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Posts Tagged ‘Transparency’

Are Oil Companies Ready for the Next Katrina?

Ten years ago this week, a hurricane was gaining strength in the North Atlantic.  Meteorologists worked around the clock to understand and predict its future path and strength. That path and strength, it turns out, would make the record books. Read More

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Transparency is Great, Harassment is Worth Preventing: A Response to Paul Thacker and Charles Seife

*See 8/24/15 update*

Transparency is in everyone’s interest. Harassing scientists is not. So where should we draw the line when politicians use their investigatory powers to target scientists or when corporations and ideological interest groups use open records requests to harass researchers at public institutions? Read More

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Communicating Science: Barriers Journalists Face at Government Agencies

Transparency invigorates a strong democracy. It inspires trust and spurs citizens to hold their leaders accountable. As citizens, we have the right to know about the scientific information shaping the policies that affect our health, our safety, and the environment, and our government has a responsibility to share this information openly. Read More

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4 Ways “Fast Track” Is a Bad Deal for Science

Soon, members of the House of Representatives will cast a vote that could affect every American family for years to come. The vote is on Trade Promotion Authority, or fast-track, legislation that would give not only the current President but also a future president the power to negotiate complicated trade deals and then submit them to Congress for an up-or-down vote. The Senate approved fast-track in late May, after a spirited debate that raised many concerns about the wisdom of this approach. Read More

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The Science Community Must Fight Attacks on Science-Based Regulations

It is easy in the day-to-day work of science to miss the struggle now being waged in Washington over the role science plays in crafting health and safety protections for America. But that struggle is heating up and the outcome matters not only for the science community but for the country. The Center for Science and Democracy at UCS, and our Steering Committee of eminent scientists and public servants, are asking you to join the fight in a Policy Forum article published in Science May 29th.
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Censorship of Government Scientists Spreads to the United Kingdom

British scientists are pushing back strongly against a move by the UK government to control how government scientists communicate their research with the public. This is a very troubling development that is bad for science and bad for the public interest. The news was reported on Friday in the Guardian and Science. Read More

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Rep. Grijalva’s Requests and the Real Problem with Conflict of Interest Disclosure

On Tuesday, Arizona’s U.S. representative Raul Grijalva asked seven academics for their sources of funding and earlier drafts of testimony they have delivered before congressional committees. Since then, many have debated whether the requests cross the line into harassment or witch hunts or McCarthyism. Lost in the discussion around whether the requests are too broad is a bigger question to address: Why don’t we already know who funds the work of those who testify before Congress? Read More

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What Kinds of Scrutiny of Scientists are Legitimate?

This morning, Rep. Raul Grijalva sent letters to seven universities seeking documents related to academics who have testified before Congress on climate change. The requests come in the wake of revelations over the weekend that the Smithsonian Institution agreed not to disclose payments from the Southern Company, a major utility, to fund and review the work of Smithsonian aerospace engineer Willie Soon. As all of the researchers in question have been critical of mainstream climate science, some are wondering if Rep. Grijalva’s requests can be considered a witch hunt. So is it? Read More

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Willie Soon’s Failure to Disclose Industry Funding for Contrarian Climate Research is Another Reason to Support Transparency

My first job in science communication was as an “Explainer” in the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. The program helps visitors – particularly students – understand the forces of flight. Our uniforms included red polo shirts that said “The Explainer Program” on the front and had the name of the company that sponsored the program – Cessna Aircraft – on the sleeve.

I recall this old uniform because the Smithsonian is under scrutiny for an entirely different type of sponsorship that was hidden from public view. Read More

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Three Ways Citizens United Helped Undermine Science Policy Debates

Five years ago next week the Supreme Court issued a decision that would soon have major impacts on our political system.  In Citizens United v. FEC, the court ruled that spending limits violated free speech, opening the floodgates to vastly increased political spending by corporate interests. Read More

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