Friday 24th of May 2024

scientists hit (by) the wall....


Yes, we avoided a second government shutdown this month — a fact for which we can all be grateful. But as we learn more and more about what has happened to science thus far in 2019, it is increasingly clear that our community will feel the negative effects of last month’s shutdown for years.

Countless research projects have been delayed, or disrupted, and some ruined altogether. Millions of dollars in grant funding have gone unrewarded. At a time when we are all concerned about how the U.S. science effort stacks up to our colleagues' in other nations, we could not afford to slow down — and yet, we did. I am fairly certain no one leading us into the shutdown realized what it would do to science — or ever gave science any thought. It never crossed their mind.

I find this situation immensely frustrating. Our return to evidence-based decision-making in all aspects of public life is a long challenge, and artificial roadblocks such as last month's shutdown will make the journey even longer.

That said, I am heartened by the work that AAAS is doing around the clock to advance science and the public good. To train thousands of advocates who are poised and ready to defend the role of science in policy and society. To speak out publicly, and forcefully, on "fake news" and other threats to an informed democracy. To march for science on the streets and in the halls of power. 

At times like these, our work together becomes acutely important — there is so much on the line. 

Your tax-deductible gift today to the AAAS Flexible Action Fund will help us advance our work for science, no matter what is happening in Washington. And when that gift is combined with the gifts of many other AAAS supporters, you can truly have an outsize impact.

I am not asking for a specific amount; whatever you’re able to contribute, whether it's $10 or $100 or $1,000, will truly help. And it will truly be appreciated by myself and by the rest of the AAAS family.

With my utmost thanks,

Rush D. Holt

Chief Executive Officer, AAAS

and Executive Publisher,

Science Family of Journals


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As you should know by now (if you read this site carefully) POLITICS ISN'T A SCIENCE. Politics is an ART FORM. That is to say that the parameters of influence (and action) ARE DECIDED rather than observed.

Sciences are about discovering the truth. Arts are about creating illusions — including politics, religions, news and entertainment.

trump's hot bum is good for you...

WASHINGTON — President Trump is preparing to establish a panel to examine how climate change affects national security, and will include a White House adviser whose views are sharply at odds with the established scientific consensus that human-caused global warming poses a threat to the nation’s economy, health and security.

According to a White House memo dated Feb. 14, Mr. Trump’s staff members have drafted an executive order to create a 12-member Presidential Committee on Climate Security that will advise Mr. Trump about “how a changing climate could affect the security of the United States.” The memo was first reported by The Washington Post

The panel would include William Happer, a Princeton physicist who serves as Mr. Trump’s deputy assistant for emerging technologies. Dr. Happer has gained notoriety in the scientific community for his statements that carbon dioxide — the greenhouse gas that scientists say is trapping heat and warming the planet — is beneficial to humanity.

The efforts to establish the panel come in the wake of multiple new comprehensive reports concluding that the warming planet poses clear and specific risks to national security. The inclusion of Dr. Happer suggests the efforts may be the latest step by the Trump administration to play down or distort the established scientific consensus on the impact of climate change.


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The truth about "climate change" (read global warming) can be seen here:

the trump hullabaloo is a skilled distraction...

A top US official told a group of fossil fuel industry leaders that the Trump administration will soon issue a proposal making large portions of the Atlantic available for oil and gas development, and said that it is easier to work on such priorities because Donald Trump is skilled at sowing “absolutely thrilling” distractions, according to records of a meeting obtained by the Guardian.

Joe Balash, the assistant secretary for land and minerals management, was speaking to companies in the oil exploration business at a meeting of the International Association of Geophysical Contractors, or IAGC, last month.

“One of the things that I have found absolutely thrilling in working for this administration,” said Balash,“is the president has a knack for keeping the attention of the media and the public focused somewhere else while we do all the work that needs to be done on behalf of the American people.”

In its drive to boost domestic fossil fuel production, the Trump administration has spearheaded an effort in recent years to open undeveloped federal waters to oil and gas drilling, despite fierce opposition from coastal residents, politicians and environmental groups. In 2018 it issued a draft of its plan, and in the coming weeks, the interior department is planning to officially propose a five-year program for oil and gas leasing in federally-controlled coastal waters, up to 200 nautical miles and more from the shoreline.

Already the Trump administration is moving to permit a handful of private companies to start using seismic surveys in the Atlantic, a controversial practice in which air guns shoot loud blasts into ocean waters to identify oil deposits. Some scientific studies suggest that seismic surveys can harm or potentially kill marine creatures, including dolphins, whales, fish and zooplankton.

The seismic surveys could commence as early as this year, in coastal waters anywhere from Cape May, New Jersey, to Cape Canaveral, Florida, but first they require final approval from the interior department.

“I will tell you we wouldn’t work really really hard to get the [Atlantic] seismic permits out, if it was an area that wasn’t going to be available”, said Balash, who helps oversee the the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the agency responsible for permitting the Atlantic seismic permits and crafting the five-year leasing plan. The interior department did not make him available to the Guardian for comment.


In one instance, she traveled to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, in the fall of 2017 to speak to the National Ocean Industries Association. Its board members representatives of some of the biggest offshore drillers in the world, including BP, ExxonMobil, Shell and Chevron.

The interior department asserts that the agency is open to hearing from all parties.“ When asked for a meeting, the department’s appointees try to make ourselves available for all of our stakeholders,” said spokesperson Faith Vander Voort, “including those representing the environment and coastal communities, and we invite any stakeholder to meet with us if they have an issue they wish to discuss.”

