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An overflowing nature at the 2020 Montphoto awards

The MontPhoto photography contest (www.montphoto.com) is one of the most important in the world dedicated to nature. Like so many other things this year, its twenty-fourth edition has been marked by the covid-19 pandemic and has had to be held online. However, this has not prevented the organizers from receiving more than 14,000 snapshots from 68 countries.

Portraits of life on the planet.
On this occasion, a spectacular night image taken by the Italian Lorenzo Shoubridge, in which a group of wolves can be seen moving stealthily through the Apuan Alps, in northern Tuscany, has been the best valued by the jury.

Those responsible for this initiative are very satisfied with the development of this virtual meeting, which has had different presentations and the participation of leading figures in this field, such as the American photographer and documentarian Ami Vitale, winner of the World Press Photo five times. . “The commitment to our followers forces us to reinvent ourselves, but without lowering the quality of the content one iota,” says Paco Membrives, one of the founders of MontPhoto.

This entity, based in the Girona town of Lloret de Mar, thus seeks new ways to promote its objectives: “To value, promote and disseminate the art of nature photography and contribute to environmental defense, conservationism and ecology”.

The world of flying saucers is not what it used to be. Its golden age occupied the middle of the last century, but with the arrival of the new one it faded until it became a shadow of what it was. Proof of this is that the best-known ufologists of their time traveled, like the elves of Middle-earth, to other coasts, although without completely abandoning their origins.

Some have published books that they call popular science, but giving it an alternative touch. An example is The Secret Code (2001), by Bruno Cardeñosa, where he ventures that we are the product of some kind of directed evolution. And he adds: “The evidence for such risky claims is in those secret files that science and scientists seem determined to keep out of the reach of the general public, for the simple reason that they do not conform to established standards.” There is a parallel here with the good old days of UFO conspiracies, such as the one that said that the US government was hiding a UFO. Now it’s up to the paleontologists, in league with an evolutionary plot.

mystery journalists

This animosity towards academic science is common to ‘mystery journalists’, but in the last decade we have witnessed a curious mutation: now they have incorporated evil official science into their discourse, in a search, perhaps, for respectability. How? Involving the scientists themselves. It occurs in the Fourth Millennium program, by Iker Jiménez, through which the first swords of science have passed, such as Juan Ignacio Cirac, a physicist who is an expert in quantum computing, and Jos é María Bermúdez de Castro, co-director of Atapuerca. What message is thus conveyed to viewers?

The fact is that including among the list of collaborators researchers from the immobile and cowardly official science – and those adjectives are not mine – has become the norm. We have the case of the professor of Bioinformatics at the University of Malaga, Francisco R. Villatoro, with his science section in La r osa de los vientos, a program directed by Bruno Cardeñosa. We can hear the first one talking about black holes and then Erich von Däniken, a Swiss man who has been saying for half a century that human beings are the product of an alien genetic manipulation.

The idea is catching on and the public sees these programs as popular science. Does it matter? It seems not. A few years ago, when I asked a member of the CSIC press office why they did not say anything to their researchers because they attended pseudoscientific programs, he replied: “It is interesting that they appear on TV; It doesn’t matter where ”. They will know.

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