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Bridging climate science, citizens, and policy


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Fiscal Sanity, Slow Internet & Obama + McCain Pander

Who spends more: Democrats or Republicans? If you have a pulse, chances are you automatically said Democrats. That’s actually not the case. Here is a good, short piece explaining things differently than conservative brainwashing.

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I want to write a little more about this, but thought I should link to it in the interim. According to a second test conducted by SpeedMatters, Colorado’s median Internet speed is 2.34 megabits per second, 0.01 behind the U.S. median speed. Everyone has heard the U.S. is the greatest country on Earth, right? So how come the U.S. ranks 15th in the world in median internet speed? France connects at a median speed of 17.6 megabits per second (8 times faster than ours) and they’re only fourth on the list. Who’s first? Japan, of course, with a median speed of 63.60 megabits per second. People in Japan can download a feature-length movie in 2 minutes. The same movie takes 2 hours in the U.S. And this is the best part: we pay as much per month as the Japanese do for service that is 30 times slower! We need to tell the corporations that link us to the Internet that 15th place isn’t good enough. We need to demand 30 times better service. Anything less means we’re letting ourselves get robbed.

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Barack Obama and John McCain succumbed to pop politics yesterday by meeting with Rick Warren and discussing their faith and how it affects their public policy stances. This has no business in politics. A person’s faith is their own, it is a one-on-one relationship between them and whatever they believe in. Did the candidates meet with a panel of religious and non-religious figures that included a Buddhist, a Muslim, a Jew, an atheist, or a Wiccan? No. They met with an evangelical Christian only. They will preside over a country with more than evangelical Christians making up its population, but they sat down with only one narrow interpreter of faith. That is deeply disturbing.

Beside the lack of participation by other figures of faith, when has Barack Obama or John McCain sat down with a leading science figure to discuss how their understanding of science affects their approach to public policy? The answer: they haven’t. Religion continues to be given a higher level of public importance than science, despite the clear effect science has on the public and despite the fact that taxpayer dollars funds science research. Shouldn’t that process be open to the public? A number of scientists and bloggers called for a Science Debate this election cycle. Few campaigns even responded and those that did rejected the idea, citing the number of debates already agreed to and the logistics involved in adding another one. Yet this meeting with Rick Warren occurred. That’s insulting to science and its advocates.

I know John McCain doesn’t believe in science. He believes in getting bought off and pandering. But I expected more from Sen. Obama. If elected, he will oversee agencies responsible for science research and development. I want to know his level of understanding of science policy and what is important to him before he is President, not after. We all deserve that opportunity. That opportunity is being denied to us.

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Random Pieces 3/24/08

Sounds responsible to me: “At this time, there are too many unanswered questions surrounding the development of oil shale. We continue to support the research, development and demonstration process now underway, but the RD&D process should be completed prior to the issuance of commercial oil shale leases and prior to the finalization of any regulations.” (Gov. Ritter’s press release regarding oil shale development.) In Republican-land, there will never be enough RD&D about climate change. Oil shale development? No RD&D or regulations needed.

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