I say to the grown-ups, if you want to deny evolution and live in your world that’s completely inconsistent with everything we observe in the universe, that’s fine, but don’t make your kids do it because we need them.
(via Big Think)
Tomorrow at 7pm is the launch of the 24 hour Climate Reality Project. Broadcast world-wide in 13 languages. Mark your calendars.
“24 Hours of Reality will focus the world’s attention on the full truth, scope, scale and impact of the climate crisis. To remove the doubt. Reveal the deniers. And catalyze urgency around an issue that affects every one of us.” - Al Gore, Climate Reality Project
To remove the doubt.
Reveal the deniers.
Set those dials, folks. T-minus 24 hours. We all need to watch. We are all soldiers, all climate ninjas that need to hit the ground and help change minds and open eyes.
Is funding basic research at a federal level worth it? Is the National Science Foundation the right target for sweeping cuts? The numbers don’t lie.
The research funded by the National Science Foundation has brought numerous innovations which have paved the way for entire new industries that have created millions of new jobs. Chief among them, the Internet, which the foundation helped to develop. While we recognize that cuts are necessary, stemming the very activities that drive innovation and ultimately boost the economy seems like the wrong way to get back on track.
Ask yourself, how much do you pay per month for your Internet connection? $20? $30? $40? More? Compare that to the cost of supporting the National Science Foundation: About $1.82 per month. Essentially, that’s the cost of one tall cup of Starbucks coffee where you might log on.
Is spending taxpayers money on basic research worth it? You bet it is. Especially, given the high probability that this funding will one day be instrumental in creating the Internet of tomorrow. More at The Statesman..
(via Culture of Science)
That’s right! Pruney fingers just got the knowledge stick dropped all over ‘em. This is perfect science for your next cocktail party …
[The] universality already suggests that there could be a good evolutionary reason for pruney fingers.
…unless. What if pruney-ness is an incidental side effect of something? What if, say, water is absorbed into the skin, and those wrinkles are simply the physical result?
But why would water absorption lead to wrinkles with that signature shape? And why would water absorption lead to wrinkles on the finger tips but not all the other spots on the body? And why would water absorption lead to wrinkles at all, given that water absorption should generally lead to swelling and consequently taut skin?
No, water absorption can’t explain it.
And, if water absorption for some reason did lead to pruney fingers by accident, then wouldn’t this be bad for our grip? Why wouldn’t natural selection devise a solution, so that the wetness common in a primate’s life – from rain or dew – doesn’t undermine the smoothy goodness of our non-wet, non-pruney grip?
More at the link!
Rejoice, Four Loko lovers!
Your beloved beverage may have been unfairly targeted as dangerous. Some recent research points to the fact that the booze may have packed such a punch because it was disguised as non-booze, consciously and subconsciously. Or, if you drink alcohol that isn’t presented as alcohol, your body gets drunker off of it.
“If a dog learns that there is an association between meat powder and the sound of a bell, then the sound of the bell alone will become sufficient to induce salivation in the dog. The salivation indicates that the dog is preparing for the arrival of the meat powder. Similarly, a social drinker inevitably learns the association between the effects of alcohol and the environment in which they drink. At the same time, the body learns to prepare for the alcohol, and it begins to do so in response to the environment, before the alcohol is even ingested. The net effect of the alcohol therefore decreases over time, which leads the drinker to drink more.
Taken together, Siegel’s argument is convincing: people become especially drunk after drinking Four Loko because of the unexpected way in which it is presented: it doesn’t actually taste like alcohol. The caffeine probably isn’t the problem at all!”
(via The Thoughtful Animal)
If temperatures continue to rise to the ranges predicted by the IPCC reports, habitat change will be occurring at a much faster pace than species can adapt to it. This means that they will have only a few options:
- Get lucky and somehow deal with it.
- Move to a nearby, more reasonable habitat (e.g. higher altitude)
- Go extinct
A new study out of Germany says that as many as 80% of genetic variation could disappear as a result of the anticipated temperature changes. All the white branches that you see in the tree of life above are species who have no viable adaptive mechanism or no nearby habitat … and could therefore disappear.
It’s more than polar bears, folks. This is on us.
“We once had a group of brilliant, influential and politically engaged leaders who were fascinated by science, wanted the country to be the world leader in the pursuit of new knowledge about the natural world, and in some cases even made original contributions.
They were called the founding fathers.”
Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, John Hancock and James Bowdoin, Abraham Lincoln … the list goes on. If you want to support the ideals of the Founding Fathers, you must support science. Let’s be very clear about that.
(via Science Progress, emphasis mine)
“What causes riots? That’s not a question you would expect to have a simple answer.
But today, Marco Lagi and buddies at the New England Complex Systems Institute in Cambridge, say they’ve found a single factor that seems to trigger riots around the world.
This single factor is the price of food. Lagi and co say that when it rises above a certain threshold, social unrest sweeps the planet.
The evidence comes from two sources. The first is data gathered by the United Nations that plots the price of food against time, the so-called food price index of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN. The second is the date of riots around the world, whatever their cause. Both these sources are plotted on the same graph above.”
The good news about this theory is that we only have to wait until August 2013 to find out if it’s right (if current global food prices stay on their trajectory. That’s the tipping point to supposed chaos, dogs and cats sleeping together, blood-red moon … you know, Mad Max-type stuff.
Whether or not they are right about this being a predictive model, let’s use it as a wake-up call for a need to stabilize food security around the globe.
(via Technology Review)
James Lu Dunbar has a new children’s book out called It’s Alive that takes you on an illustrated journey through the origin of life on Earth.
It’s available to view online (free legal download available!) or you can buy a copy for $15.95 in case, you know, you want to give one to every adult in America to read.
I mean kid. Definitely
I think there’s a serious problem. The minute that the Republican Party becomes the party - the anti-science party, we have a huge problem. We lose a whole lot of people who would otherwise allow us to win the election in 2012.