Science & Society

If you like to read science studies you are most likely to get them through one of two avenues; the long-standing business model has been that a print journal gets the study and does the work formatting it and lends their 'goodwill' to it with marketing - in return, they hold copyright and subscribers pay to read it.   A more recent approach has been companies that instead charge the scientists to publish the study but reading it is free - open access versus toll access, proponents claim, though in a practical sense someone is either paying to read or someone is paying to publish.
New vending machines are popping up in Germany. No, they aren't selling used underwear like in Japan. They're selling disposable shoes, called Ballerina To Go, for women whose feet are aching after dancing all night in the disco in towering high heels and stilettos.
There are some interesting parallels here between the development of scientific thinking and the development of literature:


The novel broke from those narrative predecessors that used timeless stories to mirror unchanging moral truths. It was a product of an intellectual milieu shaped by the great seventeenth-century philosophers, Descartes and Locke, who insisted upon the importance of individual experience. They believed that reality could be discovered by the individual through the senses. Thus, the novel emphasized specific, observed details. It individualized its characters by locating them precisely in time and space.



In New York State, under the Public Corporations law, so called "Authorities" or "Public Corporations" can be created that have the ability to raise capital, make autonomous decisions, and act independently fro the state government. Normally, these semi-public institutions are governed by small boards of political appointees and operate with little or no oversight. However, there are ways to make these public corporations return financial decision making power to the very people these decisions affect people.
There will be no survivors


Exactly what nuclear world war would look like was a matter of diverse opinion in the nuclear apocalypse novels of the 1950‘s.

Many post-apocalyptic novels of this decade portrayed World War III as an essentially known if more extreme extension of the destructive experience of World War II, much the way that World War II was like World War I jacked up a notch.

Actor Harrison Ford, and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner (and Science 2.0 favorite) Dr. Edward O. Wilson are holding a press conference today at 3:30 in Palo Alto, California, to announce the newly created PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award.    I won't be there because the award has nothing at all to do with actual science outreach but I am mentioning it just the same.

The American Chemical Society is not new to disliking New Media - like all businesses, they would like to be self-perpetuating and that means people have to give them money for memberships and get a magazine for free which means getting quality without paying would be very bad for their income.
Lunch Hour Lectures have been running at University College London since 1942.  It's terrific to know that even at the height of World War II, British citizens wanted to learn about the latest science in an informal setting.

Scheduled for today, the first one for the 2010-11 season has (well, had?) professor of genetics Steve Jones on ... incest. 
The National Academies (the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine) announced the recipients of their 2010 Communication Awards today. Part of the Keck Futures Initiative, these awards recognize excellence in reporting and communicating science, engineering, and medicine to the general public. With support from the W.M. Keck Foundation, these $20,000 prizes have been awarded since 2003.   This year's winners will be honored during a ceremony on Oct. 22 at the Keck Center in Washington, D.C.

Winners:
Maurice Allais won the Nobel Prize for Economics in 1988.  So why is he of interest here?  His Telegraph Obituary is headed:
Maurice Allais, who died on October 9 aged 99, was a Nobel Prize winner who warned against "casino" stockmarket practices that eventually precipitated the current global financial crisis; he also claimed to have disproved Einstein's General Theory of Relativity.
Now to readers of Science 2.0, the last sentence would immediately flag up a nutter alert.