I went to John Holdren's lecture at lunchtime today. It was a listing of all of the ways that the President is the most pro-science chief executive we've had since, probably Jimmy Carter. Thing is, I don't really doubt that.
There are a number of sessions this week on communicating science. I'm going to a workshop tomorrow on "communicating climate change" hosted by several science bloggers and media types. I'm interested in what they have to say because we seem to be between a rock and a hard place, where the terms of the debate place us in an alien world where being in touch with reality counts against you.
I'm not a fan of Bjorn Lomborg, but he acknowledges the reality of human-caused climate change, he merely minimizes the potential consequences. To me, he represents one side of the debate. To the media and public, in a world where climate change deniers like James Inhofe hold power, Lomborg represents the sensible middle toward which we should all be migrating.
Anyway, I attended the Social Media Soiree this evening. It was wonderful to put faces to people who I knew only as names, aliases, or static photographs (said the South Park avatar). Jon Christensen (@westcenter) brought wine grown on serpentinite soil. I met Katharine North (@perrykid) and Dave Petley and reconnected with Callan Bentley, Brian Romans, and Andrew Alden. Lots of thoughtful discussions about the nature and value (and limitations) of social media. Thanks to Maria-Jose Vinas for organizing the soiree (and to the wine steward at the Intercontinental Hotel for allowing us to open the wine -- I assume he had to make sure it did not contain elevated levels of cadmium, nickel or fibrous chrysotile).
More education talks tomorrow, as well as the formation and evolution of Jovian moons and the UC Santa Cruz reunion party tomorrow night...