Thursday, October 30, 2008

The journal Nature endorses Obama - from values of scientific enquiry

For you nonscience folks - Nature is the most important journal in science.

The values of scientific enquiry, rather than any particular policy positions on science, suggest a preference for one US presidential candidate over the other.
[S]cience is bound by, and committed to, a set of normative values — ... [such as] placing a disinterested view of the world as it is ahead of our views of how it should be; recognizing that ideas should be tested in as systematic a way as possible; appreciating that there are experts whose views and criticisms need to be taken seriously: these are all attributes of good science that can be usefully applied when making decisions about the world...
On a range of topics, science included, Obama has surrounded himself with a wider and more able cadre of advisers than McCain...tends to seek a range of opinions and analyses ... also exhibits pragmatism...
[McCain] fails to educate himself on crucial matters ... frequently makes decisions that seem capricious or erratic. ...
[A] commitment to seeking good advice and taking seriously the findings of disinterested enquiry seems an attractive attribute for a chief executive. ...
[If this journal had a vote] ... it would cast its vote for Barack Obama.
Here's the link (pdf)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

N.C. citizen journalism project needs your discerning eye

Greetings dear reader, and apologies - I've been away from this blog (and from most other blogs, and from any Nevada County focus whatsoever) - been working on a nonlocal story.

But while researching it I've run across some intriguing Nevada County material in the UCSF Tobacco Documents Archive.
(which is addictive, a wealth of diversions, an impediment to sleep and to unidirectional progress on anything, it's Google as an n-dimensional electron microscope...)

You might think that those in the tobacco industry wouldn't trouble themselves about events in our little county, but they did. And we can see this, because they kept records, which - thanks to the anti-tobacco attorneys - are available, to you, online.

And in those records, you'll see some local names, and, potentially, see what they were doing.

But I can't decipher all the handwriting, and I need to return to my main project - so I'm hoping to enlist your help:

Can you decipher the handwriting in this May 8 1991 memo from "RCM"?
(confidential to RCM: please work on your penmanship, which has been - accurately - labeled 'illegible'.)

Here's what I think I could make out; please submit any additions & corrections in the comments to this post.
"Call to Todd Juvinall, Supervisor
Left ? message, wish to discuss Nev ? ord, ques & suggestions,
as a followup to his ? of 04/04/91. Req'd that he
call us back when in (prob Thursday), and discuss same.
Gave our toll free 800# for return call.

? present ?
2) disc'd NC issue w/ both ? & ?...
They agreed w/pay initial ?
use N/C as a "reasonable" model, a la Colfax

3? D/R to contact Greg Cook @ F/Tucks's disc Nev City ? N/C
? with him.
Then will disc further options, ie - send D/R(?) up to N/C for on-site activities.
Extra credit, if you can guess who D/R might be.

(Note for newcomers to the tobacco PR world - this background article will help you get a feel for the lay of the land;
or if you prefer aquatic metaphors, read Paul Graham's
The Submarine to discover how much of your information intake comes from PR; including, for decades, concerted efforts to deny the reality and cloud the urgency of global climate disruption.

"People have simply no idea how serious this issue is. ...[If we don't fix it,] you can give up on civilization as we know it."


Sunday, October 12, 2008

Mishaps mark John McCain's record as naval aviator

Does everyone already know about this? It was news to me.

LA Times article; Rolling Stone ("disturbing record of recklessness and dishonesty").

via Barry Sussman at Nieman Watchdog