Archive for: January, 2017

The Donald Trump War on Science: Week 1: How bad could it be?

Jan 30 2017 Published by under Politics, Trump war on science, Uncategorized

How bad could it be? On so may fronts, the first week or so of the Donald Trump administration was the shit show to end all shit shows.

But we're only going to talk about the science stuff here.

As the more astute observers among my readership will observe, I still haven't updated the Pre-Inauguration Edition of this post. Nor should this post really be considered a true beginning to tracking the post-inauguration devastation that the Trump administration will wreck on science, technology, the environment and public health. I'm hitting the high lights here with a more complete accounting to come with the first real chronology post. As well, some of the actions I list below may have been reversed in the days after they were suggested or inacted, but I still include them because the intention to do something negative still counts.

But it's a start. It's a wake-up call.

Note: This post will eventually be rolled into the first real chronology of the Trump presidency and science, which I expect to post probably in February or March sometime. My plan is also to disconnect lists of commentary from lists of incidents. In the pre-inauguration post, there are together, which is partly the reason why it's taking me so long to update. What I will be doing is bare bones lists of commentary fairly frequently and updating the list of incidents only occasionally. Or at least that's the plan.

Here is a list of the damage done during the first week of the Donald Trump presidency.

 

As usual with these posts, I rely on you, my readership, to catch the things I'm missing. Please let me know in the comments or via email at dupuisj at gmail dot com. Any incidents I report need to be documented in some form on the open web, either a media report or some sort of blog post or something. Suggestions to beef up the "more" sections of each item will definitely be welcomed, especially the ones where I haven't added to much additional information.

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The Donald Trump War on Science: Scholarly and Professional Society Statements in Support of Open Science Communications

It's been a very bizarre week for those of us interested in science policy and the interface between government research and the public interest.

To say the least: Trump bans agencies from 'providing updates on social media or to reporters'. Which is, of course, very reminiscent of the Canadian Conservative government under Stephen Harper and how they muzzled government scientists.

Where Canadian scholarly and professional societies weren't really prepared for what happened and took a while to respond, in the US these societies have been quite a bit more pro-active in responding President Trump's attempts to muzzle government scientists. In fact, as soon as Donald Trump was elected we started to see societies releasing extremely cautious statements about their hopes for science under the Trump administration.

With the recent gag orders issued to various agencies like the EPA and the National Parks Service, various societies have responded with public statements.

I've pointed to a bunch of those statements below. I have only concentrated on statements released since inauguration rather than going back to November, December or early January. I have also no doubt missed many statements. Please feel free to include links to statements of either type either in the comments below or to me via email at dupuisj at gmail dot com. As for the societies themselves, please feel free to toot your own horns and let me know about your statements.

I obviously know the library- and science-based societies much better than those associated with other disciplines so would particularly welcome links to statements from a broader range of disciplinary areas.

Update 2017.01.27. Added American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

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Friday Fun: National Park Service Temporarily Ordered To Stop Tweeting: Reactions From Wildlife

Jan 27 2017 Published by under friday fun, Trump war on science, Uncategorized

This one from Samantha Bee is so funny, I don't know whether to laugh to cry.

On second thought, mostly cry. Lots and lots of crying. The only thing that will save me is singing a rousing chorus of Bruce Springsteen's Badlands in honour of the crazy wonderful park rangers at Badlands National Park. It's not hard to imagine a recent meeting going down like that famous scene from Casablanca -- "Play La Marseillaise. Play it!"

Anyways, back to Samantha Bee and National Park Service Temporarily Ordered To Stop Tweeting: Reactions From Wildlife.

Rock Squirrel, Zion National Park
“This may just seem like a ​tiny moment in the larger unfurling of Trump’s autocracy, but for those of us who live in the parks — who mate there, who forage for stems there — it is a chilling reminder that no habitat is beyond the reach of a​ determined despot.”

American Alligator, Everglades National Park
“This was a real wake-up call for me. I think we all drift into complacency. We all get so caught up with hunting muskrat and sunning ourselves on logs that we forget that what happens in Washington affects us all, maybe now more than ever.”

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The Trump War on Science: What Can the US Learn From Canada's Experience?

Sarah Boon's post yesterday, The War on Science: Can the US Learn From Canada?, is an excellent answer to a very popular topic on Twitter yesterday. With the Trump government seemingly determined to roll back decades of environmental protections and at the same time make sure no body in government talks about it, everyone wants to know what advice the Canadian science community might have for our cousins to the south.

Read Sarah's post to for an excellent first answer to that question.

