The trouble with letters is there’s never a microphone to help fill in the gaps. Nevertheless, Gordon Brown has finally delivered his letter to CaSE putting forward Labour’s ideas on science policy and acting as a launch for the Science Manifesto of the party. The Times analyses his answers here. They also put out an interactive map to carry on from their predictions of what constituencies can expected to be represented by a scientist, or someone with a science related background, over here.
Will it all alter the polls? How would we know? The proper use of statistics is one of the most difficult things to track in politics, as the Times mentions here. This is one bugbear that Sense about Science and Straight Statistics plan to combat with a leaflet (and a longer version).
Meanwhile, internationally there was a bit of space policy activity about. The European Parliament entertained three astronauts and a former Cosmonaut MEP as well as linking up to the International Space Station as part of an exhibition on amateur radio users and space. Charles Bolden, Administrator of NASA, wrote of the imperitive of the space policy in an article in the Houston Chronicle. There’s also a nice set of pictures in Wired.com about our most self sustaining outposts, the research stations in Antarctica, specifically France’s Concordia, Germany’s Neumayer III, the USA’s Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, the UK’s Halley VI, South Africa’s Sanae IV and Belgium’s Princess Elisabeth, which won’t be seeing a Governmental visit any time soon as due to constitutional problems, Belgium, like internationally governed Antarctica, doesn’t seem to have one at the moment.
The American Geophysical Union, one of the largest global collectives for scientists involved in Earth (including auroral) studies has had a day out at Congress, one of two annually. This video is from their Youtube Channel:
…and finally, one thing to remember is that to have a science policy, you need scientists, which requires inspiration. The astrophysicist Dr Neil deGrasse Tyson started out on an interest in astronomy in much the same way as I did (the London Planetarium, RIP, in my own case) and explains his inspiration on the NOVA Online Youtube Channel, here: