Thursday, April 21, 2011

Understanding Government

Here's a bit of a fun (or maybe disturbing) read. It reminds me of something I have to remind myself often - that I was NOT a representative example of an undergraduate student - critical to keep that in mind when evaluating student work! Brigitte Tenhumberg and I were having a conversation about what we should be trying to get our undergraduate students, especially non-biology majors, to understand about ecology. Like Pielke on politicians, we concluded that it isn't reasonable to expect undergraduate students to become experts in ecology, and therefore it isn't possible for them to determine the validity of claims made in the media (including on the internet), about ecological consequences of various events. It seems as though we ought to be teaching them to evaluate the credibility of the people making the claims - but wow! what a can of worms that idea turns out to be.
So, as an "expert" (not sure in what!) offering my opinions up on the internet via this blog, perhaps the most important thing I can do is provide access to evidence that allows readers to evaluate my credibility on a particular claim.
Hmmm, from my bio in the top right corner it takes 3 clicks to reach an (outdated! oops) copy of my CV - and probably only because I know where to look. Googling my name gives access to that same 2 page vitae (2nd hit) and also my Facebook, linkedin,, Mendeley and Flickr profiles. All that tells someone is that I'm addicted to social networking sites ...

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