Slate publishes a Science Wish List for 2013

Several scientists contributed to Slate's Future Tense column, asking for things they'd most like to see in 2013.  Some fantastic requests are extaordinarlily well-put, for example: Chris Gunter:

Former Nature editor Chris Gunter thinks scientists are the ones who have to adapt. She proposes including  “a new section at the end of traditional scientific papers, titled ‘outreach resources.” She adds, “If we can't explain our work to non-specialists and non-scientists, then we will never be able to effectively compete for funds, especially in times of turmoil, like now.”

William Conrad:

William Conrad, a pharmacology Ph.D. candidate at Seattle’s Howard Hughes Medical Institute, is also focused on publishing. “First,” he says, “make articles freely available within one year of publication; second, make peer review more transparent.”

And my favorite, Brian Switek:

We also need to recalibrate the balance between science and entertainment. “I want science to be re-injected into science television,” said paleontology journalist and author Brian Switek; “We're in a sorry state when [the network formerly known as] The Learning Channel's main claim to fame is a tiny prima donna hopped up on Mountain Dew, and Animal Planet is able to trick viewers into believing that there's a government conspiracy to hide Mermaids.”

2012 is basically over

All that's left now is to celebrate the passage of time through one of the more fun arbitrary goalposts.  (Don't get me wrong -- I like arbitrary goalposts.  But it is, still, definitely arbitrary.) And, to review 2012.

A lot of cool stuff happened this year, I'm sure.  Right now, I'm kind of drawing a blank.  I remember Wreck-it Ralph, my relationship with my partner, which, if she doesn't dump me during the countdown, will have spanned the full calendar year, working at an amusement park, lots of school, and lots of Minecraft.

Seriously, though.  I didn't talk about it much (because I can't imagine it's very interesting) but I spent a lot of time this year playing Minecraft, and watching Minecraft Let's-plays on YouTube.  I'm currently following like a third of the Mindcrack server people:  Etho, DocM, BdoubleO, and I just subscribed to Guude.

And Ze Frank started vlogging again.  That's awesome, and I've really enjoyed having the chance to be part of the Sports Racers community live this time.  I also became much more deeply invested in the Nerdfighter community over the course of this year.  (Having learned they exist just over a year ago.)

And, there was the serious, global stuff.  Like the election.  That was scary -- I felt okay on election night, because I checked Nate Silver's projections and decided that I felt confident in them, but I really didn't know.  It's still scary, because our government is not being super cooperative, but Romney as president was not a pleasant idea.

And the shootings.  There were three major shootings in the US this year, and it's pretty seriously solidified my position on guns.  (No-one should be allowed them.  It should be a jailable offense to be caught just having a gun.  That way, we can just arrest the people who get their hands on guns, rather than waiting until they do something awful with them.)

But back to nice things.  The Lizzie Bennet Diaries!  For anyone who doesn't know, they're a modern-day adaptation of Pride and Prejudice via the medium of vlogs.  (And tweets, and tumblr and pinterest.)  Not only is it an amazing series in its own right, but it introduced me to the story of Pride and Prejudice -- which, up to this point, I basically knew featured someone named Darcy.  Now, having watched multiple TV adaptations and staying up to date on the Lizzie Bennet Diaries, I understand why some people rank it as the greatest English novel.  It's freaking extraordinarily fascinating, and I'm looking forward to reading the book.  (Didn't get around to that this year.)

Food was also a significant theme this year.  No, seriously.  My partner and I do a lot of cooking together, and it has expanded my horizons re: food.  I have also rediscovered a number of foods that I had forgotten I loved.  Like Hummus.  Hummus is amazing.  How did I go several years without eating hummus.

I mentioned Wreck-it Ralph earlier -- that was one of a few amazing movies that came out this year.  Rise of the Guardians was another one, which was a huge surprise to me.  I was expecting a weird, cheesy movie about the importance of telling kids there's a Santa.  And it kind of was, I guess, but it was also amazing and inspiring and moving.

And there was the Dark Knight Rises.  And the Avengers.  This was a pretty good year for superhero movies, which appear to be being taken more and more seriously by Hollywood.  (It occurred to me the other night that there are some inherent problematic qualities in the concept of a superhero, which I want to talk about, but I'd like to gather my thoughts first, so not today.)

Altogether 2012 was a great year.  I give it 4 out of 5.  Would see again.

2013 is scary.  It's a big, huge, scary year coming up.  I'm going to turn 24.  I'm going to find out if I got accepted to Clarion.  I'm going to have to figure out where I'm going after I graduate NECC. Lots of big, scary stuff.

For now, though, things are pretty good.  I'm going to enjoy that tonight.  I'll worry about my life tomorrow.  That's what hangovers are for.