10 January 2013

MacGyver Style: Scientists rock it with #OverlyHonestMethods

There are three basic groups of people I follow on Twitter: fiction writers, science journalists, and scientists.* Usually it's the science journalists I like the best because they share all the oh-so-clickable links to hot science stories, and sharing science stories with an aspiring science writer is, I assume, exactly like offering crack to a warlock from Mars. And, yes --Yes, I do have a Mars obsession right now, which is why that comparison cracks me up.**
*OK, and comedians; I like to laugh, so sue me.***
**Get it? Cracks me up? Oh, I slay myself.
***Don't sue me.

I want you to understand why this is funny, so here's the quick 411: in properly prim and academic scientific research papers, there's a section called "Methods" where you have to explain, specifically, the procedures you followed to obtain the data and results you are reporting in this paper. (You've either seen something happen or seen something not happen; either of those things could be significant important meaningful worth reporting.) You have to specify how you did the experiment so that other scientists can replicate it. (Or not replicate it, which can also be important meaningful oh crap well it might mean something problematic.)

The Huffington Post has already jumped on reporting this story of the Twitter science community spoofing the methods section. #OverlyHonestMethods is one of the funnier things I've seen lately. Here are the ones that made me literally laugh aloud:

Ya gotta love a scientist with a sense of humor. Thank all that is good for scientific satire.