Myrna E. Watanabe

Founding Member (since April 2006)
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About Myrna Help
Location: Patterson, New York, United States
Background Help
Journalism: More than 20 years
Education: Post-graduate school
News: 90 minutes a day or more
Internet: 90 minutes a day or more
Languages: Chinese
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Address: Patterson, NY, 12563, US
Last Visit: Aug 2, 2010 - 9:54 AM PDT
Last Edit: May 23, 2007 - 4:50 PM PDT

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Myrna reviewed and starred this story - Dec 28, 2009
Myrna's Rating
5.0

This is an excellent, well-referenced review of some of the content of the emails from climate researchers stolen by hackers. It explains how scientists communicate with each other--sometimes badly or nastily in emails. It reiterates the important facts: human influenced global climate change can be scientifically proven. It also notes that the media handling of the release of these emails has (wrongly) led to public skepticism of the science.

See Full Review » (5 answers)
NT Rating: 4.4 | See All NT Reviews »
Myrna reviewed and starred this story - Dec 28, 2009
Myrna's Rating
5.0

This is an excellent, well-referenced review of some of the content of the emails from climate researchers stolen by hackers. It explains how scientists communicate with each other--sometimes badly or nastily in emails. It reiterates the important facts: human influenced global climate change can be scientifically proven. It also notes that the media handling of the release of these emails has (wrongly) led to public skepticism of the science.

See Full Review » (5 answers)
NT Rating: 4.4 | See All NT Reviews »
Myrna reviewed this story - Dec 6, 2009
Myrna's Rating
4.8

This isn't journalism at all. It is responses to questions. I have no doubt it's factual. It is a scientist explaining emails relating to him or others that were stolen by the hackers who presented a series of selected emails from climate scientists as "proof" that climate change is specious. Scientists send all sorts of emails back and forth about their research and others' research. Some use jargon. Some are cheeky. Some are highly complex. Would I like to see a series of emails I have been sending around about some science I am doing outed publicly? Hell no! I'm likely to say that X is an a-hole and doesn't have a clue about what he's doing, Y stole Z's work, and that I disagree with W's latest paper. Does this prove anything ... More »

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NT Rating: 4.6 | See All NT Reviews »
Myrna reviewed this story - Mar 6, 2009
Myrna's Rating
2.9

This is a generally well-written opinion piece. But, even as an opinion piece, the comments are valid.

I think this is something to send to all the young people who think they're going to be English majors and become writers. If they don't care if they blog for free or get paid 2-cents/word, they have my blessing, especially if they have a day job or, as the author says, are rich. But there is nothing new to this except for the existence of bloggers and the internet. When I was in the National Writers Union, we saw writing jobs eroding: payments decreasing to the point of near ... More »

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NT Rating: 3.0 | See All NT Reviews »
Myrna reviewed this story - Feb 1, 2009
Myrna's Rating
4.0

This is well researched, gives a history of how researchers came to these conclusions, indicates that there are areas of doubt and question, and has numerous high-quality sources.

I don't think it matters what I, personally, think of this topic. I am a journalist/biologist and not by any means an expert in this field. However, I have one minor complaint--and it's an editorial one. Bar coding is a specific term in genetics, and it refers to the genetic code of specific genes, so using the term here to indicate epigenetics could be confusing to someone who has heard of the actual genetic term.

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NT Rating: 4.4 | See All NT Reviews »
Myrna reviewed this story - Jan 26, 2009
Myrna's Rating
4.9

Yes. Well sourced, many and good quotes, authoritative sources, besides. You don't see all that much of this kind of journalism anymore because the print media claim that readers don't have the patience and time to read in detail. Bulldinky!

Well, I knew about Chinese honey years ago--they came in and undercut the US market back in the early 90s. Had no idea about the contamination but I am not surprised. That no one really cares is what is surprising.

See Full Review » (8 answers)
NT Rating: 4.4 | See All NT Reviews »
Myrna reviewed this story - Oct 1, 2008
Myrna's Rating
3.8

This is good, standard, scientific journalism, written for a reader with a greater than average education. It states the problem, the solution, and the possible problems with the solution. My only quibble, and that's more style than substance, is the lede is a non sequitur. I want it here and now, without the nonsense of the pseudointellectual lede. But that's the in style now. Sigh! I would have liked more background about influenza A, but it probably would be longer than the word limit. Another loss in these short, targetted articles.