The close ties between the interior department and the offshore industry has frustrated scientists, business owners and government officials who oppose the push to open the Atlantic to drilling and exploration and say they are not being adequately consulted.

“We have 120 municipalities, 1,200 elected officials, 42,000 businesses and 500,000 that have registered their opposition to offshore drilling and exploration in the Atlantic,” said Vicki Clark, a representative of the Business Alliance for Protecting the Atlantic Coast, a coalition of small businesses, commercial fishing families and others along the eastern seaboard. “And yet, big oil has more influence over this administration.”

A large bipartisan group of congressional representatives have also come out against drilling in the Atlantic, as have Democratic and Republican governors across the East Coast. “Opposition to drilling and testing in the Atlantic is as close to universal as anything will ever get,” said Ben Cahoon, the Republican mayor of Nags Head, a small town on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. “We are trying to get our message across as much as we can, but it seems pretty clear [the administration] doesn’t want to hear from us.”

Gail Adams, the vice-president of communications and external affairs at IAGC, the group that hosted Joe Balash at its conference in February, said research showing the air guns to be harmful to marine life is wrong. “Unfortunately, the information that is disseminated is not accurate.”

She added that “more than 50 years of extensive surveying and scientific research indicate that the risk of direct physical injury to marine mammals is extremely low, and currently there is no scientific evidence demonstrating biologically significant negative impacts on marine life.”

Many prominent marine scientists disagree.

“The science, as far as we are concerned, is robust,” said Howard Rosenbaum, a senior scientist for the New York Aquarium and the director of the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Ocean Giants program. “Introducing this level of noise into the north Atlantic is of great concern for whales and other marine animals.”


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environmentally, trump is lighting his own farts...

There were so many lies strung together in President Trump’s environmental speech from the White House on Monday, it’s a challenge to fact-check.

“I’m glad you finally let people know what we’re doing,” Trump said, taking the podium from his Environmental Protection Agency chief Andrew Wheeler, who was one of the string of speakers appearing Monday in an event billed as touting America’s environmental leadership. “We’re working hard, maybe harder than all previous administrations, maybe almost all of them.” 

The audience laughed in response, as if in on the joke. (Since I was denied press credentials, I did not attend the East Room event and watched it on C-SPAN.)

Flanked by Ivanka Trump, half his Cabinet, and some select Republican members of Congress, Trump gave a rare and strange speech that meandered into the economy, plastics, particulate matter, the Paris climate agreement, and the Green New Deal. He claimed outright success on the environment despite the fact that for most of his administration, Trump and his Cabinet have participated in high-profile events at the EPA to celebrate rolling back major environmental and climate regulations—often with coal miners as a backdrop. The administration has already reversed more than 80 regulations protecting the air, water, and climate, while civil penalties for polluters were down 85 percent last year compared to the decade average.

To then claim he’s leading the world in environmental leadership is a lot like gaslighting, environmentalists pointed out before the speech. For instance, when Wheeler, who has been instrumental in rolling back many rules targeting ozone, methane, fuel efficiency, and water pollution announced at the same event, “Pollution is on the decline.”

Trump repeated claims that the US has cleaner air and water than the rest of the world, all of which have been routinely debunked. 

“From day one, my administration has made it a top priority to make sure America has among the very cleanest air and cleanest water on the planet,” Trump said. “We want the cleanest air. We want crystal clean water. And that’s what we’re doing.”

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Australia is in the dumps in regard to saving the planet... "Coal before sanity" says Scummo and his idiots...

americans believe in the fairies...


By Chris Impey

University Distinguished Professor of Astronomy, University of Arizona


Science gets a lot of respect these days. Unfortunately, it’s also getting a lot of competition from misinformation. Seven in 10 Americans think the benefits from science outweigh the harms, and nine in 10 think science and technology will create more opportunities for future generations. Scientists have made dramatic progress in understanding the universe and the mechanisms of biology, and advances in computation benefit all fields of science. 

On the other hand, Americans are surrounded by a rising tide of misinformation and fake science. Take climate change. Scientists are in almost complete agreement that people are the primary cause of global warming. Yet polls show that a third of the public disagrees with this conclusion.

In my 30 years of studying and promoting scientific literacy, I’ve found that college educated adults have large holes in their basic science knowledge and they’re disconcertingly susceptible to superstition and beliefs that aren’t based on any evidence. One way to counter this is to make it easier for people to detect pseudoscience online. To this end, my lab at the University of Arizona has developed an artificial intelligence-based pseudoscience detector that we plan to freely release as a web browser extension and smart phone app.

Americans’ predilection for fake science

Americans are prone to superstition and paranormal beliefs. An annual survey done by sociologists at Chapman University finds that more than half believe in spirits and the existence of ancient civilizations like Atlantis, and more than a third think that aliens have visited the Earth in the past or are visiting now. Over 75% hold multiple paranormal beliefs. The survey shows that these numbers have increased in recent years.


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Gusnote: believing in god (whatever the religions are) is a paranormal irrational activity that has subsided somewhat in America and in Europe — though as the survey shows that these numbers [of people believing in the paranormal] have increased in recent years. I would suggest that belief in god has been replaced in beliefs in other paranormal phenomenon, some based on fake sciences... I once participated in a TV project that got canned, because it was mostly secular and anti-religious. One of the segment was about "the need of people to believe" (rather than the need to know).



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