Archive for July, 2008

“Hamming It Up” in Florida

Wednesday, July 30th, 2008

Ken Ham,Young Earth Creationist, the founder of Answers in Genesis-U.S. and the Creation Museum, will be holding a conference in Jacksonville Florida on Sunday August 17th through Monday 18th. Apart from the usual mind boggling topics such as:  College Outreach – Answers to Most Asked Questions In Genesis, Creation v Evolution and :Genesis: Key to Understanding Today`s World, there are several other topics that should raise concern in all of us.

Would you, as a parent, subject your children to such discourses that include: The Origin of Racism, Darwin`s Racist Roots (ages 11& up) and: Learning How to Think Only Biblically ( grades 7-12 ). It’s bad enough for adults to contaminate their minds with this 19th Century thinking, exposing young children to this type of hogwash is nothing less than criminal.

Watch “The History Channel” Tonight

Tuesday, July 29th, 2008

Ninety five percent of living species are equipped with eyes. Discover how the ancestors of jellyfish may have been the first to evolve light-sensitive cells. Learn how dinosaur’s evolved eyes that helped them become successful hunters and finally, how primates evolved unique adaptations to their eyes to better cope with their changing habitat. A must see: Evolve – Eyes.

I told you more was coming

Monday, July 28th, 2008

Yet more archived goodies are now available through Florida Citizens for Science. Videos from five legislative sessions during which bills concerning evolution were debated are now ready for your viewing. Do you miss Senator Storms’ evasive tap dancing? Get your fix here.  Want to hear Representative Hays ramble on in his praise for the movie Expelled? It’s there for your enjoyment. Those with high blood pressure may want to abstain from viewing, though.

A trip down memory lane

Sunday, July 27th, 2008

It’s taken me months, but finally a comprehensive narrative of what happened during the science standards fight is all done. It includes source material and archived video! It’s a great research tool.

There is also a section about the academic freedom bills fight, but it’s pretty much a placeholder until I get the chance to take it on like I did the standards. I’m currently archiving video from legislative sessions and will put them up as I finish that task. So, check back there every now and then for any such updates.

Tomfoolery in Texas

Saturday, July 26th, 2008

“Dentist” Don McLeroy, and the Texas Board of Education is gearing up to return science education in Texas back to the 19th century.This is the latest efforts by religious conservatives to discredit TOE after efforts to incorporate creationism into the science standards have repeatedly failed. Lessons in “the weaknesses of evolution” could be coming to Texas public schools as soon as March 2009

“I don’t think the evidence supports evolution”said Mc Leroy a self described creationist,” I’ve been reading a lot and there are three major problems with evolution” First,gaps in the fossil record and no transitional fossils. Second,there has not been enough time on earth for evolution to have happen.Thirdly,the incredible complexity of living cells proves divine design.(all sound familier ?)

This is a  battle we could be facing again in Florida, so give your support to the Texas Freedom Network!

Manatee Rescue

Saturday, July 26th, 2008

Here’s an adorable photo released by SeaWorld Orlando of an orphan manatee rescued in Ormond Beach. More manatee rescue information can be found here and here and here.

“This is the smallest manatee I’ve ever seen brought to SeaWorld,” said Steve Lehr, assistant curator of animal care and a rescue team member for more than 30 years. “We’ve had other animals come in the same condition (with some of the umbilical cord attached), but they were considerably larger than she is.”

The calf — still unnamed — is about 2 feet long and weighs 21 pounds. She was found in a small cove along Strickland Creek, keeping mostly to herself, according to the Fish and Wildlife Commission.

Randy Pausch, Innovative Computer Scientist at Carnegie Mellon,Who Gained Worldwide Acclaim for Last Lecture Has Died

Friday, July 25th, 2008

PITTSBURGH, July 25, 2008 Randy Pausch, renowned computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University, died July 25 of complications from pancreatic cancer. He was 47 (b:10/23/60). Celebrated in his field for co-founding the pioneering Entertainment Technology Center and for creating the innovative educational software tool known as “Alice,” Pausch earned his greatest worldwide fame for his inspirational “Last Lecture.” “Good teaching is always a performance, but what Randy did was in a class all by itself,” Pausch joined the Carnegie Mellon School of Computer Science faculty in 1997 with appointments in the Computer Science Department, the Human-Computer Interaction Institute and the School of Design. He soon launched an interdisciplinary course, called Building Virtual Worlds, in which student teams designed interactive animations. The results were so spectacular that roommates, friends and even parents of the students would attend class on days when projects were presented.

That life-affirming lecture, a call to his students and colleagues to go on without him and do great things, was delivered at Carnegie Mellon on Sept. 18, 2007, a few weeks after Pausch learned he had just months to live. Titled “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams,” the humorous and heartfelt talk was video taped, and unexpectedly spread around the world via the Internet. Tens of millions of people have since viewed video footage of it.

He will be sadly missed.

Milkweed’s Evolutionary Approach To Caterpillars:Defense may be better than Offense

Friday, July 25th, 2008

 The adage that your enemies know your weaknesses best is especially true in the case of plants and predators that have CO- EVOLVED: As the predators evolve new strategies for attack, plants counter with their own unique defenses. Milkweed is the latest example of this response,research suggests that plant may be shifting away from elaborate defenses against specialized caterpillars,instead   putting more effort into repairing themselves faster than caterpillars can eat them.

“An important question with co-evolution is where does it end?” said Anurag Agrawal, Cornell associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and lead author of a paper in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “One answer is when it becomes too costly. Some plants seem to have shifted away from resisting herbivory [plant eating] and have taken that same energy and used it to repair themselves.”The paper is important because it sheds light on key theories of co-evolution,