Sunday, October 17, 2010

Rock Well To Tell The Spell

Red-faced Cormorants rule the cliffs from their corma-eyries. Truly a gem amongst the non-waterproofed ones.

When dispensing indispensable pieces of wisdom and advice, as I'm prone to do, I frequently finish my advice with the flourish of, "I am a scientist, after all", to add that extra sense of professional credibility.

Which is true.  I am a (currently unemployed) scientist.  It's what I do.  In fact, I science really hard.  Yeah.  I just used it as a verb, and I'm not sorry about it.

Harlequin Ducks and Common Eiders lurk in nearshore waters throughout the Aleutian Islands.  

Most people can respect that.  But, as so many people at each end of the sociopolitical spectrum have pointed out, scientists are TERRIBLE at communicating their knowledge and discoveries to the general public.  Evangelical Christians will tell you this.  Heretic scientists will tell you this.  And, more importantly, I will tell you this.

Ostensibly, one might say that there are many reasons for this distant gap in dialogue.  You could claim that there is no real mechanism in place to give people up-to-date information about some of the big picture things.  You could claim that scientists don't put enough effort into making their research not only available to the public, but easily comprehensible.  You could claim the Right-Wing media purposefully vilifies science, or at the very least filters it to their liking.  And you would be right on all accounts.

Love the kittiwakes.

But there is one true reason at the root of this thing, which is.......scientists are nerds.  

Which should not be news to anyone.  Imagine, for a moment, that we scientists did not get into our respective fields partially (or in some cases, entirely) as a result of our pathetically underdeveloped social skills.  That we could get along with people just as well as animals, microbes, photons, or what have you.  Imagine that we were actually known to be The Great Communicators of our time.....I think the ideological and political landscape would be a bit different (feel free to interpret that to mean "better"). 

Are there exceptions to the rule?  Of course.  But who cares???  The main thrust of this thing is that the next time you meet some self-sequestered, xenophobic, coffee-avoiding, granola-snorting, croc-wearing obnoxious quasihippiebiologist who is incapable of carrying on a conversation with someone outside his/her can do what you think is best.

Aleutian Cackling Geese are one of the few species that have made a strong recovery thanks to the Endangered Species Act.  Common on Buldir, they are also very annoying.

No comments:

Post a Comment