Tuesday, August 5, 2014

How useful is this ubiquitous Ebola graphic?

I'd say the US broadcast media and online sources have shown restraint in the visual aids they've used covering Ebola this past week.  Avoiding the horribly gory photos you can easily uncover on a Google search, in favor of health workers in HazMat suits and maps of the affected African regions. 


One visual that's been ubiquitous is this one: 

Sometimes the caption just says "Ebola virus" 


On my way down in the elevator this morning to walk Tilly I asked a neighbor what she thought the image was. 

She wryly remarked above her steaming coffee - "some poor sperm having trouble."


For decades the NSF's survey of public understanding of science shows that roughly 80% of the public has very low science literacy I would say your'e wasting precious media real-estate with this one.