New PCAST Meeting Tomorrow (3/8/11)

Keeping with past practice, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) is meeting again tomorrow.  This is the second meeting of the new year, and the tenth meeting of PCAST in this administration.  As usual, the meeting will be webcast, but they ask for people attending in person to register.

The public meeting is relatively short this time, and per the latest agenda, there are no emergent subject themes as there have been in the past.  In fact, a large chunk of the meeting is focused on active and past reports by the Council, specifically on higher education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM); biodiversity preservation and sustainability; and influenza.  The topic of influenza was part of two PCAST reports in connection with the 2009 H1N1 virus, and the briefing will focus on how the report recommendations have (or have not) been adopted.  The STEM report is actually new, as the one released last year focused on K-12 education.

Personally, I’m most looking forward to hearing from the Chief Statistician, which I didn’t even know was an official government position, but it is part of the Office of Management and Budget, specifically the Statistics Policy Office which is part of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.  Ms. Wallman has served as Chief Statistician since 1992.

The meeting is scheduled to start tomorrow morning at 10 a.m. Eastern, and run until 5 p.m.  Visit the PCAST website in order to find the webcast.


Science and Technology Guests on Late Night, Week of March 7

The major network late night shows are mostly off this week (Craig Ferguson’s Late Late Show the exception).

The guests of note are early in the week.  Tonight on The Colbert Report, Joshua Foer, author of Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything.  As part of the work for the book, Foer trained for and won the 2006 USA Memory Championships.  Tomorrow on The Daily Show Brian Christian visits to talk about his new book, The Most Human Human.  It covers Christian’s entry in the 2009 Turing Test competition, where judges try and determine from text message conversations whether they are talking with a human or a computer.

There are some other guests worth noting, though their content may not pass muster.  In the animal experts category, Nigel Marven will appear on Conan Tuesday night, and Nick de Vos will be on Chelsea Lately Wednesday.  David Brooks, New York Times columnist and amateur armchair sociologist, will have time with Stephen Colbert on Wednesday.  His latest book, The Social Animal, appears to throw in some neuroscience with his sociological musings.  How accurate it is, or how well it might support Brooks’ arguments, is unclear.  The book will be officially launched tomorrow.