Tag Archives: Education

The toddler tied to a rock while parents work

By Amit Dave
May, 2016

Barrier tape is tied around 15-month-old Shivani's ankle to prevent her from running away, while her mother Sarta Kalara works at a construction site nearby, in Ahmedabad, India, April 19, 2016. Kalara says she has no option but to tether her daughter Shivani to a stone despite her crying, while she and her husband work for 250 rupees ($3.8) each a shift digging holes for electricity cables in the city of Ahmedabad. There are about 40 million construction workers in India, at least one in five of them women, and the majority poor migrants who shift from site to site, building infrastructure for India's booming cities. Across the country it is not uncommon to see young children rolling in the sand and mud as their parents carry bricks or dig for new roads or luxury houses. REUTERS/Amit Dave       SEARCH "TIED TODDLER" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES      TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Barrier tape is tied around 15-month-old Shivani’s ankle to prevent her from running away, while her mother Sarta Kalara works at a construction site nearby, in Ahmedabad, India, April 19, 2016. Kalara says she has no option but to tether her daughter Shivani to a stone despite her crying, while she and her husband work for 250 rupees ($3.8) each a shift digging holes for electricity cables in the city of Ahmedabad. There are about 40 million construction workers in India, at least one in five of them women, and the majority poor migrants who shift from site to site, building infrastructure for India’s booming cities. Across the country it is not uncommon to see young children rolling in the sand and mud as their parents carry bricks or dig for new roads or luxury houses. REUTERS/Amit Dave

Ahmedabad, India (Reuters) — Fifteen month-old Shivani tugs at a plastic tape her mother has wrapped around her leg and tied to a rock at a building site in western India.

Barefoot and caked in dust, the toddler spends nine hours a day in temperatures topping 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) attached to the 4.5 foot (1.4 meter) tape marked “caution.”

Sarta Kalara, her mother, says she has no option but to tether Shivani to the stone despite her crying, while she and her husband work for 250 rupees ($3.8) each a shift digging holes for electricity cables in the city of Ahmedabad.

“I tie her so she doesn’t go on the road. My younger son is three and a half so he is not able to control her,” said the 23-year old, covering her face with her sari.

“This site is full of traffic, I have no option. I do this for her safety.”

There are about 40 million construction workers in India, at least one in five of them women, and the majority poor migrants who shift from site to site, building infrastructure for India’s booming cities.

Across the country it is not uncommon to see young children rolling in the sand and mud as their parents carry bricks or dig for new roads or luxury houses.

Many such families live in tents on site or, like Shivani’s, bed down in the open at night.

Sarta Kalara (C), a construction worker, stands among other female workers in Ahmedabad, India, April 20, 2016. Kalara says she has no option but to tether her daughter Shivani to a stone despite her crying, while she and her husband work for 250 rupees ($3.8) each a shift digging holes for electricity cables in the city of Ahmedabad. There are about 40 million construction workers in India, at least one in five of them women, and the majority poor migrants who shift from site to site, building infrastructure for India's booming cities. Across the country it is not uncommon to see young children rolling in the sand and mud as their parents carry bricks or dig for new roads or luxury houses. REUTERS/Amit Dave

Sarta Kalara (C), a construction worker, stands among other female workers in Ahmedabad, India, April 20, 2016. Kalara says she has no option but to tether her daughter Shivani to a stone despite her crying, while she and her husband work for 250 rupees ($3.8) each a shift digging holes for electricity cables in the city of Ahmedabad. There are about 40 million construction workers in India, at least one in five of them women, and the majority poor migrants who shift from site to site, building infrastructure for India’s booming cities. Across the country it is not uncommon to see young children rolling in the sand and mud as their parents carry bricks or dig for new roads or luxury houses. REUTERS/Amit Dave

Sarta Kalara, a construction worker, holds her 15-month-old Shivani as a barrier tape is tied to Shivani's ankle to prevent her from running away when Kalara works nearby in Ahmedabad, India, April 20, 2016. Kalara says she has no option but to tether her daughter Shivani to a stone despite her crying, while she and her husband work for 250 rupees ($3.8) each a shift digging holes for electricity cables in the city of Ahmedabad. There are about 40 million construction workers in India, at least one in five of them women, and the majority poor migrants who shift from site to site, building infrastructure for India's booming cities. Across the country it is not uncommon to see young children rolling in the sand and mud as their parents carry bricks or dig for new roads or luxury houses. REUTERS/Amit Dave

