Dear President Obama,
What a relief, many of us thought this morning. We re-elected a president who supports public funding for research (truthfully, public funding for anything). We re-elected a president who acknowledges the reality of climate change (at least you did in your victory speech if not during the campaign). We re-elected a president who so eloquently describes occupations like doctors, scientists and engineers as the definition of American aspiration.
Still, we have some things to discuss. During the next four years, you will have a monumental opportunity to change how this country lives: How we produce electricity, get around, communicate, share and protect our ideas, explore new places, and tend to this planet. We have some suggestions.
You can use the bully pulpit to change our tax code, like you said last night, but also our patent laws. You can ensure all Americans have access to high-speed communications--in rural areas and in cities--and that we can do what we want with it, no matter our service provider. You can do something about the way we consume fossil fuels, not only to free us from foreign oil but to stanch the flow of carbon dioxide and other pollutants into the atmosphere.
Maybe most importantly, you can remind the public to honor the intellectual courage and curiosity of our heritage. You can fund basic science research and exploration, on this planet and on others. You should not let the rantings of a vocal minority dictate the terms of our conversation on medical research, climate change and science education. Mr. President, you can be the president of the future we all seek, if you are as bold in your actions as you are in your words. Following are some of our suggestions.
The writers and editors of Popular Science
The utter lack of discussion about climate change was a disappointment throughout the campaign. Debates and rallies came and went without a mention of rising temperatures or greenhouse gas emissions--until Hurricane Sandy, when the impact of a changing global climate came home in force. In your victory speech, you said we don't want our children to live in an America that is "threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet." We're heartened that you're finally acknowledging this reality, but you must confront it. You can set ambitious goals for reducing carbon emissions, as this country already promised to do by 2020, and you can invest more federal funds in alternative energies. But first, ring the klaxons, repeatedly, that this is real and happening now.
Rebecca Boyle, contributing writer
Another suggestion: Revive the discussion about cap and trade. Putting a price on carbon pollution is a matter of extreme urgency. To have any hope of avoiding the worst impacts of climate change we must immediately begin reducing our use of fossil fuels. Over the past four years, your administration has provided unprecedented support for clean energy and automotive fuel efficiency. But it's not enough. Until polluters are forced to pay a fair price on carbon emissions, it will be difficult if not impossible for a clean energy economy to take hold. I urge you to push for a cap-and-trade legislation in your second term.
Seth Fletcher, senior editor
From a technology perspective, unmanned aircraft--especially the self-piloted kind--are indisputably awesome. Moreover, they have a lot to give us. From military intelligence and surveillance aircraft to the Global Hawks that fly science missions through hurricanes, our drones have the potential to make life better. That potential will soar in 2015, when the Federal Aviation Administration is expected to open up America's civilian airspace to unmanned systems.
Unmanned aircraft are going to be a huge part of the future of aviation, but with great technology comes great ethical responsibility. We want to see this technology grow and proliferate. We want to see investment in robotics research, and we want to see that investment translate into a safer, more efficient way of living. What we don't want to see is the human factor so removed from warfare that it becomes easier to tackle problems with a drone strike rather than with statesmanship, diplomacy, and the art of compromise.
We want more drones, but we want fewer shadow wars. Let's develop a legal, ethical framework for ensuring that the precedents you set in your second term put us on a path for responsible use of unmanned systems technology. The rest of the world isn't terribly far behind the U.S. in drone capabilities, and others are going to look at the example you set for how best to deploy it.
Clay Dillow, contributing writer
The Internet may be huge, but it still needs protection. The ability to do what we wish with our connections--circumvent traditional TV and phone service, for instance--is under attack. It's not Verizon or Comcast's Internet, it's our Internet. Let's keep it that way. Body block anything that tries to flip net neutrality, and keep the service providers and their despicable tiered-based-on-content pay plans at bay. This isn't just about preserving our right to cable-cut: it's about protecting small businesses in the new millenium. If the IP overlords have their way, they could have any and every startup and small competitor in a choke-hold. Don't let that happen.
