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I started this series to highlight the week's science diaries. Many political issues will require input from the scientific community to make sound policy decisions.

Some criteria for the diaries I will be including in Nerd Network News:

  • Diary must have verifiable sources.
  • Copyright standards must be followed. The sources must be quoted in part and referenced (no complete articles).
  • Writer must comment or show some analysis of the article (no "link only" diaries)

This is to try to keep the diaries as useful as possible. There may be exceptions if an important subject was brought up and there were no other diaries covering the subject.

The opinions expressed in the diaries are not necessarily my own and spelling errors in the gray boxes are intentionally left as written.

I'm including diaries from Booman Tribune if they were not crossposted here.

If I missed anyone, sorry.

More below

Science Diary Categories
Click on link to take you there.

Ecology and Global Climate Change
Biology/Evolution
Medicine & Healthcare
Energy
Technology
Other
Education
Other dKos Diary Lists or Series
dKos Writer's
Science Blog Roll

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Quote of the Week

If all mankind were to disappear, the world would regenerate back to the rich state of equilibrium that existed ten thousand years ago. If insects were to vanish, the environment would collapse into chaos.
Edward O. Wilson

This Week in Science History
(from TODAY IN SCIENCE HISTORY)


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April 25
DNA structure

In 1953, the Nature journal published the structure of DNA, as suggested in a one-page article by James Watson and Francis Crick. Their work earned the pair of scientists a Nobel Prize in 1962. The structure explained how DNA passed heriditary information from cell to cell, and from generation to generation. "This structure has two helical chains each coiled around the same axis... Both chains follow right-handed helices... The novel feature of the structure is the manner in which the two chains are held together by purine and pyrimidine bases... They are joined together in pairs, a single base from one chain being hydrogen-bonded to a single base from the other chain, so that the two lie side by side with identical z-co-ordinates."

April 26
Amazon exploration

In 1848, Welsh botanist Alfred Russell Wallace and Henry Walter Bates sailed from Liverpool for the Amazon. Their expeditions yielded insights into natural history and evolution for the both of them. Bates spent 11 years in Amazonia amassing large collections of insects that were sent back to museums and collectors in Europe. Wallace left earlier and collected in the Malay Archipelago. Wallace independently reached the same conclusions as Darwin regarding natural selection and wrote a paper read to the Linnaen Society on 1st July 1858. Bates was quick to embrace Darwin's and Wallace's theory of evolution by natural selection. Bates' own theory, Batesian mimicry, provided evidence for evolution by natural selection.

April 27
American Museum of Natural History

In 1871, the American Museum of Natural History opened to the public in New York City. With a series of exhibits, the Museum's collection Went on view for the first time in the Central Park Arsenal, the Museum's original home, on the eastern side of Central Park. The museum began from the efforts of Albert Smith Bickmore, one-time student of Harvard zoologist Louis Agassiz, who was successful in his proposal to create a natural history museum in New York City, with the support of William E. Dodge, Jr., Theodore Roosevelt, Sr., Joseph Choate, and J. Pierpont Morgan. The Governor of New York, John  Thompson Hoffman, signed a bill officially creating the American Museum of Natural History on 6 Apr 1869.

April 28
Johannes Peter Müller

Died 28 Apr 1858 (born 14 Jul 1801)

German physiologist and anatomist, one of the greatest of 19th century who, with Magendie, is credited for establishing the science of physiology in its modern form. His famous discovery of the principle of specific nerve energies (1826) when he was able to show that sensory nerves impulses, however stimulated, will be interpreted in the same way. For example, any stimulation of the optic nerve results in a sensation of light, whether light is really involved or not. His major work, Handbuch der Physiologie des Menschen für Vorlesungen, (Elements of Physiology, in 2 vols.) was published in 1833-40. His broad pathology studies included hermaphroditism, embryology, echinoderms, fishes, lmph, chyle, the blood and the voice.

April 30
Pasteur's germ theory

In 1878, Louis Pasteur lectured at the French Academy of Science in support of his germ theory of disease, in which he held that many diseases were caused by tiny organisms. Since he still met with opposition from some scientists, he called their contrary opinions "fatal to medical progress." Pasteur also described ways to prevent infection, and provided the skeptics with an experiment with which to prove the theory to themselves.

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Paying for the science they want: ExxonMobile and the global climate change 'hoax' by Plutonium Page :

Melting Antarctic, Arctic,  and Himalayan glaciers.  Villages are being engulfed by the sea.  The evidence of global climate changes is piling up... but what do a few graphs and studies mean?  It's all a "hoax", right?

