"Kristof missed the boat on this one. If [Kristof] wants to know why professors are reluctant to enter public debate, he needs to address the quality of public debate in the US political arena. Both the governor of Wisconsin <http://bit.ly/1c5FUrS> and attorney general of Virginia <http://bit.ly/NftpnE> have recently used the powers of their offices to investigate and threaten the livelihoods of professors who opposed their political agendas (labor unions and climate change, respectively). [Politicians] have essentially demanded that professors NOT bring their expertise to bear on public debate and professors, understandably, have mostly complied."
Thankfully, not ALL academicians have complied, e.g.:
(c) Columbia's James Hansen (2010, 2014) <http://bit.ly/omiMY3> who alerted the world to anthropogenic global warming in 1981 <http://nyti.ms/1gwHUMm>. In a recent draft "Renewable Energy, Nuclear Power, and Galileo: Do Scientists Have a Duty to Expose Popular Misconceptions?" <http://bit.ly/1goLfgs>, Hansen rebuffs 4 widespread misconceptions: human life is endangered by nuclear power; renewable energy sources alone are sufficient; killing nuclear would make the world safer; and renewable energy is cheaper and faster than nuclear power. Below I quote Hansen at some length because: (1) nuclear power is so controversial; and (2) it allows me to insert references, hot-links, and comments.
REFERENCES [URL shortened by <http://bit.ly/ and accessed on 26 Feb 2014.]
Hake, R.R. 2014. "Reich, McKibbon, & Hansen: Three Academicians Who Have Spoken Out on Social Issues," online on the OPEN! AERA-L archives at <http://bit.ly/1k9QuX5>. The abstract and link to the complete post are being transmitted to several discussion lists and are on my blog at <http://bit.ly/1cR8cdj> with a provision for comments.