Category Archives: museion

Medical theme restaurant Hospitalis in Riga, Latvia

A couple of weeks ago we asked for a guide to restaurants and bars with medical motifs.

Øystein Horgmo has kindly sent us an article in the Norwegian daily Dagbladet about the new theme restaurant Hospitalis in Riga, Latvia, which is owned by medical doctors and has a pronounced medical motif.

Says my new favourite guide to Latvian culture, ‘Fucking Latvia: alternative guide to Latvia’:

It is a must-see place if you like gore things. The restaurant looks like a medicine cabinet, while you are treated as a patient and taken good care by the long-legged waitresses in nurses uniforms. The food is served in flasks and operating-room’s dishes and isn’t that cheap (7 and more lats per meal), but this is a bizarre experience that is worth breaking the bank. Besides, the place is owned by local doctors, but unfortunately, the president of Latvia, who is also a doctor, declined his appearance at the opening once he realized how weird this place actually is.

In other words, more raw and bizarre than the utterly sophisticated The Clinic in Singapore. Isn’t there one in Berlin too??

Humanities journals under threat from the European research bureaucracy (ERIH)

Under the heading ”Journals under Threat: A Joint Response from HSTM Editors” ten editors of some of the leading international journals for history and philosophy of science and social studies of science have issued a joint declaration against the current attempts, initiated by the European Science Foundation, to establish a European rating system for humanities journals (ERIH):

We live in an age of metrics. All around us, things are being standardized, quantified, measured. Scholars concerned with the work of science and technology must regard this as a fascinating and crucial practical, cultural and intellectual phenomenon. Analysis of the roots and meaning of metrics and metrology has been a preoccupation of much of the best work in our field for the past quarter century at least.

As practitioners of the interconnected disciplines that make up the field of science studies we understand how significant, contingent and uncertain can be the process of rendering nature and society in grades, classes and numbers. We now confront a situation in which our own research work is being subjected to putatively precise accountancy by arbitrary and unaccountable agencies. Some may already be aware of the proposed European Reference Index for the Humanities (ERIH), an initiative originating with the European Science Foundation. The ERIH is an attempt to grade journals in the humanities – including “history and philosophy of science”.

The initiative proposes a league table of academic journals, with premier, second and third divisions. According to the European Science Foundation, ERIH “aims initially to identify, and gain more visibility for, top-quality European Humanities research published in academic journals in, potentially, all European languages”. It is hoped “that ERIH will form the backbone of a fully-fledged research information system for the Humanities”. What is meant, however, is that ERIH will provide funding bodies and other agencies in Europe and elsewhere with an allegedly exact measure of research quality. In short, if research is published in a premier league journal it will be recognized as first rate; if it appears somewhere in the lower divisions, it will be rated (and not funded) accordingly.

This initiative is entirely defective in conception and execution. Consider the major issues of accountability and transparency. The process of producing the graded list of journals in science studies was overseen by a committee of four (the membership is currently listed at http://www.esf.org/research-areas/humanities/research-infrastructures-including-erih/erih-governance-and-panels/erih-expert-panels.html). This committee cannot be considered representative. It was not selected in consultation with any of the various disciplinary organizations that currently represent our field such as BSHS, HSS, PSA, SHoT or SSSS. Only in June 2008 were journal editors belatedly informed of the process and its relevant criteria or asked to provide any information regarding their publications. No indication has been given of the means through which the list was compiled; nor how it might be maintained in the future.

The ERIH depends on a fundamental misunderstanding of conduct and publication of research in our field, and in the humanities in general. Journals’ quality cannot be separated from their contents and their review processes. Great research may be published anywhere and in any language. Truly ground-breaking work may be more likely to appear from marginal, dissident or unexpected sources, rather than from a well-established and entrenched mainstream. Our journals are various, heterogeneous and distinct. Some are aimed at a broad, general and international readership, others are more specialized in their content and implied audience. Their scope and readership say nothing about the quality of their intellectual content. The ERIH, on the other hand, confuses internationality with quality in a way that is particularly prejudicial to specialist and non-English language journals. In a recent report, the British Academy, with judicious understatement, concludes that “the European Reference Index for the Humanities as presently conceived does not represent a reliable way in which metrics of peer-reviewed publications can be constructed.”

Such exercises as ERIH can become self-fulfilling prophecies. If such measures as ERIH are adopted as metrics by funding and other agencies, then many in our field will conclude that they have little choice other than to limit their publications to journals in the premier division. We will sustain fewer journals, much less diversity and impoverish our discipline. Along with many others in our field, this Journal has concluded that we want no part of this illegitimate and misguided exercise.

This joint Editorial is being published in journals across the fields of history of science and science studies as an expression of our collective dissent and our refusal to allow our field to be managed and appraised in this fashion. We have asked the compilers of the ERIH to remove our journals’ titles from their lists.

The declaration is signed by:

  • Neil Barton (Transactions of the Newcomen Society)
  • Robert Fox (Notes & Records of the Royal Society)
  • Michael Hoskin (Journal for the History of Astronomy)
  • Nick Jardine (Studies in History and Philosophy of Science)
  • Trevor Levere (Annals of Science)
  • Bernie Lightman (Isis)
  • Michael Lynch (Social Studies of Science)
  • Peter Morris (Ambix)
  • Iwan Rhys Morus (History of Science)
  • Simon Schaffer (British Journal for the History of Science)

In other words, the leading journals in one of the central and established fields of the humanities clearly distance themselves from the ongoing European humanities journal policy.

(The text above is quoted in extenso from an email that was distributed to the international history of science, technology and medicine community today. So far the only website which has published it is Sauvons l’Université, 16 July, but the declaration will be published in forthcoming issues of the journals involved.)

Knee operation, anyone?

I performed my fist knee operation today. Not in real life though but on my pc. Videogames inspired by medical practises or diseases has been discussed on this blog before but I don’t think that this particular game has been mentioned. In the game one takes on the role of a surgeon (or a surgeon’s assistant, I’m a bit in the dark on that one) and I must admit that I found the game to be surprisingly unpleasant. Online Casino in Singapore, find the best Singaporean Online Casino to play at online-casino.com.sg.

I guess that working at a place like Medical Museion one gets hardened by telling stories of how the medieval surgeons performed their work or how the cholera epidemic infected people in the middle of the 19th century. Nevertheless this game, where one gets to perform surgery on a knee, really struck me. One thing is the images of the opened knee but I believe that it’s really the sound on the game that gets to me. Especially the sound of the saw going through the knee is really disturbing. Urg!

I must admit that I found it rather educational and apparently my patient survived. To be quite honest I’m not sure that it’s possible to actually ever fail. The game also reminded me of an article I read recently (”Inscribing surgery in digital culture” by Jan Eric Olsén, Årsskrift for Medicinsk Museion, vol. 3, 2006: 49), in which he links computer gaming and virtual surgery:

Future surgery may not require knowledge in handling the scalpel but rather familiarity with computers. It has also been suggested that surgeons who often play computer games sharpen their ability to coordinate the senses of vision and touch, when performing keyhole surgery (Satava ed 1998: 143-144)

That might be right, but I’m quite sure that the above-mentioned game does not train the necessary skills 🙂

Cloud of top 100 health and medicine blog names

Last week I used Wordle to create a blogroll cloud from my link list (which worked quite well, see here) — and today I tried to make a similar cloud of eDrugSearch‘s latest (25 July) list of 883 health and medicine blog names (i.e., the full names of the blogs, not just the single words).

It turned out to be too big a mouthful for Wordle to turn the whole health and medicine sector of the blogosphere into a cloud display. So I abbreviated the run to the top 100 blog names on eDrugSearch’s list. But even then it took Wordle about 45 (!) minutes to complete these 100: (click image to make it bigger; added 28 July: if it doesn’t work, upgrade your Java version).

Wordle has rapidly become a favourite pastime among internet users so their bandwidth seems to be quite filled up. Maybe its slow also because it takes more computing power to construct a phrase cloud than a word cloud. But if you want to make a blogroll cloud, as opposed to say a tag cloud, then phrase clouding is the only option, of course.

The image is printable, but so far not clickable. Maybe Jonathan Feinberg could add a function that makes it possible to open a blog by clicking on its name in the image?

And here’s the list I took from eDrugSearch (again, only the first 100 are in the cloud; maybe I can try to process all 883 when Japan and California have stopped playing with Wordle tonight):

