Obama Takes Scientific Approach to Communication
Economic troubles and what to do about them are not unlike climate change or biomedical research. Both economic policy and science policy can be deeply complex and uncertain and can easily be interpreted through the lens of ideology and partisanship. As a result, communicating about these issues should not be a guessing game, relying solely on intuition or experience to guide message design and the targeting of audiences. Instead they should be based on careful audience research.
From Bloomberg News:
President-elect Barack Obama's top political aides are transplanting their campaign tactics to the policy arena, using data from polls and focus groups to shape the debate over a stimulus plan that may cost at least $775 billion.
David Axelrod, Obama's chief political adviser, along with campaign media adviser Jim Margolis, are encouraging lawmakers to use the word "recovery" instead of recession, and "investment" instead of "infrastructure." Those recommendations came from focus-group research indicating that such framing would make the package more appealing to voters.
Obama officials are polling on how to frame the economic proposals for voters and what language should be used, Gibbs said. They want to know "how America reacts" to the president- elect's stimulus proposals and the public's "attitudes toward the economy," he said...
...Axelrod and Margolis encouraged the senators to change the way they were discussing the stimulus plan and adopt language that the aides had tested in focus groups, said a Democratic official briefed on the meeting.
...The two Obama advisers said the old way of talking about the plan sends the wrong signal, the Democratic official said, adding that the substance of the package was also discussed. The Democratic senators, including Dick Durbin of Illinois and Tom Carper of Delaware, were given data showing that about half the poll's respondents favored making huge investments that would expand government during a recession even if such measures result in a $1 trillion deficit.
In an interview this summer with Big Think (below), I discussed what this type of audience research would mean for structuring and planning public engagement efforts on science.
International poker champion Liv Boeree teaches decision-making for Big Think Edge.
How can we use the resources that are already on the Moon to make human exploration of the satellite as economical as possible?
If you were transported to the Moon this very instant, you would surely and rapidly die. That's because there's no atmosphere, the surface temperature varies from a roasting 130 degrees Celsius (266 F) to a bone-chilling minus 170 C (minus 274 F). If the lack of air or horrific heat or cold don't kill you then micrometeorite bombardment or solar radiation will. By all accounts, the Moon is not a hospitable place to be.
An MIT study predicts when artificial intelligence will take over for humans in different occupations.
While technology develops at exponential speed, transforming how we go about our everyday tasks and extending our lives, it also offers much to worry about. In particular, many top minds think that automation will cost humans their employment, with up to 47% of all jobs gone in the next 25 years. And chances are, this number could be even higher and the massive job loss will come earlier.
"I was so moved when I saw the cells stir," said 90-year-old study co-author Akira Iritani. "I'd been hoping for this for 20 years."
- The team managed to stimulate nucleus-like structures to perform some biological processes, but not cell division.
- Unless better technology and DNA samples emerge in the future, it's unlikely that scientists will be able to clone a woolly mammoth.
- Still, studying the DNA of woolly mammoths provides valuable insights into the genetic adaptations that allowed them to survive in unique environments.
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