2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 16


These are the responses of the 2016 Presidential candidates to 16th of the twenty questions posed to them earlier.

I posted the responses to Question #1 at (concerning innovation) at “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 1”.

The responses to Question #2 (concerning research) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 2″.

The responses to Question #3 (concerning climate change) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 3″.

The responses to Question #4 (concerning biodiversity) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 4″.

The responses to Question #5 (concerning the Internet) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 5″.

The responses to Question #6 (concerning mental health) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 6″.

The responses to Question #7 (concerning energy) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 7″.

The responses to Question #8 (concerning science and mathematics education) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 8″.

The responses to Question #9 (concerning public health) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 9″.

The responses to Question #10 (concerning water) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 10″.

The responses to Question #11 (concerning nuclear energy) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 11″.

The responses to Question #12 (concerning food) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health -& Environmental Questions – Question 12″.

The responses to Question #13 (concerning global challenges) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health -& Environmental Questions – Question 13″.

The responses to Question #14 (concerning regulations) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health -& Environmental Questions – Question 14″.

The responses to Question #15 (concerning vaccines) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health -& Environmental Questions – Question 15″.

  • Space

There is a political debate over America’s national approach to space exploration and use. What should America’s national goals be for space exploration and earth observation from space, and what steps would your administration take to achieve them?

Hillary Clinton (D)

President Kennedy’s challenge in 1962 to go to the Moon within a decade electrified the nation, prompted a long period of American leadership in science and technology, and spurred a generation of innovators.

In the decades since, we have explored the sun and every planet in our solar system; mapped the surface and studied the atmosphere of Mars and confirmed the presence of water on the Red Planet; discovered new solar systems with Earth-like planets; mapped the distribution of galaxies in the universe; observed black holes, dark matter, and dark energy; built programs to monitor our ozone layer and the catastrophic impact of global climate change; and identified and mapped near-Earth asteroids as a first step to protect our planet from a major asteroid impact. The International Space Station stands as the largest and most complex international technological project in history and has been key to understanding the response of the human body to long periods in zero gravity. And in recent years, new companies have sprung up that offer the promise of innovative approaches to transporting cargo and, eventually, humans in space. Americans have always been willing to think big, take risks, and push forward. These pillars will continue to underpin what America does in space, just as they define who we are as a people.

As president, my administration will build on this progress, promote innovation, and advance inspirational, achievable, and affordable space initiatives. We must maintain our nation’s leadership in space with a program that balances science, technology and exploration; protect our security and the future of the planet through international collaboration and Earth systems monitoring; expand our robotic presence in the solar system; and maximize the impact of our R&D and other space program investments by promoting stronger coordination across federal agencies, and cooperation with industry. I will work with Congress to ensure that NASA has the leadership, funding and operational flexibility necessary to work in new ways with industry, placing emphasis on inventing and employing new technologies and efficiencies to get more bang for the buck while creating jobs and growing the American economy.

Today, thanks to a series of successful American robotic explorers, we know more about the Red Planet than ever before. A goal of my administration will be to expand this knowledge even further and advance our ability to make human exploration of Mars a reality.

As a young girl, I was so inspired by America’s leadership and accomplishments in space that I wrote to NASA about becoming an astronaut. As president, I will help inspire the next generation of young Americans and do what I can to ensure that we have the world’s most exciting and advanced space program, one that meets our highest human aspirations in a world where the sky is no longer the limit.

Donald Trump (R)

Space exploration has given so much to America, including tremendous pride in our scientific and engineering prowess. A strong space program will encourage our children to seek STEM educational outcomes and will bring millions of jobs and trillions of dollars in investment to this country. The cascading effects of a vibrant space program are legion and can have a positive, constructive impact on the pride and direction of this country. Observation from space and exploring beyond our own space neighborhood should be priorities. We should also seek global partners, because space is not the sole property of America. All humankind benefits from reaching into the stars.

