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January 6, 2011 Of all the books my parent’s shelves, the weighty, dog eared volume I remember turning to most as a young person was “ The Intelligent Man’s Guide to Science” , by Isaac Asimov. For a generation, Asimov defined the rational approach, and a sense of the possibilities that reason and science might bring. His science fiction work is legendary, and a primary inspiration for many of the imaginary universes that permeate pop culture. This video is part of a longer presentation at the Humanist Institute in New York in 1989, and it demonstrates yet again one of the primary messages of this series, – that the broad outlines of the climate change story have been understood for decades by, well, intelligent men people who are guided by science. It’s been a recurring theme in this series – that the science was essentially complete long before Al Gore, long before the IPCC, long before the Hockey Stick.
As I’m sure many of the readers of this blog will know, 2011 is the International Year of Chemistry . This has chemists looking to both the past and the future of our subject. When we launched Nature Chemistry back in 2009, our first issue included a feature called ‘The future of chemistry’ where we asked eight leaders in the field to share their vision for how their own fields might (and/or should) develop in the coming years. If you missed it at the time, we invite you to go and have a look at what they had to say.
Researchers should not be apologising for their errors when they could win hearts and minds by patient explanation, argues Evelyn Fox Keller IF NOTHING else, December's Cancún climate conference demonstrated, once again, just how dependent international negotiations are on the American political process. In this respect, the US Senate's failure to pass a climate bill last summer was a colossal setback, and we need to understand how this could have happened. One major factor is that public confidence in climate scientists and their science is at an all-time low. This loss of confidence is a direct result of a long-standing campaign to discredit them, initially mounted and funded by business interests and libertarian-conservative organisations.