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Friday, October 31, 2008

The impoverishment of the world ivory tower.

The latest Nature magazine (Nature 455, 1149 , 30 October 2008) carries a timely editorial, what else?, "America's choice." Here's how the editorial starts:
The election of a US president almost always seems like a crossroads, but the choice to be made on 4 November feels unusual, and daunting, in its national and global significance.
Yes, of course, the President of the U.S.A. always has global significance, that's why even Nature will devote an editorial for it. So it continues:
Science and the research enterprise offer powerful tools for addressing key challenges that face America and the world, and it is heartening that both John McCain and Barack Obama have had thoughtful things to say about them. Obama has been more forthcoming in his discussion of research goals (see Nature 455, 446–449; 2008), but . . .
A-ha! There is the almighty "but" how can an editorial without a but? Here's some fluff leading to the punch line:
There is no open-and-shut case for preferring one man or the other on the basis of their views on these matters. This is as it should be: for science to be a narrow sectional interest bundled up in a single party would be a terrible thing.
And now this:
On a range of topics, science included, Obama has surrounded himself with a wider and more able cadre of advisers than McCain.
Oh yea? How about name some?
The advice of experts is all the more valuable when it is diverse: 'groupthink' is a problem in any job. Obama seems to understands this. He tends to seek a range of opinions and analyses to ensure that his own opinion, when reached, has been well considered and exposed to alternatives. He also exhibits pragmatism — for example in his proposals for health-care reform — that suggests a keen sense for the tests reality can bring to bear on policy.
What make you think that Obama"understands" or even cares about this if there is not a TelePrompter in front of him? Somehow the editorial becomes a collection of clich├ęs after that. The culmination of this editorial is certainly this:
This journal does not have a vote, and does not claim any particular standing from which to instruct those who do. But if it did, it would cast its vote for Barack Obama.
Yes this is all the elite magazine wish to say in this editorial the first place. Now it's eminently clear that the Nature magazine is on the same side of al Qaeda, although al Qaeda expressed themselves rather less unabashfully.

At any rate, the Nature magazine certainly carries similar expectation as this young lady:

So if next week Obama got elected, Ms. Peggy Joseph will no longer worry about paying her gas and mortgage, and world scientist are going to have unlimited funding from Obama according to Nature. Way to go, Nature!

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