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Odds and sods

April 14, 2011

A few things floating around my election-addled brain:

  • Great work by my Québec counterparts from Agence Science-Presse and their colleagues on their effort Je Vote Pour la Science (JVPLS) on web,  print and radio. They’ve compiled a list of nine questions from readers/listeners dealing with three main areas of science: Energy and Environment, Consumer Safety/Health, and the Forest Sector. I look forward to responses from the parties.
  • Also seeking answers on science policy is a group of intrepid radio hosts at University of Ottawa’s CHUO 89.1 program Peer Review Radio. UofO graduate students and masters of understatement (their website declares: “science funding is a topic that often slides past the public interest”), they asked local candidates to answer questions from scientists. Here’s hoping they get some traction. You can follow their efforts on twitter with #scilxn41. Side note: the station and the candidates are in my riding – perhaps the highest concentration of science policy media coverage in any riding in the country…
  • if you want to hear a discussion of science policy and the now-defeated Conservative budget, or you just want to hear some very bad French, you can listen to me being interviewed by Je Vote Pour La Science on Montreal’s Radio Centre-Ville 102.3, taped just before the writs dropped. The audio is here, and I come on at the five minute mark. My first media experience and it’s in my rarely-used second language – believe me, I have a new appreciation for the leaders debating in their second languages the last two nights…
  • Speaking of which – nothing about research in the debates. Nada. But there were some really nice sets.
  • Finally, I’d encourage you to read blog posts by @NGhoussoub outlining the gong show that is the NSERC binning process for deciding Discovery Grants. For those who aren’t familiar with the ins-and-outs of how grant funds are allocated, they’re a bit of an eye-opener. And for those who are, it’s stunning what a gong show the bureaucratization of the process has become.
2 Comments leave one →
  1. Jim permalink
    April 14, 2011 14:45

    Thanks for the links to the @MGhoussoub blog on the binning mess at NSERC. In the face of increasing demands, reduced funds and political ignorance, such examples show what can happen when quality of science is adjudicated by an inflexible series of rules – bureaucratization of something that cannot be modeled. There is a good reason that science isn’t predictable, we simply don’t know the future or the answers to our questions. One mans great idea is another mans babble. Applying over-simplified formulae and enforcing these on the individual reviewers who are not clones of one another is like trying the explain how the brain works in a single Tweet. Who is running the asylum?

  2. SpongeBob permalink
    May 2, 2011 10:33

    Only 3 parties responded to “Je Vote Pour la Science”: Liberals, le Bloc, and the Greens.
    Expected, and … disappointing.

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