Daily Archives: October 12, 2009

Cafe Scientifique Minneapolis

October 20th
7:00 to 9:00 PM
Bryant Lake Bowl

Jonathan Foley, director of the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment, will talk about another inconvenient truth: our complex global food and agricultural system.

With your help Foley will take-up the question, “How will we feed and fuel more than nine billion people without destroying our environment in the process?

Doors for this event open at 6pm. Tickets can be purchased in advance on the Bryant-Lake Bowl’s website (see link below).

Science and Islam: A model for framing vs. popular science


17th century Arabic anatomy drawing, from the Advances of Islamic Sciences web site. In some Islamic sects, drawing living things is not allowed. As a very practical matter, this excludes students from taking part in certain activities in science classrooms.

During the Bell Museum Slapdown panel last week, Myers brought up differences between countries in public attitudes towards education. Mooney and Nisbet brought up the difficulty of making fundamental changes via “Popular Science” approaches, which I take to include public, popular culture as well as standard education (which is, after all, the main mechanism for cultural transmission of scientific viewpoints).

We did not develop the potential for the comparative argument as much as we could have during that discussion. As Nisbet suggested: We should be scientific about our understanding of how we present science. I agree. The comparative approach is a very useful one in science. We can ask questions like, how can other predominantly christian countries (like Italy, France, Britain and Spain) have such a better attitude (publicly and culturally) towards science (especially evolution) compared to the US? What’s the difference? Let’s get us some of that difference!

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The “Swine Flu” does not have a name?

Effect Measure has an interesting take-down of a post on The Global Language Monitor (GLM), which brings up an interesting point or two.

The GLM is a very strange site which has, as Revere points out, declared itself to be an important go-to place to find out about language trends across the world. I have not decided what I think about this site except when I browse around it it I feel my guard going up, and up and up. In a recent post, the GLM lists cases of inappropriate political correctness. The GLM says “Once again, we are seeing that the attempt to remove all bias from language is itself creating biases of their own” and they point out as the number one example of this … Swine Flu:

Continue reading The “Swine Flu” does not have a name?