UDreamOfJanie

Dream a Little Dream of Me.

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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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We’re hooked already. Good stuff.

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Stop on over. You won’t be disappointed.

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

Ripples In The Water

Mother And Daughter At The Stonehenge Inn

Funny how things go, y’know?

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I started this little blog on a lark, not quite six months ago now. There were thoughts of literature, family, boys, that sort of thing.

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Just a “Dear Diary” kinda thing. I imagined nothing too special, maybe a visit from Mom every now and again, comments once in a while from friends back home, a new BlogOVerse neighbor would drop by from time to time to drop off a virtual pie.

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Funny how things go, y’know?

. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: About, Astronomy, Blogs In Our MonkeySphere, Education, Environment, More Formal Blogs, NSTA, Science

New York City Teachers Fight Back

This is good news regarding the NSTA fiasco. It seems some New York City teachers feel that the education of our children is — wait for it — more important than the oil industry’s bottom line.

Kazaa to them!

JD is reporting that a resolution distributed at the December 6th delegate assembly of the United Federation of Teachers reads as follows:

Whereas Laurie David, co-producer of the AL Gore movie “An Inconvenient Truth,” tried to donate 50,000 DVD Copies of the movie to the National Science Teachers Association so science teachers could show their students, and

Whereas Linda Crosshauer, the NSTA president, refused the DVD donation of “An Inconvenient Turth” because the organization had already taken financial contributions from Exxon-Mobil and Shell, as well as accepted and distributed copies of the American Petroleum Institute’s own movie “Fuel-less: You Can’t Be Cool Without Fuel.”

Resolved, that the United Federation of Teachers request that Ms. David donate the copies to the UFT or the AFT so that all of our students and teachers can benefit from this vital award winning documentary.

Thanks back to Jonathan!

Filed under: Education, Environment, NSTA

The NSTA Is Feeding Us A Line

I’m cross posting this story from our blogspot blog.

(Since this post is duplicated because of the move from Blogger, I’m closing the comments in this thread and asking that further comentary be made in the duplicate, just so we’re all on one page. Thanks for understanding, and my apologies for the weirdness.)

This story has gone back and forth, and quite honestly, so have I. I was outraged, then relieved, then confused, then lost. I’m back to outraged.After about 6 hours more reading about the National Science Teachers of America than I ever cared to do, please allow me to be very blunt.

The NSTA is selling a pound of digital bologna, but I’m not buying it.

They have been doing the deceitful tapdance of the publicly convicted criminal who’s looking for a technicality to get off. They are playing semantic games and they are doing their level best to deflect the spotlight from shining on them, because they understand completely that it does not show them in a very favorable light.

Before I continue, let me back up.

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Education, Environment, NSTA

The NSTA Is Feeding Us A Line

(This story has been imported from our old Blogger Blog, and was crossposted here, so there is a duplicate above with different comments.)

This story has gone back and forth, and quite honestly, so have I. I was outraged, then relieved, then confused, then lost. I’m back to outraged.

After about 6 hours more reading about the National Science Teachers of America than I ever cared to do, please allow me to be very blunt.

The NSTA is selling a pound of digital bologna, but I’m not buying it.

They have been doing the deceitful tapdance of the publicly convicted criminal who’s looking for a technicality to get off. They are playing semantic games and they are doing their level best to deflect the spotlight from shining on them, because they understand completely that it does not show them in a very favorable light.

Before I continue, let me back up.

Read the rest of this entry »

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

EMail About the NSTA Dust Up

Just got this in my email. It looks like a form letter, but maybe I’m just a force to be reckoned with…

[UPDATE: I sent a thank you note back to Jon anyway, and he replied almost immediately. This is NOT a form letter, so I suppose that I am indeed a force to be reckoned with… Look out, Mr. Bush’s successor. I may be gunning for your job next! Anyway, I wanted to personally thank Jon here for taking the time to read this blog, and for taking the time to update me on this situation.]

Neither of the links given appears to work, and this will certainly require some research.

The first link is to another piece by Laurie David at the Huffington Post, and here is a proper link to that article.

The second link should point to a Living On Earth segment, I believe, and here is the transcript from that segment. There are also links for the audio segment there.

Ok, here’s the email

Jon Coifman here from NRDC, following up on an item about the National Science Teachers Association that you blogged about a few days ago.

There are two important new stories out today adding more fuel to the fire, and more information about controversy involving oil company funding for NSTA and whether it had anything to do with their decision to reject an offer for 50,000 free copies of the Al Gore global warming documentary An Inconvenient Truth.

The rest is below the fold…

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Education, Environment, NSTA, Politics

As The NSTA Turns Inconveniently

Remember a few days ago, when we were discussing the National Science Teahers of America thing?

The long and the short of it is that the producers of the movie An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore’s movie about global warming, wanted to donate a gazillion copies of the movie for the NSTA to distribute. The NSTA turned them down, and one of their reasons was that they didn’t want to piss off the folks who give them money. One of those folks is Exxon, which obviously has a vested interest in not having that movie seen.

