Archive for April 9th, 2009

Tonight's The Night

By Sheril Kirshenbaum | April 9, 2009 6:08 pm

3343804719_aa425eb302_m.jpg..when bloggers converge at the Performing Arts Center in Bull City.

I look forward to meeting readers!


George Will Pile-On Continues: Eugene Robinson of the Post Says Will Crossed the Line

By Chris Mooney | April 9, 2009 4:12 pm

Media Matters has the video. See here. I’ve also embedded it below:

Meanwhile, Curtis Brainard, CJR’s science guy, has another analysis highlighting the way Post staff are coming out of the woodwork to critique Will.

Plus: I now see that the Post‘s Tom Toles went at Will in a cartoon. See still more on all this from Adam Siegel and Dylan Otto Krider.

Here’s my question: When is somebody gonna put George Will on television and ask him to further defend his insistence on wrongly interpreting these climate data? As per the Marc Morano post below, I for one would welcome the chance to debate this issue with Will on the air. I’m sure many other climate journalists, and climate scientists, would as well.

Science Is Art

By Sheril Kirshenbaum | April 9, 2009 2:19 pm

Nicolas Devos is a scientist, wildlife photographer, and also happens to be one of my favorite artists.  His lens captures ephemeral moments in nature through the eyes of a biologist who understands the form, function, and physiology of his subjects.

Mantis in Costa Rica at La Selva Biological Station, 2009



One Month Until "Two Cultures" Conference

By Chris Mooney | April 9, 2009 12:13 pm

It’s April 9 today–the big extravaganza in New York is exactly a month away, May 9. It’s gonna feature E.O. Wilson, Ken Miller, Lawrence Krauss, Dean Kamen, and many, many others. It’s also going to feature both of your bloggers, fellow disco blogger Carl Zimmer, many other members of our ScienceDebate2008 crew, my Princeton history of science prof D. Graham Burnett, and many, many more.

We’ll have C.P. Snow experts, scientific experts, and science and society experts. We’re going to take a look at the “two cultures” through the lens of history first, and then we’re going to analyze the continuing gap between science and society as manifested through the media, politics, and education. And we’re going to propose solutions–indeed, how fitting that Sheril just today has posted an amazingly exhaustive list of policy fellowships for scientists and engineers, which are precisely the sorts of programs that we need to see thrive if we’re going to bridge the gulf between science and the rest of society.

Meanwhile, I’m mooting a kind of blog countdown to the conference here at the “Intersection,” and trying to think about how it should go. My attempt to blog about some of the other scientific classics I’ve been reading earlier this year didn’t necessarily succeed, but perhaps we should all read “The Two Cultures” lecture together over the next month? How many people would be interested in doing that? It’s not very long, it’s easy reading–no math or anything, heh–and this is the best edition.

Leave a comment if you think this is worth doing, and then we’ll decide whether there’s a critical mass. And meanwhile, if you want an early-bird conference rate, tomorrow is the deadline to register.

Policy Fellowships For Scientists & Engineers

By Sheril Kirshenbaum | April 9, 2009 10:40 am

After I recently spoke at AAAS, several graduate students emailed asking about a clearinghouse for science policy fellowships.  I couldn’t think of such a list and inquired with many colleagues in and out of academia to no avail.  Surely there needs to be, so I worked with a group of terrific staffers and interns at American Association for the Advancement of Science to come up with what follows.  We’ll be making this resource readily available on our sidebar soon so please add any fellowships we may have forgotten in comments and we’ll update it regularly.


AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowships

National Academies Christine Mirzayan Science & Technology Policy Graduate Fellowship Program

National Academies Jefferson Science Fellowships

Presidential Management Fellows Program

The Royal Society (U.K.) MP-Scientist Pairing Scheme

The Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellowships Program

American Chemical Society

Hellman Fellowship

American Psychological Association

American Physical Society

Belfer Center, Kennedy School of Government

American Institute of Biological Sciences

American Astronomical Society – John Bahcall Public Policy Fellowship

American Society for Microbiology

National Human Genome Research Institute

Health and Aging Policy Fellowship

Society for Research in Child Development Policy Fellowship

Department of Commerce – Commerce Science and Technology Fellowship 

ASPH/EPA Environmental Health Fellowship Program

American Institute of Physics and Member Society Government Science Fellowships

Harvard University – Science, Technology, and Public Policy Fellowships

American Society for Biochemisty and Molecular Biology

American Geophysical Union – Congressional Science Fellowship

American Society of Human Genetics

California Science and Technology Policy Fellowships

John A. Knauss Sea Grant Fellowship   (Sheril did this one!)

