It works now, huzzah!
And, I always love hearing about the panel's parenting endeavors. Your approaches are so refreshing, and nearly the opposite of what I experienced as a child.
I've been meaning to bring this up to the panel for awhile, and kept forgetting (ADD is a super fun time), but, I think it would be worth the time of the scientific community to look into interpretation. I don't mean the Language-A-to-Language-B type of interpretation, I mean Freeman Tilden's type of interpretation - heritage interpretation
. For that kind of interpreter, picture the park ranger leading guided hikes, or museum staff giving living history talks, or zookeepers manning info tables, or giving live demonstrations. The National Parks Service even designates 'Interpretive Park Rangers' as the ones that focus more heavily on engaging the public, rather than strictly law enforcement. Standard disclaimer: No, I'm not with NPS, but I do work as a professional interpreter.
The Rogues do, too.
In 1957, Freeman Tilden wrote the book "Interpreting Our Heritage". The main takeaway are his 'Six Principles of Interpretation':
1. Any interpretation that does not somehow relate what is being displayed or described to something within the personality or experience of the visitor will be sterile.
2. Information, as such, is not Interpretation. Interpretation is revelation based upon information. But they are entirely different things. However all interpretation includes information.
3. Interpretation is an art, which combines many arts, whether the materials presented are scientific, historical or architectural. Any art is in some degree teachable.
4. The chief aim of Interpretation is not instruction, but provocation.
5. Interpretation should aim to present a whole rather than a part, and must address itself to the whole man rather than any phase.
6. Interpretation addressed to children (say up to the age of twelve) should not be a dilution of the presentation to adults, but should follow a fundamentally different approach. To be at its best it will require a separate program.
It seems to me that the Panel of Skeptical Rogues hits all of those principles, whether you're aware of it or not. Ergo, you are interpreters. I've long argued at my organization's training that we should recognize not only 'outdoorsy' great in interpretation, but also communication greats like Carl Sagan and Richard Feynman, to name but two examples...
My neighbor teaches microbiology at a rather prestigious public university, and, knowing what I do, approached me last year.
"I want to teach my students how to communicate their research to the public," she said.
My first reply was, "Thank you!" My second was a list of resources.
As someone whose job it is to engage the public, and someone who is a lover of science, critical thinking, etc., two things have become very apparent to me over the past few years:
1. The scientific community isn't doing enough to effectively reach out to the public.
2. Interpreters, including our professional national and international organizations, have been woefully inadequate at reaching out to the scientific community to offer resources, including training.
The interpretation thing may sound a bit fluffy, but, we have at least one peer-reviewed journal, and we have to have objective measures to determine whether the programs we design are effective in connecting with our audiences.
I hope this isn't in the wrong sub forum, or worse, completely inappropriate for the forum in general, but the seeming lack of professional connection/outreach between these two groups has become so worryingly apparent that I couldn't stay silent on it any longer.
If the Panel of Skeptical Rogues, or anyone else, is interested in resources, I'd be absolutely thrilled to provide them. I don't want to drop a bunch of links to outside organizations in this thread, though, unless I know it's okay with the admins/mods, or if there's a more appropriate venue.
For now, I'll just leave something from one of the greats we do professionally recognize...