Never in my life has this happened before, but I keep finding myself in tears of grief over the looming death of Scottish writer Iain M Banks, who is far and away my favourite writer and has terminal cancer. I'm looking for ways of helping to resolve this emotion, by using it as energy to fuel a meaningful response. [more inside]
Is there a science of division? (i.e. Models of the phenomenon that communities often split into two blocs with some degree of mutual antagonism. And/or empirical data that such models could be compared against.) [more inside]
I'm looking for reading material written by or about political, progressive scientists who had/have productive technical careers as well as being politically active, and who saw/see their research in the context of political activism. [more inside]
What are your favourite interesting, informative or unusual FB Groups or Pages? [more inside]
I've been asked to research the viability of the launch of a new top-level domain (TLD) parallel to dot-com. Assuming the prospective domain owner wishes not to reduplicate the internet as it exists now merely with another extension, I'd like to ask: Let's say you could take what you know about how the internet works (indexing, monetization, traffic, web-mastering but also crowdsourcing, social networking, political organizing, personal publishing, microfunding, etc.) and for reasons purely fictional, the existing system was scrapped and being re-built from scratch, what would you do with that opportunity if you had it? [more inside]
What studies and books are there about the economics of scientific research? I'm interested in a few questions including does giving out grants to University based researchers produce more startups and more highly regarded refereed papers than institutions like NIH or CSIRO? The only book I know of that looks at this is the book The Economic Laws of Scientific Research which looks interesting but is also described as a polemic. [more inside]
I'm looking for politically themed essay contests with a cash prize for a lecturer in the Political Sciences I know who has just been laid off. [more inside]
A friend, who leans Ron Paul libertarian, was recently trying to convince me that anthropogenic global warming is largely a myth. A central part of his argument was his claiming that there was recently a petition signed by 40,000 independent climate scientists saying that, in his words, "so-called global warming is bullshit." More inside. [more inside]
Can you ID these short stories and help me find them? I think there were at least two, they were written by Keith Laumer, and they appeared in a paperback IF anthology that I can't find. They are about the right of revolution (one may be titled something like that) and take place on a mining colony on another planet. I think the first is about the miners who revolt and are led by an Ayn-Rand-character-like person (his name is John Ralt or something). The second is about the 'ARcl' person who is now in charge and must deal with dissenters who contest his moral and political authority. And were there any more stories in this vein, or just two?
Who are the best magazine and newspaper feature writers, past and present? [more inside]
Why is the presidential administration working so persistently to bequeath extra powers to their likely Democrat successors? [more inside]
What's the most convincing response (provide a link, that is) to This Crichton speech about global warming. I'm looking for arguments other than "scientific concensus".