See Full Review » (7 answers)
NT Rating: 4.2 | See All NT Reviews »
Myrna reviewed this story - Oct 1, 2008
Myrna's Rating
2.8

There's a bit too much opinion in this for me and not a ton of fact. There needs to be an explanation of the U.S. Endangered Species Act. There needs to be more information on the ecology of the polar bear and why it needs so much ice. The comment on drilling rights is correct, but it appears to be a non sequitur, thrown in from somewhere. There needs to be context. I note that some of the reviewers have their own axes to grind, which doesn't make me happy. As probably the only person reviewing this who has touched--yes touched--a polar bear, and who is trained to understand the science, I can tell you that it is a very complex issue, and although some populations of polar bears are doing well, others are not. No matter how ... More »

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NT Rating: 2.8 | See All NT Reviews »
Myrna reviewed this story - Oct 1, 2008
Myrna's Rating
4.3

This is a good story. I know it well, having written about it twice--2nd in press--and having interviewed two of the same people and then some. This doesn't include some of the latest information, which indicates that the virus, the Israeli acute paralysis virus, can cause disease in cockroaches. But as of a few weeks ago, no one knew the status of bees this winter, and this updates it. There are three main sources and they cover the major questions. I would have interviewed more people, but I don't do TV journalism

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NT Rating: 4.1 | See All NT Reviews »
Myrna reviewed this story - Oct 1, 2008
Myrna's Rating
2.4

This is a tidbit, a trifle, a taste, sort of in concert with our ability to digest news nowadays. It leaves more questions than answers. I can see putting an announcement of such a report in a scientific or medical website meant for medical professionals. But for the general public, it leaves more questions than it answers. Where has Acintobacter come from? Why is it so infectious? What are hospitals doing to prevent its spread? Who is at risk? Is it susceptible to antibiotic treatment? If so, which antibiotics? There have been several longer, more-complex treatments of this topic, so it isn't new. But meanwhile, it leaves readers with one M&M instead of a chocolate bar.

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NT Rating: 3.2 | See All NT Reviews »
Myrna reviewed this story - Oct 1, 2008
Myrna's Rating
3.7

Given the constraints of modern journalism--word counts, etc.--this is a good story. It gives sufficient quotes on both sides of the issue. You come away from it thinking that the Florida legislators who want the change in terminology are insufficiently educated to understand the scientific definition of the word "theory." And the article makes that point several times.

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NT Rating: 3.9 | See All NT Reviews »
Myrna reviewed this story - Oct 1, 2008
Myrna's Rating
4.6

Generally, yes. I would have liked to have seen more attributions, but I have no doubt that the information within the story is correct.

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NT Rating: 4.1 | See All NT Reviews »
Myrna reviewed this story - Oct 1, 2008
Myrna's Rating
4.4

I rated this well, but this isn't really journalism in the true sense. It is a review or precis based on various published sources. It gives all sides of the issue based on the cited sources. Biomedical researchers, physicians, policy wonks, and journalists use this news service as an unvarnished source of information on health/policy-related topics. Style isn't one of their long suits, but we read it for substance. I've subscribed to it for years and have recommended the site to many of my scientist, journalist, and politician friends. Please put this in the NewTrust database. And yes, I trust this source.

See Full Review » (12 answers)
NT Rating: 4.3 | See All NT Reviews »
Myrna reviewed this story - Oct 1, 2008
Myrna's Rating
3.7

This is a nice story, albeit it I cannot figure out where there's any "science" here, as science demands use of the scientific method, including establishment of a control group. This definitely doesn't fit the bill. It presents an interesting concept and gives evidence of how it works. However, in book publishing, the publics' tastes are not usually what sells books. Advertising, word of mouth, TV appearances by the author, well-placed radio interviews of the author, and anything else that creates buzz sells books. Those of us who have dealt with the publishing industry are well aware that publishers do not invest money into pushing most of their books. They accept that there will be blockbusters--that they will push--that will ... More »

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NT Rating: 4.2 | See All NT Reviews »
Myrna reviewed this story - Oct 1, 2008
Myrna's Rating
4.1

