I Just Want to See the Raw Data!

I Just Want to See the Raw Data!

communications, public perceptions, Uncategorized
Originally posted (by me) on LinkedIn, December 9, 2014. "I just want to see the raw data! No interpretation, no massaging the numbers, just the raw data straight out of the instrument!" I sympathized with my non-scientist friend. She felt frustrated after reading a series of news items that began with a promising discovery, followed by a series of caveats, followed by more news stories reporting that no one knew for sure what was going on, and several more years of research would be required to clarify the findings from the initial report. She didn't know whom to believe. Scientists presented what looked like clear and convincing evidence, only to be shouted down by political activists and religious leaders claiming, "That's just your opinion!" and citing past scientific studies proven…
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A World of Slow Drips

A World of Slow Drips

conference report, energy, environment, issues in the news, legislation, public perceptions, regulations
by Nancy McGuire, Wordchemist.com On January 24, a panel of seven journalists gathered at Washington, DC's, Wilson Center to brief an overflow crowd of policy wonks, issue advocates, writers and reporters, and other interested citizens on the likely hot topics in environment and energy for 2014. The annual event, co-sponsored by the Global Sustainability and Resilience Program, the Canada Institute, the Science and Technology Innovation Program, and the Society of Environmental Journalists, featured a lively audience Q&A session at the end. This is the last in a four-part series on this briefing. Dennis Dimick, executive editor of the environment at National Geographic, spoke of a nexus where food, water, and energy issues meet. Much of the petroleum extraction being done today, including water-intensive fracking operations, is being done in arid…
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Keystone Capers and Ocean Issues

Keystone Capers and Ocean Issues

conference report, energy, environment, issues in the news, public perceptions
by Nancy McGuire, Wordchemist.com On January 24, a panel of seven journalists gathered at Washington, DC's, Wilson Center to brief an overflow crowd of policy wonks, issue advocates, writers and reporters, and other interested citizens on the likely hot topics in environment and energy for 2014. The annual event, co-sponsored by the Global Sustainability and Resilience Program, the Canada Institute, the Science and Technology Innovation Program, and the Society of Environmental Journalists, featured a lively audience Q&A session at the end. This is the third in a four-part series on this briefing. Opposition to Canada's Keystone Pipeline, a story that generated significant heat inside the Beltway last year, may be producing some unintended effects. "Canada is committed to developing its oil sands, Keystone or not," said Larry Pearl, Bloomberg BNA's…
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Where Do We Go From Here?

Where Do We Go From Here?

emerging technologies, legal issues, public perceptions
Last in a three-part series on unmanned vehicles (see Part 1 and Part 2) At present, unmanned aerial vehicles — "drones" in popular parlance — are used for military surveillance and strikes, civilian environmental and wildlife monitoring, and scientific research purposes. Private citizens use remotely operated toy airplanes and helicopters for entertainment, and sometimes to spy on their neighbors. ("So This Is How It Begins: Guy Refuses to Stop Drone-Spying on Seattle Woman" by Rebecca J. Rosen, The Atlantic, May 13, 2013) "What we don't have now is tabloid paparazzi drones chasing celebrities, pizza delivery drones enticing packs of dogs Pied Piper-like down the street, or advertising drones cluttering the night sky. This could change after September 2015, the deadline is given in the 2012 FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) Modernization…
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Don’t Drone Me, Bro

Don’t Drone Me, Bro

conference report, emerging technologies, public perceptions
by Nancy McGuire (wordchemist.com) (Washington, DC) A quick news search on the word "drone" pulls up associated words including "strike", "attack", "secrecy", and "protest". Polls and surveys indicate that the word "drone" triggers an anxious response, based on military-heavy news coverage and fears of the various things that drones have come to symbolize. Often, these responses are based on factors not specific to the drones themselves — government intrusion, loss of privacy, and the possibility of attack. These points surfaced throughout the day during "The Drone Next Door", a May 7, 2013, event hosted by Future Tense. Speakers and panels including journalists, legislators, academics, think tank fellows, representatives from industry and advocacy organizations, law enforcement officers, and scientific researchers discussed all things drone-related: what are they used for now, how…
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