Trump releases his 100 days plan- What for Science?

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Electing Donald Trump as the 45th American President will bring about scads of policy reforms, even faster than the people realize. Starting from freezing the employee recruitments to the scrapping of Obamacare initiatives are all on the list! In addition, the breakneck statements and views of Donald Trump on various scientific facts have also sparked strong reactions among academics. However, the term “Science” has turned out to be a jargon for the Republicans and has found no special mention in the 100 days plan. However, we will have a bird’s eye view on the Trump’s blueprint that he would gift the Americans and the world community this New Year, and figure out if the science facts have been addressed to.

Trump – Throwing on off Policy fetters
Trump’s hard-line positions on immigration — including his commitment towards barring Muslims or terror-prone nationals from entering the US, a plan for wall building across the Mexico borders, imbibing visa restrictions, prioritizing American workers, and the termination of job programs for foreign youths, have surely perturbed the research advocates. Such decisions could sidetrack many talented international students or researchers from studying or working at US institutions. The future of foreign research scholars in the USA could be jeopardized due to such visa restrictions.

Science Facts vs. Trump’s Contradiction- Will it affect R&D funding?
The US has been a major investor of federal dollars in the field of R&D. “The entire business of the US academic biomedical research enterprise is based on federal dollars. Without that, it would collapse,” says Ethan Weiss, an associate professor, University of California. Trump’s shockingly ignorant views on vaccination for children with autism, and calling climate change a hoax and data to be unrealistic, pulling out US (the second most carbon generator) from the Paris climate change submit), curtailing the funds to UN for supporting climate change initiatives, and calling NASA as a logistics agency, have surely put him under the scanner of the intellectuals.
As per the statement released in September, by Donald Trump, he says that “there are increasing demands to curtail spending and to balance the federal budget; we must make the commitment to invest in science, engineering, healthcare and other areas that will make the lives of Americans better, safer and more prosperous.” In an interview by sciencedebate.org, Trump added that “scientific advances do require long-term investment.” In spite of such speculations, the fate of R&D industry is too early to predict. However, before the commencement of 2017, the present US Congress Govt. could approve spending bills before Christmas. These bills will raise the National Institute of Health funding as well as the NSF budget. During the first year of Trump’s presidency, the public funding will be secured.

Uncertain change in the climate
Trump’s election could factor into climate negotiations and be a setback for the upcoming climate change meets. When the world is thinking of implementing Paris agreement, the exit of the US from the Paris summit can be an unfortunate development and the pledge of 800 million USD as the annual contribution to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change may cease. However, legally Trump would not be able to sign off the Summit within his four years tenure.

Donald trump on Healthcare reforms
The Affordable Care Act, an initiative by Obama, which is in its current incarnation, won’t survive if Trump makes good on his campaign promises. By this logic, the funds linked to birth control programs would fade away, though not immediately. Trump may defund Obamacare and associated programs like state grant for medical care. A Trumpian shift to insurance premium deductions and insurance plans sales and the opening of tax-free Health Savings Accounts may not remedy the ultimate problem of high-cost health care services in the US.

Tech Boost and Trump
The Silicon Valley may be benefitted by the manufacturing revival initiative by Trump’s govt. “There are several things that a Trump administration could do that would be beneficial to tech,” says Rob Atkinson, president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation. The export industry will flourish over the import, which will be part and parcel of the shifting away from the traditional start-up model and the adjusted tax and trade policy.

We know very little
The research policies and development across a wide spectrum in the US political scenario are still up in the air and have kept the scientific community optimistic (though cautiously). The outcomes of Trump’s immigration policies are also not clear. This is considered as the central pillar of his campaign, which might or might not affect research. Leighton Ku, a professor at George Washington University, said that “it’s likely that the kinds of highly-skilled scientists who immigrate to the US for school or work would still be welcome. But will they want to come?” This is a billion dollar question that still remains unanswered.

