Fear of brave new worlds, or uninspired headline writing?

capek_rurSummer 2016 marked the 85th anniversary of novelist Aldous Huxley completing his manuscript for Brave New World. The widely read novel, a dystopia of happiness-led oppression (in contrast to the fear-controlled populace in Orwell’s 1984), anticipates global adoption of advances in science and technology such as subliminal learning and reproductive medicine. Published in 1932, the book is still a popular read, ranking fifth in Modern Library’s list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century.  Unsurprisingly its title, along with Orwell’s, has also become a stock phrase in headlines, used to signal a new direction for advances in science and technology.

“Test-Tube Babies: The ‘Brave New World’ of Human Pregnancy Is Coming!” The Evening Independent, July 22, 1978 Designer babies, grow a baby in a bottle and more.

“Brave New World: Will gene editing rewrite the future of medicine?” Genome, n.d. Engineering disease (and other things) out of humans with CRISPR.

“The Brave New World of Three-Parent I.V.F.” The New

Client showcase: Shelly DeForte, biomathematician

640px-1a5r_sumo-1_proteinAs a full-service science communications agency staffed with editors, designers, writers and more, Talk Science to Me takes great pride in supporting all our clients by presenting their science in effective and engaging ways. Although most of our portfolio comprises larger organizations and institutions, we also work with individual authors and researchers to manage their writing and publishing needs.

One of our academic authors is biomathematician Shelly DeForte, who recently took up a post-doctoral position in bioinformatics at the University of Montreal. She describes her position as fully involved in supporting the research projects of a biochemistry lab by “writing custom code to do custom analysis” on the data.

Shelly’s work focuses on artificial intelligence, machine learning and in

Client showcase: Thorntree Press

At Talk Science to Me, we’re passionate about science. In fact, some of our favourite topics are things like proteomics, biobanking and landmine-detecting rats. But would it surprise you to learn that Talk Science to Me is about much more than just science?

ttp-avatarAMOne of our major clients, Thorntree Press, is an independent publisher based in Portland, Oregon. Thorntree Press specializes in books about relationships, in particular non-traditional relationship models. Eve Rickert, Talk Science to Me founder and mastermind, is also a co-owner of Thorntree Press, along with her partner Franklin Veaux.

Last year, Eve and Franklin co-authored Thorntree Press’s debut release, More Than Two: A practical guide to ethical polyamory, which has already sold more than 10,000 copies. (It’s also just come out on audiobook!) This was followed by The Husband Swap: A true story of unconventional love and its e-book companion guide, Lessons in Love and Life to My Younger Self, both by Louisa Leontiades. Coming soon are The Game Changer: A memoir of disruptive love, also by Franklin, and Stories from the Polycule: Real life in polyamorous families, an anthology compiled

Working with translations: Version control

The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) recently published Trade and Green Economy: A handbook, the third edition of a handbook that examines the relationship between trade and the environment. The third edition focuses specifically on the green economy, which UNEP defines as an economy “that results in improved human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities.”

Pages from 20141007 Trade GE Handbook FRENCH - INSIDE Talk Science did the copy-editing, proofreading and design of the English version of this handbook, as well as the design of the French and Spanish versions. We didn’t do the translation, copy-editing or proofreading of the non-English versions, but since we did design for all three, we handled a good chunk of the project management as the manuscript passed through us on the way to the designer.

With this project, we were managing parallel versions of the document, but it wasn’t quite a straightforward parallel: two of the documents were translated from the third, which meant that they were dependent on that third document. Any changes made to

Understanding water use in BC

I recently found out that over 95% of the electricity produced by BC Hydro comes from hydroelectric sources, which floored me. I grew up in Alberta, where the majority of power comes from coal and natural gas, so my concept of electricity sources doesn’t include water, except for as a possible “alternative” energy source. But there’s nothing alternative about 95%. And after thinking “Wow! That’s amazing!” I started asking questions: How much water do we even have? What about drinking water? What about the fish?

Aerial picture of BC's Revelstoke Dam. (C) Kelownian Pilot 2007 (CC-BY-SA-3.0.)Those are big questions, and really important ones. We’ve used dams for over 100 years in BC, so it’s critical for us to examine their impact on our ecosystem. BC Hydro predicts that demand for electricity in BC will grow by 40% over the next 20 years, so our reliance on hydroelectricity and the future of water use in BC is a major issue.

One way that BC Hydro is answering those questions is by engaging in water use planning. A water use plan sets specific and