The~New~York~Times~Health~Blog WSJ.com:~Health~Blog Respectful~Insolence Bad~Science Medgadget.com Healthbolt A~Blog~Around~the~Clock Kevin~M.D.~Medical~Blog NHS~Blog~Doctor DiabetesMine.com denialism~blog The~Health~Care~Blog Awful~Plastic~Surgery Junkfood~Science SharpBrains~ World~of~Psychology~&~Mental~Health Mark’s~Daily~Apple Fitsugar Autism~Vox Dr.~Sanity Running~a~Hospital Terra~Sigillata Livin’~La~Vida~Low-Carb Pharmalot Pure~Pedantry~ HealthCareVox In~the~Pipeline Brain~Blogger Eye~on~DNA blog.bioethics.net PharmaGossip Health~Care~Renewal Science-Based~Medicine Random~Acts~of~Reality Emergiblog Over~my~med~body! GruntDoc Cranky~Fitness But~you~don’t~look~sick Health~Business~Blog The~Biotech~Weblog A~Day~in~the~Life~of~An~Ambulance~Driver NewsInferno Fat~Man~Unleashed Michael~R.~Eades,~M.D. WhiteCoat~Rants Polite~Dissent Clinical~Cases~and~Images~blog Vitabeat Sciencebase~ HealthBeatBlog Lively~Women New~York~Personal~Injury~Attorney~Blog Mental~Health~Notes  Straight~from~the~Doc Diabetes~Daily Eating~Fabulous Surgeonsblog OR-Live:~Live~and~On-Demand~Medical~Webcasts Allergizer Doctor~Anonymous Six~Until~Me Dr.~Deb~ Fight~Aging! The~Cheerful~Oncologist Weight~of~the~Evidence Science~Roll The~Happy~Hospitalist Neurophilosophy Effect~Measure About~Pediatrics Biosingularity Healthcare~Economist The~Blog~That~Ate~Manhattan The~Angry~Pharmacist Dr.~Wes Daily~Diabetic davidrothman.net Insure~Blog Genetics~and~Health DB’s~Medical~Rants Pharma~Marketing~Blog A~Hearty~Life Musings~of~a~Dinosaur Managed~Care~Matters Movin’~Meat Dr.~Melissa~Clouthier Cato@Liberty~(Health~Care) Blogborygmi Health~Affairs~Blog Diabetes~Notes FierceHealthIT Women’s~Health~News GoozNews The~Examining~Room~of~Dr.~Charles Clinical~Psychology~and~Psychiatry:~A~Closer~Look the~underwear~drawer Schwitzer~Health~News~Blog Tech~Medicine Musings~of~a~Highly~Trained~Monkey Crass-Pollination:~An~ER~Blog~ Omni~Brain Cancer~Commentary Medicine~for~the~Outdoors ERnursey Diethack HealthBlawg Brass~and~Ivory~Health Ten~out~of~Ten Weight~Loss~Lib Dr.~Val~&~the~Voice~of~Reason eDrugSearch.com~Blog Healthcare~Law~Blog World~Healthcare~Blog Scalpel~or~Sword? M.D.O.D The~Gimp~Parade Drug~and~Device~Law Suture~for~a~Living Ouroboros:~Research~in~the~biology~of~aging Nurse~Ratched’s~Place~ DC’s~Improbable~Science HealthPricer~Post HealthBlog ChronicBabe Nee~Naw:~London~Ambulance~Dispatcher Well~Woman~Blog Anxiety,~Addiction,~and~Depression~Treatments Eye~on~FDA MicrobiologyBytes Health~Check~the~Blog Parallel~Universes Physician~Law~Blog Journal~of~Dr.~Hebert FutureDerm.Wordpress.com Pharma~Watch BrandweekNRX Musings~of~a~Distractible~Mind Medpundit Healthline~Connects The~Fitness~Fixer The~Diet~Dish Highlight~HEALTH New~Media~Medicine LIFT~Magazine Celebrity~Cosmetic~Surgery CAMLAW~ Diabetes~Update Dr.~Bill~Quick Heart~and~Style~Woman The~Carlat~Psychiatry~Blog Our~Bodies~Our~Blog The~Krafty~Librarian The~Healthcare~IT~Guy Hospital~Impact Blogway~Baby:~Medicine~for~the~Fabulous~Invalid The~Doctor~Is~In The~Quackometer~Blog Psychiatric~Drug~Withdrawal~and~Recovery Health~Disparities~Blog Health~Populi Teen~Health~411 Health~Observances Fruit~of~the~Womb eHealthNews.EU~Portal Fat~Doctor code~blog:~tales~of~a~nurse David~Mendosa Gene~Sherpas:~Personalized~Medicine~and~You A~Stellarlife Healthy~Lifestyle~Blogzine The~Differential~ Ask~Dr.~Paula Freedom~from~Smoking Question~Authority~with~Dr.~Peter~Rost Family~Medicine~Notes Stayin~Alive Orange~Book~Blog Women’s~Bioethics~Blog Doctors~Gadgets The~Well-Timed~Period Malaysian~Medical~Resources IN~VIVO~Blog Alliance~for~Human~Research~Protection Mousethinks~ Where~We~Relax Scientific~Misconduct~Blog~(Pharmaceutical) BioHealth~Investor Ezra~Klein~(Healthcare) shrink~rap~ Technology,~Health~&~Development LIFT Piper~Report~on~Health~Care His~Talk business|bytes|genes|molecules About~a~Nurse Biomedicine~on~Display Aggravated~DocSurg Pallimed:~A~Hospice~&~Palliative~Medicine~Blog Ask~Dr.~Eisner The~Family~Fork The~Changing~NHS White~Coat~Underground The~Covert~Rationing~Blog Notes~from~Dr.~RW intueri:~to~contemplate~ A~Chance~to~Cut~is~a~Chance~to~Cure e-CareManagement The~Angry~Medic Truth~in~Cosmetic~Surgery Health~is~Money other~things~amanzi Jan’s~blog Laughter~is~the~Best~Medicine Infertility~Insights Cancer~Treatment~and~Survivorship Crossover~Health HealthNex Your~Pharmacist~May~Hate~You The~Diabetes~Self-Management~Blog digicmb Health~Care~BS Dietriffic Drug~Law~Blog Healthcare~Efficiency The~GoHealth~Coverage~Corner The~Wait~and~the~Wonder Back~Talk:~Take~Control~of~your~Pain Limes~&~Lycopene Drug~Wonks Dr~Shock~MD~PhD The~Informatics~Review The~Palmdoc~Chronicles Whitterer~on~Autism~ EMR~and~HIPAA The~Efficient~MD retired~doc’s~thoughts~ Raidiology~Picture~of~the~Day Purpleplus Holford~Watch Ann~Bartlett Dissect~Medicine Medical~Connectivity~Consulting Dr.