I’m pleased to say I was asked to sit on the committee/jury for the 2009 Philip K. Dick award, which is given for the best novel originally published in paperback. It’s given annually at Norwescon. If you’re interested in past winners, Wikipedia has a list here.
February 21, 2009
February 17, 2009
[1.1] I write for a hobby, I can honestly say it never occurred to me when I took an excerpt of audio, broadcast on the airwaves into kitchens and cars, and made a brief blog post about it, that this could be considered “theft.”
[1.2] A few days ago, Stephen Fry twittered about a vaccination-scare blog post about MMR (that is, the measels, mumps, and rubella vaccine), written by Ben Goldacre, that hit the British blogosphere hard. Thanks to my day job (copyediting medical documents), I am a big fan of vaccination campaigns, and I’ve edited entire special issues of journals dedicated to why you should immunize children, why you shouldn’t rely on herd immunity, and why all the media scares about vaccinations causing autism are just that: media scares, with no basis in fact. I therefore clicked the link with interest.
[1.3] To sum up the controversy: a British media personality, Jeni Barnett, hosted a call-in radio show on LBC Radio on January 7, 2009, in which she said some stunningly, amazingly, scarily stupid things about the MMR vaccine. This was of interest to Goldacre, because he tracks stupid science stuff and debunks it in his blog, which is called Bad Science. Barnett, who has no medical background, nattered on about why it might be okay to not vaccinate your kids. And it might have ended there, had not Goldacre blogged all about it, first in Bad Science Bingo, with Jeni Barnett…NOW with added legal chill, then in its sequel, Er, “help”. Legal Chill from LBC 97.3 and “Global Radio” over Jeni Barnett’s MMR scaremongering, and had not Fry, with his massive Twitter following, written a tweet about it. Wikipedia already has a summary of the debacle up on Barnett’s page. Barnett blogged an apology. And the debacle has gotten so darn big that it’s kinda scary. Goldacre provides a bit more info in LBC, MMR, Jeni Barnett, an Early Day Motion, the Times, and, er, a bit of Stephen Fry…, including graphs! showing steep declines in children’s vaccination in the UK.
[1.4] There are a couple of things that interest me about this controversy, aside from the irresponsible dissemination of false information about the safety of vaccinations, which I’m not going to talk about here. First is the insistence from the copyright holder of Barnett’s radio show that Goldacre remove the clip he made of Barnett from his site, which he did, and Goldacre’s feelings and thoughts about this request. Second is the responsive nature of the blogosphere, which leapt in to provide backup. I love examples of Web 2.0 mimicking fannish behavior, and this is a fabulous example of it.
Photobucket, which I use to host my images, has suspended my account temporarily, but all the pictures will be back up on February 20, when the account resets.
I checked my stats, and none of my blog posts get big hits. I suspect the culprit is the image-heavy Disney blog post I coauthored with Craig Jacobsen, which gets about 50 hits a day. So apologies if you can’t see the images, and come back later. The Disney post is the only blog post where the images actually matter; for all other posts to date, they are mere punctuating eye candy.