Jill Stein (G)

We recognize the inspiration provided by space exploration and so we support:

  1. the peaceful exploration of space
  2. space-based systems to monitor environmental conditions on Earth
  3. measures to ensure that space technology benefits all the people of Earth

Space exploration and science are international scientific endeavours requiring cooperation between many nations and peoples across borders. The peaceful exploration of space provides inspiration, education, and valuable scientific knowledge. Cooperation on space science and exploration is a promising path to peace. The US has an opportunity to continue leading in space science while ending space militarization. The US can lead international collaboration in space science and exploration without privatizing outer space or turning over space science and exploration efforts to corporations.

Climate science, including the study of other planets in our solar system and beyond, is essential for understanding how to address climate change on Earth. Space science, exploration, and Earth observation provide tools, technologies, and science to help address not only climate change but flooding, drought, storms, famine, and other crises. By focusing US space efforts away from corporate and military interests, we can work to create peace here on Earth and in space, prevent the deployment of space weapons and instead focus on technologies to solve problems on Earth, not create new ones.

Here are steps we will take to advance space exploration and science:

  • Funding STEM education and forgiving student debt of STEM scholars so they can focus on science and research.
  • signing of the International Treaty for the Demilitarization of Space.
  • Ensuring scientists, not corporate or military interests, are driving the space exploration and science agenda
  • Ensure funding of pure research, for the benefit of all humanity and our planet.
  • Work closely with the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) on ensuring the peaceful exploration of space.

My Thoughts

Trump’s answer was another classical non-answer answer.  This time, he didn’t even attempt to answer it, offering what has become known as “word salad”.

Stein’s answer put the issue of climate change under the auspices of space, which I believe is incorrect.  While the results of space exploration can yield gains in the area of climate change, to place climate change in the area of space exploration risks limiting the efforts to improve the climate change problem.

I am not entirely certain that answer is entirely correct, at least from the standpoint of corporate and military interests.  I do not like the increased amount of corporate participation in space but when budgets for space exploration are constantly reduced each year, what can you expect?

I am also not certain that the military has as big an impact on the issues in space as Stein thinks, primarily because the situation today is not what it was when the space race began in the early 1960s.  And as long as we are going to rely on non-human based intelligence gathering processes to obtain our intelligence around the world, there is a need for military satellites.

But I also think that the emphasis needs to be more on what we can find in space and not what we can see from space.

Clinton’s answer also recognizes what we have done but not what we are going to do.  And again, her answers suggest she is not seeking a restatement of budget priorities, moving money away from other sources to support science & technology issues.  As long as the majority of money in the budget is directed towards the military and security components of the budget, there will never be enough money for science & technology.

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2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 15


These are the responses of the 2016 Presidential candidates to 15th of the twenty questions posed to them earlier.

I posted the responses to Question #1 at (concerning innovation) at “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 1”.

The responses to Question #2 (concerning research) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 2″.

The responses to Question #3 (concerning climate change) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 3″.

The responses to Question #4 (concerning biodiversity) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 4″.

The responses to Question #5 (concerning the Internet) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 5″.

The responses to Question #6 (concerning mental health) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 6″.

The responses to Question #7 (concerning energy) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 7″.

The responses to Question #8 (concerning science and mathematics education) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 8″.

The responses to Question #9 (concerning public health) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 9″.

The responses to Question #10 (concerning water) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 10″.

The responses to Question #11 (concerning nuclear energy) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 11″.

The responses to Question #12 (concerning food) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health -& Environmental Questions – Question 12″.

The responses to Question #13 (concerning global challenges) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health -& Environmental Questions – Question 13″.

The responses to Question #14 (concerning regulations) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health -& Environmental Questions – Question 14″.

  • Vaccination

Public health officials warn that we need to take more steps to prevent international epidemics from viruses such as Ebola and Zika. Meanwhile, measles is resurgent due to decreasing vaccination rates. How will your administration support vaccine science?

Hillary Clinton (D)

Through vaccinations and vaccine science, I am committed to protecting our nation’s children, as well as populations worldwide, from infectious disease threats.

