Thursday, July 03, 2008

Geological Surveys – better than Velcro?

USGS Director Mark Myers says the economic value of geological data put into the public marketplace is greater than the multiplier on investment on many breakthrough products, including Velcro [right, patent figures for Velcro. Credit].

His comment came in a talk to the annual meeting of state geologists in West Virginia this week, where he extolled the value of bringing objectivity and peer reviewed information to the table in a wide array of tough issues facing the country. Authoritative data carries weight, he said, because of so much spin and non-authoritative data in the highly-charged, partisan political environment we have today. This has to be communicated accurately he said, but simply and quickly to have an impact. One challenge for geoscientists is that pretty, but non-authoritative, pictures can be compelling and give a false sense that there are easy solutions to complex issues.

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