Public Writing on the Web

Multimedia

 

First and foremost, we must keep it in our mind that websites are addressed to users rather than readers. In other words, they must provide information in such a way that it is consistent with the nature of their medium, as well as makes full use of the medium’s resources. Digital capabilities are often grouped under the supportive term multimedia. The multimedia includes text, graphics, sound, video and animation. The potential of multimedia is increasingly being recognized and utilized in most areas of communication, like education, entertainment, business, etc. In fact, new fields of communication have emerged through the use of multimedia applications, such as the creative combination of educational, information and entertainment techniques that has come to be known as edutainment and infotainment. The fact that the digital medium is actually a collection of different media capabilities gives the web designer a singular task to coordinate the different media and produce, through their combination, an effective and compelling result. However, the technology for graphics, sound, video and animation is constantly changing. In this regard, a necessity arises to focus more on the text, about which we will discuss in our next blog.

Email

Email is a very swift method of correspondence. Through an email one can send data or information across the world to multiple recipients in a few seconds, at a fraction of the cost of the courier or postal charges. This is a great advantage but can be a drawback too. As once the sent button is hit there can be no recalling of the information sent. Though some software is found which can retrieve a sent email but it is not popular and easily available.

An email can be seen and read simultaneously by many recipients, open to a more constructive criticism and feedback. Another disadvantage of emails is that due to their ease and simplicity, emails often tend to be associated with speech and casual language rather than formal script, which can lead to miscommunication.

When sending email as part of a professional communication, keep in mind these two points:

  1. An email message is a written text; therefore, it is bound by the conventions of writing. The audience and purpose should determine the relative formality of style and the amount of detail. Ease of transmission and deletion does not justify sloppy composition, wrongly spelt words and ungrammatical sentences. A very common complaint with business emails are that writers seem abrupt and disrespectful and seem written in haste.
  2. Email does not replace hard copy. Printed and signed documents are still considered more binding and formal than soft copy. Therefore, it is always better that even when you email a report for fast transmission, make sure to send a hard copy to formalize the communication. Firstly, it is still easier to lose documents in cyberspace. Secondly, there can be technical glitches’ with electronic communication, whereas print can fall back on the universality and reliability of paper.

The closest hard document to an email message is the memo. Email headers, for instance parallel memo headers, comprising From, To, Subject and Date. Therefore, construct an email message like a memo. This means you should:

  • Begin with an opening address: This could be ‘Dear’ … … for more formal correspondence or ‘Hello … ‘ for less formal. You can omit an opening address if the message is one in a series of reply exchanges on a topic.
  • Place your main message as close to beginning as possible: Give as much information possible in the first paragraph. All details must be given in following paragraphs.
  • Write in full words and paragraphs.
  • Never use uppercase to emphasize anything, its better to italicize the word.
  • End the mail by clear stating the expected response by the person after reading the email.
  • Sign your message with your name and affiliation and contact number.

Other points to be kept in mind while writing an official mail are keep short paragraphs while writing emails. Do not use headings, tables or formatted text in the body of the email. If there is large data then include those in attachments and not in the body of the email.

Use of email is appropriate in cases where even their deletion will not cause any problems. They can be used instead of letters in case of external communication and memos in case of internal communication. It is always better to get a hard copy for binding contracts or information that needs to be recorded.

Print vs. Electronic Writing

Strengths of Print Writing

  • We can read printed documents much easily than electronic ones. Reading online increases reading time by about 25%. This is because the visual resolution of a printed material is about 250 times sharper than the computer screen.
  • Print media offers more portability. We can read a book/newspaper/magazine anywhere without the hassle of hardware.
  • Print materials are faster to skim through. They can also be easily shuffled compared to online pages.
  • It is easier to underline or highlight something on paper.

 

Strengths of Electronic Writing

  • Generally, online publishing is more cost effective than print publishing.
  • Online publishing provides more scope for experimenting with style and space.
  • Colors appear more bright in online pages (use RGB) compared to print pages (use CMYK).
  • It is much easier to edit or update online content. It can be done with just a few clicks. In print media, for updating any information, the whole thing needs to be reprinted, which increases expenditure.
  • The use of multimedia helps to present online materials in a much more pleasing and entertaining manner.

Electronic writing offers more interactivity. For example, in surveys, people respond more readily to online requests.

