Science & Society

If you want to have staying power on the Internet, you need to have turnover, says a new analysis published in the Proceedings of the 2010 ACM conference on Computer supported cooperative work.

Not only do you need to be 'heterogeneous', you need to be diverse.   
Godfrey Bloom Demands Re-evaluation Of IPCC Re-evaluation

Godfrey Bloom MEP bemoans the fact that:

"There appears to be a woeful lack of candour and commonsense in modern day politicians."

UK Parliament Debates Climate Science Report

If somebody is in favor of making our planet a better place to live, you can bet your life that somebody with a louder voice is against it. 

Demonstrating that, at least in political attitudes to science, there really is
'nothing new under the sun', I present highlights of a UK Parliament debate on the undesirability of pollution controls.
In a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers from the University of California, San Diego and Harvard say they have provided the first laboratory evidence that cooperative behavior is contagious.

 Researchers showed that when one person gave money to help others in a "public-goods game," where people had the opportunity to cooperate with each other, the recipients were more likely to give their own money away to other people in future games. This created a domino effect in which one person's generosity spread first to three people and then to the nine people that those three people interact with in the future, and then to still other individuals in subsequent waves of the experiment.
It is a while since I wrote anything here: Mea Culpa, I shall eventually resume the series I started, but for now I feel there are more urgent and important issues at stake, for which reason I will move something from my other blog over to this forum where I think it will reach a more informed audience:

So here is part 1. originally posted January 10th 2010 with part 2. to follow shortly.

This is undoubtedly one of my longer blogs coming in at something like 3500 words. I hope you have the patience to see it through as the implications are very important, and in myfollow up blogs I will be suggesting courses of action you can participate inif you feel as strongly about this issue as I and some of my colleagues do.
Cherry Picking At The Tree Of Knowledge

The fruit of the cherry is easily spoiled: rough handling, bird pecks, insect bites, mold - all can render the cherry unappealing or inedible.

The cherry picker is trained to pick only the best cherries: the ones that will appeal most to consumers.

Fruit pickers, tree surgeons and others often use a hydraulic lift to reach into high work areas.  These lifts can let the operator reach exactly the right spot - exactly the right cherry, in a manner of speaking.

By extension, the machine is called a cherry-picker.

By analogy, anyone who selects only the data that appeals to them and supports their personal view or theory is called a cherry picker.
Just a quick thought, prompted by my response to "TV as Teacher". We can blame the corporate media for pumping our kids full of distorted values and promoting gross stupidity, but the thing is, they're doing the same to the kids' parents - to you and to me. How are some people able to resist this toxic waste yet others welcome it either consciously or blindly? What is our mental vaccine that repels this ubiquitous barrage on our senses?
Alan Caruba Has A Problem With The Truth About Accuracy In Media

Alan_Caruba recently wrote a guest column for AIM.  AIM promotes itself as Accuracy in Media for fairness, balance and accuracy in news reporting. 

I'm all for accuracy in news reports.  I strive to practice what I preach by presenting the facts and letting my readers decide.  As I am so fond of saying, I don't want to do your thinking for you.
Carl Sagan with Viking lander

Since we're frequently quoting, linking to, and commenting on someone else's copyrighted stuff, those of us who blog should have a strong interest in our copyright rights.

Ars Technica has a piece on overboard copyright clauses and a recent complaint to the FTC about them:

We hear and see the warnings whenever a football or baseball game is televised, whenever we read books, whenever we watch a movie. These are the sort of warnings that make claims like, "Any other use of this telecast or any pictures, descriptions, or accounts of the game without the NFL's consent is prohibited," despite the apparent wrongheadedness of the statement.