Airtight Case Against Depleted Uranium Ordnance by js7a :

Since last October, I have been petitioning the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and other agencies to help with the problem of depleted uranium munitions, which produce fumes causing birth defects and other problems. There are now several examples of this effort in my diaries.

One Vote Away from Drilling in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge by candice :

I'm a member of the Santa Clara Valley Environmental Action Commitee. My representative Anna Escho ("why not CAFE standards"?) and my Senators Boxer and Feinstein are voting YEA, which is the anti-drilling vote. National Audubon is asking your help  to protect the Arctic Refuge. Where do your Senators and representative stand on this issue?

The Brutal Toll of Oil Drilling in Alaska by MJB :

That's right. ALL of Alaska. The GOP is pushing ahead right now with plans to trash ANWR --

A do-it-yourself guide to a new energy policy by RAST :

This diary really started a few weeks ago when I was thinking about our energy problems.  I know that the present administration is in bed with the big oil companies and there's about a snowballs chance of an honest, real energy policy coming from the top down.   But I started thinking about what I can do - how can I make my own personal energy policy?  The more I kicked around the idea the more it sounded like a good discussion point for the Kossaks.  So here it goes.

Hawai'i's Connection To Alaska Oil by jillian :

I mentioned this before...but worth repeating...because it keeps getting lost in comments and the questions keeps coming up...why Akaka? Why Inouye?...Perhaps this sheds a little light...

Schweitzer's door open for enviros by renaissance grrrl :

Today's Bozeman Daily Chronicle features, on its front page, a story regarding Gov. Brian Schweitzer's increasing accessibility to environmental groups, in marked contrast to the pro-industry bias of his predecessor Judy Martz.

The oceans are warming up: more significant evidence, Dubya! by Plutonium Page :

While the oil industry is busy funding conservative groups who claim global warming is a "hoax", the real scientific evidence of climate change mounts:

EPA downplayed benefits of controlling Mercury by Miss Jones :

An unreleased EPA report, written in January 2004, shows that the EPA greatly understated the benefits of mercury reduction for the nation, particularly for the Southeast. In contrast to a public projection of $50 million for the whole country, the unpublished report shows a different story: "reducing national mercury emissions by 30 percent to 100 percent would produce Southeast benefits of between $600 million to more than $2 billion. ," according to SignonSanDiego.com.

Teaching our children to protect the earth. by Boppy :

Many of us care about the environment we live in and the planet we live on.  We want to preserve it for future generations.

NASA Confirms Global Warming is Real by grytpype :

What NASA has done is to directly measure the difference between the rate energy is being absorbed the the Earth and the rate it is radiated back into space.

It's In The Water by route66 :

a few weeks back I posted a diary that described the frightful physical ailments befalling farmworkers in S. Florida and the liklihood that pesticide poisoning was the culprit

Cegelis Arbor Day Speech (IL-06) by michael in chicago :

Christine Cegelis held an Arbor Day event today at the Thornhill Education Center at The Morton Arboretum, located at the southern end of IL-06 between Glen Ellyn and Downers Grove and Lisle. After Cegelis was done with her speech, I was able to get a copy and wanted to post parts of it here in the Blogosphere. Since it was her event, it was well received by a supportive crowd, but I still felt it exemplifies why she deserves our support. In short: she gets it.

The Energy Crisis - Feeling Powerless? by OrangeClouds115 :

With every new bit of news about U.S. energy policy, I want to cry.  I am not just saying that.  Listening to Bobby Kennedy Jr frame the problem comes especially close to evoking tears.

House, Senate approve 2006 budget: is Arctic drilling inevitable? by Plutonium Page :

Now that the House and the Senate have confirmed the federal budget, it looks like oil drilling in the Arctic is closer to reality:

Ozone? Anyone? Anyone? by Steven D :

Spring is in the air.  Unfortunately, not enough   ozone is in the upper atmoshere.  If, like me, you suffer from melanin deficiency syndrome (i.e., "fair" skin), you'd better lather up with extra strength sunblock:

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Evolutionism vs. Creationism by allentownboy :

Behold the giant Galapagos tortoise...

