Daddy, Did you plug the hole yet?

As we all know, President Obama told the story that his daughter knocked on the bathroom door while he was shaving, and asked him, “Have you plugged the hole yet, Daddy?”

As science teachers we are reminded that this question is the kind of question our youth asks about important issues that face us today.  In today’s post on the New York Times, Thomas Friedman uses Malia’s comment suggest that this is the time to talk about energy futures.  … Read more

The “Two Cultures” Gap: Implications for the Issues of the Day

For the past week, or so, I have been trying to sort through the information emerging from Washington about health care, and what should be done about it.  In the Senate, the bill is known as the Affordable Health Choices Act, and in the House (HR 3200) it is called America’s Affordable Health Choices Act.  I found the summary of the house bill helpful.  But the discussions in the media have been confusing, and have revealed enormous gaps that exist between politicians and the public; between the medical community and the public; between the scientific community and the public; between politicians and science. Read more

Scientific Illiteracy in Our House (of Representatives)

Yes, the U.S. Congress did pass the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (H.R. 2454), but within Congress—in the House—there was clear evidence of “scientific illiteracy.”  And no, it was not the kind of thinking that we as science teachers advocate.  It turns out that one of the U.S. Representatives from Georgia, Paul Broun, who represents citizens of Georgia in Congressional District 10 (in the Athens, GA area) appears to advocate illiteracy.  During the debate on H.R.… Read more

From Oil to Wind: An STS Project

Teaching students about the Earth’s energy future is an important goal of science education.  In the news these days is the debate (because of $4+ gas in the US) about off shore drilling, energy independence (an oxymoron?), wind and other alternative energies.  How should these ideas be approached with students?  What questions should students raise to explore these ideas?  What follows are some comments about ideas by T. Boone Pickens, Robert F. Kennedy Jr, and Thomas L.… Read more

The Next President’s Energy Manifesto: An STS Project for Students

In an interview on late-night television, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. outlined an energy manifesto for the next President of the United States.  His comments, which were based on an article he published in Vanity Fair provide the nucleus for an potential STS investigation for our students.  Indeed, if carried out in the early Fall semester, the investigation would enable students to participate in an important aspect of the Presidential Election.

In the article, entitled The Next President’s First Task (A Manifesto), Kennedy directs in his “letter” to the President, that we as a nation (and a world) should move toward a decarbonized economy, and that the electrical power grid of the U.S.… Read more