Posts tagged Science
Here’s an un-fun experiment: the next time your kid’s in the other room, sneak a peek at her science textbook. Chances are, it says evolution is just a theory and global warming is debatable. 

If you’re living in Louisiana or Tennessee, you may also want to check out what your kids’ teachers are discussing in class: Teachers in those states are now allowed to teach creationism along with evolution and to argue both sides of global warming - even over the objections of their school principals and superintendents. 

In 2013, nine anti-science bills were introduced in seven states, and legislators nationwide have filed about 50 bills in the past 10 years declaring evolution a “controversial” idea whose opposing side, creationism, must be taught in the interest of academic freedom. Though most of these efforts died in committee - as South Dakota’s did last week - some become law. 

It’s all being done under the guise of fairness: Missouri’s House Bill 1587, creeping toward a vote, would force principals and administrators to let teachers “help students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of the theory of biological and hypotheses of chemical evolution.” 

The bill’s authors say it’ll help students “develop critical thinking skills, and respond appropriately and respectfully to differences of opinion about controversial issues, including biological and chemical evolution.” 

MORE: A Textbook Case of Anti-Science)

Here’s an un-fun experiment: the next time your kid’s in the other room, sneak a peek at her science textbook. Chances are, it says evolution is just a theory and global warming is debatable.

If you’re living in Louisiana or Tennessee, you may also want to check out what your kids’ teachers are discussing in class: Teachers in those states are now allowed to teach creationism along with evolution and to argue both sides of global warming - even over the objections of their school principals and superintendents.

In 2013, nine anti-science bills were introduced in seven states, and legislators nationwide have filed about 50 bills in the past 10 years declaring evolution a “controversial” idea whose opposing side, creationism, must be taught in the interest of academic freedom. Though most of these efforts died in committee - as South Dakota’s did last week - some become law.

It’s all being done under the guise of fairness: Missouri’s House Bill 1587, creeping toward a vote, would force principals and administrators to let teachers “help students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of the theory of biological and hypotheses of chemical evolution.”

The bill’s authors say it’ll help students “develop critical thinking skills, and respond appropriately and respectfully to differences of opinion about controversial issues, including biological and chemical evolution.”

MORE: A Textbook Case of Anti-Science)

So much for “HotLanta.” Georgia is starting to look a lot like the opening scene from The Day After Tomorrow. The governor has declared a state of emergency for 89 counties as a wave of “crippling ice” befalls much of The Peach State in a storm the National Weather Service warns, “may be of historic proportions.” 

This statewide IcePocalypseMageddon occurs a little more than a week after Georgia’s last devastating ice storm, when the National Guard was called in to aid thousands of people stranded in their homes, vehicles, and schools. 

A few weeks prior, the polar vortex dropped temperatures from Chicago to Mexico, breaking more than 50 records and leaving Minneapolis with sub-zero temperatures for 62 straight hours. 

In short, America’s 2014 weather has gone from Winter Wonderland to Class 3 Kill Storm. That U.S. weather patterns seem more at home in the Book of Revelation than February hasn’t made an impact on Senator Ted Cruz, who joked to attendees of the Conservative Policy Summit about the nip in the air: “Al Gore told me this wouldn’t happen.” 

From Snowy Atlanta to Sunny Sochi, It’s All About Global Weirding)

So much for “HotLanta.” Georgia is starting to look a lot like the opening scene from The Day After Tomorrow. The governor has declared a state of emergency for 89 counties as a wave of “crippling ice” befalls much of The Peach State in a storm the National Weather Service warns, “may be of historic proportions.”

This statewide IcePocalypseMageddon occurs a little more than a week after Georgia’s last devastating ice storm, when the National Guard was called in to aid thousands of people stranded in their homes, vehicles, and schools.

A few weeks prior, the polar vortex dropped temperatures from Chicago to Mexico, breaking more than 50 records and leaving Minneapolis with sub-zero temperatures for 62 straight hours.

In short, America’s 2014 weather has gone from Winter Wonderland to Class 3 Kill Storm. That U.S. weather patterns seem more at home in the Book of Revelation than February hasn’t made an impact on Senator Ted Cruz, who joked to attendees of the Conservative Policy Summit about the nip in the air: “Al Gore told me this wouldn’t happen.”

