Bracing against the wind  

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Cafe Upgrade

Never, ever throw out your old copies of Wired, New Scientist, Nature and Scientific American. Leave them in a cafe instead. Read on.

In the U.S., ignorance of science is a national crisis. People who don't know what "somatic nuclear transfer" is are busy voicing their opinions and motivating activists to stop it.

Of course people naturally react with fear when new technology is deployed. I'm sure the first time a caveman used fire, all the other cavemen said, "For God's sake Og, stop it - do you want to burn the whole world down?".

Yes, we need regulation of dangerous technology. We can't have companies pouring mercury into our water supply, or publishing the DNA sequence for military grade pathogens on websites. But regulation needs to be targeted and intelligent - not blind.

Fortunately, it's easy to get educated on scientific issues. Modern science magazines are more interesting, educational and fun than ever before. Anyone with a high school reading level can grok enough of New Scientist or Scientific American to be up on the latest issues. And even Nature, a highly technical journal, has a large and easy-to-read leader section devoted to "Science News".

Our citizens absolutely need to be current on the state of technology so that they can support appropriate legislation.

If the millions of readers of science magazines decided to get just a bit more generous, we could, together, help spark a wave of interest in science.

(This is not my idea. Please don't credit me. Please steal this idea, and call it our own idea if you want.)

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