The annual AAAS conference is being held next month in San Diego and I went last year (here and here and here) , despite it being a Chicago February, but most of you did not, thus the reason for the title. Yes, I saw Carl Wieman and Dave Deamer, but that is a pretty small subset given our rather large community, so before I commit to lending the 2010 version my journalistic thews I'd like to know if any of you are going.
Last year was, predictably, global warming, since Al Gore was the keynote speaker, and this year the theme this year is bridging science and society. Sounds familiar, right? Indeed, we do it as well as anyone and certainly better than a peer-review journal but it is good that they are taking notice. The actual events are not going to excite you, though.
How to publish in Science, for example, is not exactly going to appeal to the broad science outreach community, since it is a peer-review journal and expensive for the masses. "Come to us before Nature or PLoS or anyone else" will likely be the theme for that.
Learning science in informal environments is being conducted exclusively by people who are paid to teach science in formal environments. Where is the coffee shop science meeting? Where is the Science of Fine Wines, like we did? Want people to learn science? Bring cheese!
Science as Performance: Communication and Education Using Theater, Music, and Dance is something I will go to just so I have something to write about, should I attend. I know another Understanding Climate-Change Skepticism: Its Sources and Strategies vast right-wing conspiracy lament won't cover any new ground. Here is a strategy; tell people to stop making stuff up, stop circling the wagons when they do, and the data will be convincing on its own.
Exaggerating Denialism: Media Representations of Outlier Views on Climate Change could possibly make that case. In the interests of balance journalists often present opposing views but that does not mean they are equivalent. If it's more of the deficit thinking we see too often in science writers (people are uneducated and we just need to show them we are right) it won't go very far. If it promotes critical thinking - and that would include critical thinking about some of the more exaggerated claims among global warming activists - that would be a great value.
So are you going? If so, drop me a note. I'll bring Bloggy!
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