Why scientists should blog
is not a new topic to Science 2.0. In a way, I think we pioneered science blogging(1)
because, prior to us, the only science bloggers with any real audience mostly wrote about politics and religion and last year I chaired a panel on science outreach with two columnists here and Mike Eisen, co-founder of PLoS, and Eugenie Scott, founder of the National Center for Science Education and blogging was a key topic on how scientists should increase engagement.
It used to be that broader understanding of zoology meant intuitively that new species would be harder to find and so it followed that there would be fewer of them when found - that is the nature of rarity.
Now, because newer species are so rare, it is fashionable to label them nearly extinct even though they have just been discovered and so may not have been prolific any time in recent memory, or at all. It can be a little numbing to the general audience. - when everything is rare, nothing is (see special snowflake
Beginning in 1988, and until a Republican Congress approved mandates and subsidies for biofuels in 2005 (at which point every Democrat and environmental activist irrationality extolling ethanol must have realized there was something wrong), Al Gore insisted despite a lack of evidence that it was a viable solution to the fossil fuel issue. He saw 'renewable' and didn't look any farther but he is older and wiser now.
What the non-agenda-based section of science (people in the actual energy industry that is, science bloggers fawned over the stuff) knew all along was this would be an expensive boondoggle and accomplish nothing.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved Advanced Cell Technology for the second human trial of human embryonic stem cells (hESC), in people with macular degeneration, a progressive form of blindness.
Advanced Cell Technology said it would start testing its stem cell-based treatment on 12 patients with Stargardt’s Macular Dystrophy, which usually impacts children between 10 to 20 years of age, resulting in blindness due to degeneration in the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE).
Most researchers regard their work as vital to society, even if that value is only higher order and the chain to societal benefit is tenuous to outsiders. That's no different than any other job - people at the Department of Motor Vehicles feel like the entire state would halt without them and, in an elaborate food chain, they are right, and the same holds true for environmentalists who worry that some obscure critter going extinct will have a butterfly effect on worldwide ecology. In a domino world, they are also correct.
But researchers are different than those other examples because they can't just do their jobs, they have to not only show they are doing their jobs, they have to prove they should continue doing them, and then raise the money to do it.