sarahmichigan: (Default)
If I'm feeling the urge to write, "Your willful ignorance astounds me!" to someone online, I should probably just back away slowly, right?


In the news and general public? Sure. But time after time, when working scientists are polled - depending on the way the questionnaire is worded and whether they're working in a field related to climate change - between 80 and 90 percent agree that a) the earth is getting warmer and b) humans are at least part of the cause of it.

That's practically a consensus. The remaining 10 percent who don't agree? Well, there are always disagreements in science, as there should be. Those dissenting opinions could be the result of a) the scientists not being experts in climate-related science or b) not liking the way the poll question was worded or c) having some kind of pet theory or hidden agenda.

This amounts to a near-consensus with a few dissenting whack-jobs... not a controversy.
sarahmichigan: (Default)
Cuz you're a science nerd:

ganked from my friend StacyCat69
sarahmichigan: (Default)
Headlines like this one really piss me off. They just give creationists and the like ammunition when editors write sensationalist headlines like "New Fossil Ape May Shatter Human Evolution Theory!"

What the new discovery does is revise part of the timeline of human evolution, but it's not like the new discovery invalidates human evolution theory as a whole or anything. What it actually does is provide another missing link that changes the timeline of where they thought pre-humans split off from other primates. But that doesn't make a very sensational headline.

Shame on Nat'l Geographic, which I usually enjoy.
sarahmichigan: (Default)
I don't usually do this, because I assume that interesting links and articles are viral, and you'll end up seeing them passed around your FL anyway, but I've run across a lot of good stuff (some serious, some cool, some silly) the last few weeks I wanted to share in case you hadn't:

-Fat Positive artistic nudes (Not Safe for Work, obviously). I really like the set with the mesh dress, especially:

-Eddie Izzard imagines Darth Vader at the Death Star Canteen:
(If the link doesn't work, just google Eddie Izzard and "death star canteen")

-Fat patients do better after heart attacks than normal weight patients, but health "experts" still keep pushing weight loss. BFB's critique:

-The link between being fat and having high blood pressure gets weaker, but health "experts" still keep pushing the idea that fat equals death!

-Super cool article about why individual bugs aren't too bright, but swarms are smart:

-The New "Seven Wonders of the World":

-Kate Harding does a great job articulating some things I've thought for a long time about why not all fat people are compulsive and/or binge eaters but why fat compulsive/binge eaters often have trouble getting appropriate help:
sarahmichigan: (Default)
I enjoy doing little "experiments" at home occasionally, little projects that have all the fun of "blowing shit up" but which can be rationalized as being science experiments that are somewhat educational. For some reason, this makes my husband nervous.

For instance, I've done this grape in the microwave trick before, though I wasn't as anal about the precise division of the grape or finding the microwave's hot spot. The main thing is to leave the small piece of skin connecting the two halves:

I've never gotten a ball of electricity, but I've seen the electric arc.

So, my readers, do you have similar things you like to do, crazy stunts or projects that can be passed off as "educational" in some way? If so, please do comment!
sarahmichigan: (point of view)
I've been listening to "The God Delusion" as a book on CD, and I found the part where he talked about Einstein's "god" to be quite interesting. It would seem that many science-y types have a sense of wonder about the way the universe is put together, and they sometimes refer to the wonders of nature as "god" or their sense of wonder as their "religion." However, Einstein clearly didn't believe in a personal god. I think a lot of my friends who are agnostic/non-believers with a strong science background probably have beliefs very similar to Einstein's version of "god/religion".

Some interesting Einstein quotes on this page:
sarahmichigan: (Default)
I was checking out my netflix queue, and noticed that netflix thinks we'd like the movie "The Ant Bully." The synopsis for the movie is that a young boy who enjoys torturing ants gets shrunk down to their size, gets mixed up with an ant colony, and learns about "compassion and cooperation."

I found this especially funny since I've just been reading about the bullying behavior of some kinds of ants in Darwin's "On the Origin of Species." Many ants go to war with other breeds of ants, and several species of ants "enslave" another (usually smaller) species of ants, to the point that the larger ants would starve to death and their young would die if it weren't for the work done by the enslaved ants.
sarahmichigan: (Default)
I always thought the British were a little more sensible about religious frenzies, the scientific method, not letting religion muck about with teaching science. So, it's too bad to hear that creationists nonsense is getting taught in schools over there. Luckily, scientists there are fighting back.

(link found via pharyngula)

"Leading scientists have launched an unprecedented attack on the teaching of creationist theories in Tony Blair's flagship academies. Britain's most prestigious scientific body, the Royal Society, said children were being confused by the teaching of the Bible's creation story in science lessons.

It follows a recent revival in creationist thinking, most notably in three schools supported by multi-millionaire car dealer and evangelical Christian Sir Peter Vardy. In a statement issued today, the Royal Society defends Darwin's theory of evolution as the best explanation for life on earth.

It accuses the Government of failing in its duty to ensure pupils at state schools, including the academies, learn the value of genuine science."

On a related note, with craziness about "Intelligent Design" in the curriculum abounding in several states recently, it makes me extra-proud to live in an area that has chosen a book about evolution, "Beak of the Finch," as the community read for this year. It'll probably be one of the next books I pick up to read for my "50 books in '06."

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