Friday ReadsPosted: August 19, 2011
Well, another campaign day, another choice set of lies out there in the face of the public. Let’s see. Michelle Bachmann thinks we’re all frightened of the rising power of the Soviet Union. Has she suddenly done the time warp or did she just never read a newspaper back in the day and some how forgot about that entire Boris Yeltsin, Mikhael Gorbachev, and fall of the Berlin Wall thing? Kinda makes you worry about her poor homeschooled children, doesn’t it?
Rick Perry seems to think that Texas illegally teaches the biblical creation myth along with actual science. Steven Benen had a wildly funny tongue-in-cheek up wondering aloud if Perry actually has any idea about the age of the world after he answered this little boy’s question in New Hampshire. Seems Perry doesn’t know his biology, his geology or his US Constitution either.
ABC News has a video up today showing Republican presidential hopeful Rick Perry answering a question from a young boy in New Hampshire. “How old do you think the Earth is?” the kid said. Given Perry’s larger worldview, it seems like a reasonable question. The Texas governor replied, “I don’t have any idea; I know it’s pretty old. So, it goes back a long, long way.”
We can hope Perry doesn’t think 6,000 years is “pretty old.”
At this point, the boy’s mother pushed him to ask Perry about evolution. The candidate explained:
“Your mom is asking about evolution. You know, that’s a theory that’s out there; it’s got some gaps in it. In Texas, we teach both creationism and evolution in our public schools — because I figure you’re smart enough to figure out which one is right.”
This is important for a couple of reasons. First, Perry may have no idea what goes on in Texas’ public schools, but if they’re teaching “both creationism and evolution,” they’re violating the law. It’s not even a gray area — the Supreme Court has already struck down a law that called for “balanced treatment for creation-science and evolution-science in public school instruction,” concluding that the law violated the separation of church and state. Teaching religion in science class is illegal under the First Amendment.
Some one should ask Perry if he believes in the Theory of Gravity. I’m thinking his hair may not. John Huntsman, the Republican underdog candidate, actually tweeted this yesterday: ‘Call me crazy,’ I believe in evolution, global warming. He may not be crazy, but there obviously are a lot of people out there voting in Republican primaries that sure are which is why his campaign is pretty dead in the water. Evidently fact denial is part of conservative bona fides these days.
Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman took to Twitter Thursday to offer his support for evolution.
Huntsman made the tweet shortly after Texas Gov. Rick Perry offered comments that cast doubt on evolution — his comments can be interpreted as criticism of Perry.
“To be clear. I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming. Call me crazy,” tweeted Huntsman, the former ambassador to China.
Perry has also raised questions about whether humans are contributing to global warming.
Huntsman’s tweet will raise questions about whether he has the conservative bona fides to win the Republican presidential nomination. Huntsman has carved out a niche in the primary fight as a centrist, but it is unclear whether GOP voters are looking for that in a candidate this year.
So, this is the first time I’ve ever seen a jobs plan that actually is a budget deficit reduction plan in disguise. I’m just getting so cynical these days that I”m ready to move to the Channel Islands and pledge allegiance to HRH Queen Elizabeth. At least the Brit monarchs these days read books and go to university.
The jobs package that President Obama plans to unveil shortly after Labor Day could include tens of billions of dollars to renovate thousands of dilapidated public schools and a tax break to encourage businesses to hire new workers, according to people familiar with White House deliberations.
As aides work to put together the proposal, they are also hammering out a companion plan to reduce federal budget deficits over the next decade, which Obama would share with the 12-member congressional “super committee” charged with finding long-term fixes for the growing national debt.
The deficit reduction plan would rely on some of the ideas Obama worked on in private negotiations with House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) this summer, aides said. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss a proposal that is still taking shape.
The two-phase plan would probably require Obama to argue for spending more money in the short term while reducing the federal deficit over a longer period. Many economists support that combination, saying cuts in spending should wait until the economy is stronger. But political strategists say it has been difficult to communicate that idea to voters.
I’d rather not live in a country where policy decisions are based on if ideas considered too “difficult to communicate” to voters personally. Given that Michelle Bachman thinks that the Soviet Union still exists, Rick Perry isn’t aware the constitution forbids teaching specific religious doctrines in Public Schools, and John Huntsmen has to tweet to people that he’s not one of the “crazy people”, I’ll take small wealthy, monarchy–like Monaco–for $1000 Alex.
Okay, I’ve decided that Science News and education is a priority now. Here’s a few items to consider. NASA is trying to figure out how to predict space weather. Hope it’s easier than predicting earth weather.
NASA scientists for the first time can track the effects of a solar storm on Earth, offering new advancements in our ability to predict space weather and how it will impact our satellites, emergency systems, power grid, air traffic control equipment, and more.
New observations from NASA’s Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory, or STEREO, spacecraft have allowed researchers to observe the sun throwing off immense clouds of material, see how the material interacts with solar wind, and monitor the result as it hurtles toward Earth’s magnetosphere.
The result: a first-ever view, end-to-end and in three dimensions, of the impact of a solar storm on Earth.
“With stereoscopic telescopes, we are actually witnessing the solar wind and solar storm blowing all the way from sun to Earth,” said Madhulika Guhathakurta, STEREO program scientist, during a press conference at NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C., today.
Here’s another kewl thing from NASA: Mapping Antarctic Ice in Motion. Don’t tell Rick Perry, it’s more of those scientist trying to confuse us about climate change and global warming!
Put the arguments over how fast Antarctic ice is melting to one side for the moment. The latest study of the southern continent, by a group of scientists led by Eric Rignot of the University of California, Irvine, shows how fast the ice rivers are moving and where they are going.
The map of ice in motion, which traces parts of the eastern Antarctic region that have previously been hard to see, offers a new and powerful tool for the study of the dynamics of ice melting into the southern seas.
The data used in the map was obtained from satellites in polar orbit. Dr. Rignot said in an interview that 3,000 different orbital tracks were studied, then combined into a mosaic of the continent.
The study was published on Thursday in Science Express. The work was done in conjunction with NASA, which said in a press release that the map, showing glaciers moving from the deep interior to its coast, “will be critical for tracking future sea-level increases from climate change.”
One last thing and I’ll turn the thread over to you for you to share what you’re reading today. Roman artifacts are being used to study how better nuclear storage waste receptacles might last over time.
Scientists are experimenting with 1,800-year-old glass to better understand how nuclear waste storage will hold up for millennia to come.
Long ago a ship set sail in the Adriatic sea, possibly heading toward the ancient seaport of Aquileia. But it never made it. For 1,800 years the ship’s wreckage sat on the sea floor, exposed to the elements.
Denis Strachan, a Pacific Northwest National Laboratory fellow, traveled to Italy last summer in search of the corroded glass to study how modern-day glass will hold up when storing nuclear waste. As a fan cools his lab at in Richland, Wash., he sounds almost as excited about the history as the science.
“These are experiments done by our ancient fathers for us – free.”
Modern scientists wanted to find out:
- How much corrosion happened over the last 1,800 years
- How water reacted with the glass
- What the ancient glass turned into
Senior scientist Joseph Ryan holds up a blue piece of glass found at the bottom of the sea. Most likely it’s a part of a goblet and its handle. The corrosion looks iridescent, and there’s not much of it.
“You can still see on this material, all of the neat little ridges and decorations that are present on this glass, and its been buried for 1,800 years in just sea water – not really the world’s best repository situation.”
Ryan says they can use the chemistry behind the unintentionally durable Roman glass to make sure what’s used to hold nuclear waste will not fail.
Alright then! Tag you’re it! What’s on your reading and blogging list today? Please share!!!