Sarta Kalara, a construction worker, holds her 15-month-old Shivani as a barrier tape is tied to Shivani’s ankle to prevent her from running away when Kalara works nearby in Ahmedabad, India, April 20, 2016. Kalara says she has no option but to tether her daughter Shivani to a stone despite her crying, while she and her husband work for 250 rupees ($3.8) each a shift digging holes for electricity cables in the city of Ahmedabad. There are about 40 million construction workers in India, at least one in five of them women, and the majority poor migrants who shift from site to site, building infrastructure for India’s booming cities. Across the country it is not uncommon to see young children rolling in the sand and mud as their parents carry bricks or dig for new roads or luxury houses. REUTERS/Amit Dave

Prabhat Jha, head of child protection at Save the Children India, said creche facilities were rare, and usually cost.

“There should be creche facilities, either from the government or the construction companies. There should be a safe place for these children. They are at real risk of being hurt,” Jha said.

Indian companies usually outsource the hiring of cheap labor. Contractors bring gangs of workers, often recruited from the same village, to lift, dig or hammer with little oversight or safety provisions.

While Shivani is tied to her rock, men pause for coconut and water amid the searing heat as mothers take quick breaks to feed their kids.

Parents said their children usually stayed with them until they are seven or eight, when they are sent to live with grandparents in poor tribal villages in a neighboring state.

Kalara, holding Shivani as the plastic tape dangled from her leg, said managers had turned a blind eye to her plight.

“They don’t care about us or our children, they are only concerned with their work.”

When a Reuters photographer returned to the site on a second day, a group of laborers laying power cables threw stones at him.

Copyright Reuters 2016

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Academics can change the world – if they engage with it

By Savo Heleta, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University 
March, 2016

Research and creative thinking can change the world. This means that academics have enormous power. But, as academics Asit Biswas and Julian Kirchherr have warned, the overwhelming majority are not shaping today’s public debates.

Instead, their work is largely sitting in academic journals that are read almost exclusively by their peers. Biswas and Kirchherr estimate that an average journal article is “read completely by no more than ten people”. They write: “Up to 1.5 million peer-reviewed articles are published annually. However, many are ignored even within scientific communities – 82% of articles published in humanities [journals] are not even cited once.”

This suggests that a lot of great thinking and many potentially world altering ideas are not getting into the public domain. Why, then, are academics not doing more to share their work with the broader public?

The answer appears to be threefold: a narrow idea of what academics should or shouldn’t do; a lack of incentives from universities or governments; and a lack of training in the art of explaining complex concepts to a lay audience.

Some academics insist that it’s not their job to write for the general public. They suggest that doing so would mean they’re “abandoning their mission as intellectuals”. They don’t want to feel like they’re “dumbing down” complex thinking and arguments.

The counter argument is that academics can’t operate in isolation from the world’s very real problems.

They may be producing important ideas and innovations that could help people understand and perhaps even begin to address issues like climate change, conflict, food insecurity and disease.

Universities also don’t do a great deal to encourage academics to step beyond lecture halls and laboratories. There are globally very few institutions that offer incentives to their academics to write in the popular media, appear on TV or radio, or share their research findings and opinions with the public via these platforms.

In South Africa, where I conduct research and teach, incentives are limited to more “formal” publication methods. Individual institutions and the Department of Higher Education and Training offer rewards for publishing books, book chapters, monographs or articles in accredited, peer-reviewed journals.

The department pays universities more than (South African) R100,000 per full publication unit – for example, one journal article. These funds are given to universities, which then use their own subsidy disbursement schemes to split the funds between the institution, the faculty in which the author works and the author. In some cases, academics receive more funding for articles published in international journals than in local journals.

Catriona Macleod of Rhodes University in South Africa has argued that these financial incentives are an example of the “commodification of research” and that this is “bad for scholarship”. Macleod told University World News: “The incentive system is a blunt instrument that serves the purposes of increasing university income rather than supporting scholarship and knowledge production in South Africa.”

There is nothing in the department’s policy that urges academics to share their research beyond academic spaces. There’s no suggestion that public outreach or engagement is valued. And this situation is not unique to South Africa: the “publish or perish” culture is a reality at universities all over the world.

Academics have no choice but to go along with this system. Their careers and promotions depend almost entirely on their journal publication record, so why even consider engaging with the general public?