This is a precis of an article that appeared in Science, with some background tacked onto it. Based on the original Science paper, which I read, this is a very good precis that pretty well explains what the research is without going into the very technical details that are mysterious, if not offputting, to the general reader. Despite this fascinating work, it is just one paper from one laboratory, and the findings are preliminary and the hypothesis about the evolution of the TRIM5-alpha protein is, at this time, speculative. There is a lot more work necessary to say, for certain, that this is how and why the genes for this protein evolved in this manner. Because this is a precis, there are no other points of view given. I would ... More »

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NT Rating: 3.8 | See All NT Reviews »
Myrna reviewed this story - Oct 1, 2008
Myrna's Rating
3.7

The story is decent reporting on their poll. My quibbles, which are not insignificant, are with Gallup's poll itself. First, we should not be asking about "belief" in evolution. Evolution has been scientifically proven and is proven in research every day. Maybe the term should be "acceptance," but not "belief." Do you "believe" that you have a cardiovascular system? Well, maybe some people have to look at that as belief, as they don't see it, but science is science and it is there and it is provable. Next, lay people, the Gallup pollers included, do not understand the scientific definition of the term "theory." In science, a question (hypothesis) that can be studied and is proven over and over again as a result of research done ... More »

1. The theory of evolution as an explanation for the origin and development of life has been controversial for centuries, and, in particular, since the 1859 publication of ... More »

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NT Rating: 3.9 | See All NT Reviews »
Myrna reviewed this story - Oct 1, 2008
Myrna's Rating
2.5

First, this is a blog. It is highly persuasive, but it is Dr. Nisbet's opinion, based upon some unfortunate timing, and I do not believe him. The reason I don't believe him is that I have written for some of these publications, both in my own name and as an assistant to researchers. I have never, ever--not even on stem cells--received any pressure to meet a deadline related to an external political event. Scientific publications are not totally innocent and they do make serious errors. The Hwang stem cell papers debacle two years ago is one of them, where false research was hyped. But to accuse the editors of attempting to influence a vote is nonsense. Why would researchers who are going to benefit from allowing human ... More »

Still, something more than just coincidence is likely to be going on here. Roepik and Paulos’ arguments innocently assume that publication timing at science journals ... More »

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NT Rating: 3.3 | See All NT Reviews »
Myrna reviewed this story - Oct 1, 2008
Myrna's Rating
3.8

This is a cute story...but it only touches the proverbial tip of the iceberg, and the iceberg is not cute. The quotes that imply that our knowledge of the genome changes rapidly and what we think we know today may be different tomorrow are quite accurate and should serve as a warning. The remainder of the story is interesting, but superficial. If we know our genomes, we can select against traits we don't want to pass on: think of the young woman carrying a breast cancer gene who becomes unmarriageable, or the older man with an Alzheimer disease gene who is abandoned by his family before he develops the disease. Will we use our knowledge to prescreen our fetuses to determine which genetic traits we want to abort? They're already ... More »

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NT Rating: 3.7 | See All NT Reviews »
Myrna reviewed this story - Oct 1, 2008
Myrna's Rating
4.3

I'm going to start by stating my prejudice: I have interviewed and met Tony Fauci a number of times. We have spoken at length, sometimes not just on HIV/AIDS, and I have tremendous respect for him. He is one of the most knowledgeable people about HIV/AIDS in the world. This is the equivalent of an op-ed, giving factual information about HIV/AIDS. The information is scientifically accurate, as is the history of research on the disease and its treatment. And, despite the increased numbers of drugs and drug regimens available, the story is as dire as it was when I covered it five years ago or eight years ago. The the issues related to why more people in developing nations are not receiving antiretroviral drugs are not explained. ... More »

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NT Rating: 4.0 | See All NT Reviews »
Myrna reviewed this story - Oct 1, 2008
Myrna's Rating
4.3

This is a feature story. In fact, it's a day in the life of an MD at Walter Reed and follows the MD to his various appointments. I've been very impressed by a lot of the McClatchy journalism, and I feel fairly confident that this is an accurate account. It is a low-key story: nothing shrill, just a statement of gruesome and distressing facts given with no value judgment from the author. This is what journalism is supposed to be: read the story and come to your own conclusions. I just wonder how brain trauma can affect abnormal bone growths around amputated limbs, unless it somehow affects calcium deposition. I would have liked to have read more about that--but most readers probably wouldn't have noticed.

