Is biology too important to be left in the hands of experts? Maybe.
Americans like stories about underdogs who start as outsiders but then become the very core of what being 'inside' means. Think Einstein and the patent office. Or Mendel, an 'uncertified substitute teacher' whose day job was being an Augustian monk but whose knowledge of amateur horticulture allowed him to win a race career biologists did not even know had started.
Outsiders doing important things appeals to the frontier spirit in Americans and there's nothing more like a wide open frontier than biology in the hands of hackers - biopunks.
The past few years have seen a decline in the percentage of Americans who believe what scientists say about climate science.
The science community shares some of the blame, obviously; the IPCC made rookie errors in its recent assessment and even intentionally included non-science results as data, and the so-called "Climategate" emails showed scientists weren't always out to promote science as much as they were out to stick it to opponents, behavior just like every other field where humans work.
What do you get when you are against fighting and for talking with crazy dictators while you are running for high office, yet decide to fight the elected leader of a country which is no threat to anyone outside its own borders and did nothing against anyone in NATO?
You get SCIENCE!
But there is precedent in calling 'hammering a small country' something besides 'war' - the Bush administration, which apparently did not get enough credit for its endorsement of science and engineering, it seems, came up with an engineering-y way to describe war; "kinetic military action".
Last month, an article that had caused something of a buzz in science circles since November was published in the journal Icarus
. John Matese and Daniel Whitmire, physicists at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, wrote a paper(1) speculating about the existence of an unknown planet, a monstrous binary companion to our Sun bigger even than Jupiter.
The problem, other than the usual hype by places like Huffington Post along with mainstream media outlets, was this planet would have to be in the Öpik-Oort Cloud , which is itself a hypothesis.
Tsunamis are big news for the last few days and there may be an ancient reason along with a current one. A group of researchers are saying a tsunami likely destroyed the fabled lost city of Atlantis...and it is underneath mud flats in southern Spain.
The team's findings are the subject of "Finding Atlantis," a National Geographic Channel special that aired this weekend (and you can watch again tomorrow evening).
The 8.9 magnitude earthquake off the coast of Japan was a devastating event and did unknown amounts of damage. There is risk of fire, water shortages, power outages and radiation leaks, not to mention 1,000 dead. (To separate mass media hype from fact, see Patrick Lockerby's comprehensive and frequently updated Japan's Nuclear Emergency - The Straight Goods
and also Japan Quake - Media Up To Mischief