Denial can be a savagely dangerous

Neil deGrasse Tyson says that this video might just be the most important thing he has ever said.  That’s quite a statement considering his long, illustrious career as an American astrophysicist.

Often people aren’t comfortable with science and new ideas.  Some folks are still denying many components of evolution.  Parents are still attempting to dictate what is taught in science class across the nation.

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Science vs. Religion

science religion

Pewinternet.org:

Are science and religion at odds with each other? A majority of the public says science and religion often conflict, with nearly six-in-ten adults (59%) expressing this view in newly released findings from a Pew Research Center survey. The share of the public saying science and religion are often in conflict is up modestly from 55% in 2009, when Pew Research conducted a similar survey on religion and science.

People’s sense that there generally is a conflict between religion and science seems to have less to do with their own religious beliefs than it does with their perceptions of other people’s beliefs. Less than one-third of Americans polled in the new survey (30%) say their personal religious beliefs conflict with science, while fully two-thirds (68%) say there is no conflict between their own beliefs and science.

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In Louisiana, creationism enters the science class surreptitiously

evolution cartoon

Americans United:

A Louisiana school district that lets teachers use the Bible to teach creationism is doubling down on its sectarian instruction, claiming such lesson plans are permissible as long as the school does not provide that material.

Bossier Parrish schools are under fire thanks to some stellar investigative work by science education activist Zack Kopplin, an Americans United ally. Through an open records request, Kopplin obtained scores of emails proving that creationism runs rampant in Bossier Parrish’s public schools. One such email, from Airline High School science teacher Shawna Creamer to her principal, was particularly eyebrow raising.

“We will read in Genesis and them [sic] some supplemental material debunking various aspects of evolution from which the students will present,” Creamer wrote.

In response to Kopplin’s investigation, a spokesperson for Bossier Parrish schools told the Christian Post that there is nothing to see here because the district doesn’t endorse creationism – it’s just something individual instructors are free to explore as part of “academic freedom.”

“[The] district does not provide Creationist literature as supplements in our courses,” but does permit “use [of] the Bible as supplementary material in presenting alternative viewpoints to evolution,” the spokesperson said. “We support our teachers in engaging their students in dialogue regarding Creationism and evolution and allowing students to express their views.”

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Happy Pi Day

Time.com:

March 14 (3/14) is celebrated annually as Pi Day because the date resembles the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter — 3.14 for short. And this year’s date syncs up with the first four digits after the decimal point, so 3.14.15 looks a lot like 3.14159265359 (etc). That won’t happen again until 2115. In case you don’t remember from math class, Pi is an “irrational and transcendental number” with decimals that “continue infinitely without repetition or pattern,” according to PiDay.org, the official website for the holiday.

π   is made in Windows using the Alt key and on a numerical  pad, typing 227.

Have a great day.  Measure some circles.  Bake a π…err…pie.  Go out for some pie.

π π  π  π  π  π  π  π  π  π  π  π  π  π  π π π  π π  π  π  π  π  π  π  π  π  π  π  π  π  π  π  π

The Plague: Black rats exonerated–blame the gerbils

black rat

Just when we found out that the hype about the Crusades was partially a myth, now we have another millennial myth blow up in our faces.  Rats have been exonerated for having killed a hundred   million people with the Black Plague.  Instead, scientists have discovered that this deadly recurring scourge was caused by rat cousins, the gerbils.  According to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences the  Washington Post reports:

After nearly eight centuries of accusing the black rat for spreading the bubonic plague, scientists say they have compelling evidence to exonerate the much-maligned rodent. In the process, they’ve identified a new culprit: gerbils.

It’s always the cute ones you have to watch out for, isn’t it?

gerbil

According to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, climate data dating back to the 14th century contradicts the commonly held notion that European plague outbreaks were caused by a reservoir of disease-carrying fleas hosted by the continent’s rat population.

 

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Pope Francis discourages “breeding like rabbits”

pope

Washingtonpost.com:

Pope Francis gets pretty chatty on the papal plane.

He’s talked to reporters about jobs, homosexuality and women’s role in the church. He’s spoken out about the War in Iraq and terrorism. He’s even addressed his own retirement. And on his flight back from the Philippines this week, he started chatting about the church’s position on birth control, saying some think that to be good Catholics, “we have to be like rabbits.”

Here’s [sic] his exact words from the Vatican Insider:

I believe that three children per family, from what the experts say, is the key number for sustaining the population. The key word here is responsible parenthood and each person works out how to exercise this with the help of their pastor. … Sorry, some people think that in order to be good Catholics we have to breed like rabbits, right? Responsible parenthood: This is why there are marriage support groups in the Church with people who are experts on such issues; and there are pastors and I know that there are many acceptable solutions that have helped with this. And another thing: For poor people, children are a treasure, prudence is needed here too, it is true. Responsible parenthood but also recognizing the generosity of that father or mother who see their child as a treasure.
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Antares blows up on second launch attempt

It only took a matter of seconds. The fireball from the explosion could be seen from space. The facility was severely damaged and cars were torched. The Antares space launch that was to take supplies to the space station is gone.

Washingtonpost.com:
An unmanned rocket that was to resupply the International Space Station blew up Tuesday evening a few seconds after liftoff from Wallops Island, Va.

The Orbital Sciences rocket rose a short distance from the launchpad and then exploded in a ball of orange flames. Orbital Sciences is a private company based in Dulles, Va.

NASA confirmed that all personnel were accounted for and that there were no injuries in the explosion. However, it appeared that the explosion caused damage on the ground. Emergency personnel from nearby Virginia jurisdictions, including Chincoteague, were sent to the scene.

