Science & Society

Frustrated in dealing with the public?   You are not alone.   It may seem to researchers that the public is either stupid or intentionally ignoring evidence but it's not that one-sided, writes Chris Mooney in the Washington Post.

Chris generally doesn't think a lot of the science IQ of Americans (and don't even get him started on Republicans!) but he recognizes something more scientists should (and most do here, thus the whole Science 2.0 thing) - making scientifically smarter people does not mean they will always agree with you.
Post-Holocaust Noble Savages
It's no secret we have done things our own way here - no marketing, no corporate hierarchy, no political or cultural litmus test and no requirement that you already be popular before you can join.

The big net of Science 2.0 is exactly what some people in science resent about it.    ScientificBlogging is one crucial part of the Science 2.0 experiment but it's not the only part.    Therefore it can be a threat to people who regard science communication as part of their fiefdom, either corporate or perceptual.   Basically, a way for them to make money and control the message.
Scientists like classification schemes and, especially, the jargon that comes along with them. Of course, this in part due to the fact that such schemes allow us to flex our intellectual vanity through the ritual abuse of dead languages. More legitimately, classification schemes and terms that are agreed upon within a particular field increase both the ease and precision of communication.
One balmy July afternoon, when the fresh-faced optimism from having completed my PhD had seriously begun to wear off, I went to lunch with a famous scientist.  This jovial, moustached man did something to really surprise me; he told me the truth about this career path I had chosen: a life in science. 
A new study published in the Proceedings of The National Academy of Sciences has compared the qualifications and publication histories of climate change skeptics to those of Anthropogenic global warming proponents. 

Unsurprisingly, those espousing skepticism are in the minority, comprising only 2-3% of the 1,372 researchers the study looked at, and are typically less qualified than scientists who believe that human carbon emissions are the main cause of climate change. 
The big war in science during this decade has not been Republicans against human embryonic stem cell research or Democrats against agriculture, it has instead been open access publishing versus subscription peer-reviewed journals.

Open access publishing of science results, freely available to all, would clearly kill subscription-based peer-reviewed journals.  Right now, those peer reviewed journals are terrifically profitable for multiple companies despite the fact that everyone is saying print is dead.   These companies add value to researchers, they say, by having a higher impact than other companies that do less marketing, etc.
The BP oil spill in the Gulf is doing unmeasurable damage to the local economy and ecology of the region.   Are government efforts geared toward making undersea oil extraction safer or cleaning up the damage done?

Not really.   Pres. Obama's BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling Commission instead seems primarily focused on ending America's "addiction to oil" and a disaster like this is a heel-clickingly delightful way to frame the debate to advance that agenda.  
Wilson Tucker’s 1952 The Long Loud Silence is The Road of the 1950’s.

It’s a pure survival story, one about the complete deterioration of society into a vicious, gritty state of no-holds-barred struggle after a nuclear and biological holocaust. Unlike many other post-apocalyptic novelists, Tucker doesn’t envision much society left at all after total destruction: there is no reversion to a pseudo-Native American tribal state, to early rural 19th century agrarianism, to feudalism, to a theocratic dystopia. A total Hobbesian (or Darwinian) state of nature prevails for decades after the catastrophe. Society does not rebuild.

The hardback of The Vision Revolution has been out for one year, and I couldn’t be happier with the reaction it has received, including reviews in fantastic places like the Wall Street Journal and Sciam Mind and mentions in places like the New York Times. Soon it will appear in China, Korea and Germany.