The many reasons scientists are not Republicans – @salon #science

REQUIRED READING!! This Salon piece by Sean McElwee and Philip Cohen is EVERYTHING – about why scientists and Republicans are so at odds … or more that the Republicans are at war with science. We at CauseScience post often about the many times Republican politicians say or do things that are anti-science, and this article highlights the reasons why. My three favorite points below:

Research placing shrimp on treadmills was lampooned by Republicans, but it is part of important research on how marine organisms react to ecosystem changes, which has important implications for food safety. But in other cases, there are less benign motivations for cutting research spending. For instance, big fossil fuel donors have an interest in the government doesn’t take action on climate change. The GOP has tried to slash the NASA budget to prevent it from researching climate change. ExxonMobil has continued to fund climate denial, even after promising not to and after evidence surfaced that it has known about the existence of global warming for nearly four decades.

The explanation is rather simple: Scientists are more broadly in line ideologically with the Democratic Party. But there are two other factors that are accelerating the trend. First, the increasing extremism of the Republican Party, and its fealty to the donor class has led it to embrace positions outside the mainstream. Second, both the GOP base and legislators take an increasingly antagonistic view of science and scientists. Their work to delegitimize science raises deep concerns about the ability of academics to influence important public debates.

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Lamar Smith and @HouseScience are bullying @NOAA climate scientists -#ISupportNOAA #SciCheck @factcheckdotorg

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Representative Lamar Smith, the Chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, has been the subject of a number of CauseScience posts. The House Committee continues spreading misinformation and seemingly abusing its power, now to bully NOAA climate scientists – Scicheck has summarized the anti-science misinformation and bullying on factcheck.org (which they have also done in the past).

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Rep. Lamar Smith, chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, has made several inaccurate or misleading claims about climate science in an ongoing battle with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Smith, who has long rejected mainstream climate science, is using the committee’s subpoena power in an attempt to obtain internal communications at NOAA regarding a June study published in the journal Science. In his statements on this issue, Smith has claimed that “climate data has clearly showed [sic] no warming for the past two decades,” and that NOAA has “altered the data to get the results they needed to advance this administration’s extreme climate change agenda.”

In fact, there has been substantial warming over the past two decades, and NOAA’s adjustments to its data are well-studied, publicly available, peer-reviewed methods for obtaining the best possible temperature readings.

I’m sure that Rep. Lamar Smith and the House Committee are more qualified to judge a paper in SCIENCE than the peer-reviewers who are also climate scientists….. NOT! For a scary look at the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, check out their twitter feed. Wow… just wow.

Join scientists and others in supporting NOAA climate scientists by tweeting #ISupportNOAA – @HouseScience!

#Science Quotable: Rachel Maddow – Be a Scientist!! #BeAScientist #scienceissocool

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Turns out if you want to find out where the water is on Earth, gravity can help. Specifically, if you want to find out where water is below the Earth’s surface, satellites can use the force of gravity to figure that out… from space. Which is SO COOL.

If you don’t know what you want to be when you grow up, be a scientist. this stuff is so cool.

-Rachel Maddow introducing new studies about NASA research about water aquifers.

Check out the whole segment from the Rachel Maddow Show – New research sounds alarm on global water supply. It contains tons of other awesome science!

Jay Famiglietti, senior water scientist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, talks with Rachel Maddow about new research using satellites to detect underground water around the world and finding startling deficiencies in the global water supply.

Video – Introducing More Than Scientists!! Meet climate scientists and experts! #MoreThanScientists

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Check out and Follow @MTScientists !!! If you’re a scientists, submit a video!

Introducing More Than Scientists

Welcome to More Than Scientists. We represent the 97% of climate scientists who know climate change is real, that humans are causing it, and we have the power to stop it. We are accomplished scientists, but beyond our lab coats, we’re community members, parents, and concerned citizens.

We are a growing community of climate experts stepping out from behind the data to share our personal views and feelings about climate change. Not the science itself, but why it matters – what it will mean for our children and grandchildren. We are inviting our fellow citizens to join us in acknowledging climate change and working together towards solutions.

CauseScience Friday, March 6th! #selfie #TGIF #science

crestwind24– Today I am doing a bunch of VERY serious molecular biology (as you can see from my picture)!! I am extracting DNA from C. elegans and genotyping them for a transgene that I hopefully added to their genome. In short, I performed an experiment to add my DNA of interest to the DNA of the worms, and now I need to check for worms where the addition of my DNA of interest worked. Cross your fingers for me! Maybe this serious face will change to a smiling face by the end of the day!!

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pgurel– Today I’m preparing grids for cryo EM.  I’m troubleshooting some problems (as I mentioned previously, I’m trying to develop a new method), and the first step of preparing grids is to make sure they are extra clean.  One step I take is to clean grids using a glow-discharge plasma treatment. This is basically a fancy way to try and remove all impurities or contaminants from the grid surface.  For highly sensitive techniques like cryo EM, even very small impurities (smaller than a speck of dust) can ruin the experiment, so it’s incredibly important to make sure grid surfaces are clean! Here I am with the plasma cleaner!

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#Science Quotable: Dr. Adam Frank on scientists skeptical of climate change #badscience @adamfrank4

There have been a few scientists out there who profess skepticism about the state of climate science who also, by many measures, are good at their jobs (I’m thinking of someone like Richard Lindzen or, more recently, Judith Curry). They can have a role to play, if they are honest about that role. But the problem is that for the last couple of decades there have only been a few of these scientists. Everyone else (like ex-skepticRichard Muller) has already been convinced by the data that climate change is real, and we are its cause. And yet, in the circus that now stands in for a real debate about our climate options, the few skeptical voices left get amplified past the point of distortion regardless of their quality.

