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Pro-Science News

Anti-NGSS bill in Iowa

House File 272, introduced in the Iowa House of Representatives on February 17, 2015, and referred to the House Committee on Education, would, if enacted, prevent Iowa from adopting the Next Generation Science Standards — and part of the stated reason is the NGSS's treatment of evolution and climate change.

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Antiscience bill in Iowa

House File 272, introduced in the Iowa House of Representatives on February 17, 2015, and referred to the House Committee on Education, would, if enacted, prevent Iowa from adopting the Next Generation Science Standards — and part of the stated reason is the NGSS's treatment of evolution and climate change.

Categories: Pro-Science News

NCSE and the Grand Canyon 2015

Explore the Grand Canyon with NCSE! Three seats are still available for NCSE's next excursion to the Grand Canyon — as featured in the documentary No Dinosaurs in Heaven.

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Physics trumps biology

Panda's Thumb - Sat, 2015-02-28 19:17
Or, perhaps more precisely, Did dark matter kill the dinosaurs?, which is the way that an article in ScienceNOW put it. Readers of PT doubtless know that there have been a half-dozen or so mass extinctions in the history of the earth, and they appear with a periodicity on the order of 30 million years. You can see an early graph here. The vertical arrows are separated by approximately 30 million years. Not every vertical... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
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Tell me who funded the research ...

Panda's Thumb - Sat, 2015-02-28 19:17
… And I will tell you the outcome. I cannot find the origin of that quotation, and I am pretty sure it is not original, but I thought of it when I read this article in Science. In a nutshell, Willie Soon, a part-time employee of the Smithsonian Institution, has published a number of articles linking changes in Arctic air temperature with changes in the sun’s output. His conclusion is at variance with the well... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
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Q&A in the WASP nest

Panda's Thumb - Sat, 2015-02-28 19:17
By Steven Mahone. What would happen if a dyed-in-the-wool secularist was given the opportunity to speak with students from one of the most religiously conservative school districts in the country? Well, I had the privilege of finding out first hand. The Classical Academy (TCA) is an affluent, public charter high school in north Colorado Springs, so imagine my surprise at receiving an invitation to represent the secular and scientific viewpoint for a week-long seminar titled... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
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Antiscience bill dies in Oklahoma

Oklahoma's Senate Bill 665 (PDF), which would, if enacted, have deprived administrators of the ability to prevent teachers from miseducating students about "scientific controversies," died in the Senate Education Committee on February 26, 2015, when a deadline for senate bills to pass committee expired. 

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Bill to unblock NGSS passes Wyoming legislature

The Wyoming House of Representatives and Senate have agreed on the wording of a bill that will allow the state board of education to adopt the Next Generation Science Standards, according to Wyoming Public Media (February 26, 2015).

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Darwin Day resolution in Pennsylvania

House Resolution 83, introduced in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives on February 26, 2015, would, if enacted, express the House's recognition of February 12, 2015, as Darwin Day in Pennsylvania.

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Antiscience bill dies in Indiana

Indiana's Senate Bill 562 died in the Senate Education and Career Development Committee on February 25, 2015, when the deadline for Senate bills to have their third reading in the Senate passed.

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Pygoscelis papua

Panda's Thumb - Mon, 2015-02-23 22:11
Photograph by Dan Phelps. Pygoscelis papua – gentoo penguin, Danco Island, Antarctica.... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
Categories: Pro-Science News

Help wanted: Summer interns

NCSE is seeking to hire two summer interns — one full-time, one part-time — to work on science education activism projects, with a particular focus on climate change education.

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Improving the Accuracy of Genomic Data

Panda's Thumb - Thu, 2015-02-19 20:23
Imagine that you want to analyze the 3.2 billion bases of the human genome. If you recruited every undergraduate student at ASU, all 70,000 of us, to type those data into a spreadsheet, it would still take about 13 hours. So you develop a computer program that analyzes the data for you. But then you find out that your huge data set amplified small errors in your algorithm and gave you the wrong answer. This... Emily Thompson http://cartwrig.ht/people/
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Chinese pandas have canine distemper

Panda's Thumb - Sat, 2015-02-14 01:34
Four pandas in a captive breeding population have died of canine distemper, one is “stable,” and four are “sick,” according to an article in today’s Science magazine. The pandas have been quarantined, and close contact with tourists, who may carry the disease, has been eliminated. The authorities have also repaired fences to keep dogs out. There is, fortunately, no indication that the disease has spread to a wild breeding population, which is apparently on the... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
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Chelepteryx collesi

Panda's Thumb - Sat, 2015-02-14 01:34
Photograph by Jim Foley. Chelepteryx collesi – white-stemmed gum moth, Canberra, Australia. Mr. Foley writes, “The caterpillar is about 12 cm long! Yet another member of the Australian fauna you don’t want to mess with. … We seem to have more venomous stuff than most places: lots of snakes, stonefish, spiders, jellyfish, blue-ringed octopus, etc., not to mention the crocodiles and sharks.”... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
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Lying, fake supplements, and the placebo effect

Panda's Thumb - Sat, 2015-02-14 01:34
A somewhat outraged (but entirely justified) article by Timothy Egan in the Times reminded me of an interview I heard the other day on Fresh Air. First, the Egan article: Mr. Egan is properly outraged at the New York Attorney General’s finding that dietary “supplements” sold by major retailers often contain none of the “active ingredient.” Sorry, the scare quotes are mine, not Mr. Egan’s, but I think they are entirely apt. Indeed, the fact... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
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Tenth annual Evolution Weekend; Darwin's birthday

Panda's Thumb - Sat, 2015-02-14 01:34
The tenth annual Evolution Weekend, February 13-15, is almost upon us. To check out what’s going on in your neighborhood, click here. This year’s theme is Science and Religion in Dialogue: Past, Present, and Future. The Evolution Weekend website notes, Evolution Weekend is an opportunity for serious discussion and reflection on the relationship between religion and science. An ongoing goal has been to elevate the quality of the discussion on this critical topic, and to... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
Categories: Pro-Science News

A preview of Dodging Extinction

NCSE is pleased to offer a free preview (PDF) of Anthony D. Barnosky's Dodging Extinction: Power, Food, Money, and the Future of Life on Earth (University of California Press, 2014).

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Bill to unblock NGSS passes Wyoming Senate

Wyoming's House Bill 23 (PDF) was passed by the Senate on a 27-3 vote on February 12, 2015. The bill would allow the state to adopt the Next Generation Science Standards by repealing a footnote in the state budget for 2014-2016 that precluded the use of state funds for "any review or adoption" of the NGSS.

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Antiscience bill in Montana dies

Montana's House Bill 321, which purports to "encourage critical thinking regarding controversial scientific theories" such as "biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, random mutation, natural selection, DNA, and fossil discoveries," was tabled in the House Education Committee on February 9, 2015.

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