McCain's Biggest Contributor Also Leading Science Advocate
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."
To say that Republicans are anti-science has always been an extreme over-simplification, the type of characterization that carries weight at liberal blogs but doesn't really match up well with political reality. The facts are that science has always enjoyed strong bi-partisan support. Only on a few issues such as stem cell research, climate change, and evolution has bi-partisan consensus broken down, and in these cases Republican positions have been far from uniform.
A leading example of the diversity of views about science among leading Republicans is reported on today in the New York Times. As the article details, billionaire Robert Wood Johnson IV raised more than $200,000 for Bush in the last two elections, has been John McCain's leading fund raiser, and solicited friends in a personal effort to bankroll this year's GOP convention to the tune of $10 million dollars.
Yet Johnson is also a major fundraiser and advocate for biomedical research. He used his personal connections with former House Speaker Dennis Hastert to help pass $750 million in diabetes research funding and met personally with President Bush to advocate for the funding of embryonic stem cell research, a meeting that helped prevent Bush from completely banning funding in 2001.
The point is that to dismiss Republicans and the GOP as anti-science is not only inaccurate it also risks a strategic mistake. For every flat earth Sarah Palin or James Inhofe, there are also prominent Republicans who believe strongly in scientific research, its promise to grow the economy, and its ability to improve Americans' quality of life.
A new AI-produced commercial from Lexus shows how AI might be particularly suited for the advertising industry.
- The commercial was written by IBM's Watson. It was acted and directed by humans.
- Lexus says humans played a minimal part in influencing Watson, in terms of the writing.
- Advertising, with its clearly defined goals and troves of data, seems like one creative field in which AI would prove particularly useful.
A study on flies may hold the key to future addiction treatments.
- A new study suggests that drinking alcohol can affect how memories are stored away as good or bad.
- This may have drastic implications for how addiction is caused and how people recall intoxication.
- The findings may one day lead to a new form of treatment for those suffering from addiction.
Then again, maybe the study is fake news too.
- Recent research challenged study participants to pick real news headlines from fake ones.
- The results showed that people prone to delusional thinking, religious fundamentalists, and dogmatists tended to believe all news, regardless of plausibility.
- What can you do to protect yourself and others from fake news?
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