Every scientist has the right to his or her own perspective. But scientists also understand how research communities build their understanding about what is known and how anyone knows it. So, I wondered how Soon could fail to acknowledge that the weight of evidence was overwhelmingly against him when he made his overarching public statements of skepticism. I asked Soon why his testimony to Congress did not begin with something like, “I acknowledge that the majority of researchers in my field hold a different view from me, but let me now explain why I am taking such a contrarian position.”

When I asked Soon about these points, he had very little to say.

-Adam Frank writing about Willie Soon for his blog 13.7 (Check out the full piece for more background and more depressing points)

Jeffrey Craig and Marguerite Evans-Galea debunk 7 myths about scientists!! @ConversationUK

Seven myths about scientists debunked

By Jeffrey Craig, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute and Marguerite Evans-Galea, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute

As scientific researchers, we are often surprised by some of the assumptions made about us by those outside our profession. So we put together a list of common myths we and our colleagues have heard anecdotally regarding scientific researchers.

Myth 1: Researchers are paid by their research institutes

A research-focused academic will be provided with excellent colleagues, space, core technical support and often some money for lab maintenance. But not always a salary. Tenure is rare and is more likely to occur in universities but usually with teaching commitments.

The requirement for most researchers is to attract their own salary and research funding from outside their institute. This is typically in the form of competitive government grants, philanthropy and/or industry collaborations.

Scientific researchers are finding it harder to fund themselves due to reduced competitive grant funding. Luckily, some research organisations have a “safety net”, offering subsidies for limited amounts of time to top-performing researchers who have not funded their own salaries.

Myth 2: Researchers are paid to publish in journals

Surprisingly, unlike contributors to off-the-shelf journals and magazines, researchers have to pay the journals to publish their papers after they have been accepted for publication.

This is because, unlike mainstream publications, scientific journals generally do not receive money from advertisers. Costs can range up to A$2,000 per article, and up to US$5,700 (A$7,359) for “open access” journals, which do not charge a subscription fee. With most researchers publishing between five and ten papers a year, this can quickly add up.

Myth 3: Researchers are paid for working long hours

Scientific researchers are typically paid for between 37 and 39 hours per week.

However, due to a combination of healthy obsession, the increasing cost of experiments and the pressure to compete for an ever-shrinking pool of funds, many put in up to twice these hours, often working evenings and weekends.

In contrast to those in the legal and accounting professions, for example, no overtime is paid to scientific researchers.

Myth 4: Worthy research always gets funded

In 1937, the success rate for medical research grants was 49%, with a total of 63 applications made.

Through to 2000, success rates hovered around 30%, meaning one in three grants were funded. This sustained research careers and allowed growth in the research workforce. Today, around 7,000 PhD students graduate each year, with more than half in science, technology, engineering and maths.

In 2014, however, the success rate for most Australian government funded research grants hit a 30-year low of 15%, with another drop predicted for 2015. With 4,800 grant applications every year, there is a lot of excellent research – and researchers – missing out.

This issue was highlighted recently by four Australian Nobel Laureates. Unfunded research is often terminated, leading to a loss of valuable resources, such as specialised disease models and highly skilled research staff.

Myth 5: Researchers can claim costs of journal subscriptions and society memberships

Subscribing to leading journals is essential for staying up to date with discoveries in one’s research area research as soon as they are published. A typical subscription will be a few hundred dollars each year.

Although many journals are available free via university libraries, many make their articles available only to personal subscribers in the first year after they’re published.

It is also important that researchers keep in contact with colleagues via societies, and a researcher will often hold two to five different memberships. Generally, grant funding bodies do not allow budgets to include such items, and most research institutes will not provide funding either.

The best a typical researcher can do is to claim part of these expenses back as a tax deduction.

Myth 6: Researchers are trained to write and to manage budgets

In general, there are no compulsory courses in science communication, grant writing or budget management. These are usually picked up from mentors and from trial and error.

Progressive research institutes and university departments may offer some training in these areas, but again, this is not systematic.

Myth 7: Researchers have a career for life

Gone are the days of “once a researcher, always a researcher”. This is partly due to the “casualisation” of Australia’s research workforce and higher education sector, but also the high turnover of research personnel.

Most researchers sign a 12 month contract – sometimes less. Senior investigators with Fellowships may receive a contract for the duration of their fellowship, but few, if any, are considered “permanent employees”.

This is not unique to scientific research, but this short-term, high-risk career path has serious consequences for all researchers, particularly women in science.

Young investigators are being encouraged to consider careers beyond research and some of our best and brightest are choosing to stay abroad.

The truth

Scientists are passionate about their research and readily do overtime and work pro bono (minus the executive assistant and company car), all while seeking funds for their salary, and for those in their team.

This is after more than a decade of higher education enabling the researcher to become an international specialist in their field. A huge investment for the individual, the government and society. Few researchers complain though because of the joys of research, the thrill of discovery and the desire to help others.

We hope this has helped shed some light on the life of a scientific researcher, and dispelled a few myths that are floating around about how and why we do what we do.

Scientists want you to “get” what we do. After all, our science impacts you too, and much of it is funded through your tax dollars. Increased investment in Australian science, together with diversified training of the research workforce, will secure the future of Australian research and researchers – and every Australian.

The Conversation

This article was originally published on The Conversation.
Read the original article.