lines; a G-I axis: good fortune-ill fortune and a B-E axis: B for beginning, E for end. He also explained that the average human experience lay somewhere in the middle and...
Crisis — the Power of Language
January 23, 2012
The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one's real and one's declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish spurting out ink. George Orwell (1903 - 1950), "Politics and the English Language", 1946 Words are powerful and can be very damaging when used carelessly. They have the power to evoke potent emotions and they can help inspire, encourage and...