From Snowy Atlanta to Sunny Sochi, It’s All About Global Weirding)

Our intrepid reporter investigates “mosquitoes” and finds they actually do like some people more than others. 

“It’s like stepping out of the airport in Florida,” says Dr. Leslie Vosshall, as we step from her air-conditioned laboratory at New York City’s Rockefeller University into the mosquito chamber. The air is hot and damp, and lining the walls are clear-plastic-labeled “bug dorms.” Each box contains a swarm of buzzing mosquitoes. They cling to the walls, hang off the ceiling, bounce persistently against the mesh opening, trying to get to us. “I should have asked if you have a phobia,” says Vosshall.

I don’t have a phobia, exactly, but like a lot of people I feel uniquely hunted by mosquitoes. At barbecues and on hikes, mosquitoes always seem to seek me out. I’ve tried DEET spray, citronella torches, permethrin butane repellers of the sort used by hunters in the South. I once bought a mosquito net on Amazon at 3 a.m., after accidentally swatting myself in the ear while half asleep. But nothing seemed to change the fact that the best repellent, for everyone else, was to have me around. I’m at Vosshall’s lab because she’s just begun a six-month study of this phenomenon. I’ve come here for answers.

Our intrepid reporter investigates “mosquitoes” and finds they actually do like some people more than others

“It’s like stepping out of the airport in Florida,” says Dr. Leslie Vosshall, as we step from her air-conditioned laboratory at New York City’s Rockefeller University into the mosquito chamber. The air is hot and damp, and lining the walls are clear-plastic-labeled “bug dorms.” Each box contains a swarm of buzzing mosquitoes. They cling to the walls, hang off the ceiling, bounce persistently against the mesh opening, trying to get to us. “I should have asked if you have a phobia,” says Vosshall.

I don’t have a phobia, exactly, but like a lot of people I feel uniquely hunted by mosquitoes. At barbecues and on hikes, mosquitoes always seem to seek me out. I’ve tried DEET spray, citronella torches, permethrin butane repellers of the sort used by hunters in the South. I once bought a mosquito net on Amazon at 3 a.m., after accidentally swatting myself in the ear while half asleep. But nothing seemed to change the fact that the best repellent, for everyone else, was to have me around. I’m at Vosshall’s lab because she’s just begun a six-month study of this phenomenon. I’ve come here for answers.

Brazilian marine geologists believe they may have found vestiges of an unknown continent some 1,800 miles from the Brazilian shore, where the water is 5,900 feet deep. Atlantis? That you?!

Brazilian marine geologists believe they may have found vestiges of an unknown continent some 1,800 miles from the Brazilian shore, where the water is 5,900 feet deep. Atlantis? That you?!

Hidden deep in Obama’s Fiscal Year 2014 Budget is this item: “Begins work on a mission to rendezvous with—and then move—a small asteroid.”
Yep:


A budget plan that President Barack Obama will release Wednesday would charge NASA Glenn Research Center with developing a solar electric propulsion system for a spaceship that will collect an asteroid and park it in the moon’s orbit so astronauts can conduct research on it.
Moving the giant space rock would give NASA experience deflecting asteroids that could prove vital to averting potential Earth collisions such as one believed to have caused a mass dinosaur extinction millions of years ago. Some asteroids also contain rare elements that mining companies are eager to exploit, NASA officials said.


See what else you can find that’s particularly noteworthy, and tell us.

Hidden deep in Obama’s Fiscal Year 2014 Budget is this item: “Begins work on a mission to rendezvous with—and then move—a small asteroid.”

Yep:

A budget plan that President Barack Obama will release Wednesday would charge NASA Glenn Research Center with developing a solar electric propulsion system for a spaceship that will collect an asteroid and park it in the moon’s orbit so astronauts can conduct research on it.

Moving the giant space rock would give NASA experience deflecting asteroids that could prove vital to averting potential Earth collisions such as one believed to have caused a mass dinosaur extinction millions of years ago. Some asteroids also contain rare elements that mining companies are eager to exploit, NASA officials said.

See what else you can find that’s particularly noteworthy, and tell us.

