Beauty Pages

Science Online London 2009

I went to the very wonderful Science Online London 2009 meeting yesterday at the Royal Institution. I couldn’t have enjoyed myself more.

second life interaction
second life interaction

There was a session where we had a talk from someone in Carolina via Second Life. We also got some advice on what you can or can’t say about people in blogs if you want to avoid being sued. This is a bit of a hot topic amongst UK science bloggers at the moment. Science writer Simon Singh is currently being chased through the courts by the chiropracter’s association. This has generated a campaign to keep the libel laws out of science.

Personally speaking, I had never realised that there was so little evidence behind what the chiropracters do, and would probably have thought that they were proper medics if it hadn’t been for all the fuss this court case has generated. I have decided not to use one in future, but some bloggers have gone even further. They have started complaining about individual chiropracters to the relevant trading standards office. The public spirit of these guys is to be applauded.

I came across another great example of public spirit in the form of the Galaxy Zoo project. Some astronomers opened up their database of about a million images to anyone who was prepared to spend some time categorising the galaxies. It has been a great success with what would have been a years long task completed in a few months. Details at

We were also treated to a demo of Google Wave. I had heard about this before but it hadn’t really sunk in how useful it could be to people who co-operate over the internet.

There was much more, but I’ll settle for publicly thanking the organisers for a great day.

[hana-code-insert name=’General Interest’ /]

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