Home, My Views

My Views- Science Communication & Scientific Literacy

Hey Guys!

First of all, I’m sooooooooo sorry for breaking my promise and stuff. I know this is super terrible because yeah (breaking promises is bad). To make up for it, i will (probably) be writing more posts (so as long as Julian continues to pester me ceaselessly). I still want to aim for the 1 post every fortnight goal and i’ll still keep trying to achieve that someday.

Make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into before making a promise to a bunch of people

-Clyde Lhui 2016

Lately i have been getting into a lot of stuff. Stuff like learning Japanese, photography, music, cooking and a bunch of other stuff. I might be writing posts about those in future so yeah (i know i say this a lot and end up not writing but oh wells).

Well as you can probably tell by the title, this post is about science communication and scientific literacy (pretty self explanatory i guess). I feel very strongly about these 2 topics and that’s why I’m writing this post.

So first off, DEFINITIONS!

Science communication generally refers to public communication presenting science-related topics to non-experts. This often involves professional scientists (called “outreach” or “popularization”), but has also evolved into a professional field in its own right. It includes scienceexhibitions, journalism, policy or media production.

-Wikipedia

And…

Scientific literacy is the knowledge and understanding of scientific concepts and processes required for personal decision making, participation in civic and cultural affairs, and economic productivity. It also includes specific types of abilities.

-Literacynet.org

 

I know that you guys could have easily googled that but hey, 10 seconds saved is 10 seconds saved 🙂

So in short, science communication is talking to people who aren’t scientists about science and scientific literacy is knowing enough science to make logical and good decisions.

I think you are beginning to see how these 2 things are linked.

Perhaps i should further explain why i decided to write this post. In my daily life, i spend a lot of time with my friends (who are largely a group of nerds (who mostly take pride in their nerdhood)) and my family. Since i love science and i spend a lot of my time with my friends  (who are nerds), we spend a lot of time talking about science and related topics. As such, when i talk to my family about a ‘science related topic’ (I’ll explain the apostrophe later), i notice whenever something is off.

My aunts and uncles like to send long WhatsApp messages about stuff they hear from their friends and 95% of those messages that i end up reading are wrong in one way or another. My mum once showed me this video:

Well I think most of you can see why this video is wrong.

(In case you didn’t figure it out, your stomach is part of your body which is at 37 degrees Celsius for the most part)

(Also ice water warming up is kind of a thing)

I know some of you must be thinking: “I’m not stupid, i wouldn’t believe things that don’t make sense.”

Well there are quite a lot of things that people misunderstand.

For starters, nuclear power. I am a strong advocate for nuclear power. It’s clean, reliable and fairly safe. Unlike solar panels or wind turbines that stop working once the sun stops shining or the wind stops blowing, nuclear power plants can work 24/7 and supply enough power to support entire power grids. Furthermore, new nuclear plant designs which have improved safety features are constantly being suggested, making future power plants safer than before. Despite this, many people have a very negative impression of nuclear power.

Image result for nuclear power plant cooling tower

Does this look familiar?

Well it should. I have seen countless news reports about climate change showing images or videos these pumping out massive white clouds.

The only thing is these are the cooling towers of nuclear power plants.

Most people see these images and go “OH NO! We are pumping all that carbon dioxide into the atmosphere!?”. However, the white clouds coming out of the cooling towers are literal clouds: clouds of water droplets.

(Hopefully) by now you should understand the fact that we are prone to having a lot of misconceptions. It could be due to the way the media presents facts, the way social media promotes controversial content or any other reason out there. Regardless of the reason, i hope that you understand that this is pretty bad and it’s something that is extremely hard to avoid. I myself cannot claim that all the knowledge i possess is 100% accurate (in fact i do get things wrong pretty often).

What i hope you get out of reading this post is that knowledge is never absolute and that life and learning is all about constantly renewing our knowledge by being sceptical and challenging our own beliefs. We all need to keep reading and keep discussing so as to improve the accuracy of our knowledge. I think it’s also important for us to keep an open mind and not to immediately say “No that’s wrong.” when someone has contrasting beliefs (well you could but remember to provide your reasons and explain your views).

Never stop questioning your beliefs and perhaps one day there won’t be Geography teachers believing that the Earth goes around the sun in a day and rotates once around its axis in a year.

Thanks for reading!

Clyde Lhui 🙂

Home, My Views

My Views- Lee Kuan Yew

Hi guys,

As you probably know, i am a Singaporean and the past week has been a rather sad week for us Singaporeans. On the 23rd of March at 0318 hrs, we lost one of our founding fathers, Mr Lee Kuan Yew. I know that this is a rather touchy topic but i feel that it is important for me to voice my opinion on the issue.

Since February, Mr Lee Kuan Yew had been hospitalized for (from my knowledge of the situation) pnemonia and since then, the Prime Minister’s Office had been releasing statements regarding Mr Lee’s situation. At some point in March, Mr Lee’s health began to deteriorate and many Singaporeans began to send in their well wishes, hoping that Mr Lee would make a speedy recovery. Some people on the other hand, criticized Mr Lee and the actions he took during his leadership. However, the situation continued to go downhill until Mr Lee sadly passed away on the 23rd.

Since his passing, thousands of Singaporeans have sent in messages to pay tribute to Mr Lee, some of which are posted on the Remembering Lee Kuan Yew website. An orchid species has also been named after Mr Lee Kuan Yew.

I personally feel that it is important for Singaporeans to understand what Mr Lee has done for our country and how significant the changes he made during his leadership are to us today. We are very fortunate to be able to transition from a third world country to a first world country and without Mr Lee and his team, we wouldn’t have been able to do so.

But I’m not here to prove to you that Mr Lee was a great man who did great things. (If you want proof, look out of your window. That’s proof.) I’m here to offer my opinion on how things went during the past few days.

Please note that these are my opinions which may differ from others.

The fact that Singaporeans still remain united during this period of extreme grief is very heartening. I think that the late Mr Lee would have been very pleased to see that Singaporeans, behind our busy, seemingly mindless selves, still remain united as one.

But that is the very thing i find weird.

If Mr Lee did not pass away, would none of this have happened? Thousands of Singaporeans thanking him for his service to the nation. If he hadn’t passed away, how many of those people would have thanked him for his service? Personally i am an atheist, i do not believe in the afterlife. Why do we wait until that person cannot hear us anymore before we give thanks to him/her? Even if you do believe in the afterlife, what if it doesn’t exist? You can only hope it exists. Why do we not thank him while he can still hear our thanks and see our messages? This does not only apply to Mr Lee but practically every single famous person who has passed? The famous suicide of Amanda Todd, why did everyone wait for her to commit suicide before saying she was beautiful? We should thank these great people while they are still alive. All of these people left this world without ever hearing the thousands of people thanking them, cheering them on. I feel that this situation shows us that we need to show our thanks and cherish those who are still alive. Crude as it may sound, there is no point waiting until someone is on their deathbed before telling them how thankful you are for their help or for their mere existence. Cherish the time you have left with these people, if you feel that you haven’t been thanking your grandparents enough, it doesn’t have to be a word of thanks, actions speak louder than words. Make them a cake, a nice meal or do something nice for them on their birthday. Don’t wait any longer, you don’t have the time to wait.

But yes, we must acknowledge that Mr Lee was a great leader who played a HUGE role in Singapore’s development. Several people have been criticizing Mr Lee’s decisions while he was in power. I feel that even if we disagree with anyone’s decisions, we shouldn’t be criticizing them while they are on their deathbed. Several people have also remarked that these people are not grateful for what they have today. I partially agree with that. Singapore has been sort of a miracle. We somehow managed to turn from a third world country to a first world country, not an easy feat especially with all the problems that arose during that period. Several other countries are trying to escape the third world status but Mr Lee managed to actually pull us out of that situation.

Now that Mr Lee has passed, i hope that Singapore will continue to develop further. This is what i believe Mr Lee would want to see.

“Even from my sickbed, even if you are going to lower me to the grave and I feel that something is going wrong, I will get up.”

-Mr Lee Kuan Yew

He will get up for his spirit lives on within all of us.

 

Clyde Lhui