This week’s cover is awesomely designed—and terrifying. Will asteroids destroy earth? Professor of theoretical physics at CUNY Michio Kaku is the cover story author, diving deep into the impending asteroid apocalypse (pro tip: keep your calendars free for the year 2036).
Here’s a preview, but do click here to read the whole thing. Or hey, buy it in the App Store if you are an iPad wielding member of the human race. Lucky you! Won’t matter when the asteroids come… 

Maybe Chicken Little was right after all.
It was an amazing spectacle, a rapid succession of giant asteroids blazing across the sky. First, on February 15, Russia was hit with the biggest asteroid in 100 years. Barely a few hours later, an even bigger one made the closest approach to Earth ever recorded for an asteroid of its size. Then the residents of San Francisco, Cuba, and south Florida looked up and saw meteors streak across the sky, rattling their nerves.
It was a historic display of nature’s cosmic firepower, something I never expected to see in my lifetime. Mother Nature was showing Hollywood who’s boss.
The city of Chelyabinsk in Russia bore the brunt of the celestial fireworks. A piece of rock, about 50 feet across and weighing more than 7,000 tons, came crashing to Earth. Traveling at a blinding speed of over 40,000 miles per hour, it created a sonic boom and shock wave that shattered windows across the city: 1,200 people were injured, mainly by the flying pieces of glass, and 52 were hospitalized, 2 of them in serious condition. Chelyabinsk, once known as one of the most polluted places in the world due to its storage of nuclear waste, will now be known as “meteor city.”
The asteroid packed a huge punch, the power of 20 Hiroshima bombs. It was a “city buster,” capable of flattening a modern metropolis and reducing it to rubble. It was a miracle that the asteroid exploded roughly 10 to 15 miles above ground: had there been a ground burst, it would have caused tens of thousands of casualties. If that asteroid had hit just a few seconds later, it would have created a tragedy on Earth.
While Russia was still reeling from the shock of this meteor impact, just a few hours later, 17,200 miles in space, an asteroid three times larger than the Russian one came within a whisker of hitting Earth. Called 2012 DA14, it actually sailed about 5,000 miles closer to Earth than our communications satellites (which orbit at 22,000 miles). If the asteroid had arrived just a few minutes earlier, it might have hit Earth, with truly cataclysmic consequences.
To see what might have happened in the case of a collision with DA14, one can study the 1908 Tunguska impact, which hit Siberia with the force of 1,000 Hiroshima bombs, giving Earth a black eye. That meteorite was about the same size as DA14, i.e., the size of an apartment building. The energy of the impact was so great that it devastated 830 square miles of Siberia, including 80 million trees. Pictures of the area show millions of trees lying on their sides, as if a giant hand came down and flattened every tree in sight. The impact was so spectacular that the blast was heard hundreds of miles away, and strange lights were seen as far away as Europe.
Fortunately, the 1908 and 2013 asteroids that hit Russia missed hitting a major metropolitan area like Moscow. However, because of the similarity with nuclear blasts, one can imagine what might happen if such an object had hit, say, New York.

Asteroid Apocalypse, Newsweek

This week’s cover is awesomely designed—and terrifying. Will asteroids destroy earth? Professor of theoretical physics at CUNY Michio Kaku is the cover story author, diving deep into the impending asteroid apocalypse (pro tip: keep your calendars free for the year 2036).

Here’s a preview, but do click here to read the whole thing. Or hey, buy it in the App Store if you are an iPad wielding member of the human race. Lucky you! Won’t matter when the asteroids come… 

Maybe Chicken Little was right after all.

It was an amazing spectacle, a rapid succession of giant asteroids blazing across the sky. First, on February 15, Russia was hit with the biggest asteroid in 100 years. Barely a few hours later, an even bigger one made the closest approach to Earth ever recorded for an asteroid of its size. Then the residents of San Francisco, Cuba, and south Florida looked up and saw meteors streak across the sky, rattling their nerves.

It was a historic display of nature’s cosmic firepower, something I never expected to see in my lifetime. Mother Nature was showing Hollywood who’s boss.

The city of Chelyabinsk in Russia bore the brunt of the celestial fireworks. A piece of rock, about 50 feet across and weighing more than 7,000 tons, came crashing to Earth. Traveling at a blinding speed of over 40,000 miles per hour, it created a sonic boom and shock wave that shattered windows across the city: 1,200 people were injured, mainly by the flying pieces of glass, and 52 were hospitalized, 2 of them in serious condition. Chelyabinsk, once known as one of the most polluted places in the world due to its storage of nuclear waste, will now be known as “meteor city.”

