Science & Society

«There are two main ways in which policymakers are insidiously interfering with the usual rules of supply and demand for raw materials, and myriad different smaller ones. . . . One is the policy of ultra-cheap money in advanced economies to fight the economic crisis; and the other, more commodity-specific one, is massive public subsidy for the production of bio-fuels. Food is being elbowed out by pursuit of "clean fuel". »

So writes Jeremy Warner, Assistant Editor of the Telegraph, in an article entitled
The USA Science&Engineering Festival ended on Sunday October 24th, after six months of working us all 24/7. But it was worth it. We had more than 500,000 people come through and on the lawn of the National Mall on Sunday I overheard a parent telling her five year-old, "Yes we can stay all day. And you can see all the robots."

Kind of like a science Disneyland, minus the bored actors and plus hundreds of college students and grown-ups explaining why planes fly, why NASCAR goes at such fast speeds, hands buried deep in green goo that represented something scientific. I just thought the shade of bright green was cool.
On the day after Squid Day, I got mail from the publishing company Immedium*, letting me know they'd just come out with a new children's book: Sid the Squid and the Search for the Perfect Job. It might be of interest to me and my readers. Would I like to preview a pdf?

Flattered beyond all reason by the suggestion that I have "readers," and obsessed as I am with both squids and literature, I answered with a swift affirmative. (Apparently I was not the only cephaloblogger thus recruited.)

Let it be clear on this publically, to show I am not kidding: there is a scientology ad on the right column today. If that is not gone by tomorrow from here, I will.

I get unsolicited mail:

ProEvo: Pro Evolution - Guideline for an Age of Joy

Being on a variety of evolution vs creationism mailing lists, I wasn't initially surprised to receive an apparently evolution-related book in the mail. I'd never heard this author, someone going by the name of Tomotom, so I flipped to the back cover to see what this thing was about.
Wait. Which one?

Three, yes three, separate books with kraken in the title came out this year:

  1. China Mieville's Kraken, fiction of the New Weird literary movement. I understand it does legitimately contain a giant squid. Comes highly recommended by an English major friend of mine.

  2. HP Newquist's Here There Be Monsters: The Legendary Kraken and the Giant Squid, apparently a chronological account of giant squid in myth and science over the years. No personal recommendations one way or another.
Think feminists are angry?   Many zealots in any movement come across as bitter to outsiders but Professor Germaine Greer is giving a talk at the Literary Leicester Festival at the University of Leicester and intends to discuss what enormous fun she has had being a fearless international feminist icon and an academic through four decades of change - witnessing the change from the vaguely "Mad Men" period of the '60s, through the bizarre unisex beliefs of the '70s to today, where women get more PhDs than men but still like to have doors opened for them.
If you are in the Washington, D.C. and only have 48 hours to kill, I have bad news - the USA Science&Engineering Festival has likely packed an entire month of good stuff into this weekend, so you will need Solomon-like wisdom to choose what you want to see.

Larry Bock, head visionary of the event, is a master of logistics, planning and science enthusiasm and we've gushed over his achievements before - but just being able to get an event on the National Mall is more work than most of us would do and adding 1500 activities and 75 stage shows is downright amazing.
CNN covers the vaccine issue in a news article on its website, highlighting a family who nearly lost their child to Hib because they had bought into the doubts, fears, and misinformation out there regarding vaccines.

It's an effective story, highlighting the very real dangers, say, from contracting Hib, where one in twenty children who contract it will DIE.

According to WHO:

"Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) is a bacteria responsible for severe pneumonia, meningitis and other invasive diseases almost exclusively in children aged less than 5 years. It is transmitted through the respiratory tract from infected to susceptible individuals.
A Nuclear Eco-Catastrophe