Blinding writers with science

Now, 12 weeks into the strike by members of Writer’s Guild of America, strike beards abound and boredom has struck the picketing writers. One remedy for the latter was proposed in, of all places, the editorial section of the current issue of the journal Nature.

Scientists often complain that they can never change the way that science is portrayed in films, which seems as if the screenplays are written on a planet with different laws of physics. But, to quote an earlier Bond film, never say never. Indeed, today is a propitious time for such intervention. The Writers Guild of America has been on strike since 5 November. Its members want a better deal in relation to online and other relatively new distribution channels.


What better moment to saunter down to your local picket line, gather up a couple of film and television writers, and introduce them to the fascinations of the scientific life? Buying them a round might not hurt either; some of them have taken a serious financial hit.


So, don’t be alarmed if you see PowerPoint presentations popping up at picket lines. Who knows what kind of storylines might be generated? Perhaps a tragic story of forbidden love between the son of a developer in the Amazon and a young biologist fighting to save endangered jaguars there. Or a horrific tale of a superbug that escapes the confines of a laboratory and spreads throughout the world. Or an account of a cloning experiment aimed at saving chinook salmon that goes terribly wrong.


Ok, we realize this probably isn’t what the editors at Nature had in mind. And we admit we’ve mentioned some unoriginal plot lines. But what did you expect—we’re all about recycling.