President Obama at the Grand Canyon, photo: US Embassy in Bolivia/Creative Commons.
Considering the dismal state of American knowledge of climate change science, and seeming dwindling enthusiasm for science and math more broadly, every little bit of effort helps: Towards that, the White House is hosting a science fair and President Obama himself will appear on a December 8th episode of Discovery's MythBusters "to inspire young people to excel in math and science." No word exactly what myths the President will be busting. Too bad it's not political myths...he could bust the one about not being able to push Congress to do anything constructive about climate change, renewable energy, or other environmental issues here. He already busted the one that you had to be white to be president.
As far as the White House Science Fair goes, it's happening all week and will culminate with the USA Science and Engineering Festival on the National Mall and at 50 satellite locations. During the event the President will view exhibits of student projects.
Over in the New York Times, Andy Revkin has a great summary of the type of practical work that really needs to be done in science and engineering to cope with current and long-time-coming environment problems:
The time for stasis on science and technology and related education initiatives passed years ago. Without a sustained energy quest, there's no way to chart a smooth ride for humanity toward and past the anticipated 2050 population crest. That's not to say this push should be too energy centric. Re-read this post on the utter lack of international investment in food and agricultural science for more.
Humanity, particularly today's established economic elite, has a lot of work to do. There's a sharp curve in the road up ahead after a two-century, fossil-fueled growth spurt. With a sustained focus on education and inquiry there's a good chance we'll merely scrape the guardrail before rounding the bend and reaching a more balanced approach to fitting our infinite aspirations on a finite planet.
If you can't wait for the President's MythBusters episode, there's of course plenty of MythBusters every Wednesday between now and then at 9pm on Discovery Channel.
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More on Science in America:
Why American Women Accept Climate Change Science More Than Men
On A Climate Change Knowledge Test, Half of Americans Would Flunk
Why the US Lags Behind the Entire World in Understanding Climate Change