Science in the Age of Trump

Sometimes, when referring to the current administration, people note “it’s not as bad as we thought it would be”.

However, you know who’s NOT saying that. Scientists. Nature recently wrote in an article:

“After 12 months in office, Drumpf’s impact on science can be neatly divided into two categories: bad things that people expected, and bad things that they didn’t.”

TL;DR:

First category:

  • The US withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement
  • Regulatory rollback across government (environmental agencies in particular)
  • The now record-breaking failure to appoint a science adviser
  • Cut off funds to organizations abroad that promote public health but mention abortion
  • Weakened restrictions under the Toxic Substances Control Act
  • Censored the use by government agencies of phrases such as “evidence-based” and “climate change”
  • Advisory groups, including one on HIV/Aids, have been disbanded
  • Scientists with Environmental Protection Agency grants have been banned from serving on the agency’s advisory boa

Want to know more? Read about it here!

Image result for Science march

 

 

Advertisements

E.P.A. Officials, Disheartened by Agency’s Direction, Are Leaving in Droves

I think the biggest impact of the Trump administrations attack on science, is that scientists don’t feel welcome anymore.

Which will have PROFOUND effects on our economic growth and how we are perceived as a world leader. PROFOUND.

And one common misconception I hear is that scientists think/support an idea because they are being paid to. Spoiler alert: scientist don’t get paid much in the best of times. Federal scientist almost never get paid enough. Ever.

So it’s disheartening to hear that those who are working tirelessly as civil servants are leaving the agencies in droves. Read about it here.

23MARCH25-superJumbo.jpg

Sundays at the Altar of Science

I hate the title of this article. I really do. Science is not a religion, as it does not necessitate a leap of faith, and is based in empirical evidence.

But, it is an interesting article over at the New York times about how they found science and how that changed their views on the world.

Worth reading here!

well-family-scisunday-master768.jpg

The long game against an anti-science, anti-education government

I like this post over at Small Pond Science so much, I’m not going to comment much about it. Go read it, it’s really good:

“Like you, I’m exhausted from the political assault on science and education in the United States. But please, stay with me for this little bit, at least when you can find the energy.

….

I think we should keep doing the four things that I identified before inauguration, which are things that are part of our basic job description anyway:

  • Keep up research
  • Teach critical thinking
  • Advocate publicly for evidence-based decision making
  • Build diverse and inclusive academic communities”

Seriously, stop what you’re doing and go read it now.

M-Crockett-OutrageFatigue-102917-cover.jpg

 

Revisiting Gattaca in the Era of Trump

I have written exhaustively about CRISPR-Cas technology, and its potential to change science and the world as we know it.

But with this change in science as we know it, we’re faced with some pretty important ethical questions (also not the first time I’ve talked about this on NiB). However, what is new is this excellent post by Osagie K. Obasogie, who researches ethical issues surrounding reproductive and genetic technologies.

He addresses how the Trump administration, and the rise of white nationalism is concerning with the new CRISPR possibilities. It’s not like we haven’t experienced scientific projects trying to engineer better humans, one only needs to remember the aftermath of the Holocaust and the public Nuremburg trials.

It’s an interesting line of thought to walk down, and I strongly recommend reading the piece here.

in-valid.jpg

Does ResearchGate Emerge Unscathed, or Even Strengthened?

You may remember that ResearchGate is under a brutal assault and may not survive to tell the tale.

Excerpt below is from  Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe. Lisa is the Professor/Coordinator for Information Literacy Services and Instruction in the University Library and an affiliate faculty member in the School of Information Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

“ResearchGate is under assault. As a scholarly collaboration platform that enables both public and private sharing on a networked scale, ResearchGate is seen as dangerous, not only because it is potentially infringing copyright, but because it is doing so on a massive publisher-independent scale. A group of publishers tried to tame ResearchGate through a proposal that it endorse the STM Voluntary Principles on Article Sharing on Scholarly Collaboration Networks and implement antipiracy measures, but ResearchGate rejected this proposal. Though ResearchGate now faces the threat of thousands of takedown notices and a lawsuit, it is positioned to emerge at least unscathed, if not strengthened, from these assaults.”

Want to know where we stand? Read about it here!

Six Months After the March for Science

“On April 22, more than a million people took to the streets, in Washington, D.C., and over 600 satellite locations around the world, to march for science. But six months later, the eponymous organization behind those gatherings—March for Science (MFS)—is still struggling with many of the same issues that have troubled it since its conception.

On Monday, Aaron Huertas, the former communications lead for MFS, posted an open letter that called out the group’s leaders for creating a culture beset by miscommunication, opacity, and disorganization. “Though the organization calls itself an open, grassroots movement, it is run like a closed, hierarchical organization,” the letter says. Seven other people told The Atlantic that their experience of working with March for Science was consistent with the open letter. “I really do think everyone has the best intentions, but not everyone has the skill sets they need to run a grassroots organization,” Huertas says.

“This is what happens when you have a group of very passionate, well-meaning people without the organizational experience who take on a tremendous amount of work, with this sort of Herculean mission of saving science,” says Jacquelyn Gill, who volunteered for the March for Science in its early stages, left the organization in April, and had signed the new open letter. It set the stage for a culture that was big on enthusiasm and energy but weak on logistics.”

In a statement responding to the letter, Temple-Perry notes that the organization has taken several steps to address these problems, including soliciting feedback from partners and volunteers, running a retreat in May, issuing an open invitation to join an internal communications network, and staging biweekly calls with satellite organizers and partners. “Unfortunately, individuals on the letter have not yet called in to participate,” she notes. “That being said, the concerns brought up in this letter are being discussed by the board. We will continue to work toward greater transparency in all stages of our development as an organization and movement.”

Given the degree to which science is under attack in the US at the moment, this is an important movement and important time to be pro-science. And as a community we need to address these concerns.”

Read more here!

lead_960 (1)