Taxonomy term

Voices

Geologic Column: Lessons from the final frontier

Somewhere, out there, beyond the stars Arcturus and Pollux, the TV signals from the final season of the original “Star Trek” are radiating outward. The series has been a teaching tool for a generation, and the programs offer multiple lessons for earth scientists.

03 Feb 2012

Science as a model for governance

“Truth, honor, rationality, openness to the contrarian view, engagement with the other, evidentiary arbitration of disputes … are all values that not only make science possible, they also make for a better society, a more open and tolerant society, a more peaceful society.” — Ismail Serageldin, director of the Library of Alexandria in Egypt, as written in the Library of Alexandria publication, “Science: The Culture of Change.”

01 Dec 2011

Voices: Harassment of scientists reaches a fever pitch

In recent years, climate scientists, particularly those involved in communicating the risks of anthropogenic climate change to the public, have faced increasing levels of vitriol from politicians, pundits and the public alike. The news earlier this year that leading Australian climate scientists were receiving death threats, in the midst of a fierce debate on the implementation of a carbon tax, is just the latest escalation.

23 Nov 2011

Voices: An old Earth for all Muslims but how does evolution fit in?

It’s no secret that many of the protests and rebellions in North Africa and the Middle East this year have been dominated by globally connected, young, educated Muslims. One of the stated goals of many of these young people is improving the science and technology programs in their countries. They understand that to compete in the global marketplace, strong science and technology programs are necessary. That bodes well for these countries’ futures.

24 Oct 2011

Geologic Column: The double-edged sword of commercialization

Everyone has a mental image of a “commercialized” geologic site — Niagara Falls, anyone? My vision includes crowds, noise, clutter, distracting visual stimuli, neon signs, traffic, and a price on everything from scenic views to water. Souvenirs, including T-shirts, snow globes, shot glasses and fudge, are usually for sale.

07 Oct 2011

Geologic Column: Snow globes, light shows and t-shirts

It seemed like a simple question. “What do you think the most commercialized geologic site is?”

My curiosity had been piqued by a trip through Wisconsin Dells, a glacially carved river valley that has the world’s largest concentration of water parks (complete with the requisite fudge shops, tchotchke shops and miniature golf courses). Before that trip, my top nominee would have been Natural Bridge in Virginia, which has featured the seasonal sound-and-light show, “Drama of Creation,” since 1927. Today, the site can be rented for a conference or a wedding.

28 Jul 2011

Voices: A growing need for geoscience diplomacy

“I have come here to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world … we have a responsibility to join together on behalf of the world we seek.”

With this speech in June 2009 at Cairo University in Egypt, President Barack Obama outlined a new program to promote U.S. cooperation in science and technology initiatives with counterparts in Muslim-majority countries. Obama appointed six science ambassadors to follow up on these cooperation initiatives.

28 Jul 2011

Voices: Austerity axes geological survey in Greece

We have all heard about the austerity measures being taken in Greece regarding its economy. This economic situation is about to affect many of us outside of Greece, however: One aspect of the austerity measures is the immediate closure of the Institute of Geology and Mineral Exploration (IGME). This is a travesty. I am hopeful that by raising awareness outside of Greece, we might be able to save this great body.

17 Jul 2011

Voices: Nuclear plants and natural disasters: Fukushima's fallout

Before it happened, it was hard to imagine that a combined megaquake and tsunami in Japan could cascade to a nuclear disaster. Yet that’s exactly what happened at the Fukushima Daiichi (Number 1) nuclear power plant, 220 kilometers northeast of Tokyo, last month. This incident has put Japan’s nuclear policy in the spotlight, but its implications go far beyond a single country.

31 May 2011

Gauging nuclear disasters

A nuclear accident is defined by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as an incident in which people died or property damage topped $50,000. In 1990, IAEA introduced the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES) to rate and rank nuclear accidents. INES is a logarithmic scale that consists of seven levels: 0 (Deviation, no safety significance), 1 (Anomaly), 2 (Incident), 3 (Serious incident), 4 (Accident with local consequences), 5 (Accident with wider consequences), 6 (Serious accident) and 7 (Major accident).

31 May 2011

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