There is a third factor holding academics back from writing for broader lay audiences: even if they’d like to, they may not know where to start and how to do it.

Writing an article for an academic journal is a very different process to penning one for those outside the academy. Naomi Wolf and Sacha Kopp, in an article examining the issue, wrote: “Academic writing has the benefit of scholarly rigour, full documentation and original thinking. But the transmission of our ideas is routinely hampered … by a great deal of peer-oriented jargon.”

Universities have a role to play here by offering workshops and courses to their academics and students. This can help develop creative non-fiction writing skills.

Academics need to start playing a more prominent role in society instead of largely remaining observers who write about the world from within ivory towers and publish their findings in journals hidden behind expensive digital paywalls.

Government and university policies need to become more prescriptive in what they expect from academics. Publishing research in peer-reviewed journals is and will remain highly important. But incentives should be added to encourage academics to share their research with the general public.

Doing this sort of work ought to count towards promotions and should yield rewards for both universities and individual academics.

Quality academic research and innovation are crucial. It is equally important, though, to get ideas out into the world beyond academia. It could make a real difference in people’s lives.

The ConversationCreative Commons

Savo Heleta is Manager, Internationalisation at Home and Research, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.  This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

You might also wish to read:

Sustainability needs academics, outside Ivory Towers. By Anthony D. Barnosky, Elizabeth A. Hadly, and Paul R. Ehrlich, March 2016

Until recently, Earth was so big compared with humanity’s impacts that its resources seemed limitless. But that is no longer the case. Thanks to rapid growth in both human population and per capita consumption, we are now on the edge of irrevocable damage to our planetary life support systems. If we want to avoid locking in long-lasting impacts, it is imperative that we quickly solve six intertwined problems: population growth and overconsumption, climate change, pollution, ecosystem destruction, disease spillovers and extinction.

 

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Facts and Opinions is a boutique journal of reporting and analysis in words and images, without borders. Independent, non-partisan and employee-owned, F&O is funded by our readers. It is ad-free and spam-free, and does not solicit donations from partisan organizations. To continue we require a minimum payment of .27 for one story, or a sustaining donation. Details here; donate below. Thanks for your interest and support.

F&O’s CONTENTS page is updated each Saturday. Sign up for emailed announcements of new work on our free FRONTLINES blog; find evidence-based reporting in Reports; commentary, analysis and creative non-fiction in OPINION-FEATURES; and image galleries in PHOTO-ESSAYS. If you value journalism please support F&O, and tell others about us.

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Universities in Crisis: a series

Reed College, Portland, Oregon. Photo by Deborah Jones © 2010

Reed College, Portland, Oregon. Deborah Jones © 2010

Jim McNiven wraps up his three-part series The Future of the Global University System (public access) with thoughts on Globalizing Access to Higher Education. An excerpt:

Let’s take a tour d’horizon of what seem to be the relevant pieces of the situation outlined in the preceding two Parts of this essay. Governments, either quickly or slowly, are withdrawing from public funding for post-secondary education. As a general rule, governments everywhere are operating with deficits and growing debt loads, which are becoming unsustainable, either mathematically or politically. Something has to give. If there is a cheaper way to provide post-secondary education, then this has to become an issue, even where today’s governments are dedicated to providing the service for free. A French Premier once noted famously that, ‘to govern is to choose.’ By implication, something expensive will be hardly be chosen against its cheaper alternative.

Not all parts of the existing university system will be discomfited equally as the choice against traditional post-secondary education continues to become widespread. Technical colleges, where hands-on training is important, will continue to be supported. Small, residential teaching institutions, charging high tuitions but performing both socializing and education functions for those who can afford them, will continue to exist. Some of the most famous larger institutions, which have brand-names that are prestigious, will continue to be filled and paid for by the world’s top students and by the world’s elite families. Research institutions that train only graduate students (MA and PhDs) and which derive their funding from research sources may actually increase their small numbers.

The rest will find it difficult to survive…. read  Part 3: Globalizing Access to Higher Education (no charge*)

Here is Jim McNiven’s column page, including the series, The Future of the Global University System.

*Facts and Opinions is a boutique for slow journalism, without borders. Independent, non-partisan and employee-owned, F&O performs journalism for citizens, sustained entirely by readers: we do not carry advertising or solicit donations from foundations or causes.  Why? If you’d like to support our journalism, for $2.95 (the price of a cheap brew) you can subscribe to F&O for a month. If that breaks your budget, a one-day pass is $1.) 

