This article is in Climate and Energy, Summer 2017
On highly charged issues, such as climate change and endangered species, peer review literature and public discourse are aggressively patrolled by self-appointed sheriffs in the scientific community. In 2013, Canadian ecologist Mark Vellend submitted a paper to the journal Nature that made the first peer reviewer uneasy. “I can appreciate counter-intuitive findings that are contrary […]
This article is in The Energy Transition, Winter 2017
Be careful what you write, especially if you uncover evidence of science distortion that upsets activists. Several weeks after Election Day, as the final ballot count wound down, it was reported that Hillary Clinton’s lead in the popular vote had surpassed 2 million. On November 27, President-elect Donald Trump declared on Twitter: “I won the […]
This article is in The Military of the Future, Winter 2014
Opponents of genetically modified cotton in India claim that the technology has resulted in the suicides of hundreds of thousands of farmers. They appear to be wrong, and the real reasons why Indian farmers take their own lives remain largely unaddressed. In October 2013, rallies against genetically modified organisms (GMOs) drew thousands of protesters in […]
This article is in Has NIH Lost Its Halo?, Winter 2015
Annual scientific gatherings can be sleepy affairs, with their succession of jargon-laden PowerPoint presentations. But there was a nervous buzz at the start of the 2014 conference of the Western Society of Naturalists in mid-November, in Tacoma, Washington. The first morning would feature two titans of ecology squaring off over the future of conservation.