Science & Society

Day two and day one if you need to catch up.

One great thing about being at a conference on a press pass is people want to buy you food. You can literally go the entire day without buying anything for yourself if that's how you roll. Breakfasts - check. Coffee - check. Lunch - well, I am not much of a lunch guy but I suppose I could get the proverbial free lunch in the way of a literal one. Dinner could at least be bar food.
Attending the AAAS symposia on "Facing the Uncertain Future of International Science Journalism" I was stunned by something:   I am the most hated guy in every room I walk into.
Whether you are new to blogs or a practised poster, Eureka’s Top 30 Science Blogs will not disappoint. After much heated debate, the Eureka team have picked 30 of their favourite science, environment, health and technology blogs. If you want to know more about the latest NHS catastrophe or climate change scandal, someone on our list will have it covered.

 Frankfurt Book Fair

The FBI yesterday released a 104-page report laying out its case the the 2001 anthrax attacks were committed by a US Army bioweapons researcher, Dr. Bruce Ivans. Some are arguing that this report isn't conclusive and that the FBI is closing the case prematurely. I can't speak to that, at least in any informed way, but if the FBI is correct, you've got a chilling, classic evil scientist scenario:
It's often the case that attending a conference like AAAS means you have to choose between competing programs, like the good stuff, the fun stuff and the stuff you will make fun of.  This morning I had one of each at the same time but since I didn't get to the one I would likely have made fun of, I will leave that out.

Instead I had to make a tough call between Eugenie Scott and "How Can Scientists Support Policy Makers?" and "The Science of Superheroes" - Genie won, at least in the beginning.
The British government has just published a whole batch of reports on science communication. The Science&Media Report was published on 20th January 2010, including a variety of supporting documents. The Science for All Expert Group has also just published its Report, which also includes links to numerous sources of supporting research. There is a lot to read and digest here and I haven't done so yet but thought readers here might like to read it all for themselves.
In many parts of the country there is a recession but some segments are immune to the ups and downs of economic cycles.  Three are obvious; your lawyer, your accountant and hotels in towns where conventions are being held.  No matter how bad things get, they will never lower their rates.  There may be legends of them lowering their rates but, like children who look like bats, they always  seem to be in a third world country:

Physicist and sci-fi author David Brin on healthy versus pathological skepticism w.r.t. climate science:

What factors would distinguish a rational, pro-science "skeptic" - who has honest questions about the HGCC consensus - from members of a Denier Movement who think a winter snowstorm means there's ni net-warming of the planet?...

After extensive discussions with such folk, I found a set of distinct characteristics that separate thoughtful Skeptics from your run of the mill, knee-jerk Denier dogma puppet.

Among the distinguishing traits:
Millions Fed : A Recommended Read

Millions Fed: Proven Successes in Agricultural Development is a recently published free pdf book which details case studies in sustainable food production methods.   The data is extensively peer reviewed and offers much of interest in many fields of science.