The asteroid packed a huge punch, the power of 20 Hiroshima bombs. It was a “city buster,” capable of flattening a modern metropolis and reducing it to rubble. It was a miracle that the asteroid exploded roughly 10 to 15 miles above ground: had there been a ground burst, it would have caused tens of thousands of casualties. If that asteroid had hit just a few seconds later, it would have created a tragedy on Earth.

While Russia was still reeling from the shock of this meteor impact, just a few hours later, 17,200 miles in space, an asteroid three times larger than the Russian one came within a whisker of hitting Earth. Called 2012 DA14, it actually sailed about 5,000 miles closer to Earth than our communications satellites (which orbit at 22,000 miles). If the asteroid had arrived just a few minutes earlier, it might have hit Earth, with truly cataclysmic consequences.

To see what might have happened in the case of a collision with DA14, one can study the 1908 Tunguska impact, which hit Siberia with the force of 1,000 Hiroshima bombs, giving Earth a black eye. That meteorite was about the same size as DA14, i.e., the size of an apartment building. The energy of the impact was so great that it devastated 830 square miles of Siberia, including 80 million trees. Pictures of the area show millions of trees lying on their sides, as if a giant hand came down and flattened every tree in sight. The impact was so spectacular that the blast was heard hundreds of miles away, and strange lights were seen as far away as Europe.

Fortunately, the 1908 and 2013 asteroids that hit Russia missed hitting a major metropolitan area like Moscow. However, because of the similarity with nuclear blasts, one can imagine what might happen if such an object had hit, say, New York.

Asteroid Apocalypse, Newsweek

newsbeastlabs:

Tracking the presidential groundgame
As the two presidential campaigns launch into their final throws, we wanted to see who had the biggest footprint of campaign headquarters across the country. The map above ran with the resulting story showing Obama with a large advantage, especially in swing states. We thought getting from idea to map / chart would be as easy as checking the candidates’ websites or calling their press offices to request a full list. Not quite.
Finding Romney’s offices
Governor Romney’s campaign didn’t get back to our requests so we dug into their website. Romney only had volunteer offices in 16 states, each of which has a web page and a map showing office locations. Here’s Ohio’s. The data that powers the map is visible if you look at the Javascript files that power it, so we copied the data sixteen states into one file and saved it. They were in JSON file format — but more on that later.
Finding Obamas’s offices
President Obama has offices in many more states than Romney so going state by state is more of a hassle and his campaign’s website doesn’t have the same convenient state-by-state maps. Instead, you input your zip code and it gives you a map of all locations within forty miles of you. 
Needless to say, getting a comprehensive list by canvassing the country in 40 mile chunks was out of the question. Digging again into the javascript that powers the website (aside: the Obama website has some slick ASCII art in their source code), their volunteer center finder works by sending out a query that looks like this http://offices.barackobama.com/postal_code/10011/ with your zip code making up the those last five digits. If you put that in your browser and hit return you’ll see the centers closest to the Daily Beast offices in Manhattan…. (Read more)

We’re excited to show-off our newest Tumblr: NewsBeast Labs! As we write in the description, we’ll be giving you a peak at notes and images from our ever-growing digital newsroom. So if you’re into journalism, maps, data, pretty colors, etc. you should definitely follow. 

newsbeastlabs:

Tracking the presidential groundgame

As the two presidential campaigns launch into their final throws, we wanted to see who had the biggest footprint of campaign headquarters across the country. The map above ran with the resulting story showing Obama with a large advantage, especially in swing states. We thought getting from idea to map / chart would be as easy as checking the candidates’ websites or calling their press offices to request a full list. Not quite.

Finding Romney’s offices

Governor Romney’s campaign didn’t get back to our requests so we dug into their website. Romney only had volunteer offices in 16 states, each of which has a web page and a map showing office locations. Here’s Ohio’s. The data that powers the map is visible if you look at the Javascript files that power it, so we copied the data sixteen states into one file and saved it. They were in JSON file format — but more on that later.

Finding Obamas’s offices

President Obama has offices in many more states than Romney so going state by state is more of a hassle and his campaign’s website doesn’t have the same convenient state-by-state maps. Instead, you input your zip code and it gives you a map of all locations within forty miles of you. 

