The Guardian: “Seven scientists are entering the U.S. congress next year, from engineers and health professionals to an energy businessman and a computer programmer. Five of them are women, including a new senator for Nevada. All are Democrats.”
President Trump said that his “natural instinct for science” informs his understanding of climate change and allows him to see through the political bias that he accused some scientists of holding, Politico reports.
Said Trump: “You have scientists on both sides of it. My uncle was a great professor at MIT for many years, Dr. John Trump. And I didn’t talk to him about this particular subject, but I have a natural instinct for science, and I will say that you have scientists on both sides of the picture.”
Alan Burdick: “The unsettling thing about spending two days at a convention of people who believe that Earth is flat isn’t the possibility that you, too, might come to accept their world view, although I did worry a little about that. Rather, it’s the very real likelihood that, after sitting through hours of presentations on ‘scientism,’ lightning angels, and nasa’s many conspiracies — the moon-landing hoax, the International Fake Station, so-called satellites — and in chatting with I.T. specialists, cops, college students, and fashionably dressed families with young children, all of them unfailingly earnest and lovely, you will come to actually understand why a growing number of people are dead certain that Earth is flat. Because that truth is unnerving.”
“The teaching of evolution in Arizona classrooms could be taking a big step backwards,” KVOA-TV reports.
“School Superintendent Diane Douglas is apparently behind a rewrite of science standards for all Arizona school children that would delete references to evolution.”
The Economist: “People who react strongly to bad smells tend to have more authoritarian political leanings than those who are less acutely aware of their olfactory environment, a new study suggests. Factors such as family background or economic circumstances are much better predictors, of course. But the findings add to persistent evidence that prejudices and political views can be influenced by a person’s desire to avoid disease and bad smells.”
“Of 43 Trump administration nominees in science-related positions — including two for Health and Human Services secretary — almost 60 percent did not have a master’s degree or a doctorate in a science or health field, according to an Associated Press analysis. For their immediate predecessors in the Obama administration, it was almost the opposite: more than 60 percent had advanced science degrees.”
In addition, Trump has left 23 Senate-confirmable positions — 35% of all science-related positions — vacant, including the post for the White House’s top science advisor.
“In its 41-year-old history as the White House hub of innovation, the Office of Science and Technology Policy has never gone this long without a leader or official mandate,” CBS News reports.
“But nine months into his administration, there’s no clear indication that the president is close to naming a science adviser who will inform his policymaking, though that’s the mission that the OSTP has played since its founding in 1976 by President Gerald Ford. From climate change to space to education, the office has served as an in-house incubator for research, data, and crisis management that drove policy under seven presidents.”
Science Debate is calling for all House, Senate and Gubernatorial candidates running for office across parties to respond to 10 questions related to the greatest science policy challenges facing America.
Topics cover a wide range of issues from scientific integrity in policymaking to health, cyber security medicine and the environment.
Sheril Kirshenbaum: “Until we insist that candidates address science and technology policy when campaigning, we cannot expect them to do so once they’re in office.”
“The network, described to STAT by officials from the previous administration who are involved, is informal yet organized, allowing for a far-reaching if largely inconspicuous effort to continue advocating for the Obama science agenda.”
“Participants have provided counsel to Democratic lawmakers and their staffs on Capitol Hill, and they have held group-wide strategy sessions much in the same fashion as they did when they worked out of a fourth-floor wing in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, adjacent the White House.”
A report on Alex Jones’ InfoWars claiming child sex slaves have been kidnapped and shipped to Mars is untrue, NASA told the Daily Beast.
Said NASA spokesman Guy Webster: “There are no humans on Mars. There are active rovers on Mars. There was a rumor going around last week that there weren’t. There are. But there are no humans.”
President Trump “has moved to fill just one of 46 key science and technology positions that help the government counter risks ranging from chemical and biological attacks to rising seas,” the Washington Post reports.
“The vacancies in the 46 Senate-confirmed posts range from the president’s science adviser, to the administrators of NASA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, to the chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality.”
“You develop an instant global consciousness, a people orientation, an intense dissatisfaction with the state of the world, and a compulsion to do something about it. From out there on the Moon, international politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, ‘Look at that, you son of a bitch’.”
— Apollo astronaut Edgar Mitchell, quoted by Space Flight Insider.
“I think we may have been visited already. We don’t know for sure.”
— Hillary Clinton, quoted by the Conway Daily Sun, on whether extraterrestrial life could exist.
Rush Limbaugh doesn’t believe the news that there’s water on Mars and says it’s just part of “the liberal agenda,” Politico reports.
Said Limbaugh: “OK so there’s flowing water on Mars. Yip yip yip yahoo. Hey, you know me, I’m science 101, big time guy, tech advance it, you know it, I’m all in. But, NASA has been corrupted by the current regime. Don’t know how long it’s going to take, but this news that there is flowing water on Mars is somehow going to find its way into a technique to advance the leftist agenda.”
Limbaugh admitted that he wasn’t entirely sure what the agenda was but was going to “assume it would be something to do with global warming.”