Science and Human Rights [link]
Science serves human rights
and our well being [link]
Science serves our curiosities about
the world around us [link]
Science serves our curiosities about
the universe far beyond us [link]

Items linked to here are curated to be:
about trustworthy science [link],
from trustworthy science sources [link],
easy to understand, uplifting.
Entries are curated by Don F Moyer PhD [link]
Physicist, Historian of Science,
Patent Agent, Teacher, Retired

We made good progress in human rights with Obama as President. Now with the 115th congress and 45th president there are threats to reverse one hundred years of progress in human rights. So, I must keep my focus on advocating for human rights [link] here and everywhere I can.

Nothing satisfies as well as curiosity
Question all answers

Friday, 31 Mar 2017

I can not imagine a better model for the humanity of science than Hans Rosling who passed too soon a month ago. In the 24 Mar 2017 issue of Science Bill and Melinda Gates give us a lovely and loving obituary of Rosling [link]. Be sure to read to the last paragraph.

The Ted talk referred to in the first paragraph shows Rosling as a super science communicator [link].

Hans Rosling is in the top rank of inspiring persons. That he inspired and informed Melinda and Bill Gates was a great service to humanity. Hans Rosling's secret was that his life and work were one and were wholly about serving humanity, with no second place.

You can see many super informative and super fun Hans Rosling talks on many human rights topics via the Gapfinder YouTube site [link] where there is a nice video by Bill and Melinda Gates about Hans Rosling [link]. The YouTube site is part of the work of the Grapminder foundation [link]. In the Grapminder foundation history section there is a nice video showing how his daughter and son created the wonderful visualizations for his many videos. [link].

Best science — Best human rights

Thursday, 30 Mar 2017

I have early memories about the second world war when we the people were all pulling together. After the war we continued pulling together and enjoyed good growth in prosperity and equity. Then we began fragmenting until it is now hard to think that we the people could pull more away from each other.

For example, along with a big part of we the people having great animosity toward science there is also a big part of we the people doing citizen science [link]. Here is a nice NASA video about citizen science [link].

Best science — Best human rights

Wednesday, 29 Mar 2017

Today we have a nice piece from the Science news web site [link]. The piece fits nicely with our Monday and Tuesday posts. The piece is playfully about adding some humanity to the mythical picture of a "professor." The piece [link].

Best science — Best human rights

Tuesday, 28 Mar 2017

As suggested yesterday, maybe we could put some humanity into news about science to regain some interest and trust. But, where and how might we do this?

Most "news media" reports about science are based on press releases issued by institutions where the science is done. So, those press releases are a good place to add some humanity to the science.

I have no idea how to get the folks writing those press releases to add some humanity. I suspect that only the American Association for the Advancement of Science [link] and National Academy of Sciences [link] have enough clout to do this.

Best science — Best human rights

Monday, 27 Mar 2017

Our 45th president and 115th congress and the voters (and nonvoters) responsible for this have a strong animosity toward science, which is part of a strong animosity toward cosmopolitan values. That science serves humanity, serves our well being, serves our curiosities seems to be of no interest.

The title of the second piece linked to last Thursday — "We Are Never Just Scientists" — is an idea we could build on to put humanity back into science and maybe regain some interest and trust.

For example, scientists make no end of choices which means that there is no end of why questions to be asked and answered. Why do this research? Why do it this way? No end of humanity to be put in the science.

Best science — Best human rights

Friday, 24 Mar 2017

Two super important pieces about our current political, economic, cultural mess. First, a piece about how our constitution was designed for a population "sharing the project" [link]. This is essential reading.

Second, a piece about a population no longer believing that they are sharing the project [link].

In my view much of what we are seeing goes all the way back to our invention of agriculture when property and privilege became priorities — my fields, my seeds, my livestock, my tools, my wife, my children, my relatives, my friends, my pastoral certainties.

With agriculture came surplus and trade and cities where sellers and buyers came together. Those buyers came from many diverse places making the cities centers of diversity and innovations, very much unlike pastoral certainties.

Pastoral versus urban is among the oldest themes in literature.

Best science — Best human rights

Thursday, 23 Mar 2017

Today we have a very interesting piece from Nature reporting evidence that women scientists, contrary to the myth, are actually more productive than their male counterparts yet get much less recognition. The piece: "Women aren’t failing at science — science is failing women" [link].

And, here is a companion piece, a guest blog from Scientific American on International Womens' Day: "We Are Never Just Scientists" [link].