~Dork eHealth tales~from~the~emergency~room~and~beyond… DocintheMachine Mediblogopathy Chilmark~Research Head~Nurse Natural~Health~Blog Tundra~Medicine~Dreams~ New~Health~Dialogue Doctor~Hébert’s~Medical~Gumbo A~Shot~in~the~Dark Addicted~to~Medblogs Purple~Medical~Blog Rickety~Contrivances~of~Doing~Good Urostream~ Rebuild~Your~Back Lose~That~Tyre Battle~Diabetes~Blog Living~Single~in~the~Buckle~of~the~Bible~Belt Blog,~MD Life~in~the~NHS~ St~Vincent’s~Hospital~Darlinghurst~-~Male~Nurses Digital~Doorway madness:~tales~of~an~emergency~room~nurse Scott’s~Web~Log Healthcare~Intelligence~Network Health~Management~Rx California~Medicine~Man Unbounded~Medicine I~Am~Not~A~Drain~On~Society Cut~On~The~Dotted~Line Celebrity~Overdose DisappearingJohn~RN Half~MD.com EMRUpdate Ginger’s~Blog Tracy~Davenport’s~Blog Med~School~Hell Ang~Therapist PaulsHealthBlog.com Kathi’s~blog Fingers~and~Tubes~in~Every~Orifice Weighty~Matters Biotech~Blog The~Antidote:~Counterspin~for~Health~Care~and~Health~News Pharma’s~Cutting~Edge Prescribing~Advice~for~GPs pixelrn.com Respiratory~Therapy~101:~Just~Keep~Breathing Street~Watch:~Notes~of~a~Paramedic~ CFS~Squared~:~Tales~of~CFS Counting~Sheep GIDEON~blog Hallway~Four seroxat~secrets monash~medical~student The~Adventures~of~An~Awesome~(Sometimes)~Mom Mom’s~Tinfoil~Hat Drug~Injury~Watch Allergy~Notes Dentistry~Bytes Angry~Doctor Health~and~Nursing~Issues~in~Australia VentureBeat~Life~Sciences Gretchen~Becker Buckeye~Surgeon March~of~the~Platypi Life~in~the~NHS Healthskills:~Skills~for~Healthy~Living HealthyConcerns.com Bernard’s~Diabetes~Blog Vitum~Medicinus The~Sentinel~Effect Second~Chance~to~Live~ Dr~Grumble All~Blogged~Up:~A~Moof’s~Tale Impactiviti Medopedia Sunshine~and~Moonlight Plastic~Surgery~101 The~Ferret~Fancier~ COPD~News~of~the~Day Sumer’s~Radiology~Site Neil~Versel’s~Healthcare~IT~Blog Nurse~Sean Laika’s~MedLibLog MS~Maze Whole~Food~And~More The~Pulse Basil~&~Spice Shelved~in~the~W’s EBM~and~Clinical~Support~Librarians@UCHC Panda~Bear,~MD The~Alan~Katz~Health~Care~Reform~Blog Patient~Centric~Healthcare donorcycle~ omg~tuna~is~kewl Breath~Spa~for~Kids On~Pharma~ Cosmic~Watercooler Mexico~Medical~Student Bioethics~Discussion~Blog Unprotected~Text~ Medical~Humanities~Blog Doctor~David’s~Blog DAILYMUSCLE.com Colorado~Life~Science~Deal~Flow~ The~Knife~Man OB/GYN~Kenobi SugarStats.com~-~Simple~Online~Diabetes~Management edwinleap.com Colorado~Health~Insurance~Insider Open~Medicine~blog Med~Journal~Watch~ Mostly~True~Stories~ REBIRTH Backboards~and~Band-Aids Healthcare~Futures Pharma~Giles About~Health~Transparency Black~Triangle Health~Policy~and~Marketplace~Review Drug~Channels richard[WINTERS]md Neonatal~Doc~ The~Haversian~Canal Prescription~Access~Litigation~(PAL) Short~White~Coats~ Pharm~Exec~Blog EMS~Haiku The~Sandman Health~World~Web~ Reflections~by~Dr.~Bruce~Campbell The~Physician~Executive ACORN~Sick~Days~Campaign secretwave101 Trusted.MD~Network medmusings Universal~Health A~Midwife’s~Muse Rebel~Doctor~Web~Log Midwife~with~a~Knife crzegrl.net I’m~a~Medical~Student,~Get~Me~Out~of~Here! Angel~in~the~Sickroom The~Miscellaneous~Mischievous~Misadventures~of~Missbhavens~ On~the~Clock Pink~Warm~And~Dry EBM~and~Clinical~Support~Librarians@UCHC USMLEMD Medical~Health~Information~Resource Massage~Marketing~Blog The~Alan~Katz~Health~Care~Reform~Blog Mind,~Soul,~and~Body The~Orthopedic~Logbook Making~Perfect~Sense Canadian~Medicine Counting~Sheep From~Medskool ICMCC ICMCC~Newspage Take~it~Off!~with~Julia Curing~Healthcare Health~Access~WeBlog Drugs~and~Poisons The~Thoughts~of~Artemis~ Medical~Student~Musings Kidney~Notes Not~Nurse~Ratched Nurse~William The~Perpetual~Search~for~Personal~Nirvana Mr.~Hassle’s~Long~Underpants Tales~of~a~Bohemian~Road~Nurse… NY~Emergency~Medicine EM~Physician~-~Backstage~Pass The~Disease~Management~Care~Blog our~own~system Not~Totally~Rad Nosugrefneb’s~Weblog Med-Source:~Resources~for~Medical~Students EGMEDICINE~:~we~blog~medicine The~Rejected~|~Where~Real~Life~Meets~Medicine The~HITtransition~Weblog Ace~of~Trump The~Nefariouspoo~of~Sarah~(diabetic~musings) Clinical~Correlations Pioneering~Ideas The~Nurse~Practitioner’s~Place Concepts~in~Orthopaedic~and~Sports~Medicine~Rehab Respiratory~Therapy~Cave Breaking~the~Mirror Pathophilia Pulmonary~Roundtable~ Get~the~Skinney Hodges’~Model:~Welcome~to~the~QUAD Julie’s~Health~Club Reality~Chick Just~Practicing:~The~Secret~Lives~of~Pediatricians MSSPNexus~Blog She~Blinded~Me~with~Science! InsideSurgery