I posted a photo of a itty bitty molecule that is making the news these days … the photo, not the molecule … but I didn’t have much to say about it except that it was cool. Ethan Siegel has picked up the thread and explains what it is we are looking at.
I myself have used the little needle thingie in research, but the tip of the one I used was more like an actual needle made of a zillion metal molecules so we could only image things like primate teeth or cut marks on bones. This one is a little different…
Here is a major press release by Elizabeth K. Gardner on the link between climate change and poverty, reproduced below the fold for your edification.
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Continue reading Study of 16 developing countries shows climate change could deepen poverty
First, let’s get this one thing straight, because a lot of the astroturfers and even reporters and politicians are not getting it. Health care is when you get sick and the medical profession fixes you up, or some version of that. How good our health care system is becomes a matter of how good the medicine is. We in the United States and in Europe, Canada, etc. have pretty good medicine, though there are impediments to quality medicine built into our political and social systems..
Heath care INSURANCE is the system for paying for the medicine. The current discussion in the US is about health care INSURANCE reform. The United States might (or might not) have the best freakin’ health care system (the medicine) in the freakin’ world, but it has one of the suckiest health care INUSRANCE systems in the world. And that is what we are trying to fix.
There are two major kinds of cracks in the health care INSURANCE system. One is the uncovered or uncoverable (because of economics or because the insurance companies just don’t want to). The other crack, and the one that about half the middle class falls into, and the one that should have galvanized the politically powerful in this country, is this one:
I made the point in an earlier post (Discordant Democrats vs. Republican Dittoheads) that Republicans work in lock step and simply do whatever they are told. I’m not talking (necessarily) about the average Joe the Plumber Republican. I’m talking about elected officials with law degrees. The average United States Senator or Representative who happens to be a Republican needs not think, read, or consider. All he or she needs to do is listen to the orders and follow them. Thining on one’s own is simply not done.
Does that sound like a typical Greg Laden over the top bit of hyperbole? It does? Ha! This time it is not!
Continue reading Lockstep Republicans = Stoopid
DURHAM, N.C. — Two Duke University education experts have serious concerns about the Obama administration’s proposal to link teacher evaluations to student tests scores as a criterion for how much federal stimulus money states will receive for K-12 education.
Friday (Aug. 28) is the deadline to submit public comments on the proposal that will disperse more than $4 billion in grants. The U.S. Department of Education has said it will issue its final rules sometime after the deadline.
Helen F. Ladd, the Edgar Thompson Professor of Public Policy at Duke, says that while student test scores play a role in the overall effort to improve schools, the proposed regulations “give them a pride of place that will lead to little good and is likely to do much harm.”
“The main problem with the heavy focus of the proposed test-based approach is that it ratchets up the pernicious narrow test-based approach to education represented by No Child Left Behind,” Ladd says in comments she has submitted on the proposal.
“The approach is narrow in part because the requirement that all students be tested every year means that students can be tested in only a limited number of subjects. The result is a heavy emphasis on the basic skills of math and reading, to the detriment of other skills and orientations that young people need to become effective participants in the global society.
“Further, the emphasis on test results for individual teachers will exacerbate the well-documented incentives for teachers to focus on narrow test-taking skills and drilling. It is time to move beyond this misplaced emphasis on test scores in a few subjects to return to the broader goals of education that have been such an important part of our history.”
Rest of the story is here
Atomic bonds are too small to see, right? Well, what do you suppose THIS is a picture of!?!?!?
That B&W structure is an actual image of a molecule and its atomic bonds. The first of its kind, in fact, and a breakthrough for the crazy IBM scientists in Zurich who spent 20 straight hours staring at the “specimen”–which in this case was a 1.4 nanometer-long pentacene molecule comprised of 22 carbon atoms and 14 hydrogen atoms.
You can actually make out each of those atoms and their bonds, and it’s thanks to this: An atomic force microscope.
hat tip: Ben
This is another falsehood, but a tricky one. Remember the point of falsehoods: They are statements that are typically associated with meanings or implications that are misleading or incorrect, and in some cases downright damaging. “Humans evolved from apes” is an excellent example of a falsehood because it is technically correct, yet the implied meanings that arise from it are potentially wrong. Even more importantly, you can’t really analyze the statement “Humans evolved from apes” without getting into an extended analysis and discussion of what an ape is and what a human is.
Continue reading Is it a Falsehood that Humans Evolve from Apes?