Needless to say, getting a comprehensive list by canvassing the country in 40 mile chunks was out of the question. Digging again into the javascript that powers the website (aside: the Obama website has some slick ASCII art in their source code), their volunteer center finder works by sending out a query that looks like this http://offices.barackobama.com/postal_code/10011/ with your zip code making up the those last five digits. If you put that in your browser and hit return you’ll see the centers closest to the Daily Beast offices in Manhattan…. (Read more)

We’re excited to show-off our newest Tumblr: NewsBeast Labs! As we write in the description, we’ll be giving you a peak at notes and images from our ever-growing digital newsroom. So if you’re into journalism, maps, data, pretty colors, etc. you should definitely follow. 

usakeh:

newsweek:

ADDICTED TO INTERNETS, Y’ALL! 

(But srsly, think this whole thing is making us a little nuts? That’s our cover this week: How “connection addiction” is rewiring our brains.)

An excerpt:

Questions about the Internet’s deleterious effects on the mind are at least as old as hyperlinks. But even among Web skeptics, the idea that a new technology might influence how we think and feel—let alone contribute to a great American crack-up—was considered silly and naive, like waving a cane at electric light or blaming the television for kids these days. Instead, the Internet was seen as just another medium, a delivery system, not a diabolical machine. It made people happier and more productive. And where was the proof otherwise?

Now, however, the proof is starting to pile up. The first good, peer-reviewed research is emerging, and the picture is much gloomier than the trumpet blasts of Web utopians have allowed. The current incarnation of the Internet—portable, social, accelerated, and all-pervasive—may be making us not just dumber or lonelier but more depressed and anxious, prone to obsessive-compulsive and attention-deficit disorders, even outright psychotic. Our digitized minds can scan like those of drug addicts, and normal people are breaking down in sad and seemingly new ways.

Read more.

I don’t know how I feel about this. As a person who has been diagnosed by several psychiatrists as manic depressive (or bipolar, whatever), and has been hospitalized for it more times than I can count, I don’t know if we should compare the effects of going online to actual mental illnesses. Admittedly, I haven’t read the article in full yet — and I’m not sure that I will based on the excerpt, frankly — so I could be misjudging it.

The thing is, not only does this sort of comparison trivialize the pain experienced by people who are actually mentally ill, but it also invites people to self-diagnose and incites panic. I can’t count the number of times I’ve read things, even in the New York Times, that claim that such and such a food or medication causes cancer or dementia. Then nothing comes of it; the study was probably just faulty, you know?

Unless done with extreme rigor, see, I just don’t buy into this sort of shit. And it’s really difficult to do studies on things like the effects of internet usage sufficiently scientifically. I have a degree in mathematics, and I’m the daughter of a research scientist; consequently, I tend to be very skeptical and, unless I can see the methodology and actual, you know, statistics in an actual scientific journal, I don’t trust this sort of new development.

Totally feel ya. But for real, give it a read. Those two excerpted paragraphs don’t do the piece justice. Our reporter put a lot of time into reviewing the findings from more than a dozen countries and says the answers are all pointing in a similar direction. We’re not trying to claim the sky is falling or anything here, but the science seems to be suggesting more than just a “OH LOOK TREND.” 

(via usakeh-deactivated20130416)

wnycradiolab:

jtotheizzoe:

Because you were wondering, you know you were.
(via Coudal)

Anyone else remember going to a science museum as a kid and being weight on the “space” scales?  Was that Liberty Science Center?  Man, that was great.

We lookin’ good on Mars.

wnycradiolab:

jtotheizzoe:

Because you were wondering, you know you were.

(via Coudal)

Anyone else remember going to a science museum as a kid and being weight on the “space” scales?  Was that Liberty Science Center?  Man, that was great.

We lookin’ good on Mars.

I understand the emotional pull of getting together for a race to raise money. I understand the need to raise awareness. Many of our members wear pink ribbons; I respect that. The question is, what are we raising awareness of? Where is the money going? What is it accomplishing?
Fran Visco, president of the National Breast Cancer Coalition (which has hundreds of organizations and thousands of individual activists focused on fighting cancer), says money raised for breast cancer should be given to science—specifically, through studying how the cancer develops and metastasizes—and not to give every woman a mammogram. We could screen every woman in the world and we would not have stopped breast cancer,” she adds. “I am not saying to stop funding for screening; however, we cannot afford to make it a main focus.”