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NT Rating: 3.8 | See All NT Reviews »
Myrna reviewed this story - Oct 1, 2008
Myrna's Rating
1.2

This article is scientifically inaccurate and misleading. The writer, the editor or both confounded the evolutionary process with the discovery of species heretofore unknown to science. Furthermore, the article implied that evolution resulting from global warming will occur rapidly. What does rapid evolution mean: 10 years, 100 years, 10,000 years, a million years? Evolution may be a long, slow process, but there is evidence for punctate evolution, which may occur more rapidly in eukaryotes, but probably nowhere near in our lifetimes. (This is not so with prokaryotes--organisms that have no compartments within their cells, such as members of the domains Procarya and Archaea--but that is another story and I have no time or space ... More »

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NT Rating: 1.4 | See All NT Reviews »
Myrna reviewed this story - Oct 1, 2008
Myrna's Rating
2.0

This is an opinion piece--and Joe Lieberman certainly is entitled to his opinions, no matter how wrong they may be. He harps on al-Qaeda being the source of the attacks, while presenting no evidence whatsoever that the attacks were from al-Qaeda or its affiliates, rather than from local militias or other groups. He sees "progress" in Iraq when other members of Congress who just visited that country see a downward spiralling disaster. This is the same Joe Lieberman who saw progress a few years ago after a trip to Iraq, stating that there were more satellite dishes and cell phones. Even his own staff cringed at his grasping for any threads he could find. I think, however, that The Washington Post should at least have a disclaimer ... More »

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NT Rating: 2.1 | See All NT Reviews »
Myrna reviewed this story - Oct 1, 2008
Myrna's Rating
3.8

This is a fair representation of what is occurring with the researcher and his quest for a visa. Although there was no reply from a British source, so the writer of the article didn't know why the British refused a transit visa, there are enough accusations from sources supporting Dr. Lafta to lead the reader to question the British (and U.S.) actions. The only thing I would have added is that Rep. McDermott is a physician, which may explain his specific interest in cancer rates in Iraq. (And he's a great interviewee, BTW.) The story leaves us hanging, but there just not enough facts out there to make a clear case--although the innuendo is pretty clear. Is this another attempt by the Bush Administration to squelch science when ... More »

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NT Rating: 4.3 | See All NT Reviews »
Myrna reviewed this story - Oct 1, 2008
Myrna's Rating
2.9

Normally, I'd read such a story and think that it was a good report from a reporter on the scene, but this in no way jives with the report of the same event I read in The Forward. The Forward portrayed Cheney's reception as much cooler and portrayed anger at Cheney trying to rope Jews into accepting the war in Iraq as a Jewish war to save Israel. This one talks about Cheney's reception as overwhelming. The Forward article states that 70% of Jews, more than any other ethnic group, are opposed to the Iraq war. This article implies that Jews are absolute warmongers. I add that The Forward is a Jewish newspaper that takes a point of view that reflects the point of view of the American Jewish community (maybe a bit leftwing, but I ... More »

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NT Rating: 3.2 | See All NT Reviews »
Myrna reviewed this story - Oct 1, 2008
Myrna's Rating
3.7

This is a very good, short news story. It is based on a DoD memo. Unfortunately, the authors of the memo did not comment, but that would be expected given that this is the military. There is a congressperson who is, as expected, appalled, a DoD spokesperson who talks about how DoD is right up there doing what they ought to do, and an expert in TBI who talks about the subtle changes. For a short news piece, this is just fine.

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NT Rating: 3.5 | See All NT Reviews »
Myrna reviewed this story - Oct 1, 2008
Myrna's Rating
4.6

This is pretty good journalism. It is a feature article, not a news article, and presents an issue--donation of IVF embryos for stem cell research--with arguments for and against it. The factual information is accurate, as far as I know; bioethicists on both sides of the issue are interviewed, and two respected stem cell researchers are also quoted. My only quibbles are with the sidebar--as it did not contain information on adult stem cells other than those from bone marrow. In fact, many organs of the body contain stem cells or cells that could be induced to dedifferentiate towards greater stemness, and there are significant amounts of research on these. Then, over the horizon, is the concept of nuclear transfer human embryonic ... More »

