December already?! Yeah, that came up fast. Despite feeling like 2021 maybe just didn’t happen, I’m looking at scientificanada.ca and well, it very much did happen. And I’m here to say, THANK YOU. Thank you to all my guests, collaborators, Patrons, readers, listeners, sharers, and friends of scientificanada! This year I managed to do some pretty special things with scican and I couldn’t have done it without y’all.
In addition to saying thanks, I also wanted to do a little recap/precap of 2021/22. First, scientificanada by the numbers:
In 2020, I migrated a handful of posts and articles from my old blog to scientificanada.ca , artificially inflating the number of posts from 2020 compared to 2021. However, the word count from 2021 still beats out 2020! Looking back, I did start writing more detailed articles and show notes, so it makes some sense. Once upon a time I heard that a metric people use to separate novellas from novels is the word count of The Great Gatsby. It’s a fairly short book, but not quite short enough to be called a novella (or so goes the argument), and that classic clocks in at 47,094. So between myself and scican contributors, we didn’t quite write a novel, but we got pretty close!
That said, and before I get into some of the specific things I’m excited about from 2021, I need to thank my Patreon supporters one more time. When I started scican, I resolved to never have exclusive content. Sometimes I’ll release an episode early, but everything ends up on the main feed, free of charge. But the only way for me to do this and still recruit contributors has been through your Patreon donations. So thank you.
Now, let’s get to the specifics!
Thanks to my supporters on Patreon, this year I was able to work with 3 paid contributors in 2021. When I first started writing about science, I had a personal blog but found it difficult to get much unbiased feedback on my writing. Eventually I found some blogs and websites that would edit and publish my work, which was invaluable to me. Unfortunately, many of these publications operate on shoestring budgets and contributors aren’t always compensated for their time. This is understandable, but it’s not right. Working for experience is an intrinsically unfair system. It benefits those who have the time and finances to take volunteer work and locks out the people who might not be in a position to give away their expertise. I think it’s important that going forward, scientificanada will continue to compensate contributors financially, but this has only been possible with support from our Patrons. Here are a few pieces from our contributors this year.
Random Walk 30: Introducing Jessie deHaan and the Gamer’s Guide to Ecology #1
Polarization: What does it mean for science communication and decision making? by Sarah Turner
ComSciCon-GTA Advice and Knowledge Gained from a Past Attendee by Zi Yan Chen
Another thing I dug into this year was science and policy. I wrote and recorded some content on the Canadian Federal Budget, my thoughts on the panels at the Canadian Science Policy pre-Conference (more from the actual conference coming soon), and kept my eye on current events. In the new year, I will be starting an internship at the Canadian Council of Academies, a not-for-profit that publishes assessments and recommendations on critical and complicated issues affecting Canadians. The overarching goal of CCA assessments is to evaluate the best available evidence on particularly complex issues where the science may be challenging to understand, contradictory, or difficult to assemble. From my experience as a student, policy is kind of a black box for a lot of scientists. How evidence-based decisions are made, who combs through data, where politicians get their information… There is a lot there and for the next six months at least, I will be sharing what I learn about the world of science policy. If you want to have a look at some of the topics from 2021, a few are linked below.
Canadian Federal Budget 2021: Good, middle class bio-manufacturing
Canadian Federal Budget 2021: Investing in World-Leading Research and Innovation
Bringing the bio-revolution to Canada: Towards a pan-Canadian Genomics Strategy (CSPC2021, Pre-conference sessions)
Developing holistic food policy in Canada (CSPC2021, Pre-conference sessions)
This year I tried to widen the range of content on scientificanada.ca and incorporate more fun stuff. I snuck a few fake (and hopefully funny) ad reads into some of the Random Walk episodes. I did a bonus episode with some long-time friends about the effects of cosmic radiation on video game speed-running. I started working with Jessie deHaan, the host of Gamer’s Guide to Ecology. These have been very fun to work on, and I can tell you, there will be more of that kind of thing in 2022. I can’t say too much about it right now, but I can give a little spoiler…
See you in the new year…
Anyway. This year has been something else, and I am looking forward to unwinding, reflecting, and refocusing. With that in mind, scientificanada will be taking a little vacation until 2022. If you can find some time to do the same, take it. Next year is sure to be a wild ride too, and you’re going to need all your energy. Take care, happy holidays, happy new year, now let’s all eat some good food and take a nap.
Ok, last time. Thank you everyone over on the Patreon. Every little bit helps, and if you’d like to jump in you can do so HERE. Thanks!