Check out this amazing photo set of covers from a Soviet popular science magazine. I love the enthusiasm for technology and movement mixed with the iconography of Soviet-era propaganda. Space/military/industry become a seamless, larger-than-life mix.

Via Coudal Partners.


As Americans debate the advantages of including science funding in the economic recovery package, scientists in France are taking it to the streets. French scientists have been on strike since the beginning of February, a response to funding and higher education reforms that would impact the relative stability of researchers’ employment thanks to current state control of funding and academic appointments.

Science Insider included some (translated) excerpts from Sarkozy’s speech:

I don’t see at all how a system of weak universities, led by a finicky central government, could be an efficient weapon in the battle for intelligence. On the contrary, it’s a system that infantilizes and paralyzes creativity and innovation. That’s why we gave the universities autonomy …

No other country has produced so many institutes, agencies, groups and other microscopic organizations that dilute means and responsibilities, pull every which way, and waste time and money …

Is science just a question of financial means and jobs? How then do we explain that with science spending higher than in Great Britain, and about 15% more researchers than our English friends, France is well behind in its scientific production? Somebody better explain that to me! More researchers, fewer publications, and excuse me, I don’t want to be unpleasant, with a comparable budget, a French researcher publishes 30% to 50% less than a British one in some sectors …

And you really have to see how fired up he is:

It’s interesting to see how another country, one with a system quite different from the cutthroat environment American scientists face, is struggling with similar issues of institutional structuring and productivity. But while the arguments in the US question the benefits of government-funded science and the relative economic impact of funding slippery ideas like “creativity” and “innovation”, Sarkozy uses these words to lash out against French scientists and decentralize the funding power into the hands of universities.

How do representations of science contribute to forming a worldview?

I arrive at my own answer to this question through consuming science in the media and my own work in Washington, DC as an intern/aspiring science writer.

The name “Views from Somewhere” is one piece of the answer. I borrowed the phrase from Donna Haraway, a feminist scholar and scientist, whose view on science can be explained by her belief that knowledge is situated, taken from partial views and positions in the ongoing formation of a new whole.

Watch for guest posts from others who want to join the conversation about where their own understanding of science comes from.