In the four days since Trump’s inauguration, however, it has become increasingly clear that Trump is declaring war on science, and that his war will be much more widespread and insidious than we might have expected – and worse than what we saw in Canada. Canadian scientists are working with their American colleagues to archive as much online science data as possible, as there’s a very real threat that it will be removed without a trace. The Trump transition team requested a list of employees in the Energy Department who work on climate change issues – a request which was, thankfully, rejected. Trump has signed an executive order freezing hiring across all government departments, which will impact scientists. He’s also put in place a restrictive communications policy that stops federal employees – including scientists – from even talking to members of Congress (though Badlands National Park went rogue this morning, tweeting climate science facts until they were deleted. Though I have to add – they’ve now created a resistance Twitter account: @altUSNatParkSer!). The EPA has put a freeze on all grants and other funding vehicles, and the CDC has abruptly cancelled a long-planned conference on climate change and human health.

Sarah points to a number of fantastic resources for concrete strategies and actions.

I've begun my own chronology of the anti-science activities of the Trump government, with more updates and posts in the coming days and weeks.

4 responses so far

Around the Web: Saving Government Data from the Trumpocalypse

Jan 21 2017 Published by under climate change, Politics, Trump war on science

While I'm working on a major update to my Documenting the Donald Trump War on Science: Pre-Inauguration Edition and preparing for the first of the post-inauguration posts, I thought I'd whet everyone's appetite with a post celebrating all the various efforts to save environmental, climate and various kinds of scientific and other data from potential loss in the Trump presidential era.

The list only includes one or two items per project. Plus I'm very likely missing some. Please let me know in the comments so I can add ones that are missing.

It's worth noting that libraries and libraries are closely involved in pretty well all the projects mentioned.

I'm also including some projects that are saving data about Donald Trump, his campaign and his presidency.

The Environmental Data and Governance Initiative is coordinating many of these events.
 

Project Archiving Government Information to Protect from Trump Administration

 

Archived Information About Donald Trump

 

As mentioned above, please add any projects I've missed in the comments or send to me at dupuisj at gmail dot com.

One response so far

Best Science Books 2016: Cosmos Top Illustrated Science Books

Jan 19 2017 Published by under best science books 2016, science books

As you all have no doubt noticed over the years, I love highlighting the best science books every year via the various end of year lists that newspapers, web sites, etc. publish. I've done it so far in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013,2014 and 2015.

And here we are in 2016!

As in previous years, my definition of "science books" is pretty inclusive, including books on technology, engineering, nature, the environment, science policy, public health, history & philosophy of science, geek culture and whatever else seems to be relevant in my opinion.

Today's list is Cosmos Top Illustrated Science Books.

  • Story of Life: Evolution Illustrated by Katie Scott
  • Coloring the Universe: An Insider’s Look at Making Spectacular Images of Space by Travis A. Rector, Kimberly Kowal Arcand and Megan Watzke
  • Truly, Madly, Deeply by Ali Bin Thalith
  • Historium by Richard Wilkins and Jo Nelson
  • Professor Astro Cat's Atomic Adventure by Dr Dominic Walliman and Ben Newman
  • Map Stories: The Art of Discovery by Francisca Mattéoli

And check out my previous 2016 lists here!

You can also check out my appearances on the Science for the People Gifts for Nerds podcasts for the last few years: 2014, 2015, 2016.

Many of the lists I use are sourced via the Largehearted Boy master list.

(Astute readers will notice that I kind of petered out on this project a couple of years ago and never got around to the end of year summary since then. Before losing steam, I ended up featuring dozens and dozens of lists, virtually every list I could find that had science books on it. While it was kind of cool to be so comprehensive, not to mention that it gave the summary posts a certain statistical weight, it was also way more work than I had really envisioned way back in 2008 or so when I started doing this. As a result, I'm only going to highlight particularly large or noteworthy lists this year and forgo any kind of end of year summary. Basically, all the fun but not so much of the drudgery.)

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Best Science Books 2016: New York Magazine Science Books We Loved This Year

As you all have no doubt noticed over the years, I love highlighting the best science books every year via the various end of year lists that newspapers, web sites, etc. publish. I've done it so far in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013,2014 and 2015.

And here we are in 2016!

As in previous years, my definition of "science books" is pretty inclusive, including books on technology, engineering, nature, the environment, science policy, public health, history & philosophy of science, geek culture and whatever else seems to be relevant in my opinion.

Since we're in mid-January, I'll probably only be posting two or three more lists after this one, at most. Probably one more this week and maybe a couple next week. Enjoy it while it lasts!

Today's list is New York Magazine 5 Science Books We Loved This Year.

  • The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds by Michael Lewis
  • Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War by Mary Roach
  • Cure: A Journey into the Science of Mind Over Body by Jo Marchant
  • On Trails: An Exploration by Robert Moor
  • Patient H.M.: A Story of Memory, Madness, and Family Secrets by Luke Dittrich

And check out my previous 2016 lists here!

You can also check out my appearances on the Science for the People Gifts for Nerds podcasts for the last few years: 2014, 2015, 2016.

Many of the lists I use are sourced via the Largehearted Boy master list.

