Science & Society

The Pragma Hypothesis

A speculation on the possibility of the accurate prediction of future, hind-sight based, historical worldviews, and the application of such prediction to the current climate change debate.

Pragma - mass noun: the practical outcome of a decision-based action as viewed from a historical perspective.  Pragma is to science and politics as karma is to spirituality.

"This is not just some intellectual argument between people who think they know the answer, we are talking about the future of the globe.

Science spectrum hard->soft: Math->Physics(->Chemistry->Biology->Medicine->Psychology->Sociology) ->Modeling->Philosophy->Opinions

Every Friday as The Daytime Astronomer, Every Tuesday in The Satellite Diaries, via Twitter @skyday

Last fall, ScientificBlogging introduced our first ever University Writing Competition. We were blown away by the quality of science articles we received, and are excited to announce that we’re doing it again this spring. This time the contest is open to ALL graduate students. The official rules are below, but the big idea is that we are inviting graduate students to write about science – on any scientific topic of their choosing. It is our hope to discover those exceptional students that not only know their science, but can also effectively communicate it to the scientific community as well as to the general public.
This morning, upon leaving Brussels to go back home after my seminar in Louvain-la-Neuve, my attention was caught by a big green banner hanging from a tall building at Place Schuman. It said "Safe Internet Day" and below, in smaller fonts, "think before you blog". I found it inspiring.

A blog, if used correctly, is a very nice tool which enhances one's possibility to express one's ideas, or to do scientific outreach, as in my case. It may also be used for self-promotion at times (and the opportunity does not escape me, although I try to self-contain these outbursts). But a blog, if it attracts traffic, may become also a dangerous instrument, which must be handled with care.
Scientific Evidence Of Your Own Awesomeness

Do you like to share awe-inspiring articles with your friends, like the many [New York] Times readers whose habits are analyzed in a new study? Or do you have other motives?

Jonah Berger and Katherine A. Milkman, researchers at the Wharton University of Pennsylvania, have been analysing the New York Times most e-mailed articles list.  They have been trying to determine what factors contribute to making an article 'most emailed'.

It appears that NYT readers like to share news about positive, long and intellectually challenging topics.  Most of all, the study indicates that people most like to share topics that inspire awe.
Dairy Farmer Makes BS Claim

The Utah House has passed a resolution questioning the science behind global warming.

Rep. Mike Noel, the Legislature's chief climate-change skeptic, declared Thursday that global warming is a conspiracy to control world population.

The House Natural Resources Committee then approved a resolution that expresses the Utah Legislature's belief that "climate alarmists' carbon dioxide-related global warming hypothesis is unable to account for the current downturn in global temperatures."
Have you ever pondered public radio fund drives? Whether you’ve supported the station or not (I do), the drive persists; they keep asking for money the whole, dreary week. If you pay on the first day, you get six more days of pitch. If you pay on day 7, you’ve still endured the whole week of no music and no news. If you don’t pay at all, you deserve what you get, but that’s not the point.

And whenever you pay, they’re just going to do the same damn thing in a few more months.

The question of whether record snows in the Northeast US says something about climate change is a scientific question. The NY Times shows us how not to report on a scientific issue:

Skeptics of global warming are using the record-setting snows to mock those who warn of dangerous human-driven climate change — this looks more like global cooling, they taunt.

Most climate scientists respond that the ferocious storms are consistent with forecasts that a heating planet will produce more frequent and more intense weather events.
Wondering if the "natural" cleaning product you're using is really all that natural? Well, soon you won't have to wonder - the Natural Products Association (NPA) released a set of guidelines today that "dictate whether a product can be deemed truly 'natural.' The standard encompasses home care products such as household cleaners, laundry detergents, and concentrated and ready to use hard-surface cleaners. Under the program, products certified under the NPA Natural Home Care Standard can bear the NPA natural home care seal." (See here for the standards and the application for certifying home products.)
Electronic cigarettes fail to deliver nicotine to the consumer and be should be regulated and packaged in a manner consistent with the product's effect – even if that effect is a total failure to deliver nicotine as demonstrated, according to a study published in Tobacco Control.

Electronic cigarettes consist of a battery, heater and cartridge containing a solution of nicotine, propylene glycol and other chemicals and have been marketed to deliver nicotine without tobacco toxicants. Despite no published data concerning safety or efficacy, these products are sold in shopping malls and online. Further, "electronic cigarettes" currently are unregulated in the U.S., unlike other products intended to deliver nicotine to smokers such as lozenges, gum and patches.