Corinne Iozzio, senior associate editor
Please keep U.S. science strong. Funding for basic research has dropped almost 10 percent in the past nine years, and with the Budget Control Act set to take effect in January, it will fall even more sharply in the next five. If discretionary spending cuts come to pass, please try to shield science, which is hurting already. Facilities like the Large Hadron Collider and the ITER fusion reactor are being built overseas--taking their grant money abroad, too--and we need labs and research jobs in the U.S. I want kids like Taylor Wilson and Easton LaChappelle to be able to work here as scientists someday.
Katie Peek, Ph.D., information graphics designer (and an astrophysicist)
Please give our space agency a true sense of purpose. As the Mars rover Curiosity continues to prove, Americans still deeply love our space program and are amazed by what it can do. People of all ages are inspired by our countrymen's ability to build rockets and robots powerful enough to explore other worlds. NASA is capable of doing great things, but it needs a clear mission--and in your first term, you were unclear at best. Choose to go to Mars, not because it is easy or inexpensive, but because it is hard, and will require immense investment from the public and private sectors. Choose to fund ambitious space telescopes and the research labs that will use them to understand our place in the universe. Or choose to spend more national time and treasure understanding our own planet from the unique vantage point of space. Whatever you do, please be clear.
The U.S. patent system now discourages the innovators it's supposed to protect. Patent issuing has skyrocketed from about 1 million a century to 1 million every four years. The reason for that is simple: The world is eager for scientific and medical research, software and electronics development, and other layer-cakes of ideas. But too many of the recent patents cover broad, poorly scoped ideas, drowning innovation in lawsuits. Companies that own hundreds or thousands of patents they might never use spend their time taking legitimate startups to court. Life-saving drugs and medical tools are kept artificially costly—out of reach of people who need them the most. And instead of building healthy competition that benefits consumers, big businesses engage in patent-buying arms races and billion-dollar legal battles over the mere idea, for example, of fingers touching smartphone screens.
Today's patent system is bad for science, bad for the economy, and bad for innovation. The SHIELD Act is a good start but falls short. You should arrange a panel of researchers with extensive backgrounds on the costs and benefits of the U.S. patent system, then charge them with developing recommendations to end rampant patent trolling, the granting of patents over broad or obvious ideas, and out-of-scope court judgments. Should you have the chance to pick a new Supreme Court justice, consider judges whose stances enforce legal interpretations of patents that benefit the nation as a whole.
Dave Mosher, projects editor
The administration has already made great strides trying to get Americans to eat right and exercise. But one basic health need still isn't getting the attention it deserves: sleep. According to the CDC, approximately 60 million Americans are not sleeping long enough or well enough. This sleep debt leads to some fairly predictable consequences (driving accidents, less work productivity, and more colds and flu). There's also mounting evidence that sleep is intertwined with health problems in some surprising ways. Several studies released this spring demonstrated that people with sleep apnea are more likely to get cancer. Others have found that decreasing a person's sleep on just a few nights can have an immediate impact on his body's metabolism and ability to process sugars. It might not just be that obesity is causing sleep problems, but poor sleep may be increasing obesity, as well.
Susannah Locke, associate editor
Knowing that people will do anything to destroy their enemy, all they had to do was to whisper in your ear, you, you are the enemy the people like you. And divide you up by an imaginary left vs right and set you loose to kill each other.
People really are frighteningly stupid. Your so excited that the same guy who has been president for 4 years with two years of absolute power the other party not having the votes for anything just won again. Who didn't do any of the nice things you say you stand for, and why you believe what you believe and did do all of the bad things you say you stand against. And you expect something better this time rather than the same. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. This isn't going to be a good time for the world, not for any of us. I'm neither dem nor repub, I just vote for the lesser of two evils each time. The lesser of two evils did not win this time, the greater did.
You didn't win, we both lost. I just know it sooner than you do. I wish people would look past their blind faith in some idiotic political party and research enough to vote intelligently for a change. To think in thoughts larger than a bumper sticker slogan about gay marriage or big bird. Is that really too much to ask of people?