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NT Rating: 4.0 | See All NT Reviews »
Myrna reviewed this story - Oct 1, 2008
Myrna's Rating
3.5

It's a good short piece on a scientific paper. It gives the results of the published study, gives some of the data, quotes the lead author of the paper, and gives two differing viewpoints. The study was interesting, but not earthshaking. Also, selenium in HIV is a bigger story, as a recent scientific paper that looked at plasma selenium concentration in HIV seemed to indicate a relationship between viral shedding with increased plasma selenium levels. So the question is, what is going on here? What the story also does not include, if, indeed, selenium is a good adjuvant therapy, would be something about whether this simple treatment would be more affordable in poorer nations and would be beneficial there. But there's only so ... More »

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See Full Review » (14 answers)
NT Rating: 3.8 | See All NT Reviews »
Myrna reviewed this story - Oct 1, 2008
Myrna's Rating
4.5

This is an excellent article. It gives a broad picture of a problem that basically has been swept under the carpet: an antibiotic-resistant infection, the spread of which is aided and abetted by the Iraq war. The author interviewed families of infected soldiers/contractors, military medical specialists, microbiologists (not just in the U.S.), epidemiologists, and people who have been involved in the military's attempt to discover the sources of the infection and to prevent further infection. There is only one interviewee who, at least in the interview, does not appear concerned that there is any major threat from the causative organism, Acinetobacter baumannii. Indeed, a quick search on PubMed indicates that, as the article so ... More »

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NT Rating: 4.6 | See All NT Reviews »
Myrna reviewed this story - Oct 1, 2008
Myrna's Rating
4.1

This is an opinion piece--an equivalent of an op-ed--and it need not conform to the requirements for good journalism, for which I am grateful. As a biologist, college teacher of biology, and journalist, I do not understand why, in a story about science, our standard publications, such as The New York Times, are required to show "both sides" of the evolution story. There is only one side and that side is the science. This opinion piece makes it clear that there is science and there is nonscience, and Americans tend to err on the side of nonscience when it comes to evolution. And the author and I pretty much agree that it's a shame. Don't get me wrong. There are lots of controversies among scientists on fine points of evolution. ... More »

See Full Review » (11 answers)
NT Rating: 4.2 | See All NT Reviews »
Myrna reviewed this story - Oct 1, 2008
Myrna's Rating
1.4

This story cites two administration sources, one of whom is high-ranking and, based on what I have read about this source, of dubious veracity. The second cites a lower-level administration source, who, fortunately for him, is leaving government service because of "family financial pressures." This latter fact is not germane to the story and should not be there. Although Michael Isikoff attempted to write a story that indicated that our actions in Iraq are stimulating possible future terrorist attacks, the lede on this story, citing Negroponte, makes this appear as if the title is really what the story is about: "We are going to get hit! Be afraid, be afraid." Thus, the title and lede make this (probably intentionally, on the ... More »

Terror: ’We’re Going to Get Hit’ More »

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NT Rating: 2.4 | See All NT Reviews »
Myrna reviewed this story - Oct 1, 2008
Myrna's Rating
3.5

Other than being a bit disorganized and difficult to follow, in fact, this is a decent enough story from an unreliable source. The headline is misleading and editorializing, but that's not the journalist's fault; that's the fault of the editorial position of the paper. The writer points out, quite correctly, that the Swedish study is badly flawed, requiring "laboratory confirmation," as noted by the source at Vanderbilt. In fact, the article, unlike its misleading title, points out that the study does not really answer the questions about the prevalence or the severity of infection from H5N1 influenza. The fault with this story lies with the editing: either it was poor and didn't catch the disorganization or it was poor and made ... More »

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See Full Review » (8 answers)
NT Rating: 2.7 | See All NT Reviews »
Myrna posted this story - Mar 8, 2007
Myrna posted this story - Jan 22, 2007
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3.8 avg.
3.8 avg.
Activity
3.7 avg.
Experience
5.0 avg.
Ratings
4.1 avg.
Transparency
2.4 avg.
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4.0 avg.

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Reviews
30
Answers
272
Comments
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Ratings Received
13
Number of Raters
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4 out of 5 rating - click to see review from Dwight Rousu | 12/29/2009


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