(Astute readers will notice that I kind of petered out on this project a couple of years ago and never got around to the end of year summary since then. Before loosing steam, I ended up featuring dozens and dozens of lists, virtually every list I could find that had science books on it. While it was kind of cool to be so comprehensive, not to mention that it gave the summary posts a certain statistical weight, it was also way more work than I had really envisioned way back in 2008 or so when I started doing this. As a result, I'm only going to highlight particularly large or noteworthy lists this year and forgo any kind of end of year summary. Basically, all the fun but not so much of the drudgery.)

One response so far

How can publishers help academic librarians? Let's all count the ways!

The STM Publishing News Group is a professional news site for the publishing industry which bring together a range of science, technology and medicine publishing stakeholders with the idea that they'll be able to share news amongst themselves as well as beyond the publishing world to the broader constituency of academics and librarians and others.

You can imagine how thrilled I was to see a post with the words, "How can publishers help librarians?" in the title? I was a little disappointed to find the entire title of the post is "How can publishers help librarians? Cambridge University Press leads the way with a metadata revolution."

Nothing wrong with metadata revolutions, of course, I'm all for them. But the promise of those first few words lead me to believe that perhaps the post had some sort of loftier revolutionary purpose in mind. That somehow publishers were finally considering ways that they could be truly helpful to academic librarians as a whole, and by extension, to our constituents of students, faculty and staff at our institutions.

Sadly, since I'm not a metadata librarian, I was disappointed. (And even if I were a metadata librarian, isn't state-of-the-art metadata part of what we pay publishers for in the first place, not some sort of "revolutionary" extra?)

But that doesn't mean I can't dream big dreams. Nor does it mean that you, my faithful readers, can't dream big dreams.

The original post begins with the line, "It’s no secret that library budgets have been slashed in recent years, and the burdens of trying to do more with less are growing for librarians and information professionals." Which is certainly very true. However, not one single idea in the rest of the post has anything to do with helping librarians with their budgets. Almost as if helping us with metadata issues will distract from those other kinds of problems.

Let's see if we can't come up with some ways that publishers could help librarians with those other kinds of problems, ones to do with budgets and licenses and sustainability and openness and fairness. I have a few ideas, of course, but I'd love it if all of you could pitch in with some more in the comments.

  • So many of libraries' budget problems are due to publishers' unsustainable pricing increases. How about you help librarians by stopping those pricing practices.
  • Stop over-reacting to "predatory publishers" as a way of distracting from your own far more serious predatory pricing behaviour
  • Hey, rational and sustainable ebook licensing models. For public libraries too, please.
  • Non Disclosure Agreements are bad for libraries and librarians. Stop requiring or even suggesting them.
  • Stop playing chicken with Big Deal negotiations as a way to pit librarians and their researcher communities against each other.
  • And a big one here, why not partner and engage completely and wholeheartedly with all the various scholarly communications stakeholder groups to build a fairer and more open scholarly communications ecosystem.
  • Your answer here

What are your ideas and suggestions? Certainly this topic would be a good one for an upcoming Society for Scholarly Publishing meeting.

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Music Mondays: La La Land saves Jazz! Or not! Or maybe jazz saves La La Land?

Jan 16 2017 Published by under music mondays

The newish hit movie La La Land is creating quite the tempest in a teapot in the jazz world these days, and even a few ripples of jazz-related commentary out side of it. The prospects for an awards bonanza are quite strong, starting with the recent Golden Globes and perhaps continuing to the Oscars. Which would be quite the feat for a musical/romantic comedy.

Personally, I haven't seen the movie yet and possibly never will. My record for jazz flicks is inconsistent to say the least. I saw the recent Chet Baker biopic but not the Miles Davis one or even the La La Land director's previous jazzy outing, Whiplash. (Of the ones I've not seen, the Don Cheadle Miles Davis is the one I most want to catch up to.)

What I have been doing is reading an awful lot about La La Land, especially as relates to the state of modern jazz.

So I thought I'd share some of that reading. Enjoy!

One response so far

Friday Fun: Trump To Require All Science Article Peer Review Reports to End with the Word “Sad!”

Jan 13 2017 Published by under friday fun, Trump war on science, Uncategorized

Or "LOve!" Or "Scooped!"

One word peer review! A game you can play at home!

  • Sad!
  • Love!
  • Changes!
  • Scooped!
  • Redo!
  • Copied!
  • Not!
  • Even!
  • Wrong!
  • Cite!
  • Me!

One word peer review is going to be Huuuuugggggggeeeeee!


Trump To Require Reviewers To End All Reviews With the Word “Sad!”

Washington DC – President-Elect Mr. Donald Trump has tweeted that he will require all reviewers for all journals and grant agencies to end all reviews with the word “Sad!”

Trump tweeted that all reviewers should be required to select the wording for their reviews from an approved list of words.

The approved list of words includes “Stupid”, “Dumb”, “Weak”, “Loser”, “Politically Correct”, “Moron”, “Tough”, “Dangerous”, “Bad”, “Lightweight”, “Amazing”, “Huge”, “Tremendous”, “Terrific” and “Out of Control”.

Read the whole article! It's funny! Add your own one word peer reviews in the comments!

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