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  • Reply to: MLK, Jr.: Letter From A Birmingham Jail   1 hour 38 min ago

    but here and there you will come across some hauntingly familiar themes, like opponents citing "outside agitators" as a reason to ignore the demonstrations. As a writer I find his eloquence and focus humbling.

  • Reply to: Monday News: Eight thousand eighty three   2 hours 9 min ago

    Over 100 have been arrested so far, and (at least) 200 more are being investigated. No doubt many of those idiots thought they had safety in numbers; they could go inside, take a few selfies, and get back out without suffering any consequences. Wrong.

    The hardcore central cast will continue to operate (many from a jail cell), but I am not worried about any civil war erupting.

  • Reply to: Sunday News: From the Editorial pages   1 day 8 min ago

    In case you haven't seen this yet, Biden is elevating the "Science Advisor" role to a Cabinet position:

    If confirmed by the Senate, Lander will lead a White House office that Congress created in 1976 in response to the dismantling of the federal science advisory apparatus by then-President Richard Nixon. Its director has traditionally also served as the president’s science adviser. Although the OSTP position requires Senate confirmation—giving lawmakers the ability to monitor the office’s activities—Congress plays no role in determining whether the OSTP director is also named assistant to the president for science and technology, a position that derives its authority directly from the president. And Biden is going a step further by giving Lander a seat in his Cabinet.

    Eric Lander is not the most popular guy in scientific ranks, he has made quite a few enemies along the way. He does not "suffer fools gladly," which in my opinion makes him perfect for Biden's Cabinet. We've had more than enough sycophancy, thank you very much.

    But what I really wanted to talk about today was our need for "mainstreaming" science. Although Trump supercharged anti-science, it couldn't have happened if we weren't already primed for it. While scientific advancements have leapt forward, the vast majority of citizens have been left behind. Yes, the information is there for them to access if they are interested, but that's not enough. Just like green vegetables, it needs to be part of their daily diet.

    Even as a layman, I find myself shocked at the lack of scientific understanding in the general public. I'm not talking string theory or biochemical reactions, just a basic grasp of the natural world is missing. After trying to verbally explain to a man (a landscaper, no less) about what causes our seasons, I eventually had to pick up a ball and literally walk around him, to demonstrate Earth's axial tilt as it orbits around Sol.

    My point is, we have arrived at a point in time where science is a niche category, a "career field" for a small percentage of our population. But as our interest in science has declined, so has our confidence in the results produced by scientists. This is not skepticism based on knowledge, it's skepticism rooted in a lack of knowledge. I don't understand it, so I don't believe it.

    While scientific advancement thrives on peer-review and data replication, that dynamic also serves to build a wall between the scientific community and the general public. The people who need to know know, and the rest don't matter. That's a little harsh, but it's also fairly accurate. That

    void

    of understanding needs to be filled. I've tried to do that here from time to time; shape scientific issues into something that can be understood by those who (like me) are not scientists. But it's the scientific community itself that needs to reach out, and produce a (constant) narrative of their work that can be consumed by the general public.

    I'm not talking about "dumbing it down," I'm talking about breathing life into those data points, and the effect they have on the world around us. Drawing conclusions is not something that comes easy to many researchers, because there's always more data needed. But there's a point when you cross that probability threshold, and it's ready for everybody.

    And everybody needs it, even if they don't realize it.

  • Reply to: Saturday News: NC's culture of racism   2 days 2 hours ago

    Not so sure using a grand jury is the best approach, though. I mean, it doesn't have to be unanimous to produce an indictment, and Fulton County is definitely not Trump territory. But the folks sitting on that grand jury will likely be (deeply) concerned about being targeted by Trump supporters. That fear may swing enough votes to scuttle the indictment.

  • Reply to: Friday News: State-wide campaign   3 days 2 hours ago

    I'm glad to see these jackasses being rounded up by law enforcement. But I have to say, charging the people who went inside the Capitol building with a misdemeanor is a) white privilege, and b) reckless as hell.

    They attacked Congress, for f**k's sake. The kid gloves need to come off.