Today also included an hour-long address by Al Gore on the topic of how scientists should inform policy. He harkened back to the rise of the Enlightenment, when science was a handmaiden of progress, when truth was not, despite a few exceptions, considered inconvenient. With the ascendence of television and the decline of print, Gore said, reason and logic have been in retreat in policymaking circles. He urged scientists to make themselves heard. He also dropped an incendiary quote given by a US Geological Survey scientist, Jim Estes, responding to new review rules at the agency. Estes said he felt "like they're doing this to keep us under their thumbs. It seems like they're afraid of science. Our findings could be embarrassing to the administration." (See the AP story.) The speech was an appeal to his audience's hearts through its brains, and a good conversation piece. LiveScience has a story on the speech.
Later in the afternoon a speaker reported having called Estes right after Gore's speech to tell him that Gore had quoted him. Estes' first words were "Oh s**t." It added spice to the session, which was about scientists interacting with the media. Many scientists could do a much better job with the press. Fortunately I welcome and (mostly) understand them, so maybe I'm not part of the problem. But I still want to be part of the solution.