COP-15 and the UNESCO Intersectoral Platform for Action to Address Climate Change Copenhagen, 7 - 18 December 2009

With 15,000 people expected to fill the halls of the Bella Center in Copenhagen to capacity during the COP15 UN Framework on Climate Change Conference, expectations are again on the rise. “The UN has stated clearly that the goal we would like to see is ambitious: for all nations to share a common vision of what is needed to be done or, at a minimum, what is needed to agree on in order to mitigate causes of climate change,” said Patricio Bernal, Assistant Director-General of UNESCO for the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission.

More about the UNESCO Intersectoral Platform for Action to Address Climate Change

See original: UNESCO in the Spotlight: Science and Communications COP-15 and the UNESCO Intersectoral Platform for Action to Address Climate Change Copenhagen, 7 - 18 December 2009

@colleengreene whodat! Thanks for your support!

mrgunn: @colleengreene whodat! Thanks for your support!

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The State of Religion [The Primate Diaries]

Your Sunday funnies from

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See original: ScienceBlogs Select The State of Religion [The Primate Diaries]

Director General's Address to the Executive Board

Irina Bokova, the new Director General of UNESCO addressed the Executive Board last week, her first opportunity to do so since her investiture. She previously served as the representative of Bulgaria to the Executive Board and so has inside knowledge of the functioning of the Board.

I quote from her address:

With our fields of competence in education, culture, natural science, social and human sciences, communication and information, combined with our two priorities – gender equality and Africa – we are in a unique position in the multilateral arena, in order:

  • first, to assist in harnessing globalization more in the service of humanity andsustainable development and in attaining internationally recognized developmentobjectives, in particular the Millennium Development Goals;
  • second, to make a difference internationally, and at the national level in particular, through effective high-quality activities in our fields of competence, in which we must play an international leadership role;
  • third, to refine our unique role in the multilateral system, as an Organization that promotes and facilitates dialogue among decision-makers, scientists, the academic world, intellectuals, members of civil society, journalists, spiritual leaders and many others; this must have a definite impact on the overriding goal of our Constitution, which is to construct the defences of peace in the minds of men and women;
  • fourth, to continue to contribute fully to the reform of the United Nations, in particular at the country level, in order to highlight our capability to meet the Member States’ priorities and demands.
Read the full address!

See original: UNESCO in the Spotlight: Science and Communications Director General's Address to the Executive Board

Environmental Health Perspectives on Framing and Science Communication [Framing Science]


The journal Environmental Health Perspectives leads off its December issue with a news feature on the relevance of framing research to science communication. For readers who have followed recent review articles at Nature Biotechnology and the American Journal of Botany, the news feature adds additional insights.

EHP is a monthly journal of peer-reviewed research and news on the impact of the environment on human health. EHP is published by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and its content is free online.

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See original: ScienceBlogs Select Environmental Health Perspectives on Framing and Science Communication [Framing Science]

Colorado State University Part of New Consortium

Colorado State University is a founding member of the newly approved North American UNESCO water center in the United States
The agreement means that the roughly 120 professors conducting water-related research at Colorado State will help provide guidance on issues largely facing the world including:
• hydrologic and hydraulic engineering;
• water planning and systems management;
• water policy development and governance;
• ecosystem sustainability;
• socioeconomic analysis;
• conflict resolution; and
• global change.

Read more!

See original: UNESCO in the Spotlight: Science and Communications Colorado State University Part of New Consortium

First Consultation Meeting of IFAP National Committees to take place next week in Moscow

The First Consultation Meeting of National Committees for UNESCO’s Information for All Program (IFAP) will take place on 7 and 8 December 2009 in Moscow, Russia. This meeting is jointly organized by the IFAP Intergovernmental Council, the UNESCO Secretariat, the Russian IFAP Committee and its working body - the Interregional Library Cooperation Centre. It is officially sponsored by the Commission of the Russian Federation for UNESCO and the Russian Ministry of Culture.

