Collide-a-Scape is a wide-ranging blog forum that explores issues at the nexus of science, culture and society.
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A succession of stories in recent weeks involving scientists and open records requests have anguished many who cherish two ideals: academic freedom and transparency. I imagine that journalists have also been grappling with a tension between those two ideals. (I know I have.) More on that in a minute. First a recap. Two weeks ago, I reported in Science magazine that an anti-GMO group had filed a flurry of freedom of information requests, "asking administrators to turn over any […]
Last month, after the terrorist attacks in Paris, Nature published a Q & A with an anthropologist who studies the murderous motivations of Islamic extremists. He discussed socio-cultural factors and an allure to a radical ideology. That may help explain Islamic attacks against "infidels" in Europe and the United States, but then what's driving suicide bombers in Somalia, Pakistan, and Iraq where it's Muslims killing Muslims? Is there a common denominator? On Twitter, Jeff […]
In the current issue of Science, I report that a dozen university academics recently received freedom of information requests from a non-profit group opposed to genetically modified (GM) products. Why were these 12 scientists selected? In my piece, I write: The group, U.S. Right to Know (USRTK) of Oakland, California, says it has no vendetta. It has targeted only researchers who have written articles posted on GMO Answers, a website backed by food and biotechnology firms, and work in states wit
Earlier this week I learned that a dozen public sector scientists working in the field of biotechnology were hit with Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests from a California-based group opposed to GMO foods. I spoke with many of the targeted scientists and also with the anti-GMO activist who filed the document requests. My story will appear in the next issue of Science, a magazine/journal published weekly on Thursdays. But the article has just been posted online at the Science […]
Bill Maher, the comedian and host of his own HBO show, is God's gift to conservatives. Nobody makes liberals look likes asses more than Maher. You think I'm kidding? Try watching Maher's latest show without banging your head against the wall (if you're an evidence-based, science-minded-liberal). As Mark Hoofnagle observes at his Denialist blog, it is "just about the most perfect example I’ve seen yet that maybe reality doesn’t have a liberal bias." The stuff Maher says about […]
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