Thursday, August 26, 2004


I wish to welcome everyone who visits this little piece of my cyber-real-estate.

First, let me say a couple of words about myself - you will get a bigger picture if you read my posts, I hope.

I am a biologist, finishing my PhD in the Department of Zoology at North Carolina State University. I am trying to discriminate between genetic, hormonal and other sources of strain, sex, and inidividual differences in the development and function of the circadian clock, using Japanese quail as my laboratory model.

I came to the USA in 1991. and became a US citizen in 1998. A couple of months later I voted in my first election in this country and I remember whose name I checked first on my first ballot: John Reid Edwards for Senate.

In 2000, when GW Bush announced his candidacy my first thought was: oh-oh...Germany...early 1930s. I had never any illusion that he will "rule" as a "uniter", elected with no mandate. I thought to myself: "Did I run away from one dictatorship just to find myself in another dictatorship?".

So, I started to look into ways to become more politically informed and involved. The Democratic primaries were just such an opportunity. I checked all 10 candidates online, and liked John Edwards (JRE) the best. I started blogging on his campaign blog in September 2003. I blogged madly for hours every day, dozens of entries per day - it was an exhillarating experience. I met him in person twice and saw him speak live three times.

After Edwards suspended his campaign after the Super Tuesday, his blog became One America Committee (OAC) blog which I visited occasionally but rarely posted on. Instead I started posting on forum, a place more in tune with my sensibilities and needs. I always liked Kerry - he was my number 2 choice in the primaries - as he is the most science-friendly contender this year. Especially once he picked JRE for VP, I had no problem campaigning for him for President and am looking forward to his Presidency. Locally, I am also involved in the campaign of Erskine Bowles for Senate.

A couple of weeks ago, the OAC blog shut down and I decided to start this blog to preserve some of the old posts I wrote there, then continue with the new material in the future. The slashdot format of the JRE blog, as modified by Chris Winn, was an ideal format for a campaign blog, better than any of the other candidates' blogs. It allowed both for fast coverage of events in real time, and for long thoughtful discussions of issues. Cheerleading and troll-bashing were part of the fun, too. Some of my posts re-posted here show the kinds of discussions we used to have there. Most of my posts were links to the interesting online articles - I was known as the News Guru on the old blog.

The name of my blog is "Science and Politics". Most of the posts here are more politics than science, but that will change after the elections. I intend to cover four ways science and politics are intertwined:

1 - How findings from neurobiology, ethology, anthroplogy, psychology etc., can be used to explain why people think and believe the way they do. How media and advertising affect people's politics. How is language used to form opinion.

2 - How one's political, ideological and religious bias affects one's interpretation of scientific data. How science, as a human endeavor, works and how that changed through history.

3 - How scientific knowledge affects (or should affect) public policy. Think of global warming, endangered species, space exploration, drilling for oil, depositing nuclear waste, cutting off tops of mountains, abortion, cloning, stem-cell research, genetically modified crops and animals, biotech and pharma industries, epidemiology of various diseases like SARS and AIDS, contraception, evolution of drug resistance, etc. Also, how technology, particularly Internet, has started to affect the political process.

4 - How politics affects science, e.g., science funding, science education, international collaboration, health education, sex education, creationism in schools, businessification of the University, effects of animal rights agenda on research, etc.

I hope we will have fun here. Please dig through the archives and post comments. Let's get started!

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