INTERNET AND WORLD WIDE WEB

In our day-to-day life, we often confuse the Internet with the World Wide Web. However, they both differ to some extent. The internet includes the web, as well as it is the infrastructure level of the medium, including services such as email, etc. On the other hand, the web is the public face of the internet medium, where users access information about products and services by visiting their respective websites.

It is quite necessary to remember that the internet is just a medium and not a document type. It provides the means of transmission and exchange of information presented in different document types. For example, we can’t sent a report via email as an attachment, or post it as a portable document format (pdf) on a site. The document would still be a report, regardless of its medium of transmission. In other words, while composing it, we should follow the conventions and expectations of report writing. Microsoft word, for instance, creates documents that are generally intended to be read in printed form or hard copy, even though they have been created and maybe even sent in a digital medium.

Digital media

Internet provides high visibility at very low cost, making it the most effective and fastest means of global communication. In the age of internet communication, a basic knowledge of the workings of the computer and internet is very necessary for all business environments.

The internet is a storehouse of information and a powerful medium of information distribution. In the present world of information technology knowledge of how the computer works is very important.

The computer is divided into three parts, the hardware, the operating system and software.

The hardware is the actual electronic part of the computer which includes memory, hard drive capacity, different drives or storage space (e.g. CD-ROM, DVD, etc.) and screen.

The powerful the hardware the higher level of work the computer can perform for e.g. for multimedia applications, one needs a computer with large hard drive and minimum megabytes (MB) of memory.

The operating system (OS), or platform, determines general functionality (how the computer works) and interface ( what the design of the screen looks like) It also determines the kind of software that can be installed and run in the computer.

To connect to the Internet, one needs a browser and an ISP (Internet Service Provider). The browser is the software that allows the computer to access data on the World Wide Web; for example, Internet Explorer, Firefox , Google chrome are very popular browsers. The Internet is actually a huge centreless network of computers connected through individual servers – the part of a company’s computer network that connects directly to the Internet. For an individual user, one needs a provider that has a server in order to connect (usually at a set fee). Companies and institutions have their own servers. The web address or URL, Uniform Resource Locator is actually a link to a server. If one wants to publish any material on the Internet, such as a website, one needs a server to host your site.

Submitting Articles for Online Publication

Writing for online magazines is somewhat similar to print journalism, particularly the inverted pyramid format. Also, as in print publishing, it is essential that you should be an avid reader of your magazine before becoming one of its writers. Going through recent articles of the magazine can provide you invaluable tips regarding the expectations of the editors and readers. Another way to analyze the readers of a magazine is through its advertisers. Many online magazines contain ads at the top or the sides of their page. The types of ads that are displayed there throw light on the demographics and psychographics of the target audience.

Browsing various sites will eventually make you familiar with the electronic magazines that might be a good choice for your article. In many sites, there is a link ‘About Us’, which gives information about the editorial angle, audience, and article submission requirements. In order to be on safer grounds, it is always beneficial to email the editor to present your idea and to determine the fee (if applicable), deadlines, and other relevant issues.

With regard to style, online articles are written in a more casual style than print publications. Online articles tend to be a mix of different genres and styles and allow more experimentation in word choice compared to print publications. Also, they should contain shorter sentences and paragraphs because of the restrictions of the screen-based interface. To sum it up, electronic articles have an economy of style in addition to attention-grabbing punches, which is not often expected for print publications.

SUBMITTING AN ARTICLE FOR PUBLICATION

SUBMITTING AN ARTICLE FOR PUBLICATION

 

While deciding to submit an article to a magazine for publication, make sure you are familiar with the topics and styles of your chosen magazine. You have a higher chance of having your article accepted if it fits with the ‘culture’ of the magazine. All magazines have details of the editor, so if you cannot find submission guidelines, contact the editor to request them. This is the editor’s job and, besides, most magazines are looking for fresh ideas and new writers. In most cases, you will be required to submit a proposal summarizing your article, and noting its significance and the types of readers it is likely to interest.

In order to familiarize yourself with the stylistic conventions of your chosen magazine, follow these steps:

1. Read carefully each article in recent issues of the magazine. Note the basic question or issue that they deal with and trace the ways that they answer it.

