Science & Society

As I lay inside the box in the pitch blackness waiting for the show to begin, I wonder if the operator forgot to start it. Nothing is happening – no sound, no sights…nothing at all. Ah, wait, did I just hear something? Maybe, although perhaps that was just part of the box’s machinery I am not supposed to hear. But now I’m hearing it again, more distinctly – a raspy visceral groaning.

Definitely the show has begun!

It is springtime in Boston- a time when some of the greatest young (and old) innovators in science come together for 9 days of sciency goodness, a.k.a. the Cambridge Science Festival.

This short video highlights some of the activities and exhibits from the opening day carnival on Saturday. Features include cool stuff like LEGO robots, wicked-old mud fossil casts, making slime, and extracting banana DNA using such high-tech tools as a plastic ziplock bag and a coffee filter.

Science outreach makes me all warm and happy inside. (^_^)
I get asked a lot about Science 2.0® and why I chose to start something like ScientificBlogging.com, because science is such a niche.   Is it?  65 million people respond to surveys that they are interested in science. Since there are just over 300 million people in the US and 10% of those can't read due to age or infirmity, that means almost 25% of America alone considers themselves science fans.

The members of the online "geek community" are a bright bunch. But chances are you’re not going to see them at the next meeting of the American Bar Association or ever watch them demonstrating how to create a legal brief.

That much was driven home, it seems, during yesterday's response to reports about the oral arguments in the case City of Ontario v. Quon.

Academics are being increasingly pressured to produce 'publishable' results and The quality of scientific research may be suffering as a consequence, according to a new PLoS ONE study.

The analysis of papers in all disciplines shows that researchers report more "positive" results for their experiments in US states where academics publish more frequently.
Miguel de Cervantes said that a "man must eat a peck of salt with his friend, before he knows him." If the Institute of Medicine has its way, there are going to be a lot fewer friends out there for you, guys.
Grisha Perelman continues to make huge headlines - several days ago he has reportedly turned down the official proposal to participate in the so-called "Russian Silicon Valley" project. The reason he has given for his refusal is that he has "long nothing more to do with the science". Even after the reminder, that one of the scientific leaders of the "Russian Silicon Valley" project will be the Winner of Nobel Prize in Physics 2000, Prof. Zhores Alferov, Grisha has not changed his mind.
Welcome To The Science Party

Today, 20 April, sees the launch of The Science Party, a new political party led by bestselling author and New Scientist consultant Dr Michael Brooks. Brooks is standing for the party in the forthcoming British general election in the East Midlands constituency of Bosworth.

Brooks launched The Science Party, whose slogan is “Because Science Matters”, at a Skeptics event in Leicester on Tuesday evening.
3 NASA employees out of the 22,000 people about to lose their jobs sat in a room full of loyal Democrats and listened to President Barack Obama talk about how much he loved NASA.  Then he talked about how he was gutting it.

Not everyone is buying hope in this instance.  Buzz Aldrin agrees with Pres. Obama that the Moon has been done but Neil Armstrong, first man on the Moon, and Gene Cernan, the last, think it is a  big step backwards to instead go to an asteroid.   I am probably not the first to say it but it seems we will now boldly go where no one really wants to go.
"The common curse of mankind - folly and ignorance." - Shakespeare, Troilus and Cressida

"And of all plagues with which mankind are cursed, ecclesiastical tyranny's the worst." - Daniel Defoe, Jure divino: a satyr