How we deliver scientific thinking | The Ivory Embassy in 2019 and 2020
We know it’s too late to say it, but what the heck! Happy new year, fam! Lovers, haters, and in between, all of you. “Why the sudden good mood?” you ask. Because 2019 treated us well, 2020 looks promising already, and we’re now psyched to share our accomplishments of the past year and our plans for the future, with you. Let’s get the scientific thinking going.
The Ivory Embassy recruited two
The Ivory Embassy had been empty for a while. You could feel it in the office hours filled with too many boring monologues and highly predictable games of Uno. Luckily, 2019 put a stop to this nonsense through two new Embassy members [Embees?].
Joana la Charlatana was the first one to stumble into the diplomatic doors of the Embassy. A brilliant researcher, an expert in the processes of protein production in cancer and stem cells with a burning interest in science communication, and an acceptable sense of humor. Unsurprisingly, the lady delivered right away! Check out her super interesting and provocative post about gender and sex. It will make you think twice about your personality.
Next, Eric Modesto slam-opened the doors to the office. This guy is a scientific thinker with an extraordinary feeling for details and graphic design, and what he lacks in sense of humor, he more than makes up with his astonishing hair. Have you noticed how our social media platforms like Facebook or LinkedIn look prettier for every month that passes? Blame Eric! The guy knows how to please your eye.
Remember the rule of three? You know, how every set of three is complete? Well, we’ll repeat this mantra until the numbers change again.
We’re super happy to all be part of this diplomatic and dysfunctional family, and all of us are committed to delivering more scientific brain-teasers to boost your critical thinking.
The first S.H.I.T. Show: A show to trigger your scientific thinking
One approach to boost critical thinking was to organize our first ever Science & Health Informal Talk Show about gene editing. While the accomplishments and prospects of gene editing and CRISPR were the official topics of this evening, the hidden intention was to show you how our reality and, as a result, scientific findings are far from black or white. Scientific findings aren’t necessarily good or bad, right or wrong, pleasant or unpleasant. Scientific findings just are. People give them qualities depending on how they use them.
Anyway, we think the show went great. We managed to gather about 50 people in the Vondelbunker. Lots of discussions afterward and, honestly, your questions and comments were excellent! Someone asked how we could treat multi-resistant bacteria with CRISPR, another one asked if we thought designer babies were the future, and a Greek guy in the audience asked if he could make his nose smaller.
We really appreciated your engagement! Thanks to all attendees and a special thanks to the Vondelbunker for letting us use the space!
The Instagram launch
Goddammit, we’re bad at social media. We know it, you know it, and sh#t even our families know it. But you know what? We launched our Instagram profile anyway… Sure, we’ll butcher the social media, but we’ll do it with science and other stories that trigger your critical and scientific thinking. Make sure to follow us @ivoryembassy #butcheringsocialmediawithhashtag
The meeting about storytelling in science
Another highlight in 2019 was our Embassy-trip to EMBL in Heidelberg, Germany, where we attended the 20th EMBL Science and Society Conference Science as Storytelling: From Facts to Fiction. This was our first study trip, and we learned about the perks and possible pitfalls of scientific storytelling.
And damn did we learn about the attention-grabbing forces engrained in anecdotes and how the pseudoscientific communities use these memorable stories to affect your emotions. You know, you’d probably have an easier time remembering the story of a baby developing autism compared with evidence-based statistics. (You can read more about that here.)
Why is this good to know? Well, our ultimate aim is to give you the necessary tools to think critically and scientifically, to understand how science works. I think one of the most interesting lessons from the conference was not to counter-argue pseudoscientific stories with “the truth” but to replace them with better stories.
“With great powers comes great responsibility.” Don’t worry, we’ll use our new-gained knowledge wisely.
What’s coming in 2020 then?
We have stuff planned for 2020. Let me tell you about them.
You can expect more posts digging into scientific curiosities that you are burning to know about. How vinegar and oil can explain essential biological processes (here), how a man built his reputation on sick kids, why elephants are luckier than they think and much more.
We’ll try this Instagram thing. Let’s see how it treats us and, maybe even more interesting, how we treat you through this platform. #feelinglikeagranpa #theinternet
Did you miss the live S.H.I.T. Show we organized in Amsterdam? We might have a new opportunity for you. Stay connected and we’ll update you later in 2020.
We feel 2020 is going to be a great year for scientific thinking and writing and we hope to take great space in this field. [Dude, keep the expectations down]. Impossible, I just recovered from 2 weeks of whatever strange illness I had, and I don’t know if it’s the probiotics speaking now, but I’m gram-positive about this year.
Anyway, I hope you like oil, vinegar, and water, because, if we’re lucky, we might have an upcoming post about something similar to that.
Also, as you know, we do this to show you the backstage of science and trigger that critical thinking of yours. It would help A LOT if you could share your constructive feedback about the Embassy. Help us help you. You can contact us here or visit our social media platforms (follows and likes are tremendously helpful as well; you can find the links below and above).