Creationism & Geology Part 1: Come Sail Away by DarkSyde :

We are sailors each, one and all. The terrestrial stage may seem implacable, the epitome of stability and permanence; this is an illusion. You and I, and all we know, are castaways on grand luxury liners which ply an ancient sea. But our ship is no mere ephemeral mortal construct of wood and metal bobbing in a solution of salt. We journey through time on the backs of mighty rafts of granite and basalt, crafted over eons by relentless forces, each weighing trillions of tons, stretching for thousands of miles, adrift in a global ocean of roiling lava and white-hot liquid steel.  Our earthen vessels are but fragile skiffs, paper thin, congealed skins of rock and mineral shielding us lovingly from the hellish inferno a scant few dozen miles beneath our feet. DevilsTower and I invite our fellow travelers to come sail away with us in a multipart series for Kossacks, as we review the story of how a host of maverick gentleman naturalists of the early 19th century came to understand our place in this planetary drama, shook off the last vestiges of Biblical Literalism before Darwin was in diapers, and created a new science.

Creationsm & Geology Part 2: Silent Majority by DarkSyde :

If we could travel back in time to the quaint English town of Lyme Regis early in the 19th century, we might meet some locals who spoke quietly and earnestly, at times disapprovingly, of an odd child seen roaming the beaches and cliffs, always poking around in the dirt, lugging around buckets of worthless rocks, a pick and shovel in hand. Yet despite the dire prognostications of neighbors, this burgeoning amateur geologist would make astounding discoveries, starting at the tender age of eleven! The youngster would go on to be one of the greatest pioneers of early paleontology. But few would recognize the name today. How could someone be called one of the greatest 'fossilists' of all time and remain so obscure? Well, she was just a girl ...

Creationism & Geology Part 3: Shaking, Rocking, and Roll'n by DarkSyde :

Deep under the scenic, placid blue seas of southeast Asia, off the coast of Aceh Province, a geological horror is forming of gargantuan proportions. One which will leave its novel signature for eons in the rocky column. A new layer of strata has been laid down, but this deposit is uniquely macabre. It's a hominid bone-bed. Mixed in with the newly forming sandstones, limestones, shales, and chalk, are the remains of a civilization. Homes, trees, crops, cars, factories. And the unthinkable human toll: 100,000 dead men, women, and children. At least now they lay peacefully, no longer wide eyed in fear, the final echo of their lives flickering through their oxygen deprived psyche. At least that tragic part is over, for them; back in the earth from which we all, ultimately, arise and then return.

Creationism & Geology Part 4: Sailing The Hadaen Ocean by DarkSyde :

If it hadn't been recognized by the world before Hiroshima and Nagasaki, science  now took the global stage by storm as the key to power and success. BUT it also revealed itself to be a devastating, double-edged sword. The sharpness of that blade is often determined by which end of the cutting edge one finds oneself on, and the winners of WW2 scrambled to secure the blunt hilt of the blade lest they perish by it's keener side. For allied soldiers who were spared the gruesome task of storming Japan's beaches, the Manhattan Project was a life saver. For those on the other side of the bombay doors of the Enola Gay and Bocks Car, it was a different story. But regardless of the carnage, in fact mostly because of it, the developed world now embraced science with renewed gusto. Americans from small town to big city prided themselves on having the best science and scientists in the world.

Creationists + Power = Braindeath by Grand Moff Texan :

I really couldn't believe my eyes.  There was pandasthumb saying the states of Texas and Alabama had filed amicis curiae briefs in the Cobb Country biology textbook sticker case.

Science Saturday: Geology, Creationism, and ... Dinosaurs! by DarkSyde :

A cosmic visitor was hurtling towards the primeval earth at 50,000 mph. At this rate of travel it would cross the orbit of the moon a scant few hours before hitting the blue-green world below. The doomed creatures under the bulls-eye would see the entire sky dropping down like an anvil painted in angry unearthly fire and spectral plasma. On that final evening in North America, as the Mesozoic sun set in the West throwing fiery rays through layers of volcanic dust, the creatures of the Cretaceous had no idea that by dawn their forests and plains would be ablaze.

New Tactic by Scientists in the Evolution Wars by Unstable Isotope :

As the religious right (the American Taliban) are making their power felt in this country, Intelligent Design advocates are making another push in Kansas.

Science Friday: From Darwin to Dobson by Plutonium Page :

The Republican war on science is not always obvious.  There is a subtle and disturbing trend  toward the propagation of what I call "GOP pseudoscience".  One example is the claim that global warming is a hoax.  Another example is the push toward teaching "intelligent design" as an alternative to evolution.  Rick Santorum says that evolution is one of the "big social issues of our time," along with abortion and gay marriage (as quoted in Newsweek).

