Initiative for Science, Society and Policy

Dear Reader,

Welcome to the ISSP newsletter for September, 2012.

Scientific Social Responsibility (SSR) is the core notion in the work of the Initiative for Science, Society and Policy (ISSP). We believe that one of the most important activities within SSR is for scientists and researchers to engage actively with society on important issues. For some this feels more natural, than for others. But no matter what, it is always difficult for anyone to communicate complex ideas to a broader audience. Below you find some interesting contributions by ISSP-profiles in the effort to engage. We hope that you will enjoy them.

Pelle Guldborg Hansen
Director of ISSP

News from :

Markus Schmidt on Building on Building a biological Rosetta Stone: genetic metacodes in the making
In an article on Markus Schmidt of ISSP's Living Technology explains how an attempt by Austrian high school students to brew climate friendly beer help researchers in trying to explore different approaches to improving DNA. By modifying and expanding DNA-code, researchers hope to increase the functionality of genetic code as well as preventing modified genome from spinning out of control. (In Danish)

... Social Software

Pelle Guldborg Hansen on the psychology of dustbins
Can a few green footprints leading to lime-green dustbins work as a nudge to make streets cleaner? Pelle Guldborg Hansen, Director of ISSP and of the social software group, presents an experiment that ultimately led the municipality of Copenhagen to implement this nudge and explains how it actually works. (In Danish)

Pelle Guldborg Hansen on the Danish proposal for prompted choice on organ-donation (.pdf)
Social software goes further than the dustbins. This year Pelle Guldborg Hansen has successfully been advising Danish ‘Social-Liberal Party’ which is part of the current government to adopt prompted choice for organ-donation. In an article published in a journal for Danish doctors and nurses, he explains why prompted choice is preferable on ethical grounds to the current opt-in system as well as the, amongst Danish politicians, increasingly popular op-out system. (In Danish)

... Living Technology

Rachel Armstrong out with a new TED Book
Imagine a city build out of organic material that regenerates itself. It sounds like science fiction but Rachael Armstrong, member of the Living Technology Working Group, has released a TED book on how synthetic biology can become the building bricks of tomorrow.

... SAiNT

Evan Selinger on the philosophy of the technology of the gun

In the wake of the Batman shooting in Colorado (US) Evan Selinger of the SAiNT group wrote this article for The Atlantic, suggesting that the well-known slogan ”Guns don't kill people. People kill people” does not hold up to critical examination. The design and technological properties of a gun prompts a change in the way a gun carrier perceives himself and thus influences his relation to the world.

More from Evan Selinger: Nudge, Nudge: Can Software Prod Us Into Being More Civil?

Evan Selinger also explores another way that technologies interact with social aspects of our everyday lives in a different piece for The Atlantic. He asks whether technologies could be used to make commentary fields on online articles and forums more civil with a nudge. He considers the possibility of implementing ”foul language” detection software that makes people aware of their offensive language and thus give debaters opportunity to revise their contribution. A stronger version of the same software give debaters a 15 minute cool down period before their contribution is submitted.
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Copyright © 2012 Initiative for Science, Society and Policy, All rights reserved.

Pelle Guldborg Hansen, Post. Doc.
Director of ISSP
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