Dream a Little Dream of Me.

Yet More Editing of Reality

Parodia de propaganda militar en la novela de ficción \

Parodia de propaganda militar en la novela de ficción by Jaume d'Urgell @ Flickr

Don’t like reality?  Rewrite it.

It’s long been the policy of the Republican party at large, and the George W. Bush administration in specific, to screw with science and edit out the parts of it they don’t like.  They’ve done it at the EPA, NIH, NASA, wherever they’ve been able to get a political hack to use as a mouthpiece between the scientists and the people.

It’s very Orwellian.

Guess what?  Yeah, still at it.

U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney’s office was involved in removing statements on health risks posed by global warming from a draft of a health official’s Senate testimony last year, a former senior government environmental official said on Tuesday.

The former official, Jason Burnett, made the assertion and described similar incidents in a three-page letter to Senator Barbara Boxer, a California Democrat who is the chairwoman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. He then stood with her at a news conference at which she excoriated the Bush administration.

“History will judge this Bush administration harshly for recklessly covering up a real threat to the people they are supposed to protect,” Boxer said.

Only if we manage to get them out of power before they rewrite it, Senator.  What have you done lately to facilitate that?

From whence came the art:

That image is titled Parodia de propaganda militar en la novela de ficción “1984” by Jaume d’Urgell and is licensed by the artist under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 license.

Filed under: Biology, Education, Environment, Fundies, Politics, Rants, Religion, Science, , , , , ,

Democratic Musings

Obama.jpg by Barack Obama @ FlickrA while back, I promised my thoughts on the Democrats. Former Senator John Edwards has since withdrawn from the race for the nomination, so although I think he had some very valuable contributions to the discussion and that those contributions have affected the discourse in no small way, for the purposes of this post I’ll consider my musings on his positions moot.

While former Senator Mike Gravel is still technically in the race and I do like some of what he has to say, it should be quite obvious that he is not in any way a serious contender for the party nomination, and thus I’ll have to file him in the moot point basket as well. Both names may however, re-emerge as discussion of running mates becomes more immediate.

For now, I’m going to address the positions of Senator Barack Obama and in another post, those of Senator Hillary Clinton. I’ll start with Senator Obama below the fold.

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Biology, Education, Environment, Politics, Religion, Science, Space Travel, , , ,

Periodic Table of Political Interference in Science

The Republican War on Science, by Chris MooneySent to me by Elizabeth via EMail this morning, was this link to a post on Susie Bright’s blog, where she in turn links to the Periodic Table of Political Interference in Science at the website of the Union of Concerned Scientists. (A peek above our garters to Elizabeth and Susie for that.)

From the Periodic Table page:

From air pollution to Ground Zero, the A to Z Guide showcases dozens of examples of the misuse of science on issues like childhood lead poisoning, toxic mercury contamination, and endangered species.

There are links to view the information in alphabetical order, by area, by agency, or in a timeline. The presentation of the data is graphically informative, and disturbingly illustrative of the manipulation of science for use as propaganda by the Bush administration, the Republican party, and the big business and religious interests who fund them.

The public deserves its science untainted by political or religious agenda, and bloggers like Chris Mooney and Phil Plait do a remarkable job of hammering this point home, but scientists and reporters cannot do this by themselves. We, the public at large, must demand that the integrity of science be maintained from the lab, to the classrooms, to our hands. Otherwise, we will find ourselves in the Orwellian nightmare of 1984 and the mind-numbing dystopia of Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451.

It’s often difficult for me to believe how accurately George Orwell foresaw George Bush. I often wonder if His Holiness, The Glorified Houseplant Who Would Be Caesar read those two aforementioned books and thought they portrayed ideal societies. It would explain much.

There’s a bit more from the Periodic Table page below the fold. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Blogs In Our MonkeySphere, Censorship, Education, Environment, Fundies, Politics, Rants, Religion, Science, Science Links, Sex

EPA Continues Its War On Science

451 v1, by miscpix @ FlickrTying in with this article by the BadAstronomer about the war on Science by the George W. Bush Administration, allow me to add an update to one of my own stories.

Back in December, I wrote a long piece about the EPA closing its libraries for the political and economic expediency of the President and his big business backers.

The quick and dirty version is this:

The Environmental Protection Agency began to quietly close its physical libraries to the public, scientists, and even its own employees, without proper notice and in violation of federal regulation. Further, they immediately began selling off all the physical assets of the libraries including the microfiche readers, the cabinets, and even the book cases, in an effort to ensure the libraries would be unable to re-open.

The stated rationale was basically two-fold: to save money, and to digitize all the records. Both of those excuses were roundly exposed as lies, as the process would actually come with a rather large pricetag, and the records were not at all being digitized. In fact, the records that were already online were being destroyed as well.

After a large public and governmental outcry (even the EPA’s own scientists are against this but as is typical for this administration, the scientists were ignored), the EPA relented to the newly elected Congress and said it wouldn’t close any more libraries without Congressional authorization.

Big surprise, they lied.

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Education, Environment, Politics, Rants, Science

Naked People on Ice

Naked on IceNot sure what to do about Global Climate Change? Get naked!

It may not help the weather, but it’s fun anyway. In this case, it also helped to raise awareness of the issue.

Via Lycos and Greenpeace:

The nude volunteers posed for us and renowned naked “installation” artist Spencer Tunick on the Aletsch Glacier.

Without clothes, the human body is vulnerable, exposed, its life or death at the whim of the elements. Global warming is stripping away our glaciers and leaving our entire planet vulnerable to extreme weather, floods, sea-level rise, global decreases in carrying capacity and agricultural production, fresh water shortages, disease and mass human dislocations.

