Blowing my trumpet

I’m sure that most journalists will confirm that feedback from readers is really appreciated, especially when it is favourable. So I was particularly pleased this week to receive two positive comments in quick succession.

The target of this approval was my lead column in the weekly Laboratorytalk newsletter, in which I pour scorn on various end-of-the-world scenarios. In 590 words I take in the mysterious case of the missing solar maximum, the cynical presentation of science in the newspapers, the prediction of apocalypse by watchers of ancient South American calendars, and the conjunction of Jupiter with Uranus.

To be honest, any mention of Uranus is likely to raise a giggle. Always has, always will.

One reader responded: Dear Russ Swan, Best column of yours I have ever read. Even my technician found it both clever and funny. Thank you, Simon

Another: Russ, this is the most entertaining thing I’ve read in a long time. You’re brilliant. Kind Regards, Diana

I’m slightly embarrassed to reproduce these here, but I have managed to overcome my natural reticence on this occasion. I’m grateful to both Simon and Diana (full names withheld to avoid their embarrassment) for taking the trouble to drop me a line.

And for the record, I genuinely welcome both positive and negative feedback.

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