Laurie David, one of the producers wrote an op-ed about it, and got us all pissed off about the situation. Then the NSTA wrote a response, which made us all feel a little better. Then the NSTA altered its response, which left us all a little confused, and a bit suspicious.

If you’re still following this, the online version of the journal Science weighs in on the discussion….

Filed under: Education, Environment, NSTA, Politics

National Science Teachers of Exxon

[SECOND EDIT – The portions crossed out are now missing from the current version of the NSTA’s response…]

[EDIT: Via a comment made anonymously from Ft. Worth, Texas, I am including the NSTA’s official response first, which can be found in their pressroom. –

NSTA Press Release
NSTA Statement on November 26 Washington Post Op-ed “Science à la Joe Camel”
Nov 28 2006

On November 26, the Washington Post printed an opinion piece from environmental activist Laurie David, a producer of the film “An Inconvenient Truth.” In her op-ed Ms. David reports that NSTA rejected the opportunity to distribute 50,000 copies of the DVD to NSTA members.

NSTA policy states that the association cannot endorse any outside organization’s products and/or messages to its members. Therefore, we do not send any such products and/or messages directly to our members, regardless of the source.

What was not mentioned in the op-ed is the fact that during conversations with Ms. David’s representative we suggested making the DVD available via alternative means of distribution (e.g. by providing a mailing list of our members to producers, announcing its availability in our publications, etc.). It appears that these alternative distribution mechanisms were unsatisfactory.

It was not the intent of the NSTA to restrict “An Inconvenient Truth” from its members and we are currently pursuing options to make the DVD available to teachers.

In the op-ed Ms. David goes on to characterize NSTA as a willing corporate America partner that eagerly pushes corporate messages about the environment.

This is not true.

The perception created by the op-ed that NSTA has a conflict of interest in dealing with corporate America is misleading. This is a very serious issue to NSTA and science education. Like many organizations, NSTA does receive support from corporate America and other organizations (in FY06 total corporate support received by NSTA was 16.4% and total support from energy companies was 3.77%). Before we accept any funds from outside groups (corporate or otherwise), and as a condition of any support, we make it clear that NSTA is solely responsible for developing, directing, and implementing the programs we offer to teachers.

Let me specifically address the programs outlined in the op-ed: ExxonMobil has been a long-time sponsor of the national network we call Building a Presence for Science. In this project we have identified a “point of contact” for science in over 40,000 school buildings. Originally conceived to provide a copy of the National Science Education Standards to each school, NSTA now regularly sends these points of contact useful information on science education that they share with teachers in their buildings. Not once has ExxonMobil asked to use this network for their own purposes.

The Shell Oil Company funds national research science experts to present at our national conference, where they speak directly to science teachers about their field of research. NSTA chooses the scientists, invites the scientists, and hosts the scientists at these conferences. In addition, the Shell Oil Company sponsors the Shell Science Teaching award for K-12 science teachers who have had a positive impact on his or her students, school, and community through exemplary classroom teaching. This award program is administered by NSTA and the recipients are chosen by science teachers selected by NSTA.

The partnership with API, which ended 5 years ago, led to the creation of a simulation, done entirely by NSTA, on energy usage. The video in question, “You Can’t Be Cool Without Fuel” was not on our website. The only record of NSTA distributing it to members we found was from 1999, prior to the current endorsement policy.

Global warming is a very important science/societal issue. NSTA has always supported sound environmental science education. We regret this current controversy surrounding our decision not to mass distribute the DVD to our members, and we are working to promote the availability of the film.

In response to an October 2005 report titled Rising Above the Gathering Storm, a strong consensus is emerging in the business, education, and scientific communities that our nation’s future competitiveness in the global marketplace is directly tied to the ability of our schools to better prepare children in mathematics and the sciences. We should be discussing positive ways of how we can work together to strengthen the science education we provide to our nation’s students.

The mission of the NSTA is to promote excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning for all, and for over 50 years NSTA has been a staunch supporter of quality science education. We are very proud of the work we do on behalf of science education.

Dr. Gerald Wheeler
Executive Director
National Science Teachers Association

Thank you for that, anonymous. It certainly sheds a different light on things. Please do come back and accept my thanks for that.]

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Via Coturnix, comes this very disturbing news

It appears as though the National Science Teachers Association has abandoned its search for truth and is now looking for a good sugar daddy.

Laurie David, one of the producers of An Inconvenient Truth, wrote a piece for today’s Washington Post describing her efforts to make 50,000 DVD copies of that movie available to America’s science teachers through NSTA.

They said no. And, more weirdly, they explained why. First, they said, they were afraid that if they started taking information from “special interests” like David, they’d have to take them from other groups, too. As though a private organization is obligated to accept and distribute any fool thing the Flat Earth Society may send them? As though they’re not scientists, capable of sussing out the factual truth and relative educational value of any given piece of would-be curriculum? As though (as David points out) An Inconvenient Truth isn’t already part of the required science curriculum in other countries, including Sweden and Norway?

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

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