Thursday, November 7, 2013

Meanwhile, back at Scienceblogs…

I recently checked in on Scienceblogs, for little reason other than curiosity. My preferred blogs there left for Freethought Blogs and other networks some time ago, and the whole Pepsi fiasco left a bad taste, so I haven’t dropped in there much over the past few years. (I still do like EvolutionBlog and The Pump Handle, so I may have to add them to my feeds…)

Anyway, looking back in I noticed that the front page headline was “The Downfall of Bora Zivkovic,” which struck me as a little melodramatic. The description also sounded maybe a bit too gleeful, especially at the end: “Bora, a former ScienceBlogger and cheerleader for the trustbusting that occurred here in the midst of Pepsipocalypse, also resigned from his role as Blog Editor at Scientific American.”

Yes, he was a “cheerleader” in that,* and he was right to be so. I was reminded to look back at a blog I’d noticed a while ago and which looked like a space for open corporate and military advertising and public relations: “USA Science and Engineering Festival: The Blog.” Typical recent posts include “‘Science in Fiction’ Kavli Science Video Contest!,” [UPDATE: see below] “LOCKHEED MARTIN SEES FESTIVAL AS CRITICAL TO INSPIRING FUTURE ENGINEERS” (a guest post by a Lockheed Martin representative),** “Northrop Grumman Foundation Sponsorship Encourages the STEM Message!,” and “GOOD and U.S. Air Force Call for Contributors to ‘Mind of a Quadrotor’ Project” (a guest post by…the Air Force).

Probably the worst is last month’s “Chevron’s Fuel Your School Program Supports Public Education Projects!”:
This fall, Fuel Your School makes it easy for local communities to help generate funding for public schools in 19 markets [note: not districts, but markets - SC].

From Oct. 1 through Oct. 31, 2013, the Fuel Your School program will donate $1, up to a total of nearly $7.1 million, to help fund eligible classroom projects when consumers purchase 8 or more gallons of fuel at participating local Chevron and Texaco stations in 14 U.S. markets.

…Chevron’s Fuel Your School program can make a big impact for public school students and their future. Be sure to tell everyone you know – friends, relatives, even the cashier at the grocery store – about fueling up at a Chevron or Texaco station during the month of October. Also, go to Facebook and “like” Chevron Fuel Your School.
So much to hate. Where do I begin? It’s using public schools to market to children.*** It’s exploiting and naturalizing the defunding of public education to get access to children and encourage people to buy gas to help schools. It’s Chevron. This is the same network that hosts Deltoid, and it’s now providing a platform for Chevron’s image promotion?


UPDATE 11-23: I had confused the Kavli Foundation with the Kashi company. In my defense, I mix up names regularly. Anything from kasha to kevlar would have been vulnerable there. :)

* You can look through the “archive” section of their blog list to see all of the great bloggers who’ve left, many at that time.

** An excerpt: “…Lockheed Martin’s 60,000 technologists, scientists and engineers work hard every day to defend global security, push the boundaries of scientific discovery and deliver essential services to citizens. They do this because the United States—and the world—face complex challenges that call for innovative solutions….”

*** Check out Stephen Colbert’s bit last night about Toys “R” Us’ anti-nature advertising to children:

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