Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Some thoughts on science

Two things encountered recently:
  1. Spiked asked a group of eminent scientists what they would choose if they could teach the world just one thing, and presents the answers. Some take a factual bent, others more philosophical...
    I should teach the world that science is the art of doubt, not of certainty. Science is the antithesis of faith, and of the popular view that science provides immutable theories and fixed facts about the world in which we live.
    - Frances M Ashcroft
    (via boing boing)

  2. A Canadian site documents the critical role that volunteers play in much environmental research. Their examples are all from Canadian studies, but similar "lay scientists" provide invaluable assistance to scientists in other nations and fields, especially in tracking migratory birds throughout the world. It's heartening to see the amount of effort that people are willing to put into such efforts, fueled merely by a sense of civic contribution and curiosity about the natural world.
    For some, these observations have been a ritual for over 50 years or a duty passed down through their family for three generations. Either way, long-term, continuous observations of specific regions of Canada add an important page to the story of our climatic past—a story that is not only crucial to understanding climate change, but is also used in myriad ways by city planners, policy makers, engineers, farmers, insurance companies, the tourism industry and others.
    (via Rebecca's Pocket)

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