Best science — Best human rights

Wednesday, 22 Mar 2017

My daily check of science writing starts with the Science news site [link] published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science [link] one of our most trustworthy science sources [link]. I am a member so I also get the weekly issues of Science.

I also check the Nature news site [link] and the Nature blogs site [link] which are also super trustworthy science sources.

The science writing in Nature and Science is aimed at scientists so is tough going for non-scientists. NewScientist [link] which I subscribe to is less tough going but still aimed at persons with some science savvy.

The best science writing for smart persons — with or without science savvy — that I know and check daily is in The Atlantic [link] which gets my highest recommendation. If you care about human rights, if you care about evidence-based public policies, then you ought to check the science writing and more there.

Best science — Best human rights

Tuesday, 21 Mar 2017

Last week Nature, one of our most trustworthy science journals, published a review of five recent books on economic inequality [link].

Two bits of bad news: 1) economies based on private profit are doomed to inequality; 2) episodes where inequality is lessened only happen with disasters.

Question: What is the evidence that private profit is best for humanity? Compared with? Data? Experiments? ? ? ?

Best science — Best human rights

Monday, 20 Mar 2017

Our March for Science [link] [link], or better marches, will happen April 22nd which by no accident is also Earth Day. One of our Earth Day icons is the Apollo earthrise photo. Nature just published a very nice blog piece about seven decades of Earth photos from off Earth especially including that icon [link]. There is a super video embedded in the piece. Don't miss this.

Best science — Best human rights

Friday, 17 Mar 2017

Our 45th president has only

. . . moved to fill just one of 46 key science and technology positions that help the government counter risks ranging from chemical and biological attacks to rising seas, a Washington Post analysis has found.

The vacancies in the 46 Senate-confirmed posts range from the president’s science adviser, to the administrators of NASA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, to the chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality.

The quotation above is from the Washington Post 13 Mar 2017 [link]. This good investigative piece has much valuable information and links to important resources.

Monday, 13 Mar 2017

One line of thought here over the last few weeks started with evidence that curious persons, pursuing new learning for pleasure, are more likely to follow the most trustworthy evidence [link]. My next steps were suggestions about how more good science writing might increase the number of curious persons.

Unfortunately "news media" offer declining examples of good science writing. A recent editorial [link] in Nature, one of the most trustworthy science sources, discusses problems with a recent ranking of science writing. The ranking, and the problems, do not build hope.

Friday, 10 Mar 2017

Ed Yong [link] Is in the top rank of my favorite science writers. His recent piece on science marching [link] challenged me to say why I would march if I could (I can't).

If I could join a march for science (I can't), I would march to testify that scientists are humanity's servants, serving our well being, serving our curiosities about ourselves and the world around us, serving our curiosities about the universe far beyond us.

If I could join a march for science (I can't), I would march to rededicate myself to serving humanity, serving our well being, serving our curiosities about ourselves and the world around us, serving our curiosities about the universe far beyond us.

What will you do?

Thursday, 09 Mar 2017

If we want public policies to be based on the most trustworthy evidence, then we must advocate for the sciences which can give us that most trustworthy evidence. We see signs that our 45th administration and 115th congress are might weaken our sciences, so we must not falter.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science [link] one of our most trustworthy science sources [link] created a new web site [link] to help us advocate for science.

Wednesday, 08 Mar 2017

We have big problems with equity here. Up to about fifty years ago our government's role in our economy was as directed in our Constitution to "promote the general Welfare." Then about fifty years ago our government's role in our economy shifted to allowing for greater economic efficiency through mergers and acquisitions. The theory is that greater efficiency will promote the general welfare.

Well the experiment has run for about fifty years and the theory has been thoroughly refuted.Two good pieces in The Atlantic give more details [link] [link]

Tuesday, 07 Mar 2017

Students in Finland score in the top in international testing. What is the secret? This piece [link] in The Atlantic helps us understand. One key is that Finland did not aim for excellence. They aimed for equity and got excellence as a byproduct.

I think it is also important that the teaching there encourages curiosity. I do not remember anything in school here that even supported curiosity and I remember much which discouraged curiosity.

Monday, 06 Mar 2017

Only a few professions are referred to in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights [link]. Article 25 refers to health and social service professions. Article 26 refers to education. Article 27 refers to science [link]. The sense is that these are key service professions.

We should treat science as a service profession. It would be a good response to enemies of science portraying scientists as out-of-touch elites. In academe scientists are also educators and are serving our curiosities very much like health professionals serving our health. Even in industries scientists are serving needs of their employers. Science serves human rights [link] in many ways [link].

