The week in science and science policy 11/6/17-11/13/17

By | November 13, 2017

1. The GOP tax bill would significanlty increase taxes on Ph.D. students

If you’re tied in at all to science/Ph.D. social media, this was big news last week. The GOP tax bill may end nontaxable tuition waivers for grad students, dramatically increasing the taxes that grad students would have to pay. The end of waivers would more than double the taxable income for many graduate students, and when we alerady earn barely a living wage this would have a pretty drastic effect on the ability of non-independently wealthy individuals to go to graduate school.

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/11/7/16612288/gop-tax-bill-graduate-students

2. Trump’s plan to slash energy R&D is “short-sighted”

A choice quote from Obama science advisor John Holdren “We tend to overestimate what innovation can do for us in the short run, and underestimate what it can do for us in the long run”

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/609327/trumps-energy-rd-policies-ignore-the-long-term-impact-of-innovation/

3. A new paper asks the difference between “knowing” and “understanding”

This article details an interesting study examining what it means to actually comprehend something versus just knowing the facts about it. In the age of “fake news” and “alternative facts”, we tend to emphasize truth when discussing empirical results and facts, but it’s important to keep the value of actual “understanding” in mind as well. As scientists, we don’t want to just know facts, we want to understand them, the wider context, and what they mean.

https://www.npr.org/sections/13.7/2017/11/06/562304624/what-s-your-epistemic-relationship-to-science

4. Study shows that nuclear energy programs rarelylead to nuclear weapon development

https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/a374p8/nuclear-energy-programs-rarely-lead-to-nuclear-weapons

The week in attacks on science by the Trump administration

The Trump administration continues their active campaign against climate change

https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2017/11/9/16619120/trump-administration-removing-climate-change-epa-online-website

Trump’s nominee to head the White House Council on Environmental Quality doesn’t believe science should impact policy

https://thinkprogress.org/lawmakers-grill-ceq-nominee-09bed2c1a192/

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