Earlier this year, NASA and the scholarly journal Science received a lot of criticism for the way they handled the announcement of an important finding in natural science–that it is essentially possible for cells to use a sugar-arsenate backbone instead of a sugar-phosphate backbone in DNA, which, if true, would change the way we define what “life” is.
Last month, Popular Science published an intelligent examination of what happened in the scientific community and popular culture as a result of the NASA press conference related to the findings in the article in Science, and the way it catalyzed a very odd backlash in the blogosphere and elsewhere. It is a very important read by virtue of the fact that we are living in a far more connected and open world as each day passes, and, as a result, the way that science is practiced is changing.
The article discusses the way that science moves through the populace very well. Although, that process is probably better described by this comic from the always-insightful PHD comics