Monthly Archives: September 2010

Antievolutionism in a marine science textbook

A sidebar in a marine science textbook recommended for approval in Florida is “packed with good ol’ fashioned creationist language,” Florida Citizens for Science charges. The text in question, Life on an Ocean Planet (Current Publishing, 2011), was recently recommended for state approval by the state’s instructional materials adoption committee on a 7-2 vote, according to the education blog of the St. Petersburg Times (September 22, 2010). But as FCFS’s president Joe Wolf wrote to Florida Department of Education Commissioner Eric Smith, the sidebar on “Questions about the Origin and Development of Life” is “simultaneously actively misinforming, at odds with state standards, and ultimately irrelevant to marine science.” Smith has the final say in the textbook adoption process, and Wolf recommended that the sidebar “should be removed entirely, as there is so little information that is either correct or useful to make it worth retaining.”

details, more

Why does my coffee cup not just fall through the coffee table?

After all, the distance between the bits my coffee cup is made of and the distance between the bits the coffee table is made of is absolutely hugemoungous. If you were a person standing on one atom of my coffee cup, scaled so the atom was the size of, say a Sofa, and you looked out in the direction of the next atom, it would look like a distant star. Or something.

Perhaps there is some kind of force working, I dunno.

Anyway, this is the kind of question that arises when you look at this thing. Teachers, you can use this to freak out your students!

Call in, question everything

Tonight’s skeptically speaking will be on Improbable Research:

Marc Abrahams

We look at the stranger side of science with Marc Abrahams, the editor of Annals of Improbable Research and creator of the the Ig Nobel Prize. Is science that makes us laugh better at making us think?

and

Speaking up
Neurobiologist Dr. Richard Wassersug explains his research into the relative tastiness of Costa Rican tadpoles.


Details here.

And, don’t forget to listen to the podcast from last week:

Bad Research

Cognitive psychologist Barbara Drescher joins us to discuss the common mistakes scientists make, and what happens to the science when their research goes wrong.

and

Journalist David Dobbs explains the case against Marc Hauser, a prominent Harvard evolutionary biologist who was recently found guilty of scientific misconduct.

Review: The Science of Evolution and the Myth of Creationism

“Everyone needs to understand the basic facts of evolution as well as the essentials of the scientific method… When people are deprived of a scientific approach to reality as a whole, they are robbed of both a full appreciation of the beauty and richness of the natural world and the means to understand the dynamics of change not only in nature but in human society as well.”

-Ardea Skybreak, “The Science of Evolution and the Myth of Creationism”

Continue reading Review: The Science of Evolution and the Myth of Creationism

Matthew Is a Tropical Storm

The stormy feature in the West Indies has formed into a named storm, and it is Matthew. Matthew is expected to remain as a tropical storm as it follows the North Honduras coast and dissipates over the central Yucatan. Well, it is possible that it will jump the isthmus and do something interesting in the Pacific, or reform in the gulf, but it is too early to say.

Meanwhile, Lisa continues to be one of the least interesting storms ever, and is expected to dissipate before Tuesday evening.

Meanwhile, the ITCZ is very active with lots of storms and low pressure, but not the best conditions in terms of wind sheer. Nothing at the moment seems to be forming over land in Africa. Perhaps we’ll see a shift of origins to the east for the remaining few hurricanes of the season.