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Science Diplomacy and Subtle Ways of Discouraging International Collaboration

Yellow fever killed hundreds of thousands of people and sickened many more throughout the 19th Century, and nobody knew for sure how it was spread or how to contain it. It was the most dreaded disease in the Americas, creating mass panic and destroying commerce. Read More

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3 Reasons You Don’t Want to Communicate About Your Research but Absolutely Should

Many scientists are understandably reticent when it comes to communicating their work or engaging in the policymaking process. I sympathize — truly, I do! — but here’s why I think you should go for it anyway. Read More

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A Funny Thing Happened at the Fish and Wildlife Service: The Wolverine Endangered Species Listing

What does the wolverine have to do with climate change? No, the X-men haven’t decided to #ActOnClimate (yet), but the two are very much related.  Wolverines are mammals that live in snowy terrain of the mountain West, and they are currently threatened by climate change, at least according to some scientists. But if you ask the decision makers at the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), you might get a different story. Read More

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Update: EPA Will Review Troublesome Communications Policy for Independent Science Advisory Board

Last week, UCS joined other science and journalism organizations in a letter to the EPA expressing concern about how a new policy might limit the ability of independent scientists who advise the agency to speak publicly about their scientific research and opinions in a personal capacity, particularly the scientists who serve on its Science Advisory Board. Read More

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Charles Mann and The Atlantic Miss The Mark in a Confused Climate Change Piece

A recent climate change article by Charles C. Mann in The Atlantic left me scratching my head. The title, “How to Talk About Climate Change So People Will Listen” piqued my interest. It’s something I grapple with every day. But instead of focusing on how our public conversations about climate change are shifting, he lingers on what he sees as failed efforts to enact national climate policy. Mann is a serious and respected writer — who happens to work with some of my favorite magazines — so this piece felt like a missed opportunity. Read More

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Is EPA Excessively Restricting Access to its Science Advisory Board Members?

UCS learned recently that at a closed-door meeting of the EPA Science Advisory Board (SAB) on July 24, the EPA put forward a new memorandum from EPA Chief of Staff Gwendolyn Keyes Fleming that seems to extend free speech restrictions to independent scientists who advise the agency. The memo is written in a way that could discourage scientists from informing public discussion around important topics. Read More

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The Colorado Hydraulic Fracturing Deal: Amidst Politics, A Chance for Science

News broke this week of a controversial deal in Colorado around hydraulic fracturing. In exchange for the withdrawal of four ballot propositions (two promoting oil and gas development and two regulating it), the state agreed to convene a blue-ribbon panel of stakeholders to discuss how the state should handle oil and gas development. The panel will make policy recommendations to the state legislature and Governor Hickenlooper early next year. What does this mean for fracking in Colorado? Read More

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New Vaccine Misinformation Book Gets the Science Wrong

Fears about vaccines have been around for as long as vaccines have. Ben Franklin, like our other founding fathers, knew a thing or two about these fears—before the first real vaccine was even invented.

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Los Alamos Firing Demonstrates Exactly What’s Wrong with Scientific Integrity at the Department of Energy

Yesterday, my colleague Lisbeth Gronlund wrote about the unjust firing of James Doyle, a 17-year employee of Los Alamos National Laboratory. The PhD political scientist was fired over an academic article he wrote on his personal time—not as an official representative of the national lab—that argued for eliminating nuclear weapons. Read More

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Ecoservice: What It Is and Why Scientists Should Do More of It

Guest Bogger

Miranda Redmond, Ph.D. candidate
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Colorado-Boulder

Boulder, Colorado

I am a forest ecologist and ecoservice enthusiast. You may be wondering, “What is ecoservice?” In a recent paper on the subject, Roberto Salguero-Gomez and others defined ecoservice as an activity other than research and teaching assistantships that increases the public’s environmental awareness. Ecoservice may include teaching K-12 students, volunteering at environmental organizations, or organizing workshops for the general public, but it always uses science to educate and engage others about the world around them. Read More

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