The Intersection

What on Earth?

i-49ab41670796f6a606b4f58b8eb9e062-DU_Duke_logo-tn.jpgAs Chris hinted, the two of us have been hard at work on something extraordinary to be announced next week! Get ready for BIG news that we’re real excited to share here…

In the mean time, posts today will introduce a couple of bright young authors. You see, last month I gave a lecture here at Duke in Prasad Kasibhatla’s class entitled ‘What on Earth? An Investigation of Contemporary Environmental Issues.’

A fantastic course – just check out the description:

This first-year seminar will delve into the scientific and public policy perspectives on contemporary environmental issues. In recent decades, there has been increasing awareness of the need to understand and manage diverse environmental challenges, such as global climate change, regional air pollution, water scarcity, loss of biodiversity, and beach erosion. This course will examine topics such as these, exploring both the scientific study of and societal response to these issues, with a specific focus on developing an integrated way of thinking about contemporary environmental issues.

I discussed the political arena, communication, new media, blogging, and the multifaceted ways they interact in the science realm. I simply love the opportunity to speak with undergraduates because they bring a fresh and interesting perspective to the table. Sometimes these dialogs even result in my own reexamination of familiar topics through a different lens. Prasad and I challenged students to explore The Intersection and compose their own posts. The subject had to be related to the environment and many great submissions found there way to my inbox over the next weeks.

Today I post the winners here…

So throughout the day, you’re invited to check back and my hope is that readers will welcome these first-year students to the blogosphere. Initially, ‘winners’ were to receive extra credit, but Prasad and I are so impressed, we agree everyone deserves merit. The enthusiasm and interest displayed by these young people encourages me that the next generation of environmental leaders are thinking globally and ready to hit the ground running. Congratulations to everyone for a job well done!


  1. #1 D
    December 7, 2007

    Cool. I hope you run these at the end of semesters to come! It’s a great way to encourage more in science to take into account the importance of communicating what they do.

  2. #2 T. "Chimpy" Greer
    December 8, 2007

    I think it is great that you are letting these students do this. What a good way to get a few good thinkers to express themselves.

    I wish the best of luck to all of you student bloggers!

    ~T. “Chimpy” Greer

  3. #3 Neuro-conservative
    December 8, 2007

    Chris & Sheril — Your stated goal of introducing these students to your blog is admirable. However, your defensiveness sets a poor example.

    Are you seeking to train students to blindly regurgitate a bunch of feel-good platitudes, or to really think about the issues at the intersection of science and politics?

    If the latter, than you should re-open the comments on the student posts, and allow them to defend their own ideas.

    When confronted with an inconvenient truth about Al Gore, Waynekid did the blog-equivalent of putting his fingers in his ears, saying “La la la — I can’t hear you.”

    The idea that my link to Bill Hobbs should be disqualified because the author is a (gasp!) Republican is outrageous — the kind of close-minded intolerance that is all too common in our Universities. And it was dishonest for Waynekid to imply that the Hobbs’ point was sourced to Wikipedia.

    These “kids” are young adults — presumably old enough to vote, to express their opinions publicly, and to be called to defend them. Your condescending paternalism is doing them no favors.

  4. #4 Waynekid
    December 9, 2007

    I want to thank Chris, Sheril and Prasad for giving me the opportunity to post my entry about Santa Claus on the intersection. It’s a great idea to have students to write and express their own opinions. I certainly enjoyed writing. Most importantly, they have taught me to think and analyze contemporary environmental issues, and not to “regurgitate.” Also, I have learned to delve into certain scientific and public policy perspectives.

    Now, I chose Al Gore, IPCC, Canada, Bill Clinton and Wal-Mart to be on the nice list for a reason. I believe that they have taken strides and made an impact for the better. They’re not 100% perfect. In fact, no one is perfect. If some of the choices that I made do not go well with the nice list, then you can feel free to create your own list. Who should be on it, since you disapprove of mine? I’d like to hear, but don’t personally attack me, calling me intellectually dishonest, and grouping University students as a whole. That’s why they closed the comments on the students post. Furthermore, I’m not attacking people’s ideas and being close-minded; I only questioned your sources. That’s what I always do in scientific research. I want unbiased info. Will I always be right? No, I won’t. Politically speaking, I’m a moderate; I try to take facts and mix it with my own ideas to create what I think is a great piece. One that is just in time for Christmas! All in all, I’m sincerely grateful of the chance to be on here and I’ve learned so much. This will be my last comment about the negative attacks on my character and others.

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