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Author Archives: Sabrina I. Pacifici

Pew – Mixed Messages about Public Trust in Science

Mixed Messages about Public Trust in Science – By Cary Funk – This article was originally published in the Fall 2017 edition of Issues in Science and Technology magazine.

“For many years, the scientific community has been wondering—and often worrying—about the extent to which the public trusts science. Some observers have warned of a “war on science,” and recently some have expressed concern about the rise of populist antagonism to the influence of experts. But public confidence in the scientific community appears to be relatively strong, according to a nationally representative survey of adults in the United States by the Pew Research Center in 2016. Furthermore, scientists are the only group among the 13 institutions covered in the General Social Survey conducted by the National Opinion Research Center where public confidence has remained stable since the 1970s. However, this favorable attitude is somewhat tepid. Only four in 10 people reported a great deal of confidence in the scientific community. A series of other Pew Research Center studies, however, have revealed that public trust in scientists in matters connected with childhood vaccines, climate change, and genetically modified (GM) foods is more varied. Overall, many people hold skeptical views of climate scientists and GM food scientists; a larger share express trust in medical scientists, but there, too, many express what survey analysts call a “soft” positive rather than a strongly positive view. There are, of course, important differences in opinions about scientists in each of these domains. For example, people’s views about climate scientists vary strongly depending on their political orientation, consistent with more than a decade of partisan division over this issue. But public views about GM food scientists and medical scientists are not strongly divided along political lines. Instead, views about GM food issues connect with people’s concerns about the relationship between food and health; most people are skeptical of scientists working on GM food issues and are deeply skeptical of information from food industry leaders on this issue. On the other hand, older adults, people who care more about childhood vaccine issues, and those who know more about science are, generally, more trusting of medical scientists working on childhood vaccine issues than are other people…”

Arctic saw 2nd warmest year, smallest winter sea ice coverage on record in 2017

“A NOAA-sponsored report shows that the warming trend transforming the Arctic persisted in 2017, resulting in the second warmest air temperatures, above average ocean temperatures, loss of sea ice, and a range of human, ocean and ecosystem effects. Now in its 12th year, the Arctic Report Card, released today at the annual American Geophysical Union… Continue Reading

ABA issues ethical guidance on when judges should use the internet for independent factual research

“The American Bar Association Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility has issued Formal Opinion 478  that provides the nation’s judicial branch guidance related to the ethical boundaries of independent factual research on the internet. The guidance is consistent with the ABA Model Code of Judicial Conduct, but notes that judicial notice is governed by… Continue Reading

Sunlight Society research studies search engine algorithms and impact on decision making

The Outline, Jon Christian: “Meet the man trying to catch Google search at its worst. Robert Epstein may be paranoid, but he is right when he says search engines should be kept in check. Earlier this week, we wrote about how Google can highlight erroneous or unconfirmed reports in the immediate aftermath of breaking news.… Continue Reading

Wealthy countries throw out up to 40% of food

The New York Times: “Globally, we throw out about 1.3 billion tons of food a year, or a third of all the food that we grow. That’s important for at least two reasons. The less the world wastes, the easier it will be to meet the food needs of the global population in coming years.… Continue Reading

Why Does Public Television Have More Longest-Running Shows Than Other Channels

Grateful that there are really good Public TV shows still on the air, that are older than I am – so, here they are via 24/7 Wall St: ” To determine the longest running primetime TV shows of all time, 24/7 Wall St. developed a list of primetime television shows using the Internet Movie Database… Continue Reading

Winners of the 2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year Contest

Stunning, haunting, expansive, awe inspiring, magnificent, via The Atlantic – “National Geographic has announced the winners of its annual photo competition, with the Grand Prize Winner Jayaprakash Joghee Bojan receiving a prize of $7,500 for his image of an orangutan in Borneo. National Geographic was once again kind enough to let us display the winning… Continue Reading

Wired – How Email Open Tracking Quietly Took Over the Web

Bryan Merchant: “There are some 269 billion emails sent and received daily. That’s roughly 35 emails for every person on the planet, every day. Over 40 percent of those emails are tracked, according to a study published last June by OMC, an “email intelligence” company that also builds anti-tracking tools. The tech is pretty simple.… Continue Reading

OECD publishing: Business models for sustainable research data repositories

Report – Business Models For Sustainable Research Data Repositories “Recognising the many scientific, economic, and social benefits of more open science, research policy makers and funders around the world are increasingly likely to prefer or mandate open data, and to require data management policies that call for the long-term stewardship of research data. At the… Continue Reading

Crowdsourcing Accurately and Robustly Predicts Supreme Court Decisions

Crowdsourcing Accurately and Robustly Predicts Supreme Court Decisions — By Daniel Martin Katz, Michael Bommarito, Josh Blackman – via SSRN “ABSTRACT:  Scholars have increasingly investigated “crowdsourcing” as an alternative to expert-based judgment or purely data-driven approaches to predicting the future. Under certain conditions, scholars have found that crowd-sourcing can outperform these other approaches. However, despite… Continue Reading

Interview – The U.S. Has Way Too Many Secrets

The U.S. Has Way Too Many Secrets, December 11, 2017 by The Archive. This article originally appeared in Bloomberg. “A Q&A with Tom Blanton, director of the National Security Archive, on the historical value of Hillary Clinton’s emails, the sins of Julian Assange, and what national secrets are really worth keeping. How much does it… Continue Reading

WaPo – Data visualization for users to track major tech transformations during their lifetime

Washington Post Viz: What Tech World Did You Grow Up In? “In the past three decades, the United States has seen staggering technological changes. In 1984, just 8 percent of households had a personal computer, the World Wide Web was still five years away, and cell phones were enormous. Americans born that year are only… Continue Reading