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The Future of the Global University System

Part 2: Things Fall Apart — and then Reassemble

JIM MCNIVEN 
August, 2014

Commencement

A Harvard student at commencement. Photo: Harvard Public Affairs and Communications

A long time ago, when I was in grad school, I was invited to go to a faculty seminar and hear Herbert Stein, who was then one of the leading economists of his day. He was asked about the growing American commitment to the Vietnam War and how far it could grow. His reply then was similar to this, his later famous quote: “If something cannot go on forever, then it will stop.” 

The global university system is beset with the problem that it cannot go on forever in the form it has taken. The education leaders, the American universities, as noted in a recent Boston Consulting Group report, have been transforming themselves slowly (‘eating themselves alive” is maybe a better term) by shrinking the number of full-time faculty in favor of a small group of relatively highly paid research professors alongside a large group of ‘adjunct professors’ who teach on a piecework basis per single contracted course. This isn’t much different from a lot of other industries in our society, but it has not done a lot for cost control nor for supposed educational quality.*

Alongside this situation, one has to consider that an increasing proportion of students in higher education have to work on the side to pay the bills. On a residential campus, this becomes part of the socialization side of the experience, but an increasing number of families cannot afford this kind of education, so their children stay at home and commute to school. Even so, the financial pressures are growing everywhere and the student jobs taken are ‘off-campus,’ thereby breaking the connection between socialization and education that is central to the Romantic appeal of the institution. Social media only adds to this break. ‘Crowd’ activities on social media have the potential to provide discussion and context for group learning as well as gossip, irrespective of location.

‘Adjunct professors’ and fitting classes to one’s job schedule can lead elsewhere, to things that a networked society makes easy and are threats to the existing system. One is autodidactism, or self-teaching, or even group forms of this where people teach each other. A second is on-demand learning, where the learning fits the job schedule. I have taught in an online, somewhat structured on-demand learning program for 15 years, with students from 5 time zones. Some of our students live only minutes from a local university, but cannot get off work to go to that 2 p.m. class. A third is education-on-demand, where, with things like Google glasses, you should be able to learn something only as and when and where you need it — and you learn it immediately. Given the huge information resources available on the web, or in the cloud, the critical educational skill thus becomes how one finds what is needed and what is reliable.

Before printing, people did astounding things with memory, such as memorizing the Bible or the Koran; with printing, people memorized less, concentrating on concepts and ideas, since you could look up the rest; with the internet in all its forms, what you have to know is how to frame the question. Period. The answer is out there somewhere. If you don’t believe me, ask some professor how hard it is to keep students from accessing exam answers on their cellphones. You’ll get an earful. And then there is the war on plagiarism, which, like the war on drugs, has been largely abandoned as ineffectual. In a more personal vein, my wife often spends time on her iPhone, checking the online bios of the personalities in the TV program we are watching. She could also answer math questions in a similar way, or check on the tribal makeup of Yemen, if so motivated. Or she could have learned these things in class 30 years ago, but why then? Why not now when her interest is aroused? 

At the Harvard Business School, recently, a debate has broken out between the advocates of Michael Porter, the famous proponent of corporate strategy, and Clayton Christensen, the famous proponent of corporate disruption. The Porter fans feel that the universities can adapt to the continuing intrusion of information technology, while the Christensen fans feel they can’t. I think Harvard can continue to adapt, given its status, but I also think most of the world’s other universities cannot. If you look at what has happened to almost every other information industry affected by technological change, it is not that they were wiped out by computerization. Instead, enough of a bite was taken out of their revenues to put their whole structure in jeopardy. Shave off 10 per cent of revenues and you have a not-for-profit newspaper; shave off 20 per cent and the enterprise is unsustainable. This is no different than the reason why small, rural towns collapse. Once the local bank goes and the local doctor goes, the people start to leave. It doesn’t take much. 

Let’s explore one possibility of a slow deterioration of university finances. Suppose there are two million students in the United States who will take Economics 101 this fall. Suppose the cost in tuition and fees for that one course is, like in my Part 1 example in this series, $1000 for the course. Then suppose Disney/Marvel/Pixar could offer a multimedia ‘course’ with the best personalities, great visuals, engaging examples, etc.,etc. Gross revenues if everyone signed up are $2 billion per year; the product needs tweaking every 3 years, let’s say, and initial costs are of a ‘blockbuster’ sized $200 million. Of course, the non-U.S. market could generate multiples of this and the adaptations of the course for India, say, might require a different calculus, but you get the point. Delivered online, it could be sold to individuals as well, especially if our movie moguls managed to get some high-class academic certification for their product. I am positive I am not the first one to notice this. 

