Are writing skills transferable?

By Gordon Rugg

The short answer is: “Not really”.

The reasons for this answer take us through the literature on expertise, and through some little-known byways of history, including Caesar shouting “Squirrel!” and the strange case of the mesmerised trees.

Those byways should be a lot better known, because they have deep implications for education policy in theory and practice. This article unpacks the issues involved, and some of the implications.

Caesar, a squirrel, a tree, and Mesmerheader pictureImages from Wikipedia and Wikimedia – details at the end of this article

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Scientific writing and humour

By Gordon Rugg

There are three humorous golden rules that are invaluable in public speaking and in writing for public consumption.

Rule 1: Don’t lie.

Rule 2: Don’t try to be funny.

Rule 3: Above all, don’t panic and blurt out the truth…

When you understand why the third rule doesn’t necessarily break the first rule, then you’re ready to face an unkind world.

There’s a humorous post on Distractify about how the third rule operates in scientific writing. Even if you’re not a scientist, you might find it entertaining and inspirational.

http://distractify.com/geek/science/scientists-get-honest-about-their-methods/

Why is scientific writing so boring?

By Gordon Rugg

Scientific writing isn’t boring because scientists don’t know anything better. There are solid, sensible, positive reasons for scientific writing being so boring. Unfortunately, those reasons are seldom explained to unfortunate non-scientists about to encounter the scientific writing style for the first time. This article gives a brief overview of a couple of the main reasons.

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