Social Complexity

Category: Social Complexity

A brand new science vlog!

There is something that really makes me feel bad about science, and is the way it is communicated. Do not get me wrong, I do not think that science communicators are doing a bad job. I think the one working poorly is the system itself.

Indeed, today, if you want to succeed as a science communicator, you need to produce what people like. And people like the amazing part of science. They want to know facts, they want to discover more, and definitely, they do not want to spend hours in a lab trying to figure out why a device is not working properly. And this is fine!

The problem is that we never say to people that science is not much about knowing things, but mostly about asking interesting questions, working tons of hours to make those questions better, then, finding that all those questions do not make any sense, despair, find a new question that actually makes sense and, with a bit of luck, also a good answer.

To put it in a less dramatic tone science is not about knowing the right things, but about thinking in the right way. And if there is something that science can give to the common people is not how many neutrons can be found in helium isotopes, but to think like a scientist. Think critically, ask good questions and distinguish good answers from the bad ones.

All of this to say: I made a new vlog to show the behind the scenes of science. I hope it will be useful!

With the EU vs (the) Virus

I’m glad to announce that from today I will be participating in the EU vs Virus Hackaton. A 3-days hackathon dedicated to finding innovative solutions to fight the problems caused by the current epidemics.

Personally, I will be looking for developing solutions which will exploit social complexity. If you are interested in participating, just register to and join our forces! 💪💪💪

Making people understand COVID’s data

During these days of quarantine, a hard task is to keep people informed. The main problem comes with the nature of the data that are usually misleading. Indeed, while people can easily understand the concept of new cases or number of deceased, these values are not representative of the real growth. Indeed, the number of cases has a clear exponential growth.

A solution is using the growth rate, as many are doing now. Unfortunately, this is a quite abstract concept and most people do not have any idea of how big a rate of 30% actually is. And even if we say that this rate decreased by 80% they still have no clue how good this is.

With Social Complexity Labs we decided instead to use a more understandable measurement: the doubling time. That is the time needed for doubling the number of cases at that specific rate. We express it in days and months, so people can directly quantify the increase.

Furthermore, we are also working on making the graphs aesthetically pleasing. (All of this is part of our project on better scientific communication).

The results look like this:

Or this:

If you like the idea feel free to re-use the images or apply the doubling to your graphs!

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