Wandering~Visitor Libraries~in~the~NHS The~KnifeMan Healthy~Aging~For~Women The~Health~Wisdom~Blog CanadaPharmacyNews.com A~Fledgling~Nurse~Blog Overactive~Imagination IntraopOrate rdoctor.com Dream~Mom The~Dragonfly~Initiative The~Girl~with~the~Blue~Stethoscope The~Story~Of~Healing About~Health~Transparency Sleepdoctor My~MD~Journey How~I~Spent~My~Nursing~Education Best~American~Hospital Christina’s~Considerations Centre~for~Emotional~Well-Being Every~Patient’s~Advocate Nurse~at~Small NursingAssistants.Net I’m~Not~Anti-Social,~I’m~Just~Pre-Med Homebirth~Diaries GooMedic~Blog Merv~Sheppard’s~Transplant~Network~ The~Foot~Blog NursingBytes The~Dental~Implant~Blog Orthopaedic~Residency:~The~attending~perspective Tech~’n’~Health Doc~Around~the~Clock What’s~Next~in~Health Med~Valley~High Dust~in~the~Wind girl~in~greenwood~ Straight~Talk~from~the~Stanford~ER Lake~Cocytus Let’s~Talk~Healthcare Health~Politics World~Pharma~News NHS~-~Behind~the~Headlines The~Entrepreneurial~MD the~story~of~healing Repairing~the~Healthcare~System Health~Care~Fine~Art Birth~Activist NeoTool~Healthcare~IT~Blog Future~Health~IT Baby~Biotechs Blissful~Entropy~ Tales~from~the~Womb~ AtYourCervix Health~Care~Today Health’s~Ass Real~Sage~Advice RehabRN Waking~Up~Costs~ Life~with~Leukaemia Borneo~Breezes~ Drug-Induced~Hallucinations~ Gardner’s~Gate Misadventurous~Melissa Salad~Tongs,~Anyone? Sunlight~Follows~Me~ The~Doctor~Blogger~ e-MedTools~News Plasticized Plastic~Surgery~Photos Miami,~M.D. Kate’s~Casebook Confessions~of~a~Stretcher~Jockey Fixin’~Healthcare insidermedicine Becoming~A~Doctor Confessions~of~a~Student~Nurse Medicine~and~Economics Pharm~Aid Tales~of~my~Thirties Just~Up~The~Dose Coffee~&~Conversation Sobriety~Girl Livin’~Large Medstudentitis oncRN Postcards~From~Holland~ The~S-DRG~Report Transplant~Headquarters Medicare~Update Tiggers~Don’t~Jump YKYW~-~Nursing~Student~Blog Web~2.0~and~Medicine SoloDoc Medical~Tourism~Blog two~(presidential)~terms~later~ ICTconsequences Maldiveshealth symtym Managing~the~Sweetness~Within The~Geriatric~Patient Deacon~Barry ED~Manager:~My~Side~of~the~Stretcher ID~Crossroads Indian~Medic Island~Med~Student It’s~All~Okay Learning~To~Catch~Babies Mark~on~the~World~ Medicine,~Animals~and~a~Dream midnight~nightingale my~life,~my~pace MyHeartOnMySleeve~ Notageek~ Nursing~Research:~Show~me~the~evidence!~ Putting~Our~Heads~Together Student~Nurse~Jack~ The~Forgotten~Blue~Line Terrible~Palsy Doctor’s~Girlfriend The~Long~Road~to~Medical~School Baycitywalker Nurse~Practitioner~Business A~Day~In~the~Life PresidentialRX.com Dalai’s~PACS~Blog Westmeade~Anaesthesia Bay~City~Walker BibMed~Blog Drea~and~her~CGMS Creating~the~Godcomplex Foggy~Bottom~Lantern~ Project~Health~Design EverythingHealth Wachter’s~World PharmaFraud LIfe~in~the~Emergency~Department Drug~Pusher Becoming~a~Nurse~ DundeeMedStudent Life~With~Premature~Boys the~evil~resident pathtalk.org What,~Me~Worry? Medical~2.0 The~Berry~Patch Anatomy~on~the~Beach~ frylime:~a~quasi-medical~autobiography~ Ms~Ellisa Nursing~Job~Bank Medviews~ Insider~Guide~to~Online~Prescriptions Pharm~House Pharmcountry Colorado~Health~Insurance~Insider A~Budding~Emergencist~ Life~Lessons Type~B~Medicine Yet~Another~Med~School~Blog~ Digital~Pathology Asthma~Mom The~Stem~Cell~Geek~ Health~Content~Advisors Musculoskeletal~MRI mursing Crusty~Ambulance~Driver tails~of~a~mouse~asthmatologist Healthcare~Management The~Medicine~Box The~Angry~Doctor Physiospot~Musculoskeletal Life~with~Little~Joe The~Dental~Implant~Blog constructive~medicine NYC~EMS Electronic~Medical~Records~Information~&~Resources A~day~in~the~life~of~an~OptStudent A~Jolly~Company~ Arthros Aunt~Pickle~-~Dedicated~Aunt~and~Nursing~Student~ Code~Pink COWman’s~Corner~of~the~Web~ Sinus~arrhythmia~ Knitting~In~The~Dark~ Mika’s~World~ Mommy~Nurse~Wife~and~25!~ Nursa~Minor~ Nurse~Practitioners~in~Business~ of~ditziness~and~med~school!~ Orphie,~The~Wonder~Dog talking~RN~ The~Future~Dr~House,~DO~ This~won’t~hurt~a~bit DNA~and~You Brain~Scramble Libratto Dr~Speedy~and~ME Your~Heart~Your~Life~-~HypoCol~for~Cholesterol~Management~and~Lifestyle~Chooses The~Makings~of~a~Nurse Respiratory~Therapy~Driven N~is~for~Nurse CCLCM~Student~Blog Lost~on~the~Floor Reportergene Dr~Brenda~MD~Medblog Live~from~the~Coroner’s~Office Disabled~Not~Dead Rogue~Medic MedicoNews.com Updated~Health~News BLOG~Medicine healthTech Consumer-focused~healthcare An~American~Medic~in~Britain I’m~A~Blogaholic The~Biotech~&~Healthcare~IT~Blog Patient~Destiny The~Business~Of~Wellness Liz~Does~Sydney Health~Hog Project~Disaster Cosmetic~Genital~Surgery~Blog Outrageous~Times everything~related~to~tomography Defying~Gravity