The main purpose of this meeting is to share information about the current activities of existing National IFAP Committees, discuss the prospects for future cooperation, as well as the possibilities for strengthening inter-regional and multilateral collaborations, increasing the Program’s visibility and funding. The participants will also discuss ways of implementing the National Information Society Policy, a template document which was recently developed by IFAP.
The Program seeks to:

  • promote international reflection and debate on the ethical, legal and societal challenges of the information society;
  • promote and widen access to information in the public domain through the organization, digitization and preservation of information;
  • support training, continuing education and lifelong learning in the fields of communication, information and informatics;
  • support the production of local content and foster the availability of indigenous knowledge through basic literacy and ICT literacy training;
  • promote the use of international standards and best practices in communication, information and informatics in UNESCO's fields of competence; and
  • promote information and knowledge networking at local, national, regional and international levels.

IFAP was created in 2000. Through IFAP, Governments of the world have pledged to harness the new opportunities of the information age to create equitable societies through better access to information.

The United States is not a donor to the IFAP program and it is not represented on the Intergovernmental Council for the program. There is no U.S. National Committee for IFAP.

See original: UNESCO in the Spotlight: Science and Communications First Consultation Meeting of IFAP National Committees to take place next week in Moscow

AGU Workshop on Communicating Climate Change: Media, Dialogue, and Public Engagement [Framing Science]

A week from today, at their annual meetings in San Francisco, the American Geophysical Union will be sponsoring a workshop I co-organized on research related to climate change communication and public engagement. In the context of debates over Copenhagen and the stolen climate change emails, the session is particularly timely and relevant. Details are below and advance registration is at this page. So far, roughly 100 attendees have registered.

Re-Starting the Conversation on Climate Change:
The Media, Dialogue, and Public Engagement Workshop

Sunday, 13 December (1:00 PM -5:00 PM)
Inter Continental Hotel Grand Ballroom C

Panel organized by
Matthew C. Nisbet, American University, and Inés Cifuentes, American Geophysical Union

Presenters: Maxwell Boykoff, Matthew C. Nisbet, and Gwendolyn Blue

Increasing public understanding and action on climate change requires the application of research and expertise from the social sciences. This workshop features presentations from three leading researchers who are examining the factors that shape media coverage, public participation, and public dialogue. Discussion will emphasize lessons learned from the first two decades of climate change communication initiatives and the promise of several new directions.

Mass Media and the Cultural Politics of Climate Change

Max Boykoff, Ph.D.
University of Colorado-Boulder

Mass media serve vital roles in the communication processes between science, policy-makers and the public. This presentation reviews contextual factors as well as journalistic pressures and norms that contribute to how issues, events and information become climate 'news'. A particular focus will be on how these factors have contributed to misperceptions, misleading debates, and divergent understandings that undermine efforts at policy action.

How Framing Matters to Wider Public Participation on Climate Change

Matthew C. Nisbet, Ph.D.
American University, Washington, DC

This presentation discusses research analyzing the extent to which new frames of reference and narratives can generate wider public interest and participation on climate change. The results of qualitative interviews and surveys are reviewed, focusing on public reactions to various policy proposals and messages. The research is designed to provide scientists, policy experts, government agencies, journalists, and other stakeholders with practical guidance on how best to increase public understanding of the implications of climate change.

Worldwide Views on Climate change: An International Citizen Deliberation on Climate Policy

Gwendolyn Blue, Ph.D.
University of Calgary, Canada

The UN Framework Program on Climate Change is holding its next round of discussions to update the Kyoto Protocol in Copenhagen in December, 2009. These climate change policy discusions have always involved government representatives and organized groups such as industry alliances and non-government organizations. For the first time, an international effort to hear what citizens around the world have to say on the policy questions was organized by the Danish Board of Technology, involving the participation of 38 countries, each with 100 citizen participants. This presentation describes both the process of mounting such an effort and the outcomes from the participating countries, with particular attention to differences between developed and developing countries. The challenges for global governance will also be discussed.

