Science & Society

The publishers of Make: Magazine have announced that September 2010 is officially "Citizen Science" month. They are looking for citizen scientists to submit their projects, research, and activities to be featured in the magazine.

It also seems that they are interested in developing active collaborations with people who are investing much time in the advancement of citizen science, and they hope to use this outreach to develop exciting new content for their "how-to" project division, Make: Projects.

Recent estimates are that 7-11% of published research is 'open access', a term used to distinguish content that is open to other researchers and the public (free of charge to read) from research available only to subscribers of journals (called 'toll access' by open access advocates) and readers in libraries.
While the public has a great respect for scientists, they don't trust scientists, at least when it comes to issues that also overlap with politics, like the environment.

When it comes to policy-related topics, scientists have a limited effect on the public, perhaps not because people are stupid but because some in science have moved away from being trusted guides and into being advocates, which damages the credibility of science overall.   And once those beliefs are locked in, they are difficult to change.

So while oil drilling is safe, scientists who say so now will go unheard because some in science have gone out of their way to say it isn't due to a cultural agenda.  
The InterAcademy Council Board, composed of presidents of 15 academies of science and equivalent organizations(1) representing Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States, pulled no punches in assessing the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) performance during the latter part of the decade.

Despite overwhelming evidence for climate change, the IPCC issued “substantive findings” based on little proof and needs to rework its process, the independent review said.   The UN had requested the IAC review.   

That's a long way down from the heady days of a 2007 Nobel Peace prize for the IPCC.   
Politics is funny business because there will always be a conflict between freedom, democracy and the Constitution and political winds blow decisions in various directions - that's the way it was written and part of why it works.   Given the power of the courts to determine which part wins there will also be competition between the three branches of the federal government and it's a reason why various sides of the political spectrum should hope for balance rather than stacking the court with like-minded judges.   If it becomes okay to stack the court your way it will be okay to stack the court against you too.
Hank recently wrote a piece that dealt with the problem of a "ghost train" and a "ghost hunter" that was killed by a real train while waiting for the apparition.

Since these were amateur ghost hunters, it would be a bit much to presume that there was any actual scientific query going on, but nevertheless there seems to be a persistence of belief that ghosts are the subject of active research.  However, the question to ask is whether there's any scientific basis for thinking there's something to investigate.
The Wall Street Journal took the Marc Hauser controversy (barely noticed here, because it's evolutionary psychology, which is sort of apodictically evident as bad science so we didn't react to it) and used his suspect data on monkey cognition to slap progressives.

When selling popular science, relativity theory is presented as weird, the quantum as unfathomable, inflation is ghostly, faster than light. Prominent scientists justify this self important glamorization. They claim it arouses the interest in science.

I believe it back-fires. It promotes esoteric mystery, the opposite of science. It promotes belief in authority, the enemy of science. They effectively say: look kid, it is too difficult for you, but see, I understand, and so you just follow my opinion, and this is nevertheless called critical thinking and skepticism because you follow what we determine to be science.

Dr. Phil Plait of Bad Astronomy fame has been a Science 2.0 favorite since the moment we came online and for almost a decade prior to that.  He combines wit and no-nonsense skepticism with the kind of creative reflex that makes fundamental science concepts understandable by virtually everyone who doesn't hate getting a little smarter.
It's been a strange summer for online content and Simon Owens at The Next Web asks an obvious question - should bloggers have control over ads or not?

It's a non-issue here, of course - every writer on Science 2.0 can simply choose not to carry ads on their work and no ads are shown and no money is paid in that case.   Otherwise, the bulk of the revenue is paid out to writers based on traffic.