Forest ThreatNet

Volume 7, Issue 5 - November/December 2014

Message from the Director: Eastern Threat Center Strives for Meaningful Science in Times of Plenty

DannyLeeatRTPlab_2012.jpgScience tells us that one of the most essential functions of the human brain is to filter sensory input. At any given time, we’re bombarded with sights, sounds, smells, and other external stimuli. It’s up to the brain to sort through it all and pick the most important and relevant items for our attention. It’s truly a wonder that we do it so well.

We face a similar challenge in our professional lives, both at an individual and an institutional level. Phrases like, “information overload,” “awash with data,” and “drinking from a fire hose” are heard with increasing frequency these days. They all reference the flood of data and information that come our way through print and electronic media—including newsletters such as this. For those of us that create and share information, it’s increasingly difficult to draw meaningful attention to our work even as we increase the volume. It’s as if we’re talking louder and louder in a crowded room where the overall noise level is increasing faster than we can keep up. The net result is that we are talking ever louder and (perhaps) reaching a diminishingly smaller audience.

So what do we do? One response is to simply try to crank up the volume, but I doubt that we can keep up. The other option is figure out how to speak softly but still be heard by those we most wish to reach. I’m not certain how we can do that, but rest assured we’re working diligently to improve. We’d love to hear your suggestions.

- Danny C. Lee

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