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Christina's LIS Rant
Saturday, April 05, 2008
  STGlobal2008: Opening Plenary
The wireless there didn't work, so I'm entering these later. This is the STS Grad Student conference sponsored by a bunch of universities and the AAAS. It's being held April 5-6 at AAAS off of New York Avenue in D.C.

Flattening the World: The role of science and tech policy in …
Dr. Nina Fedoroff
Science adviser to State and USAID

Digital divide is a more complex problem than just cheap laptops and cell phones will address
Collier(2007) The Bottom Billion. Oxford U Press – educational capacity, sending students to western countries for education frequently doesn’t serve home country, but increases brain-drain
shift LDCs from recipient to partner in growing world

Few farmers (in developed world) due to scientific advances but in Africa families still need to grow own food so can’t do science or …
Thomas Malthus
Norman Borlaug
revolution in food growing > increase in population
rising food prices due to biofuel usage of arable land
may not make sense to send food surpluses to LDCs, instead to convert to biofuel crops
plus environmental impact of clearing land to grow more biofuel inputs

Post cold-war
Nunn & Lugar (CTR – Cooperative Threat Reduction), and Soros – science/scientists in post-Soviet Russia
(Soros – library assistance program) (CRDF – civilian research development foundation)

State has ~30 AAAS Fellows
Example: Rao, phd in molecular bio, post Soviet biological warfare manufacturing facilities > biotechnology for disease surveillance, public health … biosecurity engagement program (Asia & Middle East)

Example 2: Dehgan, redirecting Iraqi weapons scientists, virtual science library (run by DTIC, I think? hm, she says CRDF but I thought DTIC – maybe 2 projects? or 3 including programs from the publishers themselves?)

Gates – World Economic Forum 2008 in Davos
Connect people who know about breakthroughs with people who know needs of developing world

Jefferson Science Fellowships
(tenured professors)
example: Awadelkarim (from Penn State, originally from Sudan)

All problems have a science aspect
can help food problem (thus free people for science, etc)
- by gm crops – more productive, use less water – help water problem
- contemporary molecular methods required to work these problems
Example: BT corn
- all good, no problems for butterflies (really?)
- but banned many places due to disinformation (really?)

Q&A
Was there discussion in gov’t about impact of biofuels policy on food market?
A: gov’t view is that biofuels policy is only a very small part of food prices
her personal view: 2 factors- 1) neglect in investment in ag 2) china and industrialization, rising affluence – more meat eating which is less efficient also biotech hasn’t had as great a positive impact as it could

My Q: disconnect between access to the literature (which we’re already doing through many different programs) and doing good on the ground
A: open courseware (but needs internet), programs between universities and African Universities and organizations to: train professors, work together on problems, and do training on the ground

Q: global warming impacts poorest the most, please talk to the students, about studying global warming related policies when the current administration is known for being negative/hostile towards science (from George Mason professor)
A: her bosses appreciate the importance of science, has been some investment in global climate change, but there are important roles for science policy specialists in State and USAID – although those two organizations have traditionally been generalists

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This is my blog on library and information science. I'm into Sci/Tech libraries, special libraries, personal information management, sci/tech scholarly comms.... My name is Christina Pikas and I'm a librarian in a physics, astronomy, math, computer science, and engineering library. I'm also a doctoral student at Maryland. Any opinions expressed here are strictly my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer or CLIS. You may reach me via e-mail at cpikas {at} gmail {dot} com.

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Christina Kirk Pikas

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