But just to argue with ya a little more.... not that we're arguing... but... do you have any idea how much biomatter has lived and died on earth in the last 3.6 BILLion years??? niether do I but i dont think we're gonna consume it all exponentially or existentially or exomatically anytime soon. Thats for all you spellchecker and definition freakos out there :)
Today's magic is tomorrow's technology.
well said mycellium. Geez took you one post to say what i been trying to say all gosh darn day! Listen to him kungfuyou! :) we're still friends tho right?
Today's magic is tomorrow's technology.
Yummy, delicious right wing tears, I CAN'T GET ENOUGH!!! But this will be my last post on the subject because now I'm bored and I'd rather eat pizza bagels and play Halo.
I believe the point you're trying to make, and correct me if I'm wrong is:
Waaaaaaaaaaaaaah! Obama won Waaaaaaaaaah! now we're stuck with medicare Waaaaaaaaah! now rich people have to pay more taxes Waaaaaaaaah! my genitia is abnormally small and I've never had an opinion that FOX News hasn't spoon fed me! Waaaaaaaaaaaaah!
Did I get all that?
This planet has been ravaged by 5 major extinction events that we know of, so my guess, not nearly as much as you think there is.
Ggenua: conventional oil extraction peaked in 2006. It is now being compensated with less energy efficient means(tar sands, deep sea drilling, hydraulic fracking). It is not a matter of running out, but a matter of energy return and an increasing demand. The world currently consumes over 80 million barrels of oil every day. It also consumes the 80 million easiest barrels to get. Every day it has to look a little deeper or put slightly more efforts in processing to offset the decline in conventional production. The population of the world has increased by seven fold in the past 100 or so years, simply because of the energy return in a barrel of oil. As the energy spent to produce a barrel of oil increases, the less it's energy return. This decrease is currently unavoidable and we can only hope to soften the blow through alternative energies, energy conservation and incentives to decline global population. Given that oil peaked 6 years ago and people still think the argument is about whether or not we're going to consume ALL of the world's oil leaves me to feel that we're fucked. Of course there will always be oil. The argument has never been about that. It's about energy return on energy invested(aka EROI)
you cant reason with fairy tale believing science deniers.
the best you can say is this
"we won, you lost, the country rejected your ideas.you right wingers are the MINORITY. go read your bible and we will try to fix the mess you people made during bush."oh yeah, also
"suck it bit$e$"
"Of course there will always be oil. The argument has never been about that."
My conversation with kungfujustice is exactly about that... our conversation has never been about its economics nor the wisdom of its continued use. I dont think anyone believes we shouldnt find alternatives. So if you read All my posts you'll notice i agree with you. Thanks for the unintended help.
I'm not sure what extinction events have to do with the sheer amounts of biomatter that has existed on this planet in the past 3.6 billion years. We're talkin plant and animal life. Moss, linchens, trees, shrubs, bushes (not the presidents... yet, lol)seaweeds and thick impassable forests that use to cover entire continents for eons, megafauna, plankton... every concievable animal.... Can we just agree to dissagree and call it a good conversation? Or better yet... I give.. ok, we'll run out... eventually.
Today's magic is tomorrow's technology.
I just personally find it hard to fathom how anyone who follows a science blog can be in the corner of a republican candidate; the political party which is so antithetical to science and progress. I can't think of a single statement from the republican party this campaign that was anywhere near scientifically sound: The female body has a way of rejecting rape based conception, the earth isn't warming or if it is it certainly isn't our fault, or if it is, we have bigger things to worry about. Talk about kicking the can down the road…The entire party panders to a minority fundamental christian base scared out of their wits about science as a whole.
science site* sorry I've been out celebrating, much as the rest of the civilized world has, that America as a whole isn't completely oblivious
If you say 3.6 billion one more time I'm going to start a drinking game. It's ridiculous to speculate on how any of this applies to oil production, not to mention your numbers are completely retarded, the first animals actually sprouted up around 600 million years ago so you're only off by about 3 billion years, and please don't start knit picking about single cell organisms because I honestly do not give a sh*t, seriously I do not have one single sh*t to give on this subject, not one.
Now, I'm going to go smoke some weed, put on some Floyd and go to bed, because I live in Washington and it's legal to do that sh*t now.
@ggenua: I was speaking in response to this statement:
"the age of oil is not coming to an end, thats a myth..... there is more oil under american land than in saudi arabia.... enough for me, you, our kids and their kids maybe more..... fact check it...."
