Sub-headline: as usual, it blows up in their face. News is coming out that the Office of Management and Budget blocked NOAA from releasing its worst case scenario estimates for the oil spill. Seriously? OMB? A spokesman said “”The issue was the modeling, the science and the assumptions they were using to come up with their analysis.” Right… so you hire a world-renowned (and officially recognized genius) scientist to head the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and then some economist in the budget office tells her organization they aren’t doing the modeling right?
- The UNEP-WCMC has released their first annual report (pdf, French+Spanish also available) on the state of the world’s protected areas. They’re also conducting a survey from users to improve future reports.
- Andy Revkin wonders if satellites and supercomputers fit in a stimulus bill. I’m not sure what the problem is. It’s a stimulus bill, which means we’re trying to spend money. Lots of it. And funding things that are useful is a great way to spend money. Meanwhile, the Defenders of Wildlife run down some of the other green jobs that’ll be funded in the bill (habitat restoration, visitor center restoration, etc.)
- And speaking of Andy Revkin, he, too, is wondering about science advocacy. But I think we are on opposite sides of the issue. As one commenter notes: “In short, we all have the right to be people or citizens even if we are “scientists”, as long as we make it clear when we are being what.” In fact, I believe that scientists are held to a much higher standard for advocacy than any other class of citizens. As though science were the only field in which The Truth can be known, so while fudging numbers in other policy arenas may be acceptable, in the scientific world it’s verboten. We should have the same standard as everybody else — ideally, that would raise the burden of proof for everybody else, but in the short term, I think it’s imperative that we actually lower the standard for scientist “pundits.” Anyway, the comments section on the Dot Earth blog is (uniquely) insightful and worthwhile reading.
- President Correa of Ecuador still hasn’t decided whether to offer oil leases in Yasuni National Park. Yasuni is a biodiversity and oil hotspot, and as discussed previously, Correa is looking to make up some of the money that his government would’ve earned from the leases.
- Buck Denton reviews the recent news that a species, extinct since 2000, has been cloned. The first cloned individual died shortly after birth.