Daily Archives: February 22, 2012

How To Make Diversity Happen

There are several very basic misunderstandings of how things work when it come to engendering and encouraging diversity, and I’d like to make a few comments with the aim of clearing them up, at least partially. One example of a misunderstanding came up a while back when some of us were complaining about the number of Y-chromosomes represented in Richard Dawkins’ otherwise excellent science anthology, and I have been reminded of it more recently by the inexplicable blogarrhea coming from the general direction of the former John Loftus, who can’t stop complaining about (… oh never mind, it does not matter). In the end, it is all about how we make selections, which are samples of a larger population, and we make selections quite often.
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"Faked" Heartland Institute Doc is Authentic

You know about the Heartland Strategy memo. It is one of several documents produced and used internally by the Heartland Institute, a minor Libertarian “Think” Tank, demonstrating some rather unsavory activities, which are now under preliminary investigation by the US Congress. The memo contains little that is not found in other documents already admitted by Heartland to be genuine but there are a few details added and a much finer point is put on such nefarious programs as intruding into the public school system to trick teachers into “not teaching science” in science classes.

This memo is so embarrassing that Heartland has been insisting that it is fake, but a new evaluation of the document demonstrates that it is not.

Brendan DeMille and Richard Littlemore report a line by line study of the document. It is rather long and involved and is reported in its entirety here. They conclude that the “analysis demonstrates that the Climate Strategy Memo is an accurate executive summary of the information contained in budget and fundraising documents …” and they see “…. no basis whatsoever for Heartland’s assertion that the Climate Strategy memo is a ‘fake” which contains “obvious and gross misstatements of fact.””

Heartland Institute Under Congressional Investigation

The Heartland Institute, a smallish Libertarian “Think” Tank recently made famous by the leak of a rather embarrassing set of incriminating documents, is now slated for investigation by the Congress of the United States.

The chair and ranking member of the House Natural Resources Committee, Raul Grijavla, has initiated an investigation of Indur Goklany, an administrator at the Science and Technology Policy of the US Department of the Interior. It appears that Goklany was being paid by Heartland which raises a significant potential for conflict of interest.

The story broke at Think Progress.

Faster Than Light Neutrinos Explained?

From Science Insider, there is a possible explanation for the recently observed “faster than light” neutrinos. The Neutrinos were clocked at faster-than-light speeds on their way form CRN in Switzerland to a detectors site in Italy. I had originally proposed that the neutrinos were merely very hungry but unwilling to eat Swiss food, and since they were on their way to Italy, why not go FTL?

The research at first was assumed to most likely be some kind of mistake, but a Mulligan Redo Procedure clearly demonstrated that the most obvious errors could not explain the observation, which violates The Laws of Physics.

It turns out that the reason that the Neutrinos appeared to go faster than the speed of light is exactly the same reason most of these things happen:
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Space Buckyballs

PASADENA, Calif. — Astronomers using data from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope have, for the first time, discovered buckyballs in a solid form in space. Prior to this discovery, the microscopic carbon spheres had been found only in gas form in the cosmos.

Formally named buckministerfullerene, buckyballs are named after their resemblance to the late architect Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic domes. They are made up of 60 carbon molecules arranged into a hollow sphere, like a soccer ball. Their unusual structure makes them ideal candidates for electrical and chemical applications on Earth, including superconducting materials, medicines, water purification and armor.

Details and more at NASA

Is the gun permitting process a failure?

I suppose that depends on what we think the process is for. I would have hoped that gun permits serve the very important role of making sure that gun owners are more likely than they otherwise might be to know how to properly handle guns, and that guns are kept out of the hands of people who will do damage with them.

Japete at Commongunsense.com suggests that this is not necessarily the case:

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Our Mayor on Bill O’Reilly

R.T. Rybak is the mayor of Minneapolis, and he’s one of the better mayors ever.

He is also the vice chair of the Democratic National Committee.

I love the way our local news covered this story. As soon as O’Really interrupted R.T. to shut down any actual discussion, the local news caster jumped in and interpreted O’Really.