American Chemical Society San Diego Section – Public Policy Fellowship

Optical Society of America – Congressional Fellows Program

Social Science Research Council – Abe Fellowship Program

Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellows Program

David A. Winston Health Policy Fellowship – Association of University Programs in Health Administration

National Center for Health Statistics – Health Policy Fellowship Program

Packer Policy Fellowships – Australian-American Health Policy Fellowships Program

The ASPH/CDC Allan Rosenfield Global Health Fellowship Program

The Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center Postdoctoral Fellowship in Comparative Health Policy

Geological Society of America Congressional Science Fellowship


American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

NASA Congressional Fellowship

Morris Udall Foundation

Academy of Medical Sciences/Wellcome Trust

Aldo Leopold Leadership Program

Harkness Fellowship

Why Reason Loses: Special Marc Morano Edition

By Chris Mooney | April 9, 2009 8:45 am

Dear Reader: I encourage you to head on over to DeSmogBlog for the latest evidence of why it is that all our money spent on global warming research does not suffice to solve the problem.

Warning, it’s likely to make you angry.

Marc Morano has long been Senator James Inhofe’s top global warming spinmeister and talking head. His special ability is to argue super-fast, spewing out questionable claims, a kind of howitzer of climate “skepticism.” (Below, for example, see Morano’s recent debate with Joe Romm provided in its first installment, with the second here. Joe tries to be patient in debating Morano, and to correct him as much as possible–a valiant attempt, but it’s simply impossible to correct everything Morano says as he bowls you over with dubious assertions.)

I bring all this up because Morano has now left Inhofe’s service; instead he’s joined an anti-global warming think tank, the Committee For a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), which has lost no time in pitching him to the media. DeSmogBlog has the email they’ve been sending out; it reads in part like this:

Here’s your counter guest debater to Al Gore and Global Warming Climate change disinformation plus how Obama’s Policies are affecting our economy.

For your on-air expert contributor talent files: Credentialed “Counter Guest” to popular global warming ideology: Here’s your anti-Gore Global Warming Expert who offers the science to counteract partisan and ideologically driven Environmental entities and issues.

If you believe most, or all, of the global warming dogma, you may use Marc as your “counter guest” to offer a lively, fair and balanced discussion to your audience. If you are a skeptic of the current doctrine, Marc can aid your program by clearing up the deception with the facts.

Marc Morano infuses the environmental debate with a balanced and truthful scientific perspective. Marc’s agenda is to revolutionize Climate and Environmental news dissemination to portray the accurate truth.

The thing is, this stuff is totally going to work. Morano is going to get on TV, and he’s going to sow more doubt about global warming. He’s quite effective at this–frankly, even as I lament it, I’m also impressed by his skill–and has a think tank behind him. And they’re willing to fight damn hard to get their point of view across.

In my view, while it may be justified (not to mention hard to resist), it’s rather pointless to get mad at Morano, or CFACT, over this. They’re playing the game to win, and they’re very good at it. Frankly, we should be paying close attention to their tactics, and even trying learn from them.

If we’re going to get mad at anyone, meanwhile, I can see two appropriate targets. First, there’s the media who allow this game to work, by creating environments (especially on television) where good science can easily get defeated by good rhetoric.

And second, there’s the wealthy philanthropists and well funded think tanks and interest groups on our side who, faced with this unfavorable media environment, have failed to adapt and equip us with counter-Moranos–intellectual warriors who are not only up for the task of setting the record straight, and defending accurate science, but actually have it as their full time job description. This is hardly impossible to do; you can learn to be a good TV debater, a stunningly effective advocate for your own side…but who has time to really make an art of it? Who is funded to do this?

So far as I can tell, it’s generally conservatives, that’s who. And that, my friends, is the latest installment of “why reason loses”….


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