Sciences are service professions. Scientists are not high priests of "truth" — scientists are servants of humanity.

Friday, 03 Mar 2017

For the long list of human rights in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights [link] to be actually available for everyone takes appropriate public policies which are treated in covenants [link] to the declaration. If those public policies are not based on trustworthy evidence given by science then human rights will be violated.

Let us take that a step further. Since sharing benefits of science is a human right [link] and since benefits of science include trustworthy evidence for making public policies, when lawmakers make public policy not based on the most trustworthy evidence given by science they are violating our human rights.

Thursday, 02 Mar 2017

Article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights [link] says: "Everyone has the right freely . . . to share in scientific advancement and its benefits." How will this sharing occur? Is there any responsibility beyond individual initiative to facilitate this sharing? Even scientists find it very hard to share in scientific advancement outside of their own area.

Good science writing can help this sharing. However, as newspapers and news magazines hit hard times, science writers went early. Also, scientists do less writing for the general public because they face great pressure to be productive.

We need a major advocacy push on public and private agencies funding science and representing science to get those agencies to work to greatly increase good science writing.

Wednesday, 01 Mar 2017

Motivations and emotions of scientists are not different in kind from motivations and emotions of nearly all humanity. Main drivers in science are curiosity about what is beyond us [link], desire to see what is beyond us [link], desire to help make life better for others [link]. These motivations and emotions are defining features of humanity.

Science now has marvelous tools for following those drivers. Scientific advancements in my 79 years are beyond marvelous. Unfortunately, I now see less good science writing than I remember seeing in my youth.

Tuesday, 28 Feb 2017

For many people the word "truth" means no error. Others are still arguing about what "truth" might be, with several schools of thought. So, when we suggest that science finds "truth" we set a trap for ourselves. Evidence given by science, every measurement and every calculation, has some error, tiny error sometimes, but always some error.

Science gives us trustworthy evidence [link]. Evidence which is reliable. Evidence which is sensitive. Evidence which is so trustworthy that spacecraft Juno travelled all the way to Jupiter and by herself inserted herself into the planned orbit.

Monday, 27 Feb 2017

There is a very important message in this Scientific American guest blog by Lise Saffran on February 23, 2017: "The Essential Role of Storytelling in the Search for Truth" [link]. The message is that it is now the credibility of the storyteller which counts toward the credibility of the story for potential learners.

So, good science writing needs to have the science writer be part of the story. And, all persons telling the story must have motivations and emotions believable by potential learners.

Friday, 24 Feb 2017

Why do I hope for more good science writing? I hope that more good science writing will lead to more persons being motivated by pleasures of curiosity. Why do I hope for this? Persons motivated by pleasures of curiosity are more likely to make decisions based on evidence [link].

Why do I hope for more persons making decisions based on evidence? I want to be subject to evidence based public policies. My hope is that with more voters making decisions based on evidence this will lead to evidence based public policy making.

Otherwise we might lose years of progress in human rights.

Thursday, 23 Feb 2017

Good science writing includes real persons with motivations and emotions. Good science writing must also communicate the evidence given by the science. This is best done with data visualization using charts, graphs, timelines, maps. There is no end of ways to visualize data. Data visualization [link].

Good science writing must also say how trustworthy the evidence is. This can also be done well with data visualizations. Trustworthy [link].

Wednesday, 22 Feb 2017

When we do science we work very hard to keep ourselves out of the science. We do not fully succeed. We try very hard. Then, when we write about science we find it hard to include people. Stories with no people, with no motivations, with no emotions are not interesting stories.

Good science writers [link] do include the people, their motivations, their emotions. We need much more of this good science writing.

Tuesday, 21 Feb 2017

Yesterday we saw the importance of curiosity [link]. Unfortunately curiosity (other than curiosity about celebrities) is out of fashion. What might we do to increase curiosity about science?

Maybe we can get a clue from curiosity about celebrities. Maybe curiosity about celebrities comes from on our basic interest in gossip. Maybe writing about science should be like writing about gossip.

Problem here is that persons liking science well enough to write about science do not like gossip.

Monday, 20 Feb 2017

Many persons have beliefs which are very important for their cultural identity. When they encounter evidence which challenges these beliefs, this threat actually strengthens their beliefs. The new strength of those beliefs is greater as ability to understand the challenging evidence is greater.

Some curious persons get great pleasure from learning new and surprising evidence — even evidence which changes their beliefs. This pleasure motivates them more strongly than maintaining beliefs important for their cultural identity. Evidence supporting this [link].


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