The Bird ... an Ivory-billed Woodpecker ¶ with VIDEO link by Oui :

Thought to be extinct, the last confirmed sighting was 60 years ago in the Big Woods.

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EPA wants to allowing testing of toxins on humans. by Boppy :

This is absolutely unacceptable.  Truly wrong.

Depression and the Environment by randym77 :

The May issue of the science magazine Discover has an article about using high doses of vitamins and minerals to cure psychiatric problems such as bipolar disorder, depression, and schizophrenia. You can read it on their Web site here.

Mercury in the food pyramid by cshardie :

I don't know if you can access this article on Salon.com without a membership (or viewing an ad) but basically it says that some of the fish recommended on the new food pyramid for women of childbearing ages are the same fish other agencies have put on the watchlist because they contain way too much mercury for children, nursing moms, and moms to be.

DEA Attack on Chronic Pain Sufferers by RNinNC :

Just found this article in the Raleigh News & Observer and am disgusted (AGAIN!). It appears that the DEA is changing the way doctors are allowed to write prescriptions for narcotics in patients with chronic pain. This is a local take on the issue, and one doctor interviewed often shows up at my nurse's station.

2006 BUDGET: $10 Billion Cut From Medicaid by Rimjob :

...There are reports that the Republicans are nearing a deal on next year's budget, cutting $10 Billion from Medicaid over the next 5 years.

Health Care Crisis: State Figures on Uninsured Released by wobblie :

It's "Cover the Uninsured Week" according to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the state-by-state breakdown has just been released over the AP wire (which I stumbled across reading The Guardian).

Abortion under fire in U.S. House by BobcatJH :

Let's just get this out of the way: With rare exceptions, radical Republicans want to ban abortions. Interjecting themselves into everyone's most private affairs, they'd love nothing more than reverse the trend toward safe, legal, available abortions dating back to the Roe v. Wade decision. Today, the U.S. House of Representatives takes up the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act (CIANA), which would

HPV vaccine and the Christian Right by Mchll :

Human papilloma virus is the most commom STD in the country.  About 20 million Americans currently have an infection, and at least 80% of women have had an infection by the age of 50 (numbers from the CDC).  It causes genital warts and cervical cancer, and is not entirely prevented from spreading by condoms.  In short, this is unpleasant stuff.

Jeb wants to cut 77,000 off Medicaid. by floridagal :

Florida is one of the few states with surplus revenues, billions of dollars. Why must they do this? Ironically cutting their Medicaid could send some to nursing homes instead of continuing at home care, and Medicaid would pay for that.

BREAKING: SB 840 PASSES CA HEALTH COMMITTEE by tiggers thotful spot :

Another step toward a progressive victory!

Cancer for oil: ChevronTexaco's 'Rainforest Chernobyl' by Plutonium Page :

In 2003, George W. Bush had this to say about ChevronTexaco's CEO:

Our healthcare system almost killed baby William by think2004 :

This is William. William was born five weeks ago to very, very dear friends of mine.

Yesterday, William almost died. When we got the phone call, it was questionable whether William would survive the night. Thank goodness, he is still alive. He's improving. But he's still in ICU, and we're still quite worried and concerned.

What's Right with Kansas? by mcjoan :

Tonight, it's their legislature, having upheld Gov. Kathleen Sebelius' veto of legislation that would have imposed stringent regulations on clinics that perform abortions.

Cause of death "no health insurance" by Arkydem :

He was 39 years old. For most of his adult life he made six figures, paid his taxes, Medicare, Medicaid and was a regular volunteer at the local shelter in his community, he was a good man. When he was 38 he decided that the Chicago life was just too much and headed down to Arkansas for a better quality of life with his family. Making that decision required him to leave his job and with that his health insurance.

Who besides Dick Cheney thinks that asbestos reform is really important to the US economy? by Big Time Patriot :

When our President was asked his view about the economy, part of his answer included this: ''I hope we can get an asbestos reform bill out of both the House and the Senate.

Some background on influenza and the potential for a flu pandemic by DrSpike :

There have been a number of posts on and off about influenza virus, especially the potential of a coming pandemic with a killer virus. This crosses into an area of interest for me, and I have kept up with the literature for some time. Since DemFromCT asked so nicedly I have prepared some informiaton for everyone. I am in the midst of writing a textbook and it just so happens that one section of it focuses on influenza virus. With the publishers permission, I have made the influenza section available on my website. This will hopefully give you a pretty good background on the illness. Go ahead and read it, I'll wait.

