Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Science Takes A Stand

As many people may already know, there are big changes going on in the US at the moment because of the Democrats success in last years elections. This success has meant that they now have the power to hold hearings and basically stick their noses into all the rotten recesses which the present administration has been stashing bodies in. One of the trends that has gotten the Democrats rightfully vexed is the issue of the Administration censoring science that it finds problematic. In particular anything about climate changes or reproductive health comes in for major scrutiny, and usually any conclusions are dramtically toned down.

The latest example of this actually made me laugh. James Hansen, director of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (a NASA organisation) was called before a federal panel to describe how he is followed by a government lackey whenever he gives interviews about climate change and that this lackey has the ability to modify his statements about his work. This lackey in particular, Philip Cooney previously worked for the American Petroleum Institute, a fund set up to attempt to discredit climate change. What made me laugh though was that he was sat beside Hansen as he gave testimony, I'm not sure if he was called to give testimony, or was simply doing his job of trying to prevent the Hansen saying something the White House wouldn't like. Personally I'd veer towards the latter, because he had edited a statement Hansen was to give to the panel, changing the word "will" to "may" in reference to describing the impact of human activity--particularly the burning of oil and coal--on the Earth's temperature.

Something about the image of an indignant respected scientist giving evidence about White House interference in front of a panel of Democratic representatives scenting blood, all the while having this WH yes man sat beside him trying to control him made me laugh. Check out the full story here.

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