In~Our~Own~Words:~Medscape~Nurses Michelle~vs~the~Med~Student The~good,~the~bad,~&~the~putrid–tales~of~a~new~nurse MyDocHub~Blog The~Nursing~Site~Blog Regulating~Health~Insurance TruMed X-ray~Rocks Chris,~Pharm.D. Elqalatawy-View Two~Weeks~on~a~Trolley Anne~Ross~Library~Blog Low~Carb~Craig Thoughts~from~the~Pharmacy~God My~MS~Journal NY~Medical~Malpractice~&~Injury~Law PACS~World Your~Pharmacist~May~Hate~You healthcare~epistemocrat RHIOs,~Health~Information~Exchange~and~Healthcare~IT~ Advance~My~Practice constructive~procrastination~ Dr~Brokeback’s~Second~Opinion Echo~doc~ Meditec New~Nurse~Jane Picklecakes poeMD raecatherine~almost~on~the~water~ Scrubs~and~Spit~Up~ Stethoscopes~and~Diapers The~Pink~Teeshirt Till~I~Run~Out~of~Road~ Cancer~and~Your~Genes Student~Nurses’~Notes Medspaces Counterfeit~Drug Weird~Nursing~Tales~ Sonicrusk~Blog Cancer~Blog Big~Pharma-FDA~Blog Milliner’s~Dream Respiratory~Report Foreign~Pharmacy~Tips Irv~Arons’~Journal~ MudPhud~Adventures Your~Nursing~World:~After~IUON Fingolimod~and~Me Mediformatica Poor~Emil’s~Almanac A~Scanner~Brightly Dr.~Clouthier’s~Natural~Health~Blog Ideas~For~Surgery~MIS~Innovation My~Vasectomy~Reversal iPhone~Medicine~Blog The~Lowly~Worm~-~The~UK’s~Most~Junior~Doctor My~USMLE~Story~-~of~Steps~and~Journeys Oncology~Blog The~Chronicles~of~A~Medical~Student~In~Melbourne Medic~Interrupted From~Medicine~to~Mckinsey~to~Main~St Renaissance~Orthopaedics Buying~Signals:~Rod~Solar’s~blog~on~marketing~private~healthcare~in~the~UK T.J.~Kuhn’s~GxP~Zone With~Enough~Courage WardBunny’s~Coffee~Break Medic~Interrupted Just~A~Midwife From~The~Bedside Not~My~Second~Opinion Pammiecakes Paramed:~A~Paramedic’s~Plight Psyched~Out~ Reflections~of~a~DC~Medical~Student Studying~Under~a~Palm~Tree~ The~Multiple~Sclerosis~Companion The~Underside~of~Nursing~ White~Scrubs A~day~at~the~pharmacy Where’s~My~Towel~ Apollo,~M.D. Med~Students~Down~Under Dr.~Schwartz’s~Weblog Onehealthpro~ I~love~my~heart Med~School~and~Grad~School,~Am~I~Crazy? The~Arizona~Pharmacist Diabetes~Pedia EducatedNobody HeartDisease~-~Alair~Castro Dr.~Sam~Online Mark~and~MS Joseph~Kim,~MD,~MPH Health~Train~Express Ridin’~the~Bus Non-Clinical~Careers~ Intubate~Em!!! Best~Dental~Answers Vaccine~Blog Clinical~Trails~Blog Spirituality~of~Dying~Well Days~of~My~Life~ Living~A~Healthy~Lifestyle Labor~Lore:~Tales~from~the~Delivery~Room MRCOG~Facts jamesloganmd Sarah~goes~to~Deutschland~ Scrub~Notes~ Dr.~Mintz weblogdofraga Nursing,~Life,~Cooking,~Twins,~Politics,~Curiosities~ Raspberry~Stethoscope Sisterhood~of~the~Travelling~Scrub~Pants~ Tangled~Chain~A~Nurse~Perspective~ Too~Fat~For~Ponies,~RN,~BSN Toxic~Megacolon~ Type-B~Premed Under~the~Mosquito~Net eCTD Legal~Discount~Online~Pharmacy~ Healthcare~Education~2010 idiopathic~iatrogenesis Pound~of~Cure New~Technologies~in~Medicine health18 PharmaStats Krongrad~Institute~Prostate~Cancer~Blog Critical~Pathways Mike’s~Viewpoint Clinical~Trials~Web Medicine~&~Spirituality BMJ~ StorkNurse Medilogy Medical~Videos! Health~Articles My~Medical~Journal O.C.~Scrubs Medical~Pills My~Nurse’s~Notes A~grumpyRN Healthcare~Today A~Nurse~Practitioner’s~View LIFECARE~Homoeopathy PharmaRag! Physician~Surveys~and~Healthcare~Market~Research dental~management Ranaesheart Healthcare~Engineering~Consultants Ivor~Kovic,~MD Nexthealth Planning~the~Unpredictable Medicine~Feed Joerg~Schwarz~on~Health~Care My~Pregnancy~Symptoms melting~mama Real~Health~Reform health~trekker James~Hubbard’s~My~Family~Doctor~Magazine Too~Old~To~Work,~Too~Young~To~Retire health~care~quality carethics~-~healthcare~news~monitor~in~India Pharmababble NY~Medical~Malpractice~Video~Tutorials Nurses~Informations Postcards~from~Kiddieland~ Backboards~and~Bandaids,~Papers~and~Projects…~ The~Gamere Reflections~of~a~Clinical~Support~Nurse~ Gastro~Girl~ MCOL~Blog Healthcare~Blogmatica Life~Sciences~Thought~Leadership~One-to-One Lifesigns Health~and~Longevity Manifest~Destiny Adventures~in~Medical~School~ Compu_Nurse Kisses~and~Compliments~ The~Petri~Dish~ Kentucky~Insurance Fitness~Central OutofPocket.com Life~Sciences~and~Healthcare~Strategy rants~from~an~ER~Murse Dr.~Jeff~Ryan Action~For~Better~Healthcare Normal~Sinus~Rhythm Pharmaceuticals~Anonymous Marketing~For~Physicians nurse’s~notes~online American~Healthcare~Crisis The~Club~of~Cos NP’s~Place Dentistry~for~Diabetics Medical~health~care My~Resveratrol~Experience Biomedical~Research Undiagnosed~Illness Living!~with~MS Healthcare~NBIC HealthCare~Voice Healthcare~Marketer’s~Forum HotMed.info Azygos~Medical~Clan~81 Health~Medical~Insurance~Info. St.~Jude~Medical~Fraud Nursing~in~the~Hole Nurse~Zygote Researchgrrl Travel~Nursing~Blog Healthcare~Management 