Over the last two decades, we have made extraordinary global gains in reducing childhood illness and deaths through expanded use of vaccines and immunization. The number of childhood deaths from infections such as measles, whooping cough, diphtheria, and other diseases has dramatically declined in recent years, in large measure due to vaccination. We still have a long way to go, but globally – with the support of Gavi, UNICEF, the World Health Organization and other international organizations – I will work hard to press for the elimination of these deadly diseases.

At the same time, the recent measles outbreaks in California’s Marin and Orange counties remind us that we cannot be complacent with our own nation’s vaccine policies. Measles, for example, remains a serious matter, killing almost 100,000 children annually around the world. As president, I will work closely with the talented physicians, nurses, and scientists in our US Public Health Service to speak out and educate parents about vaccines, focusing on their extraordinary track record in saving lives and pointing out the dangers of not vaccinating our children.

Additionally, the recent outbreaks of Ebola, Zika, and MERS are a wake-up call that we must continue to innovate and develop disease countermeasures. Our scientists have made great progress. Yet there remains a troubling “innovation gap” between early phase vaccine discovery and industrial-scale production and vaccine delivery. We need to engage stakeholders across industry, non-profits, foundations, and government to bridge this gap and spur the development of a new generation of vaccines.

Donald Trump (R)

We should educate the public on the values of a comprehensive vaccination program. We have been successful with other public service programs and this seems to be of enough importance that we should put resources against this task.

Jill Stein (G)

Vaccines are a critical part of our public health system. Vaccines prevent serious epidemics that would cause harm to many people and that is why they are a foundation to a strong public health system. Polio is an important example. So is H Flu – a bacterium that caused serious illness, including meningitis, in 20,000 children a year in the US, before development of the H flu vaccine. We need universal health care as a right to ensure that everyone has access to critical vaccines.

Experts like Douglas Diekema, MD MPH, say that the best way to overcome resistance to vaccination is to acknowledge and address concerns and build trust with hesitant parents. To reverse the problem of declining vaccination rates, we need to increase trust in our public health authorities and all scientific agencies. We can do that by removing corporate influence from our regulatory agencies to eliminate apparent conflicts of interest and show skeptics, in this case vaccine-resistant parents, that the motive behind vaccination is protecting their children’s health, not increasing profits for pharmaceutical companies.

My thoughts

Trump’s answer is interesting in many ways.  First, there seems to be a grudgingly given acknowledgement that progress has been made.  But the way in which is stated seems to be almost an afterthought.

I would have liked Stein’s answer better if you had left the last sentence out.  This sentence should have been part of her answer dealing with regulation.  In my opinion, placing that statement in this section limits the effectiveness of her answer (which based on her own background) should have been the strongest one given.

Clinton’s answer indicates a willingness to move in a direction that would do much to improve the health of the world’s people.  But, while in earlier cases, she seemed to offer major support and push for solutions, she opted to say that the present methods work.  Maybe that is all that is needed but in light of previous answers it seems a little limited.

2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 14


These are the responses of the 2016 Presidential candidates to 14th  of the twenty questions posed to them earlier.

I posted the responses to Question #1 at (concerning innovation) at “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 1”.

The responses to Question #2 (concerning research) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 2″.

The responses to Question #3 (concerning climate change) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 3″.

The responses to Question #4 (concerning biodiversity) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 4″.

The responses to Question #5 (concerning the Internet) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 5″.

The responses to Question #6 (concerning mental health) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 6″.

The responses to Question #7 (concerning energy) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 7″.

The responses to Question #8 (concerning science and mathematics education) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 8″.

The responses to Question #9 (concerning public health) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 9″.

The responses to Question #10 (concerning water) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 10″.

The responses to Question #11 (concerning nuclear energy) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 11″.

The responses to Question #12 (concerning food) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health -& Environmental Questions – Question 12″.

The responses to Question #13 (concerning global challenges) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health -& Environmental Questions – Question 13″.

  • Regulations

Science is essential to many of the laws and policies that keep Americans safe and secure. How would science inform your administration’s decisions to add, modify, or remove federal regulations, and how would you encourage a thriving business sector while protecting Americans vulnerable to public health and environmental threats?

Hillary Clinton (D)

It is essential that environmental, health, and energy regulations, among other areas, use the best available science to guide decision-making, and I am committed to making sure that continues. For instance, we will have science guide us as we make important investments around health care. We will continue to invest in research to further our understanding of disease, including ramping up our investment in Alzheimer’s and related dementias to $2 billion per year, continuing Vice President Biden’s Cancer Moonshot, and scaling up our broader investment in the National Institutes of Health’s budget to combat all of the diseases of our day.

My opponent in this race has consistently discounted scientific findings, from his comments about vaccines to his claim that climate change is a hoax. These dangerous positions not only put Americans at risk, but can have long term impacts on our country’s growth and productivity. Science will ensure our country continues to progress, and will help our government use its resources to provide the best possible life for all Americans.

Donald Trump (R)

This is about balance. We must balance a thriving economy with conserving our resources and protecting our citizens from threats. Science will inform our decisions on what regulations to keep, rescind or add. A vibrant, robust free market system will regulate the private sector.

Jill Stein (G)

We will rely on evidence-based approaches to regulation. Science advisors will play a central role in our administration. We will appoint scientific review panels and committees.

Some guiding principles for our approach to regulation:

  • Protect the rights of future generations. Adopt the Precautionary Principle. When an activity poses threats of harm to human health or the environment, in the absence of objective scientific consensus that it is safe, precautionary measures should be taken. The proponent of an activity, rather than the public, should bear the burden of proof.
  • Redirect research funds from fossil fuels into renewable energy and conservation, as well as other technologies that promote the transition to a sustainable civilization.
  • Enact stronger environmental justice laws and measures to ensure that low-income and communities of color are not disproportionately impacted by harmful pollution and other negative environmental and health effects.

My thoughts

Okay, Trump’s answer is a classical Republican/big business answer when he states that a vibrant, robust free market system will regulate the private sector.  While that my work in theory, it has not seemed to work when Republicans have been in charge.  Very simply put, Republicans and conservatives in general tend to put individuals in charge who have an investment in the area that they are asked to regulate.  The fox can never be let into the hen house.  And as Clinton noted, without naming Trump directly and ignoring the presence of Stein (and Johnson), her opponent doesn’t appear to believe in scientific evidence.

Stein’s answer, as many of her earlier answers, moves very quickly away from the topic.  She does state that decisions that might be made by her administration will be based on the evidence but then she goes into other area, while appropriate and necessary, don’t address the question.

I am not quite sure what to make of Clinton’s answer.  It recognizes the need for science and evidence upon which to base subsequent regulations but limits how this will all be done.

2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 13


These are the responses of the 2016 Presidential candidates to the fourth of the twenty questions posed to them earlier.

I posted the responses to Question #1 at (concerning innovation) at “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 1”.

The responses to Question #2 (concerning research) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 2″.

The responses to Question #3 (concerning climate change) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 3″.

The responses to Question #4 (concerning biodiversity) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 4″.

The responses to Question #5 (concerning the Internet) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 5″.

The responses to Question #6 (concerning mental health) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 6″.

The responses to Question #7 (concerning energy) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 7″.

The responses to Question #8 (concerning science and mathematics education) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 8″.

The responses to Question #9 (concerning public health) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 9″.

The responses to Question #10 (concerning water) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 10″.

The responses to Question #11 (concerning nuclear energy) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 11″.

The responses to Question #12 (concerning food) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health -& Environmental Questions – Question 12″.

  • Global Challenges

We now live in a global economy with a large and growing human population. These factors create economic, public health, and environmental challenges that do not respect national borders. How would your administration balance national interests with global cooperation when tackling threats made clear by science, such as pandemic diseases and climate change, that cross national borders?

