Science & Society

The U.S. Federal Court of Appeals has overturned an August 2010 limitation on federal funding of human embryonic stem cell research.  Since 2001, federal funding of human embryonic stem cell research had been limited to existing lines.  Private and state funding of hESC research was unimpeded and funding was allowed for lines that had already been created prior to 2001.   In 2009, Pres. Obama issued a memorandum lifting restrictions while cautioning that policies would have to be in place to prevent use in cloning and other unethical scenarios.
"A podcaster, an editor, a policy wonk and a NASA engineer walk into a bar..."  At the DCSWA workshop, regional media talents attempted to answer the unanswerable: what is the future of science writing and science journalism?

Deborah Ager (of Bolt and also ClickWisdom), noted, without irony, that "in 2011, everyone is a newspaper (or thinks they are)".
Queen's University researchers writing in the Journal of Preventative Medicine say there is a strong association between adolescent computer and Internet and multiple-risk behaviors (MRB), including illicit drug use, drunkenness and unprotected sex.

The researchers found that high computer use was associated with approximately 50 percent increased engagement with a cluster of six MRB, including smoking, drunkenness, non-use of seatbelts, cannabis and illicit drug use, and unprotected sex. High television use was also associated with a modestly increased engagement in these MRB.

Note: edited 4/26

Having examined PBS's Autism Now in an earlier posting and noting its overall negativity, I'd like to turn to a documentary on autism that I can recommend: Todd Drezner's Loving Lampposts.

The PBS series on autism, Autism Now, has aired all of its segments now. The extended transcripts of interviews are available online, as well.

Based on last week's indictment of vaccine-autism researcher Dr. Poul Thorsen for money laundering and mail fraud, the Coalition for Mercury-free Drugs (CoMeD), a Maryland-based non-profit organization, is calling for further investigation. 

Whether your reading posts at science20, watching talks at TED, reading any of the self help books on the bestseller lists, watching Oprah, talking with your neighbors, or just turning on the news, be you a scientist or layman, zealot to atheist, of any particular walk of life, (at least in western society,) you have, by now, heard of the "new Enlightenment."

It might not have been called such, it might be an "awakening" or a "quest for authenticity," a "seeing," an "understanding," perhaps something else.

The point is, everyone is figuring out how full of shit we all are, as are our designs.
When European politicians picked a target date for greenhouse gas emissions in the Kyoto accord, American environmentalists applauded despite the motivation - economic harm for the US with little to Europe, since Germany simply had to scuttle Soviet-era factories they acquired in the re-merger with East Germany and France switched to more nuclear power in order to try and meet their CO2 targets.
In a recent email, my mother commented how I should help dissuade my younger sister from debating religious ethics on Facebook with our cousin.  I didn't seek out the conversation, but we can vividly imagine the sorts of debates between an atheist and a Catholic.   Instead of trying to limit my sister's free flow of ideas, I have instead reflected on both atheism itself, as well as the public presentation of one's ideology.

The impetus for actually writing down my ideas to a potentially broader public, however, originated from reading a quote from Phil Fernandes's book The Atheist Delusion which states: