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.

Planning an oral presentation

Learning the art of presentation of research findings is very important for graduate students. You  may have obtained very speaking interesting results, but communicating your findings effectively is also very important. This article discusses how to make an effective oral presentation; it can be a conference presentation or in-house symposium presentation or thesis presentation. You need to work on few basic aspects to deliver a good lecture: Timing, Audience, Content, Organization, Presentation tool, and Tone and body-language of the speaker.

Timing: First, find out the duration of presentation, whether it is a 15 min (presentation: 10 min + question: 5 min) or 45 min or 60 min. It is better to finish little early, rather than overshooting the recommended duration. Overshooting presentation time is not only against professional courtesy, but also reflects lack of preparation. Therefore, it is extremely important to plan your presentation according to the recommended duration. Obviously, planning for a 10 min talk would definitely be different from a 60 min lecture. For the short talk, you only have to show the key points without discussing much on the individual research methods. However, for a 60 min lecture, you may elaborate on important research methods used for your study.

Audience: The success of a presentation lies on your ability to understand your audience and accordingly make the presentation. Now how to get an idea about the audience will you have. Well, that’s not very hard to find out. If it is a conference of specialized field (e.g., Asian Society of Spectroscopy, Experimental NMR conference, etc.) or thesis presentation, you may audienceexpect peers or experts of the field as your audience. On the other hand, if you are presenting in conferences, like American Chemical Society or Royal Society of Chemistry, you may expect general audiences from various fields of Chemistry. When you are presenting in front of peers or experts of a particular field, you need not have to bother about jargons or acronyms or technical terms regularly used in your field. However, for general audience, you need to define them or restricting yourself not to use much jargons. If you need to use such term, then make an effort to explain those to your audience. You may expect more general audience when you are going to deliver a talk in a college or in a university set up, where students and teachers from diverse fields of science may be present. Here, you need to be more cautious about the planning of your talk. Always remember that the objective of your presentation is to communicate your research findings effectively with your audience, and they should at least understand the overall implication of your work.

Content: Well, you need not present all the details. Plan the content of your presentation keeping in mind the “timing” and “audience”. Before deciding the content, think about the “take home message” you want to give the audience. To make your presentation interesting, take a step back and think what made you interested to take up this project, while working on this project what are the new things you learnt, and what are the main points you want the audience to remember after you finish your presentation.

Organization of contents: Once you have decided the contents, it is time to organize them. Following is a rough outline:

  1. First wish the audience and introduce yourself and then start your presentation
  2. Title: make it interesting but simple
  3. Background of the project: keep it brief
  4. Objective: what made you undertake this project and what would you like to examine
  5. Methods: keep it brief highlight the key points (use flow diagrams/schematics/pictures/ short video clip for showing actual reaction or experiment), but save some extra slides at the end of the presentation so that if somebody is interested to know the actual method,those slides would be helpful.
  6. Results: the most important part, show only the key results. Club the similar type of results together instead of showing single graph for each parameter. Never forget to show control while comparing.
  7. Discussion: compare the related work by others
  8. Conclusions and future direction
  9. Acknowledgement

Use flow diagrams, schematics and minimize the use of text. Write the bullet points not a whole paragraph of text.

Presentation tool: These days people rarely use transparent sheets for presentation. Everybody uses power-point, the most effective tool for presentation. Few points to remember while using power-point:

  1. Choose background color and text color in such a way so that it would be visible in more or less any interior lighting. Do not go for fancy, keep it basic. Most importantly, be consistent throughout. Do not use different background color for different slide.
  2. Choose font and font size so that it should be visible from the last row of audience in a standard size of lecture room. For heading choose one size and another for text, but be consistent throughout the document.
  3. Do not play with colors. Use multiple colors only when required to distinguish or highlight some points.
  4. You may use animation but do not overdo it. Use only if required.
  5. It is okay to waste slide space but never over-crowd slides.

Tone and body-language of the speaker: Talk in an audible voice so that everybody can hear you. Talk slowly and pronounce clearly each tone and body language word. Always face the audience and never read your slides line by line. Make eye-contact with your audience. Do not be nervous. Practice and give mock presentation in front of your labmates or friends. If you are afraid of forgetting something, bring notes. Think about the questions audience may ask. While giving mock presentation, ask your labmates or friends to ask questions. Keep some back-up slides, you may need while answering some question. However, it is okay to say “I don’t know” rather trying to give a vague answer which actually you do not know. Practice makes one much refined and confident, but never be overconfident or aggressive to prove your point. Try to address the questions with proper scientific reasoning. Finally, dress well — dress like a professional.

Practice…….. Practice…….Practice…….

Japan’s Contribution to World Research

Since the 1980s, Japan has emerged at the forefront of research in several fields and has made path-breaking contributions in the global arena. This is the outcome of significant investment in R&D activities and the centers of excellence in the form of more than 30 leading universities. In fact, together with the U.S. and Europe, Japan ranks among the topmost countries as a proven leader in the global effort toward research and development.

International recognition of Japan’s contribution to World Research

Expectedly, Thomson Scientific, a leading provider of information solutions, has repeatedly recognized Japan’s ongoing impact on global research through the years. In 2007, 17 leading Japanese scientists were honored with the Thomson Research Front Award. The selection was made on the basis of an analysis of communication among scientists and the fact that the Japanese scientists published research papers that were among the most highly cited papers around the world.

More recently, in December 2012, Japanese organizations dominated the Top 100 Global Innovators list announced by the IP & Science business of Thomson Reuters, the world’s leading featured provider of intelligent information for businesses and professionals. While the U.S. led globally with 47 organizations in the list, there were 25 Japanese organizations out of a total of 32 organizations from Asia. Such recognition shows that Japanese researchers and innovators are at the forefront of global research.

While Japan’s excellence in electronics is a well-established fact, researchers in Japan have a proven track record in the fields of medicine and science, as evident in the long list of Nobel laureates from Japan.

Japan has particularly excelled in medical research in the streams of nuclear medicine, cardiovascular diseases, infectious diseases, and rheumatology. A database analysis of research papers in nuclear medicine published in reputed research journals during the 1990s shows that Japanese researchers contributed more than 11% of the total papers and rank second behind the U.S.

It might be logical to assume that the excellence of medical research in Japan is a direct result of the increasing investment by both public and private sectors in the field of biomedical R&D. Not surprisingly, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine on January 2, 2014, reveals that such investment from the private sector surged from $20.9 billion in 2007 to $27.6 billion in 2012. At the macro level, Japan’s total spending on medical research increased by $9 billion and accounted for 13.8% of the world’s total research spending. To put things in perspective, the study emphasizes that the U.S. had a reduced spending on medical research over the same period.

Japan’s capacity to innovate, coupled with researchers par excellence, can surely lead the country to scale newer heights in research and to continue its contribution to the global research pool.

Press release

In an era of unprecedented information overload, there is always a danger of your news being overlooked by the media. Press release plays an important role in spreading the word to the media, which acts as a link between the news and public. A press release is the official version of a company or person about any issue to the media. Press releases target media persons or houses to announce something novel or important work or events. Press releases can also be follow-up reports about new developments or clarifications about an ongoing issue.

Press releases are given by hand or sent through e-mail, fax, post or are up loaded in a company’s website. They can also be part of a full press kit along with testimonials, quotes and additional information which will help the reporter make a good story.

The information in a press release cannot be uncontrolled; therefore, the facts and information should be given in a clear and concise manner which cannot be misinterpreted. Clear organization and adequate facts are the thumb rule of a good press release.  A press release is written in an inverted pyramid style.

Parts of a Press Release:

a) Headline: This is the most important line in a release it decides the fate of the news whether it will be considered newsworthy or not by the reporter and it is always in the present tense.

b) Sub headline: This line explains and expands the headline, filling in information with names and the implications of the headline.

c) Lead paragraph: This paragraph contains the 5Ws and 1H (who, what, when, where and how) of the news.

d) Body: The subsequent paragraphs provide additional information and official quotes.

e) Address bar: Placed at the end of the press release it contains contact information, mobile number and website address.

Note: For immediate release or embargo time for release is clearly mentioned in the top of a press release

Things to Remember:

  • Write with an audience in mind; make the news release in form of a news story.
  • Do not exaggerate, make false claims, stick to correct facts and figures, avoid hyperboles like path breaking, unique, etc.
  • Always write objectively as a journalist, avoid subjective references like “I” or “we” other than in a quote.
  • Copy a good newspaper writing style while writing a press release.
  • Follow the K.I.S.S rule, keep it simple and short. If you can put your information in two pages, good, but one page is even better.

Follow up with a call to confirm if the targeted person has received the press release or not.

Pass

Pass= (1) go across: We passed the place where the accident had occurred.(2) move past: He passed his teacher in the hall.(3) to come to an end: The water crisis passed.(4) be approved: The bill passed the house.(5) transmit information: Please pass the information to all of your friends.

You spend your holidays/a period of time somewhere (Not pass): We spent a lazy afternoon down by the river.

When pass is used in connection with time, it is usually intransitive: Two weeks passed and there was still no reply.

In sentences about the passage of time, the subject of pass is always a time phrase: Another five minutes passed and the taxi still didn’t appear. This pattern is used mainly in narrative styles.

Pass up = when you give a piece of written work to a teacher, lecturer, etc., you hand it in: All assignment have to be handed in by Monday 3rd October.

Pardon

Pardon = (formal) forgive; the act of excusing a mistake: I’m sure they will pardon the occasional mistake.

Excuse = give someone permission to stay away from school, work etc., or leave a classroom, meeting etc.: Can I be excused from swimming today please?

I beg your pardon is used (1) to apologize to a stranger because you have bumped into them by accident, sat in their seat by mistake, etc.: I beg your pardon. I didn’t know the table was reserved. (2) to politely ask someone to repeat what they have said: Does this bus go to Marble Arch?I beg your pardon? (3) when someone has said something that makes you feel surprised, shocked, angry etc.: Who’s that woman with long hair?I beg your pardon! That happens to be my wife.

In formal situations, you can use excuse/forgive me instead of I’m sorry: Please excuse me for taking so long to answer your letter.

Painful

Painful = (1) causing physical or psychological pain: The finger I trapped in the door is still very painful. The child wriggled free and gave me a painful kick on the ankle.His mischievous behavior brought back lot of painful memories.(2) causing misery, pain or distress: The painful process of treatment is going on. (3) exceptionally bad or displeasing: This movie was painful to watch.

Overdue

Overdue= (1) (of payment) past due; being unpaid by the assigned date or at the scheduled time: The electric bill was two months overdue.An overdue installment.

Be/become overdue is used of payments, library books, video films that you have rented etc.: Even if the books are only one day overdue, you still have to pay a fine.

Expire is used of a license, contract, membership card, etc.: I wanted to pay by visa, but my card has expired.I suddenly realized that my driving license had expired.

Outdoor

Outdoor (WITHOUT s) is an adjective. Outdoor = located, suited for, or taking place in the open air: He enjoys the outdoor life.There are many outdoor activities in and around  Coimbra.

Outdoors (WITH s) is an adverb. Outdoors = outside a building: He likes to work outdoors.

Outside = when you mean away from, use (get/go) out of (NOT outside): It does you good to get out of the city now and again.Without a passport, he would never have been able to get out of the country.

In British English, outside is not used with of: You aren’t allowed to park outside the bank.

In American English, both outside and outside of are used.

Originate

Originate = (1) come into existence; take on form or shape: The practice of  Sati originated during ancient Ages. (2) to give rise to; initiate: The policy was originated by the previous administration.(3) to create something new: Darwin originated the theory of evolution.

Originate is used in connection with things, ideas, customs etc. (NOT people): No one really knows how the solar system originated.

If you are born in and/or grow up in a particular place, town, country etc., you come from that place: Where does Agneta come from- Sweden or Norway?

Words that enter a language from other languages come from (or are derived from) those languages: The name terrier comes from the Latin word terra meaning the earth.