Issue 47

Mindboggling: Preliminaries to a science of the mind   by Roy Harris.  Do you have a mind?  Answers to this question have divided Western thinkers for centuries, and still do.  Mindboggling sets out to identify a nucleus of basic issues about the mind, and present the main arguments for and against in each case.  Targeted to a lay readership, each chapter discusses a different theory, myth or idea about the mind.  Anticipate wails from theorists whose theories have been given short shrift.  Mindboggling is available from Amazon (including Kindle), from Bookshops or direct from Publishers.


Science on Television by Bienvenido León.

The book is a clear and systematic guide to the narrative and rhetorical techniques used by science documentary filmmakers. The book is priced at £18.50, but for direct orders we are offering a 20% discount.  The book is also available on Amazon Kindle.


Motivating Science is a collection of articles from the first five years of The Pantaneto Forum.  We are offering a 20% discount for direct orders.  The book is also available on Amazon Kindle.




Whenever there are potential health risks to the public it is always for journalists a difficult balancing act between raising awareness and unnecessarily arousing fear. In “The reporting of theoretical health risks by the media”, Kumanan Wilson et al investigate the potential blood transmission of CJD in Canada. They analyzed articles in the Canadian press and carried out interviews with a number of journalists. They concluded that journalists should utilize both published evidence and expert opinion when reporting risk. They also proposed that there should be a closer working relationship between the media and the research community.


The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio 2012) has just taken place in June this year. Progress in these international meetings is often slow and sometimes even imperceptible. The problems are competing goals and lack of trust, and these result in a failure by negotiators to reach beneficial agreement between countries. In “Planet or Profit”, Gwendolyn Smith examines the negotiation process behind the World Climate Convention which was held in Copenhagen in 2009.  She calls for more transparency in future negotiations and a process she refers to as “Native peacemaking”.


Staying with the theme of climate change Ana Delicado investigates the communication of climate change in Portugal.  In “Climate scientists and the public”, Delicado finds that in spite of a substantial growth in public understanding of science in Portugal over the last twenty years, climate change has been a somewhat neglected issue.


The proceedings of the Science Matters conference, which we reported in Issue 28, October 2007, have been published and are available from the publishers – World Scientific.


Nigel Sanitt Editor

ISSN 1741-1572



The reporting of theoretical health risks by the media: Canadian newspaper reporting of potential blood transmission of Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease, Kumanan Wilson, Catherine Code, Christopher Dornan, Nadya Ahmad, Paul Hébert and Ian Graham.

Planet or Profit: Remodeling the Climate Change Negotiations, Gwendolyn Smith.

Climate scientists and the public: interactions and knowledge exchanges, Ana Delicado.

Conference Report

The 12th International Public Communication of Science and Technology (PCST) conference “Quality, Honesty and Beauty” Palazzo dei Congressi, Florence, Italy, 18-20 April, 2012.