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Pro-Science News

Antiscience bill in Mississippi dies

Mississippi's House Bill 50, whose principal sponsor acknowledged was intended to allow teachers in the public schools to present creationism, died in the House Education Committee on February 23, 2016, when a deadline for bills to be reported out of committee expired.

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Anti-NGSS bill in Iowa dies

House File 2054, which, if enacted, would have reversed Iowa's decision to adopt the Next Generation Science Standards, died in committee on February 19, 2016, when a deadline for bills to be reported out of committee expired. The NGSS's treatment of evolution and climate change appears to have been part of the motivation for the bill.

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Polling climate in Alaska

"Three-quarters of Alaskans are sold on the existence and seriousness of global warming, but far fewer are convinced that it's caused by human activity, according to a poll commissioned by Alaska Dispatch News," reports Alaska Dispatch News (February 13, 2016).

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NCSE and the Grand Canyon 2016

Explore the Grand Canyon with NCSE! Reservations are still available for NCSE's next excursion to the Grand Canyon — as featured in the documentary No Dinosaurs in Heaven. From June 30 to July 8, 2016, NCSE will again explore the wonders of creation and evolution on a Grand Canyon river run conducted by NCSE's Steve Newton and Josh Rosenau. 

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Sage Grouse: The Love-Hate Thing Goes On

W.R. Elsberry's The Austringer - Fri, 2016-02-19 14:09
Out west, there is a problem. Sage grouse, those iconic sage desert birds, have long had declining populations, mostly due to habitat loss and human-related disturbance. Due to the distribution of sage grouse and the land use in the region, if sage grouse receive endangered species status, it will mean the curtailment of a lot… Read More »
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Another Hawk-Killer in Court

W.R. Elsberry's The Austringer - Fri, 2016-02-19 13:00
Why am I not surprised this jerk was a pigeon fancier? Prosecutors say Kapusta and another person are pigeon-racing enthusiasts who killed the predatory hawks because they saw them as threats to their pigeons.
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Solar corona Cloud iridescence

Panda's Thumb - Thu, 2016-02-18 08:25
Cloud iridescence. I am afraid that this is not a very good picture, first because the colors are not very well defined and second because I could not find a single, smallish object with which to block the sun, so I had to settle for this tree. I could not immediately find a halfway decent explanation of cloud iridescence. Wikipedia says it is a diffraction phenomenon, with no elaboration. Here is what I think... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
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LIGO discovers gravitational waves

Panda's Thumb - Thu, 2016-02-18 08:25
A friend of mine, a theoretical physicist, has been telling me for over 30 years that we will never discover a magnetic monopole, proton decay – or the graviton. So far, he appears to have been correct, but now scientists at LIGO have detected a gravitational wave that resulted from the collision and amalgamation of 2 black holes. The news was so exciting that the server at Physical Review Letters supposedly crashed earlier today. I... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
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Coverage of "Climate Confusion Among U.S. Teachers"

"Climate Confusion Among U.S. Teachers" (PDF), a paper in the journal Science describing the first nationwide survey of climate change education in the United States, conceived and funded by NCSE and conducted in collaboration with researchers at Pennsylvania State University, received extensive coverage in the press. Here is a sampling.

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Bible-as-science-reference bill in Idaho

Idaho's Senate Bill 1321 (PDF), introduced on February 12, 2016, and referred to the Senate Committee on State Affairs, would, if enacted, permit the use of the Bible in Idaho's public schools "for reference purposes to further the study of" a variety of topics, including "astronomy, biology, [and] geology."

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Arizona's Darwin Day bill progresses

Arizona's Senate Resolution 1001, which would, if enacted, express the Senate's recognition of February 12, 2016, as International Darwin Day, was passed on a 5-1 vote by the Senate Committee on Natural Resources on February 15, 2016.

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Antonin Scalia dies

Antonin Scalia

Antonin Scalia, a justice on the United States Supreme Court, died on February 13, 2016, at the age of 79, according to the obituary in The New York Times (February 14, 2016). Appointed by President Ronald Reagan, Scalia served on the court from 1986 until his death. The Times wrote of the controversial Scalia that his "transformative legal theories, vivid writing and outsize personality made him a leader of a conservative intellectual renaissance in his three decades on the Supreme Court."

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Facebook: n > 150,000

A milestone: there are now over 150,000 fans of NCSE's Facebook page. Why not join them, by visiting the page and becoming a fan by clicking on the "Like" box by NCSE's name?

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"Climate Confusion Among U.S. Teachers"

The first nationwide survey of climate change education in the United States, conducted by researchers at NCSE and Pennsylvania State University, was described in "Climate Confusion Among U.S. Teachers," published (PDF) in the February 12, 2016, issue of the journal Science.

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Update from Mississippi

The principal sponsor of Mississippi's House Bill 50 acknowledged that the bill seeks to allow teachers to present creationism.

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Science standards rejected in Idaho

"Idaho lawmakers have rejected new K-12 science standards after receiving criticism over how the [standards] — which for the first time include global warming and evolution components — were finalized," reported the Associated Press (February 9, 2016).

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Antiscience bill in Mississippi

House Bill 50, introduced in the Mississippi House of Representatives and referred to the House Education Committee on February 8, 2016, would, if enacted, allow science teachers with idiosyncratic opinions to teach anything they pleased — and prohibit responsible educational authorities from intervening.

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Do not talk with your cell phone on your lap

Panda's Thumb - Tue, 2016-02-09 01:00
Not if you are male, anyway. I ran across a Facebook posting which linked to an article in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. The article warned of a “stark correlation … between heavy cell phone use and male infertility.” Haaretz advises that you never use your phone when it is less than 50 cm from your crotch and, oddly, that you not talk on your phone while it is charging. The second stricture seems to me to... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
Categories: Pro-Science News

Presidential candidates' positions on science-related issues

Panda's Thumb - Mon, 2016-02-08 18:48
Just a day before a handful of candidates dropped out of the race, Science ran an article on the candidates’ positions “on some select science-related issues (keeping in mind that the candidates have yet to sound off on many topics of interest to researchers).” The article was necessarily a little shallow but gives a good idea where most of the candidates stand on critical issues like science policy, the space program, climate change, vaccination, and... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
Categories: Pro-Science News

Antiscience bill in South Dakota dies

South Dakota's Senate Bill 83 is out of commission, following a February 4, 2016, hearing in the Senate Education Committee. The committee voted 4-3 to defer further consideration of the bill to the forty-first legislative day, and since the legislative session in South Dakota is thirty-eight days long in 2016, the bill is effectively dead.

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