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Pro-Science News

Public support for climate change education in West Virginia

"The vast majority of official comments on new statewide K-12 science standards — the first to require teaching about global warming in mandatory courses — were in favor of them, according to the West Virginia Department of Education," reports the Charleston Gazette (April 6, 2015). With the comments in hand, the West Virginia state board of education is expected to have its final vote on the standards at its April 8, 2015, meeting.

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Congratulations to the NCSE Grand Canyon Teacher Scholarship winners!

NCSE rafters examining Vulcan's Anvil, one of Grand Canyon's geological wonders. Photo by Josh Rosenau, 2014.

NCSE is pleased to announce the winners of the first teacher scholarships on our annual Grand Canyon raft trip: Alyson Miller of Nashua High School North, Nashua, New Hampshire, and Scott Hatfield of Bullard High School, Fresno, California. They will receive an all-expenses-paid eight-day raft trip through the Grand Canyon, guided by two members of NCSE's staff and joining twenty other NCSE members and supporters who purchased seats on the trip. The scholarship funds were donated by the generosity of NCSE's members.

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Fitness surfaces and searches: Dembski, Ewert, and Marks's search for design

Panda's Thumb - Wed, 2015-04-01 23:02
This post is by Joe Felsenstein and Tom English Back in October, one of us (JF) commented at Panda’s Thumb on William Dembski’s seminar presentation at the University of Chicago, Conservation of Information in Evolutionary Search. In his reply at the Discovery Institute’s Evolution News and Views blog, Dembski pointed out that he had referred to three of his own papers, and that Joe had mentioned only two. He generously characterized Joe’s post as an... Joe Felsenstein http://evolution.gs.washington.edu/felsenstein.html
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Governor seeks dismissal of Ark lawsuit

Panda's Thumb - Wed, 2015-04-01 23:02
Tom Loftus reports in the Louisville Courier-Journal that Gov. Steve Beshear has asked a federal court to dismiss the Ark Park’s lawsuit on the grounds that “[p]roviding the public funding sought for religious purposes …would constitute an unlawful establishment of religion” and thereby violate both the state and federal constitutions. Governor Beshear and his co-plaintiff, state Treasurer Bob Stewart, told the Courier-Journal that “the state’s denial of public funds for the ark park [sic] ‘reflects... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
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AFT adds its voice for climate change education

The American Federation of Teachers adopted a resolution in 2014 affirming the role of science in climate change courses.

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Polling evolution in Canada

Science Culture: Where Canada Stands, a new report (PDF) from the Council of Canadian Academies, includes data on Canadian public opinion about evolution and related topics.

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A preview of The Atlas of Climate Change

NCSE is pleased to offer a free preview (PDF) of Kristin Dow and Thomas E. Downing's The Atlas of Climate Change: Mapping the World's Greatest Challenge (University of California Press, 2011). 

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Origin-of-life puzzle cracked?

Panda's Thumb - Wed, 2015-03-25 21:36
A pair of recent articles on the Science website seems to think so. Staff writer Robert Service says Researchers may have solved origin-of-life conundrum and writes, Chemists report today that a pair of simple compounds [HCN and H2S], which would have been abundant on early Earth, can give rise to a network of simple reactions that produce the three major classes of biomolecules—nucleic acids, amino acids, and lipids—needed for the earliest form of life to... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
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Ice stalagmite

Panda's Thumb - Wed, 2015-03-25 21:36
Photograph by James Rice. While we are still thinking of icicles, here is another ice stalagmite that James Rice sent us. We showed his picture of a natural ice stalagmite here, as well as another anthropogenic ice stalagmite here.... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
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Attention, filmmakers!

Scientists and science educators of all stripes — students, postdocs, faculty, and full- or part-time science communicators — are invited to enter the Fifth Annual Evolution Video Competition, sponsored by the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and the Society for the Study of Evolution.  

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AFT adds its voice for evolution

The chorus of support for the teaching of evolution continues, with a statement from the American Federation of Teachers, adopted in 2014.

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Friend of Darwin and Friend of the Planet awards for 2015

NCSE is pleased to announce the winners of the Friend of Darwin award for 2015: Neil Shubin, the Robert R. Bensley Distinguished Service Professor of the Department of Organismal Biology and Anatomy at the University of Chicago, codiscoverer of Tiktaalik roseae and author of Your Inner Fish (2008), and Ronald L. Numbers, the Hilldale Professor of the History of Science and Medicine at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and author of The Creationists (1992, expanded edition 2006).

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Pi Day

Panda's Thumb - Sat, 2015-03-21 01:48
Today is Pi Day, and the time will be exactly pi at 3/14/15 9:26:53, or a little thereafter. We will not see another Pi Day till 2115, but I am sure that someone next year will point out that pi = 3.1416 within a thousandth of 1 percent or so. Won’t be the same, though!... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
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SISRS: A new way to analyze genomic data

Panda's Thumb - Sat, 2015-03-21 01:48
Remember the two studies published at the end of last year that produced groundbreaking evolutionary trees of birds and insects? The researchers in these studies used data from whole sequenced genomes to construct these more reliable trees. This is a practice that is somewhat novel but gaining importance in phylogenomics. But we’ve talked about how large data sets, like genomes, can lead to incorrect conclusions if analyzed improperly. How did the researchers avoid this problem?... Emily Thompson http://cartwrig.ht/people/
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Teachers first, scientists second

Panda's Thumb - Sat, 2015-03-21 01:48
That is one of the disquieting results of a new survey, Enablers of doubt, by Michael Berkman and Eric Plutzer. The two Penn State professors interviewed a total of 35 students on 4 Pennsylvania campuses in 2013. All the students were training to be biology teachers; many were not comfortable with the theory of evolution, and many were “concerned about their ability to navigate controversy initiated by a student, parent, administrator, or other members of... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
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Anybody remember Prof. Steve Steve and the Ig Nobels?

Panda's Thumb - Sat, 2015-03-21 01:48
In 2005, Prof. Steve Steve visited Harvard for the Ig Nobels. We have had a request to use one of the pictures taken on his trip. If you are the photographer, please get it contact with us.... Reed A. Cartwright http://dererumnatura.us/
Categories: Pro-Science News

Icicle ripples

Panda's Thumb - Sat, 2015-03-21 01:48
An Icicle showing ripples due to impurities in the water. How the impurities cause the ripples is unknown.... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
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What's new with Wyoming's science standards?

The Wyoming state board of education voted on March 17, 2015, to return to the task of adopting new science standards, according to Wyoming Public Media (March 17, 2015) — but a proposal to adopt the Next Generation Science Standards outright was rejected.

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Opposition to new science standards continues in South Dakota

"The debate over choosing standards for science education in South Dakota's public schools has become a divisive battleground with a clear split between science professionals who strongly support the new standards and opposing parents who disbelieve climate change and evolution," reports the Rapid City Journal (March 17, 2015).

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RNCSE 35:2 now on-line

NCSE is pleased to announce that the latest issue of Reports of the National Center for Science Education is now available on-line.

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