Click to read Barack Obama’s answers to the top 14 science questions facing America.It’s a pity that these issues that are not brought up often enough in the media.

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In one of the plant biotechnology courses I took last year, the professor announced that the course didn’t have a required textbook. [Of course, every time that happens I feel like I’ve won the lottery, since I’m exempt from spending a couple hundred dollars to purchase a slab of bound paper.] Instead, we would be pulling from recent peer-reviewed research publications, because the pace of acquired knowledge in plant biotechnology far outpaces the ability to assemble an up-to-date textbook. 

This isn’t only true for textbooks: science and technology, which lie at the heart of a large number of policy issues facing the United States, has advanced beyond the comprehension of current policy-makers (who often have little or no background in the sciences). Science and politics do heavily intersect, despite the common notion that the two exist and should continue exist as incompatible and distinct subject matters. An deep familiarity with science and technology is absolutely crucial in being able to draft and institute these policies dealing with the challenges facing our nation and the world. It’s very important that our next president understands this as well.

I applaud the creators of the ScienceDebate2008. Their mission statement:

Given the many urgent scientific and technological challenges facing America and the rest of the world, the increasing need for accurate scientific information in political decision making, and the vital role scientific innovation plays in spurring economic growth and competitiveness, we call for a public debate in which the U.S. presidential candidates share their views on the issues of The Environment, Health and Medicine, and Science and Technology Policy.

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The policy issues AKA other things I will blog about in the near future. I’ve added asterisks next to the ones that I am especially concerned about.

The Environment

  • Climate Change*
  • Conservation and Species Loss
  • The Future of The Oceans*
  • Fresh Water: Drought, Pollution, Ownership
  • Population Growth and the Environment
  • Renewable Energy Research*

Health and Medicine

  • Global Diseases and Pandemics
  • Stem Cell Research*
  • Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria
  • Drug Patents, Generic Drugs
  • The Genome*
  • Bioethics*

Science and Technology

  • Scientific Innovation and Economic Growth
  • Improving Science Education
  • Space Exploration
  • Preserving Scientific Integrity in Government
  • Energy Policy*

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The Republican National Convention is being curtailed by a hurricane. Could this be foreshadowing?

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