Friday, February 24, 2012

In Support of Ten Science Policies the Government Should Implement

io9.com has a list of ten science policies that the government should implement in order to improve science and our understanding of research. I agree with most of them! Here is one about building a city of the future:
6. The Government Shall Always Be Building One "City of the Future"
Every few years in a magazine, or every time Disney builds a new theme park, people start showing off a 'City of the Future.' It's stylish and minimalist, sometimes with innovative new public transportation systems, sometimes with extraordinary vertical farms, sometimes with inspiring or insane cooperative ways to power the city, and always with building that look like soaring groups of white wings. None of those cities actually happened, did they? And why? Because no one built them. America has a growing population that has to live somewhere. It's time to just build one. Pick a place and really do it right. It could be a boon to research and a goad for other cities to modernize. If nothing else, it will make for a fascinating documentary in a few decades.
This may be an improvement over many of our current urban policies. I do like the experimental aspects. We can randomly assigning people to live and/or work in these new cities in order to test our devious theories.

These two are also worthwhile:
10. Creationism is Only Discussed Publicly if it Involves a Randomly Selected Creation Story
This goes for all debates, articles, and talking heads on TV news shows. Anyone can talk about teaching Creationism as a scientific theory or advocate for it. The catch would be that, before they go into the debate, the city hall meeting, or the tv show, they would head to a computer, press a button, and one of the many creation stories would pop up on screen for them to use. So on any given day, or television set, you would see people advocate for teaching kids that the world was created by Odin and the human race emerged from between his toes, or that the Titans are trapped in Tartarus and the human race was created when Gaea the Earth banged Uranus the Sky, and so on. Not only would it add a great deal of variety and novelty to the debate, it would neatly separate out those who think Creationism has scientific merit and those who just want to teach their own religion.
8. Every Study That Uses Public Funds is Published Publicly
This is as much to help scientists as to help everyone else. A lot of public money is spent on a lot of scientific studies. Those studies, if they are judged (often by people who volunteer their time) to be worthy of publication, are published in journals far less widely read than the people who do the work, or the people who need the work, would like. Scientific journal subscriptions can be massively expensive, and a barrier to people having the scientific information they, kind of, paid for. 

Read the rest for inspiration.
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