Hillary Clinton (D)

Many of the greatest – and hardest – challenges facing our country extend beyond our borders and can only be ultimately addressed through global solutions. Climate change is a case in point. And that is why as Secretary of State I elevated the role of climate policy in our diplomacy, appointing our country’s first Special Envoy for Climate Change, making climate policy a key part of our broader relationship with China and other key countries, and helping to create and launch the global Climate and Clean Air Coalition to reduce potent non-carbon climate pollution.

As the world’s biggest and most powerful economy—and as the second-biggest emitter of greenhouse gases and the biggest historical emitter—the United States has a responsibility to lead the global response to the climate challenge. By making strong progress to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at home, President Obama was able to persuade and pressure other major emitters, including China and India, to step up. This dual process, where domestic policy changes helped spur international action, led to the historic 195-nation Paris climate agreement, the first in our history where every country agreed to be part of the solution to climate change.

The Paris agreement is critical, but it is not sufficient on its own. To keep global warming below the two degrees’ Celsius threshold and avoid the worst consequences of climate change, we need to cut emissions by at least 80 percent below 2005 levels by mid-century. To get there, we will need to continually work to improve upon the goals set in Paris, both in the United States and around the world. That’s why we must work to support more clean energy investment in emerging economies, help developing nations build resilience to the climate impacts that can’t be avoided, and continue to drive clean energy innovation here at home. And we will continue to work on a bilateral and multilateral basis with our partners, with key countries like China, and with the UNFCCC to protect our nation, our planet, and our children’s future.

When dealing with the outbreak of diseases, we must be sure to act with caution, and rely on science to inform our decisions around trade, travel, and treatment. We are privileged to live in a country that individuals around the world aspire to visit and even immigrate to. It is within our national interest to think beyond our borders, and through our leadership, do everything we can to foster peace, health, and security around the world. In the United States, we need to break the cycle in which our own public health system is beholden to emergency appropriations for specific epidemics. We can do this by creating a dedicated Rapid Response Fund to help shore up our defenses, accelerate development of vaccines and new treatments, and respond more effectively to crises. We will also create a comprehensive global health strategy that moves beyond the disease-by-disease emergency model and seeks to build a robust, resilient global health system capable of quickly responding to and ending pandemics.

Donald Trump (R)

Our best input to helping with global issues is to make sure that the United States is on the proper trajectory economically. For the past decade we have seen Gross Domestic Product growth that has not provided adequate resources to fix our infrastructure, recapitalize our military, invest in our education system or secure energy independence. We cannot take our place as world leader if we are not healthy enough to take care of ourselves. This means we must make sure that we achieve our goals in tax reform, trade reform, immigration reform and energy independence. A prosperous America is a much better partner in tackling global problems that affect this nation achieving its national objectives.

Jill Stein (G)

We need a foreign policy based on diplomacy, international law and respect for human rights. By strengthening international institutions, we lay the groundwork for greater cooperation on critical challenges such as climate change and pandemic diseases.

My thoughts

Okay, this was Stein’s turn to give the proverbial non-answer answer.  Human rights are clearly a necessary part of any global policy but it is only part of it.  If this country or any country proceeds on a path that puts it above the needs of the world, it will come up short.

This is the problem with Trump’s answer.  It is one thing to invest in this country (and that is perhaps a necessity) but you cannot make economic policy the driving force for science policy.  And many corporations have shown an extreme disdain for the global impact of their work.

Clinton’s answer addresses the need for an understanding that, if you will, the flapping wings of a butterfly in California move the air in New York.  I do think that her approach, as her answers to earlier questions have shown, is more bureaucratic than practical.  I am of the opinion that the methodology is in place to solve the problems; we do not need additional committees and action groups.

2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 12


These are the responses of the 2016 Presidential candidates to the fourth of the twenty questions posed to them earlier.

I posted the responses to Question #1 at (concerning innovation) at “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 1”.

The responses to Question #2 (concerning research) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 2″.

The responses to Question #3 (concerning climate change) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 3″.

The responses to Question #4 (concerning biodiversity) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 4″.

The responses to Question #5 (concerning the Internet) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 5″.

The responses to Question #6 (concerning mental health) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 6″.

The responses to Question #7 (concerning energy) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 7″.