2. Notice the tone of the articles. Is it humorous? Serious? Technical? Chatty? This will give you a hint on what tone to give your own article.

3. Notice the use of research. Have the writers conducted primary research, such as interviewing people, or are most articles based on secondary research, the consultation of written sources? How many quotations do the articles use? How much information is paraphrased, i.e., written in the writer’s own words?

4. Notice the use of pronouns (‘I’, ‘you’, ‘we’, etc.). Are articles written mostly in an impersonal, objective style or do they rely heavily on personal comment? How does the writer refer to him/herself? Does s/he use personal pronouns?

5. Notice the leads and ties. How long and snappy are they? Do the articles rely strongly on leads to ‘bait’ the reader, or are other elements, such as pictures or quotations of famous speakers, more prominent?

6. Underline the first sentence in each paragraph. They should form a step-by-step sequence. Then note the cohesion that the writers have used: the linking words and phrases within paragraphs and the transitions from one paragraph to the next. Often the same words or ideas will be repeated in the last sentence of one paragraph and the first sentence of the next.

7.  Notice how the articles develop their theme. Is the article structured chronologically, developmentally, by alternating examples, point by point? How did the writer build the organizational structure to answer the title’s question?

8.  What techniques does the writer use to make the article both informative and appealing? E.g., does s/he use analogies, anecdotal examples, metaphors, personal stories, rhetorical questions, direct questions to the readers, etc.?

9.  Notice the title. It may have been changed by the editor; nevertheless, how does it reflect the article? Does it tease, quote, state facts? What technique does the writer use to make the reader want to read the article?

10.  Look at para-textual elements, such as visuals, pullquotes, subheads, etc. Although the editor may have produced these, you can still get an idea of the type of ‘framing’ that the magazine requires, and this will give you some tips on what types of information the editors consider important.

Leads, hooks and ties in professional writing

Scientific and business magazines do not develop in a linear fashion like a news report. These articles differ from a news report in that they need not provide background or justify assertions. These articles are subjective and tell describe to the readers what the writer wants to say about a topic.

A magazine article plunges straight into the description of the product or discovery without wasting too much time in building the background.

The scientific and business article, discusses, immediately showing its relevance to the interests or needs of the reader. It then goes on to present different angles of the topic, starting with the most important and continuing in lessening in importance. It may end abruptly, or with one or two sentences with a comment, opinion or evaluative remark to the preceding discussion.

A magazine reader wants to be slowly pulled into reading an article. The lead is the opening statement that should attract the reader to the article. Its job is to relate the main topic to the reader’s general interests and experience.

A hook is similar to a lead, although it is usually more ‘spicy’ or provocative than a lead. A hook is like a bait to tempt the reader to carry on reading. Avoid abstractions and technical jargon.

A good lead starts by stating a fact and then asking a question about this fact from the reader’s point of view. It then goes on to overview the specifics of what the article will discuss and ends with a statement on the purpose of the article.

Sometimes a short narrative is also used as a lead. The rest of the article is a detailed description of the topic to be discussed.

The tie is an optional device at the end of the article with a comment or question summing up the writer’s attitude towards the topic.

Integrating Quotations in Professional Writing

Quotations are key elements in any kind of writing. In formal writing, they may have a secondary function, but, in journalistic writing, facts and ideas revolve around quotations. Journalists aim to report stories, which are of importance and interest to the readers. Quotations lend credibility to their writing, give voice to the people represented, and add color to the facts. In formal writing, a sentence begins in normal tone and ends with a quotation. In journalistic writing, sentence begins with a quotation and ends with a comment on it. There is another notable difference between formal and journalistic writing. In formal writing, the sources (full references) of the quotations are placed either as footnotes (bottom of each page) or at the end of the text as a Reference List. On the other hand, in journalistic writing, the person’s name and affiliation are preferably mentioned in the sentence itself. Each quotation should be followed by its analysis, usually in one or more sentences, explaining why it is interesting and its significance. If the quotation is quite long and complex, it should be followed-up with a brief summary, which explains in what manner it helps your cause. Quotations (when used in a proper way) lend persuasion and strength to your main argument. However, one thing must be kept in mind; quotations can only supplement your argument, they should not be treated as the main argument.