Page 3.14

In this post: the large versions of the Environment, Humanities & Social Science and Education & Careers channel photos and comments from readers.

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Environment. From Flickr, by *clairity*

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Humanities & Social Science. One of Olafur Eliasson’s New York City Waterfalls cascades off the Brooklyn Bridge. From Flickr, by epicharmus


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Education & Careers. Traffic lights at dusk in Portland, Oregon. From Flickr, by Mannequin-

Reader comments of the week:

In Forget the planet, save the humans!, Coby of A Few Things Ill Considered shares a video created by a 10 year old boy which urges viewers, over an image of the Earth, to “Save It!” Coby argues that it is not the planet which needs saving; Earth—and life—will still be around even if we drive ourselves to our own extinction. Rather, it is humans that we need to be looking out for, and our preservation is more likely to stir people to action than polar bears or bald eagles.

Reader Umlud agrees, but he thinks polar bears make a pretty good face for the campaign:

Unfortunately, humans (as a group) don’t make such good charismatic mega-fauna (CMF), and Homo sapiens CMFs are normally not in a position to require much saving (at least the famous ones).

Okay, but enough of the snarkiness on my part. I think you have a good point. There are many people that don’t really care about polar bears or spotted owls, nor see the connection between saving these CMFs and their well-being. Changing the argument from “save the animals” to “allow your grandchildren to live as you would like them to” or even “good Christians don’t destroy the earth” might well have a greater impact. (At least in expanding the global warming framing conversation.)

On the Humanities & Social Science channel, Bora of A Blog Around the Clock discusses the Importance of History of Science (for scientists and others). Knowing the early discoveries, methods, and founding scientists in any chosen field, he feels, provides for a better understanding of its current happenings.

Reader Ponder Stibbons can think of one field where it might not be advised, however:

I think this might not work so well in physics because learning a modern physical theory is difficult enough that going through its various historical incarnations would probably end up confusing students even more.

Physicists…

In “Geez, could NIH Program staff be any less helpful?” DrugMonkey is frustrated with the process of extracting helpful information from Program Officials. When your grant is in the grey area of funding—close, but not guaranteed—all you want to know is whether you should continue to invest effort in revising your application, but the officials are notoriously close-mouthed (and not without reason) about your actual chances.

Reader S. Rivlin can sympathize:

As a past member of a study section, I experienced once the wrath of a “senior PIs about the broken review system and how “some assistant professor from nowhere is denying me my money”. And yes, that senior PI gave up, I assume, the constant battle for NIH funding, since he is now a highly paid employee of the pharmaceutical industry. In a way, it has to be a real loss for science, as said PI was a star, a leader in his field of expertise and still relatively young when he made the move to “the other side.” One has to wonder how many good scientists leave science all together due to unsuccessful efforts to be funded by the NIH. To me it seems like a selection process that does not necessarily select the best.

Look for highlights from other channels coming up!