Long-distance learning in our #PaceBlog class discussion of online platforms tonight (photo by Elise Vaux).

Long-distance learning in our #PaceBlog class discussion of online platforms tonight (photo by Elise Vaux).

Valuable vintage papers on merits of “mundane science” in pursuing sustainable development

Two priceless papers on undervalued “applied” science, co-authored by Dan Kammen in the ’90s, still resonate today: “Science and Engineering Research That Values the Planet" (with Arne Jacobson) and "The Virtues of Mundane Science" (with Michael Dove). Here’s the conclusion of the "mundane" paper:

"There are a number of ways to give such initiatives a larger role in research and policy decisions. These include giving much more support to academic-industry and academic-practitioner partnerships; extending academic boundaries to encompass the entire range of human-environment interactions; breaking down the often antagonistic division between development professionals and academia; instituting a more open review process for development publications, projects, and institutions; removing the barrier between development planners and the intended beneficiaries or local populations; and addressing the frequently counterproductive tension between pure and applied research. The primary obstacles to implementing these proposals are cultural and institutional, not scientific. Expanding our commitment to mundane science requires that we overcome a Catch-22, however: Mundane issues generate little interest until a crisis emerges, at which point a solution is expected at once because the problem appears to be so simple. Unless we overcome the bias against mundane science, we will be wedded to shortsighted, partial solutions to emerging issues in development and the environment. Serious research requires a commitment to sustained periods of training, preparation, and support, which mundane science rarely receives. A valuable principle to use in the design and evaluation of sustainable development initiatives is that of use-inspired basic research, which – however basic the science involved – has a clear focus on applications…."

Should Fin Whales Be a Source of Wonder or Meat?

@DRgrist, after a year offline, talks with #PaceBlog students about lessons learned and what led him back to blogging. For more, read of his epic struggles and joys in Outside Magazine and here’s a @dotearth post on his return.

Birdwatching: Increasingly a moving target via global warming. Animated range map part of @AudubonSocity Birds & Climate Report.

Birdwatching: Increasingly a moving target via global warming. Animated range map part of @AudubonSocity Birds & Climate Report.

A Closer Look at the Ebola Epidemic in the Context of Ecological Health.
El Niño still elusive, says @WMOnews: Despite warming of the Tropical Pacific Ocean up until June, the overlaying atmosphere largely failed to respond. As a result, ocean temperature anomalies along the equator have decreased over the past two months. Changes in the wind patterns in early-August brought some weak re-warming, but winds have now returned to near normal in the western Pacific, while the pattern of cloudiness has remained largely neutral. Despite the recent observations, models and expert opinion suggest that the development of a weak El Niño event in the coming several months remains quite possible, with probability of at least 60%. National Meteorological and Hydrological Services and other agencies will continue to monitor Pacific Ocean conditions for further El Niño developments, and will assess the most likely local impacts….

El Niño still elusive, says @WMOnewsDespite warming of the Tropical Pacific Ocean up until June, the overlaying atmosphere largely failed to respond. As a result, ocean temperature anomalies along the equator have decreased over the past two months. Changes in the wind patterns in early-August brought some weak re-warming, but winds have now returned to near normal in the western Pacific, while the pattern of cloudiness has remained largely neutral. Despite the recent observations, models and expert opinion suggest that the development of a weak El Niño event in the coming several months remains quite possible, with probability of at least 60%. National Meteorological and Hydrological Services and other agencies will continue to monitor Pacific Ocean conditions for further El Niño developments, and will assess the most likely local impacts….

#PaceUniversity Academy for Applied Enviro. Studies campus campaign is on smart energy choices this year. 

#PaceUniversity Academy for Applied Enviro. Studies campus campaign is on smart energy choices this year. 

The cigarettes change, but the litter’s the same. Fresh-dropped in Hudson Highlands State Park.

The cigarettes change, but the litter’s the same. Fresh-dropped in Hudson Highlands State Park.

@NOAA tightens bluefin tuna management plan. (via @pewtrusts)