“Lemons Cure Cancer” and Other Hazards of Scientific Communication

One of the gaps I’ve noticed in our discussions is between people who (1) think of science as a biz like any other with the resultant glories and debacles, and everything in between. Other folks (2) tend to have a higher view of how the science biz works and what it produces in general. To …

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Introduction to the Landscape of Fire Sciences

Jon asked an excellent question in our previous discussion: “who counts as a wildfire expert?”. It seems to me that with the recent March for “Science” it’s probably a good time to dig deeper into some aspects of how the science business works in reality. So a simple question, like “who is a wildfire expert” …

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Five Reasons Blog Posts are of Higher Scientific Quality than Journal Articles- by Daniel Lakens

In the press and here on this blog, folks sometimes talk about “the science says” in order to claim authority for a certain set of views. Given the not insignificant difference among fields (e.g., landscape ecology is not fire science is not medicine is not psychology) it is difficult to say very much about the …

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Should the State of Colorado Fund Fire Modeling Research?

Apparently NCAR (Boulder, CO) folks visited the Denver Post editorial board, who produced this editorial last Sunday. Colorado has been ravaged by large and unpredictable wildfires and floods in recent years that have left death and destruction in their wake. If we could rewind time and know 12 hours in advance what some of these …

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Evolutionary Theory and the Practice of Policy (3): Disciplinary Fragmentation

In this section, I focus on how producing droves of scientists has led to them forming smaller groups, or disciplinary splintering. This has, in turn, led to “reinventing the wheel” plus micro-disciplinary territorial disputes, all of which might be invisible to the naked policy eye. Policy makers, to my mind, must be aware of the …

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Evolutionary Theory and the Practice of Policy For the 21st Century (2))

In this section, I address different framings of the larger issue around forests, and explore how different framings privilege different scientific and other disciplines. This can occur whether a framing is helpful or not to decision makers, or accepted or not by stakeholders, simply due to how research is prioritized and funded (most often, by …

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Evolutionary Theory and the Practice of Policy For the 21st Century (1)

This summer I am celebrating my 40th year in the forestry profession. I am also going through my files and preparing for a transition to a past-forester, current theologian. I will be posting pieces that strike me as still relevant to the forest science/policy world. The first is a piece I wrote for Dr. Gene …

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Minority Report: “EPA’s Playbook,” “Fraud,” and “Secret Science”

About a month ago I had a discussion with Dr. Bob Ferris on this blog, initially concerning the general quality of “government science.” Dr. Ferris is a “real scientist” who is “serious” and currently works for Cascadia Wildlands, an environmental activist group based in Eugene, Oregon. He has a number of publications to his credit …

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Science, Law, and the Press: Idealized vs. Real

I’ve been thinking about how people use the terms “science” as in ” policies are better if they’re based on science”; and law as in “environmental laws are great because Congress made them, but if Congress messes with any of the case-law derived interpretations, that would be bad.” It’s almost like there’s an idealized institution …

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Spruce Beetle- Beetle Without Drama and With FS Research

One thing I noticed when panels of scientists came to talk to us about our bark beetle response (from CU particularly) is that they kept talking about our “going into the backcountry and doing fuel treatments” and why this was a bad idea. We would tell them we weren’t actually doing that, but I don’t …

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