Archive for January 2010

The Contribution of Science Communicator Joanne Nova to the Global Warming Debate

27 January 2010

Since before the Copenhagen fiasco, critical attention to the global warming controversy has been increasing at an exponential rate. Many bloggers and a handful of journalists have contributed to the final six months of activity leading up to the present media feeding frenzy. Much pioneering work by brave and persistent critics and investigators is now becoming better known (and less anathematised), as the findings of the few are reported by many other bloggers and media people. However, as the mainstream media now take up the reporting task that, with a few honourable exceptions, they should not have neglected for so long, it is becoming more difficult to keep up to date and to sort out the quality analyses (past and present) from the repetitive media chaff. For new readers whose attention the mainstream media are now attracting (and for others), the website of Joanne Nova, an energetic science communicator for many years, is highly recommended.

Particularly useful to serious readers in search of more scientific background to the controversy is her lengthy but selective list of links.

Her prolific output on this topic is also displayed in her two editions of The Skeptic’s Handbook, available, in several languages from her site:
“Over 220,000 copies of The Skeptics Handbook have been published, printed and distributed in the US, Australia, NZ and Sweden. It was done entirely pro bono, and volunteers have translated it into French, German (twice), Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish, Turkish, Japanese, Danish, Portuguese, and Balkan. Italian and Thai [and Spanish] versions are coming.”

It’s all there, waiting for your attention – especially those of you who write blogs and articles in other languages in which less critical attention has been paid to the debate about anthropogenic global warming.

Translation Matters – 14

15 January 2010

A recent purchase in the post-Christmas sales has provided some interesting evidence of translation anomalies, which could be used as practice and discussion by students of translation from French to English, or vice-versa. (The Spanish translation is also included for Spanish aficionados.)

The cardboard wrapping of my French “frypan” offered lengthy French instructions and description, followed by English, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and Greek versions. So my simple frypan was, for others, a poêle, koekenpan, sartén, padella, frigideira (I had to check that one but it is correct), or THΓANI.

To check the guarantee on the non-stick surface, it was necessary to read the very small print on the inside of the wrapping, and, having spotted obvious anomalies between the French and English versions, I checked all the rest, except the Greek translation. Intriguing: four translations seemed to follow the French version (with some omissions), but the English version offered significant alternative and extra information. The simple task for readers is to compare the two versions below and spot the differences – and perhaps form their own opinions of why these extra pieces were added for English-speaking purchasers.

(I have also included the Spanish translation for those interested in that language.)

The French brand name has been replaced by “X”.



X garantit cet ustensile de cuisine à partir de la date d’achat contre tout vice de fabrication.

La présente garantie ne couvre pas les dommage dus aux mauvaises utilisations, chocs, chutes ou dus à un usage professionnel. Elle ne couvre pas les taches, décolorisations ou rayeurs à l’intérieur et à l’extérieur de l’ustensile.

X garantit que le revêtement antiadhésif est conforme à la réglementation concernant les matériaux en contact avec les aliments.



X guarantees the handles, body, knobs, lids and fixings of this cooking product from the date of purchase for a period of 12 months against any manufacturing defects. The non-stick coating is guaranteed for the life of the pan from blistering or peeling.

This warranty does not cover damage by incorrect use, professional use or if the product is knocked or dropped. It does not cover stains, discoloration or scratches on the inside or outside of the product due to normal wear and tear.

X guarantees that the non-stick coating complies with regulations covering materials in contact with food. Your statutory rights are not affected by any statement in this document.



X garantiza este utensilio de cocina a partir de la fecha de compra contra todo defecto de fabricación.

La presente garantía no cubre los daños causados por el uso incorrecto, utilización profesional o si el utensilio ha sido golpeado. Tampoco cubre las manchas, la pérdida de color o rayaduras que puedan producirse en el interior y exterior del utensilio.

X garantiza que el revestimiento antiadherente es conforme a la reglamentación de los materiales que están en contacto con los alimentos.