At the Greenpeace link there are a few videos of the event, a couple photos, and even two wallpapers you can download, if you’re feeling frisky. One of them is thumbnailed above.

According to Lycos, the temperature during the shoot was around 50 degrees Fahrenheit, which though not freezing, surely caused significant shrinkage.  Please bear that in mind while zooming the image, and give the guys a break.

From whence came the art:

That photograph is a thumbnail of a wallpaper you can download at Greenpeace, by Spencer Tunick.

Filed under: Art, Education, Environment, Images, Photos, Science

Darmok’s Climate Change Roundup

Darmok put in a great deal of time and effort to post a pretty comprehensive round up of recent news about climate change.

A short clip from his article:

In news that should be surprising to no one, the rate of melting of mountain glaciers is accelerating, according to New Scientist. Also not surprising is additional allegations about the Bush administration’s attempts to modify scientific reports. As reported in that New Scientist article as well as a CNN article, a congressional hearing is investigating the complaints.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Al Gore’s efforts to educate and motivate people, culminating in An Inconvenient Truth, will be found to have played a major role in changing public opinion. Perhaps reflecting this influence, An Inconvenient Truth has been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary. Its excellent song, “I Need to Wake Up” by Melissa Etheridge, has been nominated for Best Original Song. Furthermore, Mr. Gore has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.

Definitely a “Good News / Bad News” kind of thing. Be sure to check it out.

Filed under: Education, Environment, Science, Science Links

Holy Crap! It Snuck Up On Me!

2007 NC Science Blogging Conference

The 2007 North Carolina Science Blogging Conference is here!

Look at the folks showing up for dinner tonight!

God, I wish I had been a little quicker.

Coturnix has set up a links and live blogging page for the conference, so don’t forget to keep an eye on that! See what all your favorite bloggers in attendance are talking about, and hopefully find some great new science blogs to add to your list of favorites.

(I’m willing to consider sleeping with someone to get in. Post a link to your CV and a link to your (preferably au naturel) picture in the comments below.)


Filed under: Astronomy, Biology, Education, Environment, Science, Science Links, Space Travel

2007 NC Science Blogging Conference

The North Carolina Science Blogging Conference, Saturday, January 20, 2007.
This is a free, open and public event for scientists, educators, students, journalists, bloggers and anyone interested in discussing science communication, education and literacy on the Web.

Among a list of great science bloggers, Seed Magazine’s Scienceblogs will be represented in force:

Coturnix will be there, will you?

Dr. Free-Ride of Adventures in Ethics and Science

Zuska of Thus Spake Zuska

Greta and Dave Munger of Cognitive Daily

James Hrynyshyn of The Island of Doubt

Abel Pharmboy of Terra Sigillata

Filed under: A Rollcall of Science Chicks, Astronomy, Biology, Blogs In Our MonkeySphere, Education, Environment, More Formal Blogs, Science, Science Links

A Convenient Give Away

An Inconvenient TruthA group called Participate.net is giving away 50,000 copies of An Inconvenient Truth to educators. Free copies go to the first 50,000 teachers to sign up, one DVD per teacher.

From their About page,

Participate.net is a growing community of film lovers and activists who are dedicated to engaging their minds, sharing their passions, and improving the world around them.

So it looks like it’s a separate entity from the group of folks who actually produced the movie. I think it’s important to get this movie into the hands of the science teachers, regardless of the source.

To that end, I have bought and watched the DVD, I’m going to do a write-up of it as time allows over the holidays, and then donate my copy to White Oak High School, right down the road from me.

It really is as captivating as the reviews indicate. I would highly recommend it.

I have an extensive post about the controversy regarding this movie, and the National Science Teachers of America’s Exxon’s refusal to accept 50,000 free copies of this movie for distribution to their members. Click to read, The NSTA Is Feeding Us A Line.

In lieu of a hat tip, Kisses go to Edwize and JD2718.

(And of course to Kate for waking me to tell me this. Of course, she gets something special. 😉 )

This is important, or I wouldn’t be out of bed at this ungodly hour of the morning.

Just so y’know.

Filed under: Education, Environment, NSTA, Science, Science Links

Blue Collar Science

Science is both fascinating and important. (Duh.) It’s integral to each and every part of our daily lives. There is no nook, cranny, or corner of the universe in which science cannot reach.


But we’re all busy. (Ok, you guys are, we’re just goofing around on this computer all day.) None of us has enough free time to read every single article or paper or blog post about every single science topic each and every day.


So we pick a few sites, a couple blogs, a news aggregator or two, that can give us the highlights.


But technology advances, connection speeds increase, and we become ever more mobile, so these days podcasts are becoming a popular means by which we can access information. They can be quick little bits or bites (or bytes, if you prefer) on just about anything. Sort of the Drive-Thru of the World Wide Web.


Now you can pull up for some quick Filet Mignon. Jeff Medkeff is the Blue Collar Scientist, and he’s just begun podcasting The Blue Collar Science Show. “Ten minutes of science news, culture, and commentary for the rest of us”. Click the link, and head on over to the blog, where you can download and listen to the first two shows.


In our first show, we cover the discovery of liquid water on Mars, Kenyan religious extremists who want to kick hominid fossils out of the National Museum, Mike the Mad Biologist tips us off about the Discovery Channel Store, and I talk about recent research on the amygdala’s role in autism.


And in show number two,

In today’s show, we cover the dramatic drop in breast cancer rates, the FDA’s recommendation on a Hemopure trial, and end-of-year global warming reports.


We’re hooked already. Good stuff.


Stop on over. You won’t be disappointed.

Filed under: Astronomy, Biology, Blogs In Our MonkeySphere, Education, Entertainment, Environment, NSTA, Science, Science Links

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