Biographies of Presenters

Maxwell T. Boykoff, Ph.D. is Assistant Professor in the Center for Science and Technology Policy, which is part of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado-Boulder. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of California-Santa Cruz. Max's research interests involve: 1) analyses of the transformations of carbon-based economies and societies, and 2) examinations in cultural politics and the environment. Recent publications include peer-reviewed articles in Geoforum, Global Environmental Change, Transactions of the Institute of British Geography, Political Geography, Environmental Research Letters, and Climatic Change. He has also written commentaries for Nature Reports Climate Change and Nieman Reports as well as co-authored a background paper for the 2007 United Nations Development Programme Human Development Reports. Max recently published 'The Politics of Climate Change' for Routledge/Europa (November 2009) and is working on 'Who Speaks for Climate? Making Sense of Mass Media Reporting on Climate Change' for Cambridge University Press (2010).

Matthew C. Nisbet, Ph.D. is Assistant Professor in the School of Communication at American University, Washington, DC. As a social scientist, he studies strategic communication in policy-making and public affairs, focusing on controversies surrounding science, the environment, and public health. He is the author of more than two dozen journal articles and book chapters and serves on the editorial boards of the International Journal of Press/Politics and Science Communication. Nisbet's current research with Edward Maibach on climate change communication is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation where he is a Health Policy Investigator. He has also worked as a consultant to the National Academies, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Centers for Disease Control, the National Science Foundation and other leading organizations. Nisbet is a frequently invited speaker at universities and meetings across North America and Europe.

Gwendolyn Blue, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Communication and Culture at the University of Calgary, Canada. Her research interests focus on public engagement with and governance of environment and public health issues, particularly as these unfold in unconventional political realms such as lifestyle politics and emergent dialogue-based democratic initiatives. She is currently the lead researcher on a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council funded project on Environmental Citizenship, Global Public Participation and Climate Change. She was part of the project team for World Wide Views on Global Warming, the first global citizen deliberation on climate change.

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See original: ScienceBlogs Select AGU Workshop on Communicating Climate Change: Media, Dialogue, and Public Engagement [Framing Science]

Himalayan Skyscape

Himalayan Skyscape Himalayan Skyscape

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12.6.09Evgevny Morozov


Evgevny Morozov: The List, 2020 Edition: Thought leaders for the Internet era [

] .

Jerry Coyne: Hitchens's blurb reminded me of two things. The first is all the criticism of Dawkins, much of it unfair, for being "dogmatic and militant". He's simply forthright [

Evolution book review: Dawkins's Greatest Show on Earth, Coyne's Why Evolution is True, and Shubin'sYour Inner Fish Derek K. Miller [...

Robert Wright — The Anti-God Squad: Why even some of the most zealous non-believers may abandon the crusade against religion — Foreign Policy ...]


The latest prophetic collection from John Brockman of invites scores of the world's most brilliant thinkers, including Richard Dawkins, Lisa Randall, and Brian Eno, to predict what game-changing events will occur in their lifetimes. Their speculations run the existential gamut, as some predict deliberate nuclear disaster or accidental climatic apocalypse and others foresee eternal life, unlimited prosperity, and boundless happiness. Between such extremes of heaven and hell lie more ambiguous visions: An end to forgetting, the creation of intelligent machines, and cosmetic brain surgery, to name a few. Pouring over these pages is like attending a dinner party where every guest is brilliant and captivating and only wants to speak with you—overwhelming, but an experience to savor.

Wikipedia has become the lazy man's Google: why bother sifting through 100 search results if chances are that someone has already done this job for you in a Wikipedia entry?

examines"Wikipedia's rapidly growing power — and the numerous ways in which it can be harnessed to right the wrongs that are bound to arise on its pages". ...]

"Just a few years ago, it seemed curious that an omniscient, omnipotent God wouldn't smite tormentors like

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Between the Folds premiere on PBS [bioephemera]


Origami is as ephemeral as art gets - delicate paper, with no more than creases and physics to maintain its shape. It's also the ideal art form for blurring the boundary between art and science, because it's all about geometry. You could argue that the origami medium is math, just as much as it's paper.

That's why Between the Folds, a documentary film by Vanessa Gould about origami-happy artists, mathematicians and scientists "working in the shadows between art and math," is such a success: the connections between math, science, art and paper aren't strained at all, so you can sit back and enjoy the ride.

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See original: ScienceBlogs Select Between the Folds premiere on PBS [bioephemera]