You know, I don't like the obligatory blogger "sorry I'm late" handwringing. It'll likely go on for a while, though, since my husband's disability checks may stop abruptly next month, and I have no intention of putting our 2-year-old in fulltime daycare. The more I look at it, the less reasonable it looks to put a kid in institutional care for ten hours a day until the child's at least eight or nine. (Or 78. I don't want to be in institutional care either.) Eating's a nice hobby, though, so I may be busy selling our house in a few weeks, and finding us cheap digs. I've also got book proposal deadlines coming up, so expect the sporadic posting to continue.
I've been thinking that, as much as I enjoy the straight pop-science reading, it's leading me away from questions about how bits of scientific thought and assumptions permeate our ordinary consciousness. How people live with science day-to-day, misinterpreting what they've heard, having headlines lodged in their sense of how the world works, knitting mechanistic implications of medicine to bits of theology and philosophy and women's magazines, that kind of thing.
So I'm thinking it's time to talk with nonscientists who deal with large numbers of people and science. Politicians (think constituents' reactions to environmental/NIMBY projects, like power generating station near houses and water pollution), hospital chaplains (think patients trying to figure out why they're sick and what it means), psychiatrists (how do patients work out the relationships between brain and self?), dietitians (why do people believe they're fat?), teachers (how are their administrators looking at evolution and why?). People in that kind of position. I've got some chats arranged with a chaplain and a psychiatrist, and I'll let you know what they have to say.
I'm also thinking it'd be good to talk with some SF writers about the questions around which their own stories revolve.
I've been on a Malamud kick recently, and it strikes me that the book I'm reading now -- God's Grace -- involves the kind of consciousness of science in literary fiction that I've been talking about. The book begins with a nuclear holocaust and an almost-hapless survivor, paleologist Calvin Cohn, who was doing research at the bottom of the ocean when the bombs went off. Surfacing & climbing back onto his boat, he found himself the only survivor. This was verified by God, who apologized for the error & assured Cohn his time was up too. And then, for whatever His reasons, dragged His feet about knocking off Cohn. Cohn found he wasn't quite alone; there was an intelligent, proselytizing Christian lab chimp on his boat, and that's all the spoilers I'll give. But it's a literate book, and the focus does not appear to be on the science gear, important as it is to the story.