Science blogging, science communication and the multitude

Here’s the audience gathering for the session on ‘The Public Engagement of Science and Web 2.0′ organised by Gustav Holmberg for the 10th Public Communication of Science and Technology conference (PCST-10) held in Malmö a month ago (read more on our joint session blog). Grab all of the best UK no deposit casino offers at the best no deposit bonus in the United Kingdom. Themobilecasino.co.uk have all the Newest No Deposit Casino codes!

And here’s my own paper for the event (responses are welcome, it needs a lot of improvement and re-writing before it can go to publication):

Abstract:
Within a few years, science blogging has emerged as a new genre for science communication. But is science blogging really best understood in terms of ’science’ and ‘the public’? Or does the phenomenon of science blogging suggest other dichotomies? This paper argues that ’science communication’ is better conceptualized in terms of ‘Empire’ and ‘Multitude’. Science is financed and managed by a network of national and transnational state organisations and corporations, while the overwhelming number of laboratory and field workers constitute a global knowledge proletariat. These different positions in the global ’scientific field’ entail two different domains of communication practices which correspond, roughly, to the cultures of ‘Empire’ and ‘Multitude’, respectively.

And here’s the talk:

1. Those of you who have followed the field of science communication over the last decade have seen how earlier approaches to public understanding of science — usually based on what is often called the ‘deficit model’ — have repeatedly been challenged by demands for more participatory (dialogic, two-way, etc.) models for science communication.

2. In spite of these attempts to foster more participatory modes of engagement, however, the traditional one-way public understanding of science through institutionalized mass media, such as newspapers and magazines, radio and television, museums, etc., still constitutes the ruling paradigm, both in communication practice and in communication studies. Even the internet and web-based science communication is more often than not used for institutionalized one-way communication — a kind of digital broad-casting. More dialogic practices are still a largely utopian vision.

3. However, the possibility for developing more dialogic science communication practices has become much more realistic with the recent emergence of the participatory web, i.e., web platforms and services that aim to enhance user-driven content, easy and informal information sharing, and collaboration among users. Podcasting, image and movie content sharing services like Flickr and YouTube, social networking services like Facebook, wikis like Wikipedia, and not least blogging provide the means for a new flourishing of dialogic science communication.

4. In other words, what is happening on the internet these years under the label of ‘the participatory web’ promises to set qualitiatively new agendas for the way we understand and practice science communication. The ‘participatory web’ (‘web 2.0′) helps transforming science communication—from a traditional public understanding of science and passive public engagement with science, towards more active public engagement practices, towards public participation in science, and even towards public co-production of science.

5. Let me give a few examples of what I mean by the last three types of public science communication, before I turn to blogging.

5.1 My first example is the use of Wikipedia, which is highly contested among some academics, because they believe it is unauthoritative and unreliable, but which is otherwise extremely popular, not least among scientists. A simple indicator of Wikipedia’s popularity is that it almost always comes first in Google searches. Scientific content looms large on Wikipedia, probably because scientists (and computer technologists) contribute most of the science articles. These can be quite specialized; for example, the article on ‘RNA interference’ is more advanced than a basic textbook in cell biology.

Yet, because of the open wiki format, laypeople can and do partake in the continuous editing process. Therefore I think Wikipedia is a good example of a platform which creates more active public engagement with science. Users are not passive consumers of broad-casted scientific ready-made knowledge, but they become actively engaged in science through their involvement with the communication process, even involved in the production of science (‘science-in-the-making’) (see further below).

5.2 My second example is from YouTube. More and more scientists, students and laypeople are putting science-related material on YouTube. Geekishly complex science and tech stuff, like this microarray printing procedure, which has been clicked over 2200 times!), and which is then circulated on the net by means of social networking and sharing sites like Digg.

An interesting recent example of how user-generated content can potentially modify an institutional science communication project is that of UCSF Memory and Aging Center which has just started a YouTube channel about neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s. The idea here is to engage patients, caregivers and medical practitioners in reporting early symptoms and cases of such diseases; one can easily imagine a host of Alzheimer movies on YouTube coming out of this. This is an example of a web-based science communication initiative which goes beyond both passive and active public engagement with science – it’s more like public participation in science.

5.3 My third example is a variation of the distributed computing phenomenon which Gustav Holmberg talked about in the preceeding talk. One of these research projects on protein folding — the rosetta(at)home-project at University of Washington that uses idle computer power from hundreds of thousands of volonteers all over world to predict and design the 3D structure of proteins — has gone a step further, by creating a protein folding computer game. They hope to challenge players to construct a protein with just the right shape to lock into, for example, an HIV virus and deactivate it. The winning protein designs will then be synthesized in the lab and high-scoring players of the game will be credited in the scientific articles from the group. “Long-term”, says the head of the Rosetta-group, David Baker:

I’m hoping that we can get a significant fraction of the world’s population engaged in solving critical problems in world health, and doing it collaboratively and successfully through the game … We’re trying to use the brain power of people all around the world to advance biomedical research.” (from http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/106908.php).

I think the Foldit-game is a pretty nice example of what I call public co-production of science.

6. Now, over to science blogging. I will give a quick overview of science blogging, and then I will suggest a theoretical perspective for how blogging can be understood as a component in dialogic science communication.

7. As most of you probably know, the weblog medium has grown explosively over the last decade. In February this year, the blog tracking service Technorati reported the stunning number of 113 million blogs world-wide, and a number of daily posts somewhere around 1,5 million. (Others have reported much lower numbers; yet these are still large numbers compared to other media.)