First Microsoft and now Magellan Health by BLOGActive :

57 million Americans receive mental health services and employee assistance from Mageellan Heath Services.

Despite statements to the contrary, Magellan, the largest company of it's kind in the country, has put dangerous reparative therapist Dr. Warren E. Throckmorton on it's National Professional Adviory Commttee. Throckmorton works with Focus on the Family, Concerned Women for America and other right wing anti-gay groups, in supporting conversion from ebing gay to straight. Ugh.

Uganda's ABC AIDS success: New Report says it was the "C" by tlaura :

Yesterday, the Globe and Mail reported on the recent slew of research reports to come out on Uganda.  Unfortunately, the article buries the lede, going on at silly lengths about the "dark" fact that Ugandan HIV prevalance rates have fallen because HIV positive citizens have died of AIDS (how else would they do down?  Nobody gets cured of HIV.  The point is to slow the rate of incidence) but the nugget is this:

No More Cures in America? by maven98 :

For the first time in 20 years, the National Institutes of Health is receiving budget increases that are below current inflation levels.  It is true that the NIH receives a large amount of money for research and medical science, but that amount is spread over multitudes of scientists.  The administration will use this amount of funding to say, "look, science is receiving LOTS of money."  The administration reports things in this purposefully dishonest way, as we well know. So don't believe it when they say that science funding is sufficient. The medical research discoveries being reported right now are coming from PREVIOUS investment dollars.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month by Mrs Pastor :

My interest in mental health is twofold.  Professionally, my background is in Child Development and Counseling Psychology and I am currently an administrator for a children's mental health treatment program.  As a Licensed Professional Counselor and member of several professional organizations dedicated to mental health, I feel an obligation to speak out about mental health issues, hopefully to educate the public.

Healthcare News Round-up: 4/25/05 - 5/1/05 by the holy handgrenade :

Welcome to the Holy Handgrenade's Healthcare News Round-up. I had originally intended for this to be a daily feature, but unfortunately, time and energy have not been on my side lately. I will try to highlight a number of items that have been in the news over the past week or so.

HealthCare News Round-up - Thursday 4/21/05 & Friday 4/22/05 by the holy handgrenade :

Today's column will focus on a proposed increase to Iowa's Medicaid roles, a Connecticut health benefit bill, Baltimore's prescription plan and the ongoing Wisconsin Medicaid funding problem.

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Reframing Vehicle MPG by grndrush :

Environmentals, not Industrialists, should be the ones `framing' vehicle fuel efficiency!

American Farmers, American Energy by dhonig :

In that diary I posted a comment that a move to biodiesel hybrids could be THE key campaign platform for a Democrat to win in 2008.  I decided to expand on that thought a little bit here:

Bush On Cnn about energy by NeverSummer :

CNN was carrying coverage of Bush's energy plan speech.  Bush talks very little about conservation.  He only talked about light bulbs and barely calls upon Americans to "tighten their belts".

Bush's Energy Plan: National Security Flaw by arynos :

One of Bush's new energy proposals seeks to expand U.S. energy by further developing nuclear power. To do so places U.S. citizens in a direct line-of-fire of terrorists seeking innovative ways to cause destruction with little effort. There is no need to bring ones own bomb when theres one with a hub of powerlines waiting for trouble.

The Left's Biggest Blind Spot - NUCLEAR POWER by Swampfoot :

Now, I know that since The Chimperor brought this issue to the fore yesterday, many of you who do not have the time or inclination to research the particulars are simply going to assume that if it's good enough for 85, then it must be a looming disaster for the country. I am here to instead remind you that even a stopped clock is right by coincidence twice a day (once a day if you're in Europe and use a 24hr clock), and that the sole fact of Dubya's support of nuclear power is not a good enough reason to oppose it. George probably supports the wearing of pants, and while I oppose some of his policies I don't think that particular policy is unreasonable (at least in my case).

Towards a More Progressive World: Energy Policy by ellisande :

One of the most important differences between progressives and the modern Republican party is the degree of visible and audible unity.   While this is starting to change as the progressive wing of the Democratic Party makes its presence increasingly felt, particularly as represented by Harry Reid and the dKos community among others, with an increasing emphasis on party solidarity, and cracks between the Neocons and Theocons beginning to appear