CJR Focuses on Futurity and Why Science Needs a Storyline
Matthew C. Nisbet, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Communication Studies, Public Policy, and Urban Affairs at Northeastern University. Nisbet studies the role of communication and advocacy in policymaking and public affairs, focusing on debates over over climate change, energy, and sustainability. Among awards and recognition, Nisbet has been a Visiting Shorenstein Fellow on Press, Politics, and Public Policy at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, a Health Policy Investigator at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and a Google Science Communication Fellow. In 2011, the editors at the journal Nature recommended Nisbet's research as “essential reading for anyone with a passing interest in the climate change debate,” and the New Republic highlighted his work as a “fascinating dissection of the shortcomings of climate activism."
I am in Banff this week participating in a fascinating workshop on the scientific, clinical, ethical, and communication issues related to personalized medicine and genomics. A special issue of the journal Public Health Genomics (formerly Community Genetics) will focus on the themes covered at the workshop. I will be contributing a review article on research and issues related to the media and public engagement. Early access publication of the articles should occur in the spring.
On a related topic, earlier this week, the Columbia Journalism Review posted a commentary that I co-authored with colleagues Dominique Brossard and Dietram Scheufele. The article is in fact a reply to a recent CJR post by Earle Holland. Readers will find the exchange with Holland interesting if not provocative.
Also today, CJR's Curtis Brainard reports on the new initiative by research university PIOs to create a clearinghouse for their news releases. Though we don't address the project directly, our CJR commentary provides context relative to likely audience reach and impact.
In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.
- The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
- Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
- Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
Military recruits are supposed to be assessed to see whether they're fit for service. What happens when they're not?
- During the Vietnam War, Robert McNamara began a program called Project 100,000.
- The program brought over 300,000 men to Vietnam who failed to meet minimum criteria for military service, both physically and mentally.
- Project 100,000 recruits were killed in disproportionate numbers and fared worse after their military service than their civilian peers, making the program one of the biggest—and possibly cruelest—mistakes of the Vietnam War.
The 116th Congress is set to break records in term of diversity among its lawmakers, though those changes are coming almost entirely from Democrats.
- Women and nonwhite candidates made record gains in the 2018 midterms.
- In total, almost half of the newly elected Congressional representatives are not white men.
- Those changes come almost entirely from Democrats; Republican members-elect are all white men except for one woman.
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