Politicians attack scientists to score points with voters and their backers, whether it’s members of Congress attacking individual government grantees or belittling scientists whose research undermines their legislative priorities. It got so bad that UCS put out a guide for scientists who find their work under an unusual amount of scrutiny (still a good idea to take a look before you’re in that situation). But yesterday’s election in Virginia may showcase how these sorts of attacks can backfire, making a candidate look extreme and out of touch. Read More
November 6th, 2013
October 29th, 2012
There’s been a lot in the news and a considerable amount of discussion since my post last week about the Italian scientists convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to jail in connection with the April 2009 earthquake that killed more than 300 people in the Italian city of L’Aquila. And like many situations with extraordinary complexity, some of the reporting has been incomplete.
I’d like to share what we’ve learned in the interim that casts additional light on the situation, and some lessons that we may take away from this tragedy when it comes to ensuring that scientists continue to share their expertise with the public and that governments are able to effectively communicate about and manage low-probability, high-risk situations. Read More
October 22nd, 2012
In a decision that is sending shockwaves through the earth sciences community, an Italian court has sentenced six scientists to six years in jail for failing to accurately predict an earthquake. This is an absurd and dangerous decision that U.S. officials should rebuke, and Italian President Giorgio Napolitano should overturn. Read More