Lots of science discussion in the #SOTU #ThanksObama

Last night, Obama gave his final State of the Union (SOTU) address. As one would expect, there was a lot of discussion about the economy and national security, but Obama also made sure to bring up scientific topics as well! YAY! Here are some highlights:

-Obama announced that VP Joe Biden will spearhead an initiative to cure cancer.  We all know that cancer is not just ONE thing that can be cured, but it’s nice to have people in the Oval office concerned with battling this deadly disease. Here’s Biden’s current “moonshot to cure cancer

-Obama also pushed for solar and other renewable forms of energy while also alluding to penalizing the use of fossil fuels. Climate ftw!

-Also on the climate front, Obama again solidified his stance on climate change

“If anybody still wants to dispute the science around climate change, have at it,” stated President Obama. “You’ll be pretty lonely, because you’ll be debating our military, most of America’s business leaders, the majority of the American people, almost the entire scientific community, and 200 nations around the world who agree it’s a problem and intend to solve it.”

-Obama also commented that he will be pushing congress to fund efforts to end HIV/AIDS and Malaria.

-You can’t discuss scientific topics without bringing up Space! Obama referenced recent efforts of private spaceflight (for example, SpaceX) and also asked to reignite the spirit of innovation in America. It’s been almost 50 years since we’ve been on the moon, after all.

It’s always nice to see science in politics, and we are especially excited that Obama always has scientific research, development, and innovation on his agenda. To see the complete list of science topics in the SOTU, check out the list at Popular Science.

Why ‘I’m not a scientist’ is not an excuse for politicians – David Shiffman #climatechange @WhySharksMatter

[tweet https://twitter.com/WhySharksMatter/status/558019765407461376]

Check out David Shiffman‘s evisceration of politicians who use ‘I’m not a scientist’ as an excuse in this article on slate.com. Also on why that excuse for denying climate change is so harmful. If you don’t follow Shiffman, a marine biologist, on twitter – you should! – @WhySharksMatter

When politicians say “I’m not a scientist,” it is an exasperating evasion. It’s a cowardly way to avoid answering basic and important policy questions. This response raises lots of other important questions about their decision-making processes. Do they have opinions on how to best maintain our nation’s highways, bridges, and tunnels—or do they not because they’re not civil engineers? Do they refuse to talk about agriculture policy on the grounds that they’re not farmers? How do they think we should be addressing the threat of ISIS? They wouldn’t know, of course; they’re not military generals.

#Science Quotable: Research!America’s Mary Woolley – Make Medical Progress a Priority! #SOTU2015


Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) and Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX-21) penned an op-ed inPOLITICO this week calling for more transparency and accountability in science agencies’ decision making. More transparency is a worthy goal and taxpayers are well served by it. What isn’t transparent in the op-ed piece is the grounds for which Paul and Smith make the assumption that more transparency will result in a pre-determined reordering of priorities for science. Calling for transparency in order to target specific grants or areas of research is not a way to assure either evidence-based policymaking nor scientific progress.

What will President Obama emphasize in his State of the Union address on Tuesday? Will medical progress make the list? I would like to think that remarks made by Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Burwell today are telegraphing the President’s message. She spoke about the importance of research and innovation at some length, emphasizing the promise of precision medicine, in particular. She said it’s in our children’s interest to make sure that medical innovations happen; it’s in our economy’s interest to make sure they happen here. Well said! You can share your priorities with the President for his speech via #SOTU2015. – From a weekly message from Research!America President Mary Woolley