Mixture - June 2020

As a self-employed person I do my own performance reviews. I sit myself down every six months to look at the progress I made and to see if I reached the goals that I set. Today I was initially a bit disappointed that I only reached three of the twelve goals that I set for myself at the start of the year. Then I remembered that there was an entire pandemic in those months, preventing me from achieving four of the goals, and that I have been shortlisted for an award, which wasn't on my list of goals at all!

I've been shortlisted in the Opinion category of this year's ABSW Awards for a piece in Undark about inequalities in genetic testing. Genetic databases have more information on white people's DNA, which means that white people automatically get more accurate information back from genetic tests. In a medical setting, that difference can cost lives. My article focused on some of the solutions that people are working on.

It might feel like a very timely piece, but it was published in May 2019 and I started working on it eighteen months ago. Inequalities - in science and elsewhere - are not new or trendy, they've been around for a long time. That they're now getting attention is long overdue.

Recent things I wrote

Forbes.com - Why evidence for the effect of art on health is especially relevant during a pandemic
A seven-month old WHO report summarizing evidence for the effect of the arts on health and well-being might hold some useful suggestions for involving artists in Covid-19 health messaging.

Neste - Our relationship with plastics will change – first gradually, then suddenly
Asbestos, lead, radium, and CFCs all used to be desirable modern products at one point in time. Now we know the dangers and don't want anything to do with them. Is the same thing happening with plastics, and if so, how far are we on this journey?
This is a commercial piece I wrote for Neste (not to be confused with Nestlé!), a company that is finding new solutions to reduce plastic waste.

Forbes.com - Munch’s “The Scream” is losing its yellow paint due to humidity
Scientists have discovered how to best preserve Edvard Munch's 1910 painting "The Scream". To prevent cadmium yellow paint from flaking and discoloring, the painting needs to be kept in low moisture conditions.

Book recommendation

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Rebecca Skloot

This is the story of a woman whose tumour cells live on in research labs around the world, and about the events and practices that led to her cells being used without her family's consent or knowledge. It's a book about racism and science.

Interesting things