On science blogs this week: Still cloudy

Nopenhagen, more on the climate for science writing, health careless, party time.

 

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NOPENHAGEN: Adapting some word play from Juliet Eiperin on the Post Carbon blog, "Nopenhagen" appears to be the verdict on climate change negotiations as I write. Will there be any formal agreements? And if there are agreements, will they be kept? As you read, God wot the climate has changed from "Nope" to hope.

Here are a few blogs from major publications where you can find out:

New Scientist has a number of reporters in Copenhagen, and they are filing regularly on Short Sharp Science. Chemical and Engineering News has sent Jerry Schnoor, who is filing regularly too, at C&ENScience. Janet Raloff is blogging in Copenhagen for Science News. And David Biello for SciAm.

From Nature, try Climate Feedback, which features blog commentary and discussion rather than reporting. For domestic concerns, ScienceInsider rounds up several writers to comment on chances for legislation in "The Climate in the Senate."

It's Copenhagen moment to moment, with a Washington slant, from the Washington Post's Juliet Eilperin and David Farenthold at Post Carbon. The New York Times has Copenhagen reporters blogging at Green, Inc. and Dot Earth.

THE CLIMATE FOR SCIENCE WRITING, CONT'D. Dot Earth is, of course, Andrew Revkin. Let us exploit this nice segue and take a break from worrying about the future of the planet. Shift instead to a more parochial concern, worrying about the future of science writing. For us the big climate news this week was that Revkin, the highly praised New York Times environmental writer, is departing those environs. Bud Ward sets this news in science-writing context at the Yale Forum on Climate Change and the Media.

One of Revkin's reasons for leaving is the 24/7 pressure to produce, piling blogging and social media responsibilities on top of traditional journalism on an exceptionally complex beat that requires depth in experience, reading, interviewing, and reporting. Many of us know all about those pressures.

Cris Russell reports at the Columbia Journalism Review that Revkin has contracted with the Times to continue at the Dot Earth blog. That's good news for environmental journalism but presumably not so good for Revkin's medical insurance, libel insurance, life insurance, disability insurance, 401K, Social Security payments, income-tax withholding, accumulated vacation time, holidays off...

Many of us know all about those pressures, too.

HEALTH CARE: CHRISTMAS EVE OR BUST? So asks the WaPo's Daily Dose, speculating Thursday about whether, because of political maneuvering to rival Copenhagen's, the Obama vow that the Senate health care bill will be ready by Christmas means staying in Washington beyond the Senators' intended departure next Wednesday.

If all goes as the Administration hopes, for the next few weeks it will be all health care all the time. Success in the Senate will mean amalgamating Senate and House legislation into a single bill that the President can sign in time to announce victory during the State of the Union address later in January. If.

For a moment it looked as if the so-called public option, some form of government-subsidized medical insurance declared dead only days before, was sneaking back in the guise of lowering the age of admittance to Medicare to 55. I could almost hear the shouts of joy from NASW's more venerable members.

And then it was gone. Except that Jacob Goldstein, at the Wall Street Journal's Health Blog, is reporting that the latest WSJ poll says 58% of respondents think younger Medicare is a fabulous idea.

Can't help wondering, assuming the Senators are listening (and when are they not listening to polls?), whether that lower age thing might not sneak back in. Goldstein insists, "No way." But as I write, both Kaiser Health News's Blog Watch and the Times's Prescriptions are reporting liberal revolts against the lack of some public plan. I guess I will stay tuned.

HOLIDAY CHEER. Last week I ran out of time before I could point you to Sciencebase, where David Bradley was hosting a video of, well, sciencebased party tricks. Blogtrolling this week I ran across it again, this time at Bertalan Meskó's ScienceRoll.

The source, I find, is actually the Richard Wiseman blog. A psychologist, magician, and author, Wiseman--great name, could it possibly really be his?--is at University of Hertfordshire in the UK.

Nice source material here for filling those awkward silences next week when the conversation with kin lags. And your youngest relatives will relish the several opportunities to play lawfully with matches. I was pleased to learn the secret of yanking the cloth off the table without also yanking the dishes. Although I believe I will content myself with the theory, not the practice.

HOLIDAY CHEER II: I'm taking the next two Fridays off. I hope you are too, even if you're a freelance. See you back here January 8, although fair warning: it could well be health care again.

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