Daily Archives: March 22, 2009

Don’t Take O2 for Granted

There has always been Oxygen on the earth, but it was not floating around free in the atmosphere as it is today (most of it still isn’t). Indeed, it is kind of strange that the earth is blanketed in a mixture of toxic, corrosive liquid (water) and equally corrosive gas (the oxygen in the atmosphere). Imagine showing up at a planet without an atmosphere or liquid water, and splashing the water and spraying the air from he earth all over that planet. Depending on the planet, it could be like throwing vinegar into a bowl of baking soda. Third grade science fair time!

In fact, this could be a test … non-gaseous planets that have previously supported earth-like life would not fizz so much under this test, but those that never had life would be likely to fizz like crazy. Or maybe I’m just crazy.

Anyway, Bad Astronomy Blog has a piece on “When did Earth’s oxygen atmosphere appear?” Check it out.

Check Out The Reef Tank

The Reef Tank is an enterprise that supports and supplies salt water aquarists and supports the use of captive raised organisms and knowledge about ecosystems and conservation issues. From their site:

The Reef Tank is a unique bulletin board with a unique philosophy. Our mission is to provide a supportive, flame-free environment for beginning and experienced aquarists to share ideas, ask questions, and learn about the marine and reef keeping hobby. We also aim to educate ourselves and others about responsible animal husbandry, promoting captive-raised livestock and aquacultured corals when possible.

So, they have two missions: Helping people keep tanks in a responsible way and maintaining an on line community with no flaming. Relatively speaking, the first goal will probably be more easiliy met than the second!

The Reef Tank is here. You will find a number of interesting posts and reposts on the site in topics such as Ocean Acidification, Climate Change, Evolution, as well as interviews and biographical sketches of incredibly important bloggers and science communicators (example).

Go and visit but don’t eat the fish!

PREMIOS ”PUÃ?OS ARRIBA”: Premiaciones del rap cubano publicado en el 2008

From my homey Emetrece:

El 3 de abril, en la Ciudad de La Habana, se realizara la ceremonia de premiación “Puños Arriba” en el Cine-Teatro Rivera de 23 y G // 8PM

Categorías en competencia incluyen:

Canción Beef, Canción Social, Canción al amor. Canción mas popular, Mejor featuring, Mejor Beat, Mejor Grabación, Mejor Video Clip, Mejor mini reportaje, Mejor cover CD, y CD del año.

Discos en competencia:

Mi Testimonio (Escuadrón Patriota). El Atropello (Los Aldeanos), Miseria Humana (El Aldeano), Dr. jekill & Mr Hyde (El B.), Redención (Papá Humbertico), La Segunda Temporada (Maikel Xtremo), Conseptos y Prinsipios (El Libre), y El Alma de un Soldado (Soldier Squad).

Para mas información, & Emetreceproducitons

Creationist Texan Lawmaker Embarrasses Self, Texas, Nation, Humanity

Leo Berman, Republican State Rep in Texas, has proposed a bill that would allow the Institute for Creation Research to issue advanced degrees in Creationism. The faux educational institution, which moved from California to Texas several years ago hoping to dupe the Texans into exactly this sort of idiotic thing, was previously denied this right by the proper regulatory agency. Berman’s act is cynical, anti-democratic, and terribly embarrassing for all Texans.

There is a news report here:

A Texas legislator is waging a war of biblical proportions against the science and education communities in the Lone Star State as he fights for a bill that would allow a private school that teaches creationism to grant a Master of Science degree in the subject.

State Rep. Leo Berman (R-Tyler) proposed House Bill 2800 when he learned that The Institute for Creation Research (ICR), a private institution that specializes in the education and research of biblical creationism, was not able to receive a certificate of authority from Texas’ Higher Education Coordinating Board to grant Master of Science degrees.

Berman’s bill would allow private, non-profit educational institutions to be exempt from the board’s authority.

“If you don’t take any federal funds, if you don’t take any state funds, you can do a lot more than some business that does take state funding or federal funding,” Berman says. “Why should you be regulated if you don’t take any state or federal funding?”

And here are a few blog posts on the topic:

If Texas HB2800 Passes, I Want A Masters Degree In VooDoo

Leo Berman makes Texas look like a fool

“Creation Science” Degree in Texas?

Texans: Come on, man!!! Can you not please get your freakin’ act together? Haven’t enough Yankees moved into your state to overcome this endemic yahooism?????

National Young Women’s Leadership Conference

The National Young Women’s Leadership Conference is going on. You can get to related information via this blog: Choices Feminist Campus.

Welcome to the second day of our National Young Women’s Leadership Conference. WOOHOO! We are Showing this morning’s plenary live today on UStream — same link as below for yesterday’s plenary. It will be live from 10am-11:15am and available after for viewing anytime.

A Young River in an Old Valley

The Red River is flooding again, and people up there are filling sandbags again. So I thought I’d provide a little context to this important news.

The Red River in Minnesota flows backwards in its channel, in a northerly direction. Its course is backwards not because it’s going north (many people in America do think that rivers flow south), but rather, because its channel is part of a larger channel that historically carried more water than any other river on this planet has ever carried. This was the Warren River, which emptied Lake Agassiz (the largest fresh water lake ever) via the Red River Valley, then on to the Minnesota River Valley, then to the Mighty Mississippi. Much mightier then.

Read the rest of the essay here.

God is in all things. Including agendas.

How to spot a hidden religious agenda

As a book reviews editor at New Scientist, I often come across so-called science books which after a few pages reveal themselves to be harbouring ulterior motives. I have learned to recognise clues that the author is pushing a religious agenda. As creationists in the US continue to lose court battles over attempts to have intelligent design taught as science in federally funded schools, their strategy has been forced to… well, evolve. That means ensuring that references to pseudoscientific concepts like ID are more heavily veiled. So I thought I’d share a few tips for spotting what may be religion in science’s clothing.

See comments below.