SETI bioastro: Fw: So Much Information

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Date: Sat Feb 16 2002 - 09:28:15 PST

----- Original Message -----
From: Barry Karr
Sent: Friday, February 15, 2002 2:08 PM
Subject: So Much Information

Special Sneak Preview (and subject to change):

1) AAAS Meeting In Boston (CSICOP Members as Speakers)
2) CSICOP Notes - New at the Skeptiseum
3) Kudos To Uncle Sam: FTC Says Psychic Hot Line Is Fraud

1) AAAS Meeting in Boston

Three CSICOP-affiliated speakers will be presenting this weekend at the
annual American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) meetings
in Boston, Massachusetts. Presenters include CSICOP fellows Eugenie Scott
and John Allan Paulos, as well as CSICOP on-line columnist Matt Nisbet.

Scott is director of the National Center for Science Education. Paulos is
professor of mathematics at Temple University. Nisbet is a doctoral
student in science and political communication at Cornell University.

All presentations will be held at the Marriott Copley Place, Sheraton
Boston, and the Hynes Convention Center. The venues are connected by an
indoor shopping mall and climate-controlled sky-bridges. Details on topics,
dates, and times are listed below.


2002 Genome Seminar
Genomes Around Us: What Are We Learning?
Saturday, February 16 - Sunday, February 17, 2002
ORGANIZED BY: J. Craig Venter, Celera Genomics; Claire Fraser, The
Institute for Genomic Research; Barbara Jasny, Science Magazine

The completion of a draft sequence of the human genome has heightened
awareness ofthe importance and vast potentials for genomic studies. As
information accumulates about an increasing variety of organisms, our
knowledge of the natural world, humans in particular, and an array of
diseases and disease processes will continue to expand. This continuing
annual seminar brings together leading researchers to examine the many
avenues for study and learning that derive from our greater understanding
of human and other genomes. Areas to be addressed include new ways of using
genomic information, the genome and society, genomics and developing
countries, genomes and food, and the many "genomes around us."

Saturday, February 16, 2002
3:00PM - 6:00PM

Genomes, Evolution, and Society Interpretive Genomics with Sophisticated
Evolutionary Models:
Steve Benner, University of Florida, Gainesville

How Many Human Genes?:
Victor Velculescu, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Race, Genomics, and Medicine:
J. Craig Venter, Celera Genomics

Genomics, Evolution, and Anitevolution:
Eugenie Scott, National Center for Science Education

Clinical Evolution of Genomics Applications:
Judy Garber, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute


TRACK: Science and Society
TITLE: Show Me the Data! Wanted: More Accuracy in Media Reporting
DATE: Friday, February 15, 2002
TIME: 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon
ORGANIZERS: Leon H. Seitelman, University of Connecticut

Leon H. Seitelman (Speaker),University of Connecticut: The Minefield of
Reporting Scientific Data: What's Needed, and Why
John Allan Paulos (Speaker),Temple University: A Mathematician Reads the
Constantine J. Maletskos (Speaker),Gloucester: The Saga of the U.S. Radium
Toxicity Studies
Donald Rubin (Speaker),Harvard University: The Use of Surrogate Outcomes in
Experiments of Anthrax Vaccine
Michael O. Finkelstein (Speaker),Columbia Law School: The Legal Reception
of Statistical Evidence in the Implant Cases
Terrence Moran (Speaker),New York University: Science in the Media

Applications of mathematical and statistical modeling are pervasive in
modern society, from interpretations of sociological and epidemiological
studies in professional journals, to reporting of economic data and
projected trends in the Wall Street Journal, to presentation of polling
data and bar graphs in USA Today. When this information is incompletely
understood or incorrectly interpreted, the consequences can be more than
simply inconvenient; the bankrupting of Dow Corning as a result of the
breast implant controversy, and the economic hardship to apple growers in
Washington State as a result of the alar scare, are two examples that
spring to mind. Many other subjects, including the fairness and
completeness of the Florida vote in the 2000 Presidential election, and the
validity of perceived linkages between cancer cases and cell phone usage,
or proximity of power lines, beg further scrutiny. The scientific
community's technical expertise, by helping the public to distinguish fact
from fiction in the interpretation of data, can inform and improve public
policy choices. This symposium is organized by the principle that citizens
need to be made aware of the limitations in models, and the misuse of
statistics, where they occur. Experts in mathematical modeling and
statistics and subject areas will provide insight into use (and abuse) of
these techniques, using examples and case studies from a broad range of
applications. The discussion includes observations about how recent
cultural change, particularly television, has redefined reality, and the
presentation and perception of information, and has affected this process
of public education.


