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Posts Tagged ‘science’

An Update on Scientific Integrity in Canada, and How Scientists In Other Countries Can Help

In recent years, many Canadians have become more and more concerned about political interference in the work of Canadian government scientists, and a new report from PIPSC, the employee union that represents many of these scientists, provides little comfort that the situation will improve anytime soon. UCS has developed an open letter that allows non-Canadian scientists to show support for their Canadian government peers. You can read the letter and sign it here. Read More

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Don’t Mix Politics and Public Protections: Delays Harm Us All

For years, UCS has been making the case that science should inform the work of federal agencies, and that agency policies and rules should not be subject to political and corporate interference. When President George W. Bush was in office, the extent of that interference was quite blatant. John Graham, then head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), an obscure but powerful office within the Office of Management and Budget, did all he could to displace science and permit corporate pressure on the rulemaking process. Read More

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Lumps of Coal in the House-Passed Farm Bill

There’s an old and well honored legislative strategy of tucking otherwise unacceptable and noxious proposals into must-pass bills. The hope is that House and Senate members, seeking compromise on a final piece of legislation, may be so relieved to get a deal on the big-ticket items that some of the smaller bits can get through, too. Read More

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Editorial Writers Consider the Water Crisis, Informed by UCS Experts

I was in Newport, Rhode Island for a conference of the Association of Opinion Journalists October 13 through 16. It was wonderful to escape the fog of Capitol Hill and be in the company of rational, thoughtful people who did not dispute the reality of human-caused climate change. Read More

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When the Government Shuts Down, So Does Federal Science

When you work in DC, the ongoing drama of the budget stalemate and government shutdown is a part of your daily life.  The metro is emptier, traffic is lighter, and all our wonderful museums and monuments are closed. Read More

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Messengers Matter: Overcoming the Age of Denial

The Internet is abuzz with University of Rochester Professor Adam Frank’s op-ed provocatively titled “Welcome to the Age of Denial.” It’s the most e-mailed piece on the New York Times right now, and it’s all over social media. It’s an interesting critique, and a great call to action. Many scientists and science communicators share his frustration, and believe that science and scientific thinking are increasingly marginalized in a time when so many of the challenges we face are science-based. Of equal importance, however, is how we frame and contextualize science—and how we deliver its messages.

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When “Sound Science” Isn’t

Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.”George Orwell

When I cited that quotation while speaking to a group of students last year, many of them had a hard time grasping what I was getting at. So let me be clear. Orwell, in his classic dystopian novel, 1984, described what it was like to live under a government that believed it could change facts, and make citizens believe them. It could, for example, proclaim that two plus two equaled five, and that would become the new reality. Read More

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Don’t Like the Endangered Species Act? Try to Weaken It by Gutting the Science

The Endangered Species Act has one of the strongest scientific foundations of any environmental law in the United States. And with some predictability, some members of Congress try to tear down that foundation. This year is no different. Read More

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Don’t Be Fooled by the “Moderate” Tag: The Regulatory Accountability Act Threatens Federal Scientific Integrity

People of good will can disagree about the role of government in protecting the public from harm. Libertarians believe that less government is preferable, even when risks to public health and safety are substantial. Others, including many environmentalists, tend to see a much larger role for government in ensuring our access to clean air and water, and protection from toxic chemicals, tainted food, dangerous drugs and devices, and other harms. Read More

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How the Science of Tornado Forecasting Saved Lives in Moore, Oklahoma – and How We Can Do Better

Yesterday, a mile-wide tornado that spent forty minutes on the ground ripped through Moore, Oklahoma. As of this writing, 51 people are dead (including twenty children) and more than 140 are injured (SEE UPDATE, BELOW).  Almost immediately, this country began coming together to grieve and support the affected as it does during national tragedies. While it is clear that we have a long way to go in terms of tornado forecasting, investments in science and technology over the past three decades have significantly increased our understanding of these storms and our ability to minimize casualties. Read More

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