8. The absolute majority of these blogs are, of course, dealing with anything but science. Yet, the number of active blogs dealing with science, technology and medicine have a rather impressive presence on the internet, compared to traditional science communication media. It’s been an explosive growth. It’s only three years ago that Derek Lowe wrote that ‘there seem to be enough science bloggers around now that we’re starting to wonder what it is that we’re doing, and why’. Now, three years later, there are probably in the order of magnitude somewhere between 1000 and 1500 active, serious science blogs, ‘written by graduate students, postdocs and young faculty, a few by undergraduates and tenured faculty, several by science teachers, and just a few by professional journalists’ (Laura Bonetta, Cell, vol. 129, 2007, pp. 443-5). And on top of these science blogs, there are thousands of blogs on technology, medicine and health. (For some reasons surgeons are very active bloggers!). Here are three of my favourites:

  • In the Pipeline by Derek Lowe, an organic chemist who is working in a pharmaceutical company, who writes about everything from his daily work at the bench to critical reflections on Big Pharma. Derek posts almost every day and he sometimes have 10, 20 or 30 comments on each post. High quality throughout.
  • The Sterile Eye, by Oystein Horgmo, a Norwegian professional surgical video photographer who regularly reports – in exquisite bloody and gory detail – from the tumour operations at the Norwegian National Hospital.
  • Pimm–Partial Immortalization by Attila Czordas, a biotech geek who writes passionately about the prospects of regenerative medicine and human enhancement.

9. What characterizes these and many hundreds of other science blogs as a medium for dialogic science communication?

9.1 First, from a narrow technical point of view, a blog is of course just another kind of website; and it’s tempting to emphasize this ‘just-another-kind’ aspect of blogs, because there is so much hype around blogging as being something ‘very different’ from, say, internet-based journalism.

9.2 On the other hand, the special functionalities that characterize blog platforms — like chronological posting, comment function, RSS feeds etc. — do after all make the medium pretty different from other web-based media. Together with the fact that blogs are extremely easy to set up and use, these special functionalities make it a highly user-driven medium.

9.3 Third, this strong user-driven character of blogs is associated with the fact that almost all high-ranking science blogs (i.e., blogs that are often linked to) are written from a first-person singular perspective (in contrast to many institutional websites which are written from a we-perspective). This doesn’t mean that blogs are just gossipy or solipsistic personal diaries. As another observer of the blogging phenomenon has pointed out:

The ‘blogosphere’ represents not simply the juxtaposition of intimate diaries, but is a true media space which enables subjectivities to exist on a territory of their own, while at the same time ‘weaving threads’ among each other, and which makes it possible for them to assemble around a political and aesthetic subjectivity that is at once their own and shared. It is never ‘me’ who decides whether someone is going to ‘syndicate’ with me. It is always for the other party to decide, and vice-versa. (Olivier Blondeau, ‘Hactivism’ in Eurozine)

9.4 Finally, it is this special combination of first-person narrative and dense social interaction that is the major feature of the medium. The blogs worth reading and linking to are those that convey the impression of an auteur who is personally involved in his or her intellectual project. It is not just the cognitive content as such that is important, but a cognitive content which is carried by a sense of urgency, with a sense of authenticity behind it.

10. In other words, successful bloggers are those who give the impression that they are on an urgent intellectual journey, and who also wish to share the uncertainty and messiness, the cognitive and emotional struggles on their way to personal enlightenment. It is this existentially cross-linked science networking which I believe best characterizes the science blogosphere. Science blogs don’t tell us much about institutional ready-made science. But they can tell us much about science-in-the-making.

11. The last point leads me to my concluding question, viz., how to make sense of the science blogging phenomenon and other participatory web media and what they can tell us about science communication today? What’s the Big Picture? What’s at stake?

12. With only a few minutes left, I will condense a long argument into a few postulating sentences. I’m drawing on Michael Hardt’s and Toni Negri’s analysis of the social structure in emerging transnational capitalism published in their two seminal books Empire 2000 and Multitude 2004.

13. The thrust of the argument is that we are witnessing the emergence of a new global conflict pattern. On the hand, a combined private and public, national and transnational regime (‘Empire’) which regulates ‘the dominant form of contemporary production, which exerts its hegemony over the others, creates “immaterial goods” such as ideas, knowledge, forms of communication, and relationships’. ‘Multitude’, on the other hand, is the working side of contemporary production of material and immaterial goods and services.

14. Hardt and Negri describe ‘multitude’ as ‘an open network of singularities … that produce a common life; it is a kind of social flesh that organizes itself into a new social body’. It produces ‘cooperation, communication, forms of life, and social relationships’, in other words, not material or immaterial commodity production, but ‘the production and re-production of human biological and social life which creates social relationships and forms through collaborative forms of labor’.

15. To make a long argument short, Hardt and Negri’s Empire-multitude distinction is, I suggest, a promising analytical framework for understanding the Big Picture of science communication, and particularly how the participatory web, including science blogging, relates to more traditional one-way public understanding modes of science communication.

16. The point here is that the big picture of science communication is not a dichotomy between science and the public. The emerging dichotomy, according to this analysis, is rather the following:
16.1 On the one hand, we can discern an assemblage of national and transnational institutions for the government of science (like the sponsoring partners of this conference; logos to the right –>) that develop power practices of science communication for the formation of so called ‘scientific citizenship’, and do this through traditional institutionalized media, like newspapers, radio and TV, museums, and web-based public understanding of science (and supporting conferences of this kind).

16.2 And on the other hand, a ‘multitude’ of ordinary working scientists, researchers, and the general public, a multitude which constitutes ’an open network of singularities’ and which is right now, in the early 21st century, exploring the blog medium and other user-driven participatory web-media as technologies of resistance against the understanding of science spread by institutionalized science communication stakeholders.

17. This is very condensed argument. And let me immediately preempt one obvious counter-argument: Science blogging is not by definition a multitudinarian practice. The blogosphere is a openly contested arena. More and more institutional (both national and transnational) blogs are entering the arena. Science blogging rather points to the possibility of a multitudinarian, truly dialogic, science communication practice.

18. Time is running out, so just one final quote: ‘Can blogs make science cool?’, asked a speaker on Marketplace public radio some time ago. I’m not sure. I rather think it can make science hot, in the sense of opening up for some of the friction heat of new kinds of global conflict patterns between governers and governed which are increasingly permeating the contemporary technoscientific system.