It's widely believed that the Saudis' ghawar field(60% of saudi output) peaked in 2005.
In all fairness, I will admit that Kungfu also did not mention the EROI.
It doesnt apply to oil production.... it applies to how long and the extreme amounts of raw materials that have been around being transformed into oil deposits by the earth... that is what we've been discussing right? If we're running out.... i think you already started the drinking game cuz life has been around well... here ... read:
Oh yeah... i see where you got the impression then. But yeah I'm in total agreement with you that its use as our primary source of energy is nearing an end. My only argument is that the earth is not running out of it. The earth will always have this stuff, It just wont be worth it for us to go get eventually... as alternatives become the better option. I'm not questioning that the easiest to get have nearly all been gotten.
Today's magic is tomorrow's technology.
Dare I dream and spend more money the USA doesn't have.
Well, I am always for security. I like to see a larger R&D for drones and millions of them flying across the sky. They definitely put the scare in the terrorist and reach into places of which they believe they can hide, LOL!
"Hurricane Sandy, when the impact of a changing global climate came home in force."
"It's Just Weather Stupid!"
That Category 1 hurricane was NOT caused by CAGW (Catastrophic, Anthropogenic, Global, Warming). Even an English major should be able to understand that, no matter what your emotions tell you.
Shame on you for perpetuating that inaccurate claim.
I think PopSci just jumped the Shark Tank. Good luck with that.
Sandy or a similar storm was actually predicted to happen. By people who are competent at analyzing weather patterns. As a bio major and classical studies minor at my university, I do not believe in global warming - I accept the theory as a true fact. It isn't all caused by humans- but we have accelerated it and made it worse. So why not do something about it? Congratulations on choosing Obama, America. Good luck with the science. Thanks for making it to the moon. And go to Mars - if you can afford to, why not? Most of all keep ideas open, minds open and hearts open no matter where you stand on the political spectrum. Since ideas are what drives us forward.
@kungfu - you're wasting your time my friend. I don't know if you've noticed, but there are a ton of people who post on this site who violently ignore science. They "believe" evolution is fake, we never landed on the moon, and global warming is caused by Obama chemtrails. This is nothing new to the conservative movement. They simply troll these sites using terrible grammar and spelling and ranting over and over about the same lies. Obama created $6 trillion in debt. Obama hasn't created any jobs. Obama is a socialist. How many times has some nut said you're drinking kool-aid? They show time and again they care nothing for the facts, and are more than willing to let their hate guide their "beliefs", with extremely tired arguments. Sure, tons of analysts say $4 trillion of that debt was interest and carry-over loans from the Bush wars, but as long as Fox is blasting $6 TRILLION, they don't care for reality. Sure, the facts consistently say more jobs have been created, and even more attempts were made that were completely shut down by the GOP, but as long as they have their reports from Tea Party.org, or selectively pull quotes from legitimate sources, they don't care what everyone else says. After all, everyone but Fox News is just "liberal media" to them. They constantly berate Popsci for writing political articles, completely ignoring it is called political SCIENCE. They fume that Popsci supports Obama, but don't care that it's because the opposition consistently denies what 90% of scientists say, and do everything they can to suppress science.
In short, kungfu, you're wasting your most likely very valuable time. Not only are these people woefully ignorant, but they derive pleasure from blasting their ridiculous views. Take a lesson from Dr. Carl Sagan, who said "you can't convince a believer of anything; for their belief is not based on evidence, it's based on a deep seated need to believe".
A myth is a story handed down from a previous culture. With the Sumerian history, there was no previous culture that state we were made by the GODS or Aliens from above. They describe our solar system correctly, in the correct positions and knew of Pluto and Uranus and Neptune colors. They knew the planets were round. They counted our planets from the outside to in towards the Sun and the Earth is the 7th planet. They said our gods came from the most outer planet, what we call planet x, that our current researchers are looking for. Once our probe past Pluto and NASA with Pluto moon could accurately know Pluto weight, they figure Pluto size and gravity could not affect the inner planets and another ‘not found’ planet X must exist. So yes an evolution is real and so are our alien friends and the creation of humans from the monkeys.