TRACK: Science and the Public Trust
TITLE: Biotechnology Policy in Europe and North America: A Roundtable
DATE: Friday, February 15, 2002
TIME: 2:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
ORGANIZERS: Susanna Hornig Priest, Texas A&M University
Helge Torgersen (Speaker),Institute for Technology Assessment, Austrian
Academy of Sciences, Austria: Austria and the European Mainstream: Parting
Timo Rusanen (Speaker),University of Kuopio, Finland: Challenging the Risk
Society: The Case of Finland
Suzanne de Cheveigné (Speaker),Laboratoire Communications et Politique,
France: Biotechnology Policy in France: Centralized Government or Citizen
Jüergen Hampel (Speaker),Center of Technology Assessment in
Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany: Biotechnology in Germany: Between Boom and Bust
Urs Dahinden (Speaker),Universitat Zurich, Switzerland: Biotechnology in
Switzerland: From Street Demonstrations to Regulations
Edna F. Einsiedel (Speaker),University of Calgary: Food Labeling as
Battleground in the GMO Food Debate
Martin Bauer (Speaker),London School of Economics, United Kingdom: Ethics,
Ethos, and Trust in the Global Biotechnology Debate: The UK Experience
Bruce V. Lewenstein (Speaker),Cornell University: Biotechnology in the U.S.
Public Sphere, 1970-1999: Media and Policy Interactions
Matthew C. Nisbet (Speaker),Cornell University: CO/W Bruce Lewenstein

The volatile public response to emerging biotechnology, both agricultural
and medical, has challenged policymakers and members of the scientific
community to consider issues of public trust and accountability across
national boundaries in new ways. Policy development in Europe and North
America has taken place in diverse media and public opinion climates,
within divergent political cultures, producing different strategies and
outcomes. The widespread perception in the U.S. has been that national
differences in media reports and other cultural factors are largely
responsible for differing policy outcomes, but this perception may mask
other possible explanations. Different approaches to managing uncertainty,
assessing technologies, and providing for public participation in policy
development also exist. Heavy industrial investment in biotechnology-based
research may strain the existing social contract between the scientific
community and the public, and these dynamics may play out in different ways
in particular national contexts. Like perhaps no other contemporary set of
scientific developments, the emergence of biotechnology has forced the
scientific community to reexamine its relationship to society. This panel
examines some of the factors shaping biotechnology policy development in
specific cases involving Austria, Canada, Finland, France, Germany,
Switzerland, the U.K. and the U.S. Two panels address the view from
continental Europe and from North America and the U.K.

2) CSICOP Notes

Contact: Kevin Christopher, PR Director, CSICOP

February 15, 2002

Skeptiseum Feature Gallery on Creationism, In Time for Darwin's Birthday
Correction on CSICOP In the News

In honor of Charles Darwin's birthday on February 12, CSICOP Announces the
opening of its new Feature Gallery, devoted to the subject of Creationism.
Check it out at and click on the "Feature Exhibit"
link in the side bar. Anyone interested in finding out more about the nearly
100 celebrations of Darwin's birthday worldwide should visit the Web site.

I'd like to correct an error of omission in that January 28, 2002, CSICOP In
the News. The author of the article "Nauka, Antinauka, i mi Rovoy Krizis"
which covered the Skeptic's Conference in Moscow last year and appeared in
the Russian magazine "Nauka i Zhizn" (Science & Life) was Tatyana Zimina.

3) Kudos To Uncle Sam: FTC Says Psychic Hot Line Is Fraud

She Didn't See It Coming
FTC shuts down Miss Cleo's psychic hotline for fraud.

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