The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is holding its Annual Meeting here in Vancouver.
The theme this year is, evidently, “Flattening the World: Building a Global Knowledge Society”:
The focus of the 2012 meeting, then, is on using the power of electronic communications and information resources to tackle the complex problems of the 21st century on a global scale through international, multidisciplinary efforts. We have a model already in the scale and scope of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). But that’s just the beginning. The interconnections among, for example, climate change, agriculture, and health are as yet poorly understood; predictive modeling is in its infancy.
The ability to approach global problems through global collaborations depends on an educated populace and on substantial scientific and technological sophistication throughout the world. Thus building the global knowledge society depends on advancing education and research, the engines of the knowledge society, everywhere. This task is facilitated, but not accomplished, by the existence of electronically accessible open educational resources. There remain limitations of language and culture, of poverty and access.
Oh, my … the IPCC as a “model”?! This does not bode well. However, a reader (MCS) has alerted me to the details of one particular session that will be held on Saturday, Feb. 18 from 5:00 to 6:30 p.m. PST. This will be a plenary panel, advertised on the conference site as:
An exceptional plenary panel will arm scientists, educators, and students with finely worded messages to influence public perceptions and debate about science-related global challenges. The panel will be moderated by Frank Sesno, an award-winning American journalist, former CNN correspondent, anchor and Washington bureau chief, and director of the School of Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University. [emphasis added -hro]
Just what the world needs now: more “finely worded messages”! It seems that the AAAS will share the insights of the speakers with the world via webcast and questions to the panel may be live-tweeted.
Panel participants are James Hansen, to whom I’m sure readers will need no introduction; but if you do AAAS offers one here, where one can also find intros to the other two panelists: the brilliant and enlightening Hans Rosling – whose perspective I first discovered two years ago – and Olivia Judson, Imperial College, London, whose next book is entitled Dinosaur Eggs for Breakfast.
One wonders what the panelists might think of the recent efforts containing some not-so-finely-worded messages from Great Persuaders such as the Vancouver-based PR outfit that runs the activist website DeSmogBlog – which might more accurately be named DeSmearBlog.
[Update 02/17/2012 04:52 PM PST An excellent example of DeSmearBlog in action is offered by The Atlantic's Megan
McCardle McArdle in a follow-up to her analysis of their recent activities:
The high probability that the memo is fake makes this response from Desmogblog, one of the first places to post the memos, all the more disappointing:
After citing text found in this "response",
McCardle McArdle observes:
The first two links are to my post, and they are an egregious misrepresentation of what I said [emphasis added -hro]
Yep! Egregious misrepresentation seems to be the forté of the great and grand “science” communicators at DeSmearBlog]
My mouse and I plan to participate and we might even tweet. How about you?!