The responses to Question #8 (concerning science and mathematics education) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 8″.

The responses to Question #9 (concerning public health) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 9″.

The responses to Question #10 (concerning water) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 10″.

The responses to Question #11 (concerning nuclear energy) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 11″.

  • Food

Agriculture involves a complex balance of land and energy use, worker health and safety, water use and quality, and access to healthy and affordable food, all of which have inputs of objective knowledge from science. How would you manage the US agricultural enterprise to our highest benefit in the most sustainable way?

Hillary Clinton (D)

America’s rural communities lie at the heart of what makes this country great. The affordability of our food, the independence and sophistication of our energy supply, and the strength of our small communities all depend on a vibrant rural America.

As president, my administration will do more to support family farms by doubling funding for the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development program; building strong and sustainable local food systems; and providing a focused safety net by continuing to make progress in targeting federal resources in commodity payment, crop insurance, and disaster assistance programs to support family operations.

And we will spur investment to help power the rural economy, including by expanding access to equity capital for rural businesses by increasing the number of Rural Business Investment Companies, which make equity investments in small rural businesses—driving growth and creating jobs in rural areas, and supporting investments in clean energy.

We must also acknowledge the other issues facing our rural communities. We need to expand health care access to all areas of our country, which includes broadening telemedicine. As president, I will explore ways in which we can expand tele-health reimbursement under Medicare and other programs, including federally qualified health centers and rural health clinics.

Donald Trump (R)

The implication of your question is that there should be central control of American agriculture by the federal government. That is totally inappropriate. The agriculture industry should be free to seek its best solutions through the market system. That said, the production of food is a national security issue and should receive the attention of the federal government when it comes to providing security for our farmers and ranchers against losses to nature.

Jill Stein (G)

We need a food system that is healthy and sustainable. To this end, we will:

  • Invest in clean air, water, food and soil for everyone.
  • Ban neonicotinoids and other pesticides that threaten the survival of bees, butterflies, and other pollinators.
  • Label GMOs, and put a moratorium on GMOs and pesticides until they are proven safe.
  • Support organic and regenerative agriculture, permaculture, and sustainable forestry.
  • Protect the rights of future generations. Adopt the Precautionary Principle. When an activity poses threats of harm to human health or the environment, in the absence of objective scientific consensus that it is safe, precautionary measures should be taken. The proponent of an activity, rather than the public, should bear the burden of proof.
  • Redirect the Dept. of Agriculture to meet the needs of small farmers to realize these goals.

My thoughts

First, Trump’s answer would be considered ridiculous where it not for the fact he has made comments suggesting the FDA be eliminated.  Given the track record of many companies (and yes, this is my opinion), we need to make sure that the production of food in this country is safe and that the workers who produce the food are also protected.  And just exactly how will Trump’s government protect our farmers from losses to nature?

While I am also in agreement with Clinton’s answer, I don’t think she really answer the question.  And unless, as in other questions, she modifies the priorities of the present budget, she will not have the funds for her projects.

Personally, I happen to like Stein’s answer, though I believe that Department of Agriculture is supposed to meet the needs of small farmers, though I wonder where she would find the small farmers in today’s environment that favors the large corporate farm.

In the end, producing food is, like access to drinkable water, a major component of society.  I think we see large, industrial size farms as the way to achieve this but this approach leads to other problems.  One possible solution is the restoration of the small family-based farm that feeds local populations.

Our reliance of fertilizers and artificial systems for the production of food is probably leading to the depletion of natural resources as well.  Neither Clinton nor Trump addressed this issue.

This are no simple solutions to this problem.

Adam and the Big Bang


This is another piece from the bloggers over at the Vatican Observatory.