Now, such a course constitutes only 2.5 per cent of a normal load for a 4-year program, so even if a university were willing to split the revenues with Hollywood, saving on instructor costs and perhaps the need for a new campus auditorium, we are on our way to the institution being like most newspapers in terms of the eventual outcome. Resisting this entrepreneurial effort would call down some serious lobbying at the State level, and who knows what might come of that. The university system has but one thing in its favor in this environment: it has a monopoly on certification. Break this and bad things happen.

I heard Clayton Christensen speak last fall on the future of universities at our institution and he said some of the same things in the three parables he gave, a talk that I felt puzzled most of his audience that day. The demand for higher education is out there, the cost is too high either for the taxpayer or the student, whether this be America, China or Europe, and somebody is somehow going to nibble at the edges of the system, leading much of it to change or to wither. 

Is the game over, then? I don’t think so. The American system is where I expect change to happen first, but these are tenacious institutions and could continue to hold on for a good while. Part of the reason is that the likely competitors for a part of the academic market, the for-profit institutions, were diverted by the easy money to be made by encouraging people who either weren’t suited for higher education or who had no resources to sustain them, to get generous student loans from, or backed by, government bodies. As the default rates climbed, investigations, penalties and convictions have set back this sector, perhaps for a decade. Unfortunately, the financial situations of most universities have encouraged them to point their potential students in the same direction and these defaults are rising, with the debt load being characterized as a kind of ‘mortgage’ that has to be paid off before a graduate can afford to buy a house. So, to paraphrase Herbert Stein, ”This cannot go on forever and it will stop.” 

Finally, there is a drastic way out, but unthinkable. That is to jettison the research subsidies of universities and divorce research from teaching. As I noted in Part 1 of this piece, research was originally tied to teaching to make sure students were getting current material in class. The guest then proceeded to take over the house. There have been a number of meta-studies about the correlation between good research and good teaching and the general conclusion is that there is none. A good teacher may, or may not, be a good researcher; and vice versa. Since a good half of academic personnel expenditures consist of time paid for doing research, which has no provable connection to good teaching, it is a promising area for cost control. This would be bitterly resisted throughout every institution, because it would mean that the intermingled funding streams for teaching and research would be separated, much like those for sports, or, in many cases, medicine, and the researchers would have to find direct support for their salaries as part of research grants.

In effect, the division between teaching and research functions in universities would put more resources at the disposal of the (presumably) necessary teaching function and less at the disposal of the prestigious research function. The likelihood for a basic change like this is dim, and so the prospects for a slow decline in the university system will grow, until a different model with different players ‘suddenly’ erupts. The Huffington Post didn’t kill The New York Times, but HuffPo and others like it have had a definite involvement in the decline of print media overall. We felt the blowback around my home in Eastern Canada, when a half-dozen regional newsprint mills closed in the past few years. Everything is connected in the networked society. 

In Part 3, let’s start with an assumption that 30 per cent of the world’s population is between 18 and 30. That’s something like two billion people. How do we give them all, rich and poor, the opportunity to get the equivalent of a basic university degree, if they so want it?

Copyright © 2014 James D. McNiven

Contact: j.mcniven AT dal.ca

Notes: 
*https://www.bcgperspectives.com/content/articles/education_public_sector_five_trends_watch_higher_education/

 

Related reading on Facts and Opinions:

The Future of the Global University System:  Part 1: Universities Without the Trappings 
The Degree Bubble by Penney Kome
Convocation Address by Patrick Lane 

 

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You want fries with that mortarboard?

