When hairstyle trumps policy

I decided to go into the office while the Inauguration was taking place. I will catch the speech on the internet this week. I’ve heard good things about President Obama’s speech and the wording he used (finally) on climate change. However, the most (in quantity) buzz was about the First Lady’s new hairstyle sporting bangs. I adore the First Couple. I think they have taken the spotlight in stride and I expect big things in the second term. It is just troubling to think a considerable amount of press is coming from a change in hairstyle by Mrs. Obama. I must admit, it did make The Daily Show and Colbert Report fun to watch. I dream of the day when substance will garner more ratings than discussing the change in appearance of a public official (or their spouse). My only hope the new twitter account and bangs are just the first step in promoting more grand ideas to make the country better. You have to love a good bait and switch.

House Science Chair’s First Action Is To Hold A #ClimateChange Denier Hearing | ThinkProgress

I’m sorry. I can not personally stand for politics in science. The climate hearings a few years back are what gave the Koch brother/Big Oil-backed “scientists” their first national recognition which opened the flood gates for what we see today within the general public who believe there is still a debate among scientists about the effect of human activity on climate change. Giving this additional talk time to the politically-charged deniers more spotlight makes it even more difficult for sane people to keep up. Unfortunately, those who know and try to speak the truth can’t shout. If we do, the politically biased members of the debate just call us bleeding hearts and tree huggers. This is one reason climate scientists quickly backed down in 2008ish.

One of my top goals in life is to help the general public understand something very plain and simple. A vast, almost unanimous, number of scientists do not pursue science for riches or become a celebrity. Becoming a scientists takes years of very hard work and dedication that can not be understood unless you have been through it. There is flexibility in your schedule in grad school. You are able to pick which 80 hours a week you work. Even after receiving a Ph.D., scientists still must wait years (usually) before having a steady job, ie faculty position or equivalent. The postdoc is a long, arduous job with long long hours. There is no money or security incentive for a majority of scientists until well into their 40s. Does this seem like a glamorous path to riches and celebrity?

I digress. My point is; the reason scientists do what they do is because they have a passion, a curiosity which compels them to figure out how Nature works and finding answers for their/our questions. Period. Scientists are objective. We have to be. Going into an investigation with pre-conceived, subjective ideas will lead to ruin as no other members of the scientific community will consider your results valid. Therefore, no publications will occur making funding impossible. Objectivity is a must. I sound very made in this post and maybe I am. Misconceptions don’t sit well with me.

This is a call to the sane, logical members of society, scientists or not, to help. We need a national voice, a portal to convey the truth. I have a headache.

 

House Science Chair’s First Action Is To Hold A Climate Change Denier Hearing | ThinkProgress.

Wanted: A Nation of Bill Nyes. Making science mainstream, fun, and relevant. Part 4. « Taking Science to the People

Wanted: A Nation of Bill Nyes. Making science mainstream, fun, and relevant. Part 4. « Taking Science to the People

In my humble opinion, keeping a child’s curiosity and imagination alive is a major step towards having real progress in attitudes and participation in STEM education. I personally wanted to be a doctor growing up. I was fascinated with how all cell types worked together. The checks and balances. As I grew older, in came the question of what specialty to go into as a medical professional. Knowing my interests, it seemed no ‘specialty’ was specialized enough. Then while working at a summer internship at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, I went into an office with the Biochemical Pathways wall poster.
Metabolic_Pathways_for_plotter_landscape_quantized.png
I could not take my eyes off of this masterpiece. To me, this poster symbolized life at the smallest scale but yet so sophisticated and precise; not to mention the signal transduction pathways that mediate the pathways output at any given time. I had found my calling. This visualization of what I had been taught in biology classes at all levels and biochem classes in college came to fruition.
For others, I’m sure it is different and I’m sure it’s not for everyone. The goal, inspire as many as possible to explore their curiosity of how life works and how they could make it better. Now the question, how do we do it?

Wanted: A Nation of Bill Nyes. Making science mainstream, fun, and relevant. Part 2. « Taking Science to the People

Wanted: A Nation of Bill Nyes. Making science mainstream, fun, and relevant. Part 2. « Taking Science to the People

“Bear in mind that the wonderful things you learn in your schools are the work of many generations, produced by enthusiastic effort and infinite labor in every country of the world. All this is put into your hands as your inheritance in order that you may receive it, honor it, add to it, and one day faithfully hand it to your children.”
-Albert Einstein, 1934
Many professions have had their icons and role models. Einstein is arguably the most famous scientist to walk this planet. When once asked what was the best advice he could give to people, he said to always remember to put the shower curtain inside the tub before turning on the water. He had a sense of humor that made him relatable to the masses even though he saw the wonders of Nature as math equations. Einstein wrote a lot about curiosity, imagination, and enthusiasm. These qualities can be used in many ventures, but he chose Physics.
Segway…
Bill Nye has never been accused of lacking enthusiasm. Having a genuine curiosity of how things work led to a degree in mechanical engineering. Most of us, however, know him as the Science Guy on TV. Spanning 100 episodes, Bill Nye the Science Guy laid a foundation for many across the country to explore curiosity and imagination. Nye took on current, relevant topics and made them relatable and understandable for children (and their parents).
For me, these shows were a time for exploration (virtually). I was able to better comprehend myself, nature, space, chemistry, etc. Times have changed and most people receive information from a variety of sources, some much more interactive. The technology to inspire children to pursue STEM careers are out there. However, where are the enthusiastic STEM crusaders and icons? Unfortunately, it’s not the teachers. They are too busy teaching mandated facts in a race to get through all the course material before the standardized tests in the spring…

Bridging the Science Gap: A Case for a Peer-Reviewed Science Social Network #science #scicomm #STEM #scichat « Taking Science to the People

Bridging the Science Gap: A Case for a Peer-Reviewed Science Social Network #science #scicomm #STEM #scichat « Taking Science to the People

’ve been consumed by this topic all day as seen by two previous posts today about the science gap. I believe there is a clear need to improve the general public’s understanding of science and the scientific method. Doing so would make myths like the December 21, 2012 Mayan apocalypse less likely. Understanding science leads to a better informed public that can comment knowledgeably about current issues and policies that will impact the U.S. and globe now and in the future.  Participation is a foundation of democracy, and a logical and rational electorate could help our nation tackle current and future troubles responsibly.
Now comes the huge, overwhelming question: Where do we start? How do we increase public interest and participation within the science community?
I am 34 years old. Growing up, we did not have a computer in our house, and I did not use the internet until college. It was a new, very different world surfing the internet. However, my 4 year old daughter will never have a memory of not owning a computer or iPad or TiVo. Times have changed with most people becoming more and more adept at using the internet and social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. We are all connected and have instantaneous information in real time at our fingertips. However, how many members of the general public surf STEM related websites? How many keep up to date on the latest findings within the science community or a particular field of personal interest? Sadly to say, a minority are fluent in the virtual avenues to pursue for these answers.
So, could we have a reliable social media portal where scientists can deposit and share their latests findings or innovations for the mass public to be informed? By reliable, I mean a portal or site in which only the most sound and accurate science will be taken seriously and pseudoscience can be weeded out. One way I can think of doing this would be if other scientists reviewed data or claims made, using their training and expertise, and serve as judges or examiners on behalf of the public. Pseudoscience and the like could quickly be discarded through this process. This would allow members of the public to have a “one stop shop” for reliable, objective knowledge that impacts their lives or will soon.
I am naive, and I’m not usually known to be an optimist. I am only a realist with a dream. To live in a nation of informed citizens based on logic, not ideology or propaganda. Am I alone?