As recently as the late 1990s, drinking water was sold on the streets of Accra in shared cups scooped out of big aluminium vats. Later, this unhygienic process was displaced by water in disposable plastic bags, tied at the top and cooled by ice blocks. Around the time the scooped water was going out of style, the sachet-packing machines became available, and now sachets are the primary unit of water in Ghana and the dominant medium of drinking water in the capital. They are more popular than bottled water and water coolers, which are products for the rich, and more popular than tap water, which people don’t believe to be safe to drink.
The idea of putting water in sachets seems to have come from Nigeria, but it has found a comfortable home in Ghana, where the urban population passed 50 per cent in 2010 – from only 23 per cent in 1960. Although I wasn’t able to find any verified records for sachet water in Ghana, Raymond Mensah Gbetivi, a commercial manager at Voltic (one of the largest sachet producers in Ghana), told me that his very rough estimates put the size of the sachet market at around 4.5 billion sold per year nationwide. Voltic alone sold about 450 million sachets last year, though Gbetivi insisted that the big players are still catching up to the family-owned sachet makers.
“About 70 per cent of the market is controlled by the small-small guys,” he told me (again, his rough estimate). Voltic, which is owned by the multinational company SABMiller, competes with a few other big Ghanaian brands such as Everpure and Special Ice, but also with hundreds – if not thousands – of mom-and-pop brands like Johnnie Water. Starting a sachet business is only a matter of having access to running water and buying a packing machine for a few thousand dollars. Once you have those, you can immediately start producing and selling.
Several strands of research in cognitive psychology, educational research and a branch of psychology called “inoculation theory” all point the way to neutralising the influence of science denial. The approach is two-fold: communicate the science but also explain how that science can be distorted.
So our course looks at the most common climate myths you’re likely to encounter online or in the media. We examine myths casting doubt on the reality of global warming. We explore the many human fingerprints on climate change. We look at the messages from past climate change and what climate models tell us about the future. And we look at how climate change is impacting every part of society and the environment. As we examine myths touching on all these parts of climate science, we shine the spotlight on the fallacies and techniques used to distort the science.
Raising Climate Literacy Through Addressing Misinformation: Case Studies in Agnotology-Based Learning
John Cook,1,2, Daniel Bedford,3 and Scott Mandia4
Agnotology is the study of how and why ignorance or misconceptions exist. While misconceptions are a challenge for educators, they also present an opportunity to improve climate literacy through agnotology-based learning. This involves the use of refutational lessons that challenge misconceptions while teaching scientific conceptions. We present three case studies in improving climate literacy through agnotology-based learning. Two case studies are classroom-based, applied in a community college and a four-year university. We outline the misinformation examined, how students are required to engage with the material and the results from this learning approach. The third case study is a public outreach targeting a climate misconception about scientific consensus. We outline how cognitive research guided the design of content, and the ways in which the material was disseminated through social media and mainstream media. These real-world examples provide effective ways to reduce misperceptions and improve climate literacy, consistent with twenty years of research demonstrating that refutational texts are among the most effective forms of reducing misperceptions.
An evolving tool at the center of science. A brief history
From Animaculum to single-molecules: 300 years of the light microscope
Adam J. M. Wollman, Richard Nudd, Erik G. Hedlund, Mark C. Leake
Biological Physical Sciences Institute (BPSI), Departments of Physics and Biology, University of York, York YO10 5DD, UK.
Although not laying claim to being the inventor of the light microscope, Antonj van Leeuwenhoek, (1632 –1723) was arguably the first person to bring this new technological wonder of the age properly to the attention of natural scientists interested in the study of living things (people we might now term ‘biologists’). He was a Dutch draper with no formal scientific training. From using magnifying glasses to observe threads in cloth, he went on to develop over 500 simple single lens microscopes1 with which he used to observe many different biological samples. He communicated his finding to the Royal Society in a series of letters2 including the one republished in this edition of Open Biology. Our review here begins with the work of van Leeuwenhoek before summarising the key developments over the last ca. 300 years which has seen the light microscope evolve from a simple single lens device of van Leeuwenhoek’s day into an instrument capable of observing the dynamics of single biological molecules inside living cells, and to tracking every cell nucleus in the development of whole embryos and plants.
For several years people have speculated about the use of small auxiliary electric motors in bicycles - could a motor and battery pack be small and powerful enough to make a difference in a bike race Here's an example of what can be done..