Science and archeology science is so COOL!
Dear Mister President,
Almost all of us have heard the nursery rhyme of the three pigs and the big bad wolf, but it seems as if the moral of the story has been forgotten. In Popular Science magazine, I have seen an advertisement for the "Monolithic Dome." The ad reads that it is a super-strong, insulated, steel reinforced concrete building that is energy efficient and DISASTER RESISTANT. It would be a wonderful legacy if your administration changed the face of the gulf coast and started a trend of building monolithic dome homes. The Super Dome suffered minor damage but proved the design of the structure is what is needed in that area. For more info, the company is located in Texas. There number is 800-608-0001, or go to www.monolithicdome.com. I remember my father telling me, “There is nothing better than an idea whose time has come." The time is right for an area that was totally devastated. It's now or wait for the big bad wolf to huff and puff again another day.
Oh I agree 100%! I think the Annunaki were an advanced alien species that came down and genetically created man. Their workforce, the Igigi rebelled and Enki was tasked with creating a workforce, the Adamu or Adapa. It's all there in the old tablets and cylinder seals. I have a hard time believing in a long orbit planet X, or Nibiru, but the rest of it seems plausible, or at least much more believable than any religion. I call them Sumerian "myths" simply because the religious fanatics go ape when you refer to them as "historical documents". Regardless, this is my "belief", based on a plethora of archaeological and historical evidence, but still a belief. So you won't catch me ever calling this belief "fact", as so many of the religious community try with their own beliefs.
I'm disappointing in how selfishly you view the president and republicans. You take a swipe at Romney by saying you are relieved a president was elected that supported public funding for anything... You are ignorant to think Obama is the better choice just because he supports funding whatever the program is you support. Bottom line is, just because Romney doesn't support funding everything under the moon, doesn't mean he hates you or science. The money has to come from somewhere, and USA doesn't happen to have any money. Everybody isn't going to get what they want!! I didn't vote based on what Romney could do for me tomorrow, I voted based on what he is going to do for my kids and grandkids. Selfish voters that vote for the guy that promises them ice cream tomorrow is what is wrong with America.
"The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter."-- Winston Churchill "
I like how we just transitioned a political discussion into one on ancient aliens lol
You guys ever hear of a place in South America called Puma Punku?
"Democracy is the worst form of government, EXCEPT for all the others that have been tried,"
- Winston Churchill
"You are a complete and total tool,"
Oh yeah, Puma Punku was built by aliens! Lol! Maybe. It's pretty amazing the accuracy of their construction methods, and how they were able to do things we can hardly do today with their supposedly rudimentary tools. I think the segway into the Anunnaki came from a post I made on another article. I was a bit confused at first when Robot mentioned it, but I'm always willing to talk about some ancient aliens!
And yeah, b.wayne is a tool. This funding is what elevates humanity to the next level, and will eventually save us. Romney's ideas of increasing oil and gas production are not only extremely short-term fixes, but are extremely dangerous to the environment. We've got to be smarter in what we do, and the Democrats understand this. Making jobs now at the expense of the planet's future is what is extremely selfish, and is the kind of thinking that has given us the vast environmental devastation we see today. I'm all for creating jobs, but not at the cost of destroying our future.
(1) Climate change - I thought that science people were smart, but aparently they never bothered to take rhetoric. If CO2 is your concern, great - but you know man-made climate change is a minefield of unprovens that opposers will grab on to.
Rather than insisting that everyone must believe you because YOU ARE SCIENCE - realize that science is not about your ego or the worship of you, but about the benefit of mankind.
If environmentalism is put into the perspective of conserving natural resources, keeping the environment as clean as possible, and moving from non-renewable to renewable resources for long term economic gains the EVERYONE can get behind it.
So long as you scream about "the sky is falling," you will have detractors. I know it seems like the extreamism is needed to create drastic changes, but remember that whispers are listened for and shouts are ignored.
(2) Drones are going to be advanced. If you dislike the shadow wars (prefering open wars), you voted for the wrong party. If you wanted no wars, you would have had to write in a candidtate.
(3) Net Neutrality was already upheld in congress - not really a presidental issue.
