A Weblog monitoring coverage of environmental issues and science in the UK media. By Professor Emeritus Philip Stott. The aim is to assess whether a subject is being fairly covered by press, radio, and television. Above all, the Weblog will focus on science, but not just on poor science. It will also bring to public notice good science that is being ignored because it may be politically inconvenient.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Television: the ultimate waste of time.....

I really do enjoy radio work - proper discussions with interesting people, good feedback, and it doesn't matter how scruffy you look. More importantly, radio is quick and efficient, with a real pay-off for your time and effort.

By contrast, whenever I am approached to do pre-recorded television, I groan. It is such a waste of time! Yesterday evening, you may have seen a glimpse of me on ITN's 'Tonight' programme (8.00 pm) lecturing the world, as ever, about (of course) the daftness of 'global warming' - this time from an uncomfortable wooden groyne at the lovely seaside town of Whitstable. This 1-minute slot took no less than 6 hours to arrange and film!

First, a team of three (all jolly nice, let me add) - cameraman, soundman, and interviewer - had to come out to Kent, to pick me up, and to cart me off to Whitstable (at least, I mused, there was a chance of some of the best oysters in Britain). They then took over an hour to find the right location (it all looked the same to me - sand, sea and seagulls). Unfortunately, the first somewhat ambitious attempt was thwarted by a rather swift incoming tide which would have had the soundman up to his knees in no time. Following a hasty (a relative word with all that valuable equipment) retreat up the beach, we then did a long, long interview, with many, many questions. Unfortunately, a small plane would circle overhead ('Welcome to Whitstable') and we had to keep breaking off until it flew off again. It was also fun trying to make sense and sound against the breaking waves and the roaring wind! The chosen groyne was, moreover, a tad thin for the groin! At last, however, it was done ("Oh, no! Just one more question?"), but now they wanted shots of me strolling thoughtfully, first across the shingle beach (6 times!), then down to the water's edge (7 times - in a banana arc!), then of my shoes being lapped by the tide (2 times!), and then 7 shots of me gazing out to the grey sea in pensive mode! At last, I was released to go and get a pint while they continued to take yet more shots of the fine bay of Whitstable. We then drove back home - and no oysters to boot - the shop was closed!

There was a lot of grit, I can assure you, in that little pearl at 8.00 pm. And then I found myself part of a totally one-sided programme that did balanced science no favours at all. Dr. Anne was not amused! And why Whitstable? I suppose the seaside vaguely linked to Boscastle and the mighty elements!

But the cost in time and effort?

Philip (aka Niles Crane), "I could happily live without tele, but not the good old steam radio!"
Slugging it out.....

The new all action Series of the critical environmental programme, 'Home Planet', continues again on BBC Radio 4 today.

This seventh week's topics include, inter alia, slugs, nematodes and hedgehogs (gruesome stuff); mites and slugs (yet more gruesone stuff); Scottish midges (even more gruesome stuff); and (at last) pretty moths and night-scented flowers. As ever, great fun! Don't miss Stotty enthusing about romantic Scotland for a midge!

If you are in the UK, the programme is broadcast on BBC Radio 4 every Tuesday afternoon at 15.02 BST, directly after the news summary; if you are outside the UK, you may still listen to it, online, via the BBC 'Home Planet' Web Page:

(a) on the day in question at 15.02 BST, choose the 'Listen Live' button; or, (b) for one week after the first broadcast, choose the 'Listen Again' button; or, (c) after one whole week, select the relevant date under 'Previous Programmes'.

Philip, reminding everybody, over coffee, that bacteria carried by nematodes dissolve slugs! Nematodes can also kill hedgehogs by consolidating their lungs. Isn't Nature sweet? Let's all put on smocks and hug a few trees.

Monday, August 30, 2004

"I've got a little list - " (with deep apologies to W.S.G.).....

"As some day it may happen that a victim must be found,
I've got a little list - I've got a little list.
Of society offenders who might well be underground,
And who never would be missed - who never would be missed!

There are moralistic councillors who on wheelie bins insist-
So your garden is re-cycled like a lurid plastic cyst-
An' people who drop chewin' gum on pavements clean and fair-
Or put their shoes on railway seats, if there is room to spare-
An' mobile phoners, tones so clear, that ev'ry soul is drowned in sighs-
About their truly boring lives, of pubs, an' mates, an' tawdry dives-
'Ye public' who stuff burgers when they're somewhat slightly pissed-
They'd none of 'em be missed - they'd none of 'em be missed!

CHORUS: He's got 'em on the list - he's got 'em on the list;
And they'll none of 'em be missed - they'll none of 'em be missed.

There are wind farms on our hillocks, killing bats and birds so fair-
An' ladies - "All 'organic', dear!" - with 'joints' and cash to spare-
Those pious GM trashers (what fun to trash them back!)-
Cyclists crossing lights at red, as they do blithely tack-
An' dumps with more green bottles than the French could make to pay-
With twee folk in their Charlie smocks, while eating antique hay-
An' those who want their energy, while all power plants are dished -
I don't think they'd be missed - I'm sure they'd not he missed!

CHORUS: He's got them on the list - he's got them on the list;
And I don't think they'll be missed - I'm sure they'll not be missed!

There are 'meachers' spreading fear and gloom, from shore to flooded shore-
With government advisers crying "Doom!" yet more and more-
An' those 'global warming' faithful, whether wet, or cold, or dry-
With our Guard-i-an reporters seeing death in every sky-
An' then there's those who cup, drink herbs, or lie in asses milk-
I'm sure you know their ilk - they often dress in silk -
But it matters not a nanotech whom you put upon the list,
For they'd none of 'em be missed - they'd none of 'em be missed!

CHORUS. You may put 'em on the list - you may put 'em on the list;
And they'll none of 'em be missed - they'll none of 'em be missed!"

Philip, "You'll have had yer tea, Lord High Executioner?" Chop, chop there!

[New counter, June 19, 2006, with loss of some data]

WWW EnviroSpin Watch

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?