In the email today, forwarded comments from a reviewer about a project I have been working on for the National Park Service. This project has been shunted all over the map, and in medical parlance, really should have a huge DNR sticker slapped on it. As a measure of its importance to NPS and the original instigator — who was at least a superintendent at the time and has since been promoted — it has been sent on to a “science communication assistant.” Or as DH so elegantly put it, some flunkey.
Anyway, among the comments (occasionally useful, frequently inane):
At times the language is common, in other places it is folksy (see page 21: “Bison: Once upon a time,….”), in others it is scientific (see your highlights) and some of it I just had to look up (see page 5: rivulets and garroted).
Fair enough about the inconsistent language; I can certainly clean it up so that it is uniformly “common” — after all, the work is meant for the general public.
On the other hand . . . . This woman does work for the National Park Service (Yellowstone) as a science communication assistant. Would that be a degree in science (Dr. Science — he knows more than you do … he has a Master’s Degree … in science!)? A degree in communication? A degree in assisting? DH thinks her title means she writes press releases, but I think she might be related to those people who write about the latest medical research without telling you about important stuff like sample size and study design. Whatever it is she actually does, she writes for a living. And quite frankly, I am appalled that she would even admit to not knowing the definition of a “rivulet.”
I suppose I should be grateful that she owns a dictionary.
But the line of the day belongs to DH (a member of the General Public who does NOT write for a living):
“She works for the National Park Service? You mean my tax dollars are paying for her?”