(4) Scientific Research - was cut under this Administration, and is likely to be further cut due to the fiscal cliff. If you wanted someone who was going to put money into reseach, Newt Gingrich was your man.
(5) Space Exploration - see scientific research above, cut by this Administration, future cuts assured, Gingrich was the only one likely to change that (so much for Reps being the anti-science party).
(6)Patent Reform - could use work which neither candidate was likely to take on. Unless it becomes a major issue (and with Apple/Samsung done that is unlikely) - neither candidate would have been likely to touch it. A nice thought, though.
(7) Sleep - this administration has encouraged more people to stay home and sleep rather than get out and work hard than any other. With four more years of work increasing that part of the Dem's base, I'm sure the average sleep of Americans will increase (well, maybe not, since I will need a second job to pay for all the tax increases).
Are you really a millionaire or do you just not know anything about Obama's actual tax plans?
Climate change is just that. Climate change. How much humans actually contribute to climate change is where the discussion needs to be. Not the “sky is falling” mantra of people like David Suzuki and Al Gore, but real discussion. The United States can do everything Suzuki and Gore recommend and it still won't have much of an effect, if any. If human contribution to climate change is substantial, then it will take the coordinated effort of virtually every country in the industrialized world to make a difference. Yes, if – I'm a scientist and, as such, I'm skeptical of everything until it's completely proven, which the degree of human contribution to climate change is not. It's theoretical. Oh, I forgot, the third world has cattle, and cow farts are a substantial contributor, according to some. So I guess it's the entire planet. Good luck with that. I'm not saying Obama shouldn't do everything that he can to help, all I'm saying is that the reality of climate change needs to be examined from a scientific viewpoint. Right now we have the hysterical group, the deniers, and a very few real scientists who are actually studying the issue from a completely skeptical viewpoint, where real science must begin. And their skepticism must be equally applied to everything and to every viewpoint. That's the only way to get to the truth. Obama's true legacy regarding this issue can, and should, be that he gathered the skeptics and turned them loose on the problem.
I should also mention that cap-and-trade and carbon taxes are a proven complete failure everywhere they have been tried. They are old, worn out failures. Check Europe. A complete failure in several countries. Encouraging cap and trade or carbon taxation is encouraging tax increases. That's it. Behavior doesn't change due to some cap and trade deal, or due to carbon taxes. If it did, we may not be having this conversation. Or maybe we would anyway. It's hard to tell. And, as has also been proven, those taxes go where all other taxes go, straight into general revenue to fund new SUVs for government employees, who don't need them, to drive around in because they look good, and more travel by government aircraft five times the size of what is actually required, to fly around in. Trading Air Force One in on a brand, spanking new Boeing 787 carbon fiber twin engine aircraft that uses 20 percent less fuel than any aircraft of its size would be a good start, Mr. President.
My Segway from your comments was to include science, evolution and how we humans began from an scientific archeology point of view and yes not religion.
Current science gets all excited to the probability of aliens in the cosmos, but if you try to include science with the past a sudden quiet hits the room.
The thing with the Sumerians history and their writings, no other culture has the same ideas prior to them. So for many this is considering less myth but a culture that was being educated from an outside source and wrote down for others to learn. The Sumerian history even explains our early solar system and how a rogue planet came into and did a billiards thing with the Earth and causes our moon and the asteroid belts, plus with the change of mass and gravity put the planets in place. Current suggested mathematical models are almost identical in description in how our Earth & moon was made.
Yea, aliens are COOL!
They dug up a clay bowl at Puma Punku with Sumerian writing on it, mainstream scientists don't talk about it all that much because they can't explain it without sounding like a conspiracy theorist.
Setting aside "who are what is responsible for climate change", Humans and or the Sun cycles, I say it's definitely happening and the major hurricane for New York and New Jersey should be a wake call to build for flooding and the future and all other coastal cities.
Still, it would be nice in a sense if it was a human induce effect, giving us a chance to slow it down.
But despite it all, it seems there is no slowing it down and we best be prepared.
I actually believe from all I have read the Sun is the culprit and we humans are just amplifying it. If we humans all stop what we are doing to cause it; it’s still going to happen.