Policy

Category archives for Policy

… to write a guest post at the Science and Entertainment Exchange blog. So I did, on science communication: I was asked to write a guest-blog post about “increased incentives for scientists to develop their communications skills.” I’m happy to oblige, but in typical ornery-blogger fashion, the first thing I want to do is take…

I’ve been really surprised at the number of people writing about Unscientific America who are confused by the discussion of the Pluto incident (Mad Mike is the latest, but it’s not hard to find more). For those who haven’t read the book, the first chapter opens with a description of the public reaction to the…

This isn’t actually about a literal or metaphorical smackdown– it’s more about a distinction in language, related to a number of the comments that have been made regarding Unscientific America. (Yeah, I know. I’ll find something else to talk about soon.) The issue is most clearly laid out by Janet, who writes: In addition to…

The most unfortunate thing about the furor over Unscientific America is that the vast majority of the shouting concerns a relatively small portion of the actual argument of the book. Far too much attention is being spent on the question of whether Chris and Sheril are fair to Myers and Dawkins, and not nearly enough…

Scientist PACs and Judges

One of the most interesting suggestions made by Chris and Sheril in Unscientific America is the idea that science needs to play political hardball (page 158, in the endnotes): Why not form a nonpartisan science political action committee, or PAC, devoted to funding candidates who are either scientists themselves or who make science a strong…

Wikis Are Not the Answer

Matt Leifer had a good comment to yesterday’s post about how the editing function, in my opinion, adds considerable value to a book that you don’t get with a blog. I got distracted and didn’t reply to it, and since a day in blog-time is like a week in the real world, I’ll promote it…

Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future is the new book by Chris and Sheril of The Intersection (formerly on ScienceBlogs, now at Discover), and they were kind enough to include me on the list of people getting review copies. It turned up on Friday (after I’d already started Newton and the Counterfeiter). I…

Death to the Un-Noted Endnote

This is a rare weekend in which I’ve completed two serious books– the aforementioned Newton and the Couterfeiter and Chris Mooney and Sheril Kirshenbaum’s Unscientific America (a review copy showed up Friday, thanks guys), about which more later. They’re very different books, but both excellent in their own way. While they have very different subjects,…

The Myth of the Abrasive Genius

Via Steve Hsu, a lengthy rant by Bruce Charlton about the dullness of modern scientists: Question: why are so many leading modern scientists so dull and lacking in scientific ambition? Answer: because the science selection process ruthlessly weeds-out interesting and imaginative people. At each level in education, training and career progression there is a tendency…

The main speaker at yesterday’s Commencement was Paul Volcker, the former Federal Reserve Chairman (the guy before Alan Greenspan) and current chair of President Obama’s economic advisory council. As you would expect from somebody of his background, the bulk of the speech was about the current economic crisis. The full speech is online, but the…