Science and Government

Okay… It’s a little bit of a deviation from the normal type of post that I do, but I couldn’t remain silent.

Recently, my Facebook and Twitter feeds blew up with people objecting to political involvement in science. I was in the dark as to what was really going on. I had posted on my Facebook page the following message:

My Facebook and Twitter feeds are currently blowing up about something the Trump has done with regards to #science, and I have no idea what has happened. The feeds are suggesting tighter regulations for scientific research, cutting funding to particular areas, but I can’t seem to find details or facts — just a lot of hot-headed remarks about science being real. Can someone help a girl out and point me to the real facts of the latest frenzy?

It took a significant amount of research of my own, but I was able to work out what were the root causes for concern. At the end of January (when I first wrote this post), Trump had yet to appoint key science-related positions and there were rumors that he was looking at appointing non-scientists (people that have publicly shot down science as a hoax) into some of these roles. The most noted was Trump’s nomination of former Texas governor Rick Perry as the head of the Department of Energy, a post that has been held by respected physicists.

There were gag orders in place within several US governmental scientific departments, with people wondering if these were just orders for the transition or whether they would become permanent policy, muzzling scientist who just happen to work for the US government.

The Environmental Protection Agency was one such agency under gag order, with scientific findings requiring political review before they are released to the public.

The heads of many scientific organisations were being stonewalled, unable to get any answers out of the current administration as to what was happening. I will grant Trump has been in office for less than a month, but surely in this technological era, one would think that any government would want its scientists on its side.
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Global Warming — Fake Science or Real?

The latest episode of Conversations in Science has now aired on KLRNRadio. It was a requested topic and given the current escalation of the news about climate change and global warming, I can understand why.

Is all this hoopla about global warming really fake science (alternative facts) or is it real and something we should be worried about? Simple answer: it's all real, but the issues and solutions are far from simple.

 


Climate Change: Is it Real or Fake Science?
(First aired on KLRNRadio, Monday, February 6, 2017)

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2017: One month down. Only Eleven to go.

Here we are, February 1st, 2017 — one month in to 2017 and already it’s shaping up to be a mixed bag, teetering on the fence.

Let’s see… As many of my readers know, I started 2017 with not one but two computers that decided to become vary ill. However, there was light at the end of that tunnel that was more than just fantastic. The motherboards on both computers were replaced, but the true deliverance came in the form of a technological angel who gifted me a second-hand laptop to replace the pathetic Netbook with 1Gb of RAM that I had been using while waiting for machines to be repaired. Because of this amazing gift, I can now write when out and about, sitting at some coffee shop somewhere, and get some amazing editing work done. (I don’t need to print everything out if I don’t want to. Save the trees!) As per my angel’s request, she will continue to go nameless, but she knows how much I love her.

On the down side, during this first month of 2017, I fell ill — very ill. I was coughing up a lung every single time I turned around — I could barely breathe because of it — and I had lost my voice. As I write this post, I still have very little volume in my voice — still croaky and squeaky, and the family is constantly teasing me. Thankfully, I’m on the mend now, but three weeks of coughing and lack of sleep was just down right miserable. It did absolutely nothing for my complexion either.
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Wooden Bridge

Life Takes Unexpected Turns

Recently, I saw an article on how robotics have changed over the years and what ethical issues will likely arise. It started me thinking about how life can take unexpected turns but can still lead towards our goals and dreams, just not in the way we expected. How does an article about robotics and ethics relate to unexpected paths toward our dreams? Well…

A writing buddy of mine, Sean Welsh, recently finished his PhD in robot ethics. As part of his research, he has published several articles on the topic and has developed quite the name for himself. To everyone’s excitement in my local writing circles, his activities has lead to a book deal with one of the Big Five on this very topic — do to be released in November 2017.

I’ll gladly admit that I’m a little jealous (I’ve even told him that), but I also couldn’t be more excited for him.Read More

Technology Angels Exist

Earlier in the week, I wrote about all the technological failures I’ve suffered from recently, including two computer failures. I wrote about how when my desktop failed on New Year’s Eve that I was forced to resort to a little tiny 10″ screen NetBook with 1Gb of RAM.

I also wrote about how my daughter’s laptop had died within 24 hrs of my desktop; the camera decided that it didn’t exist and the USB hub refused to recognise any devices.

Well, I can say with all honesty that Technology Angels actually exist.
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