Noah’s Ark has been re-built, right here in Kentucky.  It just opened to the public this summer.  It is supposed to bring in many tourists who will see something from Genesis on a Kentucky landscape.  The Kentucky Ark will probably generate plenty of the usual discussion of science versus traditional belief systems—that is (from an astronomy perspective), The Big Bang versus Genesis. Some years back in the Communicating Astronomy with the Public Journal, two authors, Martin Griffiths and Carlos F. Oliveira, wrote a contribution to that usual discussion. Their article, “The Big Bang—a Hot Issue in Science Communication,”* portrayed the communication of ideas from science that challenge traditional belief systems as “an ideological war that is worth the fight.”  They said— The Big Bang theory strikes at the heart of human philosophical and cultural meaning, uprooting a secure humanity from a known place in the Universe to one of unimaginable smallness, adrift in the unfathomable sea of space.  This is … Continue reading →

Source: Adam and the Big Bang

2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 11


These are the responses of the 2016 Presidential candidates to the fourth of the twenty questions posed to them earlier.

I posted the responses to Question #1 at (concerning innovation) at “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 1”.

The responses to Question #2 (concerning research) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 2″.

The responses to Question #3 (concerning climate change) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 3″.

The responses to Question #4 (concerning biodiversity) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 4″.

The responses to Question #5 (concerning the Internet) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 5″.

The responses to Question #6 (concerning mental health) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 6″.

The responses to Question #7 (concerning energy) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 7″.

The responses to Question #8 (concerning science and mathematics education) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 8″.

The responses to Question #9 (concerning public health) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 9″.

The responses to Question #10 (concerning water) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 10″.

I hope that you will take the time to look at these responses and offer your own thoughts.  My own thoughts and analysis are at the end of the post.

  • Nuclear Power

Nuclear power can meet electricity demand without producing greenhouse gases, but it raises national security and environmental concerns. What is your plan for the use, expansion, or phasing out of nuclear power, and what steps will you take to monitor, manage and secure nuclear materials over their life cycle?

Hillary Clinton (D)

Meeting the climate challenge is too important to limit the tools available in this fight. Nuclear power – which accounts for more than 60 percent of our zero carbon power generation today – is one of those tools. I will work to ensure that the climate benefits of our existing nuclear power plants that are safe to operate are appropriately valued and increase investment in the research, development and deployment of advanced nuclear power. At the same time, we must continue to invest in the security of our nuclear materials at home, and improve coordination between federal, state, and local authorities. We must also seek to reduce the amount of nuclear material worldwide – working with other countries so minimize the use of weapons-grade material for civil nuclear programs.

Donald Trump (R)

Nuclear power is a valuable source of energy and should be part of an all-the-above program for providing power for America long into the future. We can make nuclear power safer, and its outputs are extraordinary given the investment we should make. Nuclear power must be an integral part of energy independence for America.

Jill Stein (G)

Nuclear fission technology is unsafe, expensive, and dirty from the mining of uranium to the disposal of spent fuel. As such we will end subsidies to the nuclear industry immediately and phase out nuclear power over a 10-year timeline. Existing nuclear waste will be handled with onsite dry cask storage of high-level waste into perpetuity. No transport of nuclear waste.

My thoughts

Well, this is even shorter than the answer for water.  As it happens, Trump’s answer is part of the answer but it is incomplete.  Stein offers part of the solution as well but it is also incomplete.  Neither one of the them even comes close to addressing the other side of the question, the national security one.

Clinton’s answer is the only one addresses the same fears that lead to Stein’s answer (the limitation of nuclear material because terrorists can get it).

The answer is that nuclear fission is not the answer, nuclear fusion is.  But to get to nuclear fusion, you have to go through fission.  Second, I will not deny that there have been problems with nuclear power plants but, to the best of my knowledge, the problems have arisen from human error, not from the power plant technology.

What does that imply?  Training and making sure that individuals are not pushed to the limits of their endurance for the sake of the bottom line.  Maintenance issues must also be high priority (problems at some of the plants have come from minimal maintenance budgets).

Nuclear fusion will be one of the answers to the question of energy problems.  Whether or not, we like it, nuclear energy is a part of the path to that end.  it will require a commitment that this country has not been willing to make and none of the candidates wants to make either.  It will also require, as so many other topics, a greater increase in educational funding and a change in priorities about where our tax money goes.