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Where do the potheads live?

cannabismap0701

Washingtonpost.com:

Worldwide, weed news couldn’t be hotter. It’s now legal in Colorado and Washington — and Uruguay just became the first country to legalize it. The nation now has bold, new weed plans that include, among others, giving medical marijuana to prisoners in its jails.

The catch: Despite Uruguay’s weed affinity, only 8.3 percent of its inhabitants actually smoke it, according to the United Nations 2014 World Drug Report.

The country that, surprisingly, has the highest percentage of stoners? Iceland. That’s right, 55,000 of its residents light up — nearly one-fourth of the population — even though marijuana remains an expensive commodity, according to some. Today, its president wants the trade legalized. “If we allow the sale of alcohol,” he said, “there is no reason to ban the soft drugs any longer.”

 

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Evidence of more flat earthers

flat earth

Time.com:

Does the Earth go around the sun, or does the sun go around the  Earth?

When asked that question, 1 in 4 Americans surveyed answered incorrectly.  Yes, 1 in 4. In other words, a quarter of Americans do not understand one of the  most fundamental principles of basic science. So that’s where we are as a  society right now.

The survey, conducted by the National Science Foundation, included more  than 2,200 participants in the U.S., AFP reports. It featured a nine-question quiz  about physical and biological science and the average score was a 6.5.

And the fact that only 74 percent of participants knew that the Earth  revolved around the sun is perhaps less alarming than the fact that only 48  percent knew that humans evolved from earlier species of animals.

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Virginia Creationism: Dickie Bell’s Bill

HB 207

§ 22.1-207.6. Instruction in science.

A. The Board and each local school board, division superintendent, and school board employee shall create an environment in public elementary and secondary schools that encourages students to explore scientific questions, learn about scientific evidence, develop critical thinking skills, and respond appropriately and respectfully to differences of opinion about scientific controversies in science classes.

B. The Board and each local school board, division superintendent, and school board employee shall assist teachers to find effective ways to present scientific controversies in science classes.

C. Neither the Board nor any local school board, division superintendent, or school board employee shall prohibit any public elementary or secondary school teacher from helping students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories covered in science classes.

D. Nothing in this section shall be construed to promote or discriminate against any religious or nonreligious doctrine, promote or discriminate against a particular set of religious beliefs or nonbeliefs, or promote or discriminate against religion or nonreligion.

I just wonder what all this blather means.  Since when do teachers need protection to cover the SOL objectives in science?  I am not sure that most students have the background to argue their point of view on a particular science theory.  Could it be?????  About…RELIGION?  [best Church Lady voice]

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Open Thread………………………………….Monday, December 2


From Mother Nature Network:

Ice is known by a wide range of identities in nature, from tiny snowflakes to Chicago-sized icebergs and canyon-covering glaciers. Still, a neatly shaped circle of frozen, rotating river water is strange to see, even in a wintry place like North Dakota.
The video above shows such a circle spinning serenely atop the Sheyenne River, where retired engineer George Loegering was out hunting with relatives on Nov. 23. “At first I thought, ‘No way!’ It was surreal,” Loegering tells the Associated Press, which published the video this week. “You looked at it and you thought, ‘How did it do that?'”

LADee heads to the Moon from Wallops Island

 

 

Live streaming video by Ustream

Great moon shot!  I went out about 11:20 and looked to the south-southeast as directed.  A few seconds after 11:27 I saw this orange ball rising in the sky, escaping the earth.  I could only see it about a minute but it was great.  Who would have ever thought Virginia would be launching a rocket to the moon!  Go Old Dominion.  I am very glad I saw it.  I feel blessed.

Will Wallops Island become the next Cape Canaveral?

 

Yes, Nevada, there is an Area 51

Area 51 Google Earth
Area 51 Google Earth

Washingtonpost.com:

For reasons unknown, the government finally has admitted that Area 51 — the Shangri-La of alien hunters and a sturdy trope of ­science-fiction movies — is a real place in the Mojave Desert about 100 miles north of Las Vegas.

It presumably does not house hideous squidlike ETs, but at least you can see the place on a map. Area 51 is confirmed in declassified CIA documents posted online Thursday by the National Security Archive at George Washington University. A dogged researcher pried from the CIA a report on the history of the U-2 spy plane, which was tested and operated at Area 51.

The military, which runs the base, always denied that Area 51 was called by its famous moniker, preferring a designation connected to the Groom Lake salt flat, a landing strip for the U-2 and other stealth aircraft.

“Your honor, there is no name,” an Air Force attorney told a federal judge in 1995. “There is no name for the operating location near Groom Lake.”

The hearing was part of an environmental poisoning case brought by Area 51 workers who said that they had been sickened by exposure to toxic chemicals — including anti-radar coatings and other classified materials — burned in open pits on the base.

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Those Georgians and Creationism!

Huffingtonpost.com

A new Public Policy Polling (PPP) poll finds that a majority of Georgians believe in creationism over evolution.

Entitled “Georgia Miscellany,” the Thursday item surveyed a pool of 520 voters on 32 questions. On the issue of creationism vs. evolution, 53 percent believe more in the former, compared to 29 percent choosing the latter, and 18 percent voting not sure.

When that question was transferred over to party lines, Republicans had a staggering split — 70 percent for creationism, 17 percent for evolution and 13 percent not sure. Democrats split along closer lines — 43 percent for creationism, 33 percent for evolution and 24 percent not sure. Independents held an even narrower divide — 46 percent for creationism, 40 percent for evolution and 14 percent not sure.

Back in June 2012, a Gallup poll recorded some national growth among Americans believing in creationism. Among a sample of 1,012 adults, 46 percent said that they were believers, marking a two percent jump over the past three decades.

UFB! Surely this many people don’t still think that Darwin is a bad word? I can’t believe that many people in Georgia missed science class. I went to school in Georgia a few years and I am pretty sure we studied the origins of the earth and man from a scientific point of view.

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