With convocation season wrapping up, journalist Penney Kome is prompted by her own son’s graduation to consider the severe deflation of university degrees in trying economic times. Convocation at the University of Alberta was a bittersweet occasion for at least one family,”  writes Kome in The Degree Bubble. “Yielding to parental pressure to attend the graduation ceremony, our son the graduate irreverently considered adding a bright duct tape debt message to his mortar board: $47K. That’s the accumulated debt from a basic part-time seven-year Bachelor of Arts, not the fees to earn a medical or law degree   read more

While on the topic of education, read or revisit poet Patrick Lane’s essay, Convocation Address, delivered last fall at the University of Victoria and republished here with permission. It begins: “It is sixty-five years ago, you’re ten years old and sitting on an old, half-blind, grey horse. All you have is a saddle blanket and a rope for reins as you watch a pack of dogs rage at the foot of a Ponderosa pine. High up on a branch a cougar lies supine, one paw lazily swatting at the air. He knows the dogs will tire. They will slink away and then the cougar will climb down and go on with its life in the Blue Bush country south of Kamloops.* It is a hot summer day. There is the smell of pine needles and Oregon grape and dust. It seems to you that the sun carves the dust from the face of the broken rocks, carves and lifts it into the air where it mixes with the sun. Just beyond you are three men on horses …. read more

 

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Facts and Opinions is a boutique for slow journalism, without borders. Independent, non-partisan and employee-owned, F&O performs journalism for citizens, sustained entirely by readers: we do not carry advertising or solicit donations from foundations or causes. 

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Ignorance of science worsens global crises, warn researchers

Science under siege from censorship, religious beliefs and poor education


By Deborah Jones
February, 2012

James Hansen. Courtesy of Comlumbia University

James Hansen.       Courtesy of Columbia University

Science is “under siege,” the world’s top scientists and educators heard repeatedly at a major science conference of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Scientific solutions are needed to help solve global crises – including food and water shortages, disease and environmental destruction  —   “but the public now does not understand science,”American scientist and climate-change activist James Hansen told the annual meeting in Vancouver of the prestigious organization.

“We have a planetary emergency, and very few people recognize that,” Hansen told a plenary session aimed at helped the world’s top scientists better communicate their work to the public.

“Flattening the world – building a global knowledge society” was the theme of the meeting held in Vancouver, attended by some 8,000 scientists and hundreds of journalists from 50 countries.

“It’s about persuading people to believe in science, at a time when disturbing numbers don’t,” said meeting co-chair Andrew Petter, president of Simon Fraser University.

Scientists wrangled with thorny issues such as censorship, opposition from American religious groups to teaching evolution and climate science, and the quality of science education.

Politicians, environmental activists, educators and the public – especially in the United States where surveys show scientific literacy declining – came under criticism.

Outgoing AAAS president Nina Fedoroff  suggested a growing anti-science attitude “probably lies in our own psych. Belief systems, especially when tinged with fear, are not easily dispersed with facts.”

“Fewer people “believe” in climate change each year” in the United States, she noted, while parents in some countries refuse to have children vaccinated against deadly disease because they fear a myth, long disproved, that vaccines are linked with autism.

“We have to plan for a future, considering the risk of climate change, with 9 to 10 billion people,” said Hans Rosling, a Swedish public health expert who combats science ignorance with catchy videos.

Rosling, famous for his Ted Talk and Youtube videos that draw millions of viewers, said it’s naive to think that humanity can easily go backward in history.

“I get angry when I hear people say in the rainforest people live in ecological balance. They don’t. They die in ecological balance,” he said, pointing to charts showing how human populations changed with technology, and how without science the majority of children in any family die.

During the AAAS meeting controversy erupted over whether research on a mutant form of the “bird flu” virus by American and Dutch scientists- which is potentially capable of spreading in humans – should be made public.

Last fall American security authorities asked scientists not to publish details of their research, for fear the information could fall into the wrong hands and unleash a flu pandemic.

“I would not be in favor of stopping the science,” Fedoroff said in Vancouver, just before bird flu experts meeting at the World Health Organization in Geneva agreed to an indefinite moratorium on publishing, to allow for public discussion and for scientists to examine the risks.

Federoff told reporters, “The more we know about something, the better prepared we are to deal with unexpected outcomes.”

“It’s not about politics, it’s about science,” said Alan Leshner, association CEO and executive publisher of its journal Science, one of the world’s top peer-reviewed journals.

But he added, in an interview, that the association is increasingly reaching out to the public. For example, he cited the record number of 6,000 Vancouver school children who attended free public science events during the conference.

Leshner said young scientists are newly happy to engage in public events, unlike previous generations of scientists who scorned public involvement or media exposure. “Young scientists now want the public to understand what we do,” he said.

Copyright © 2012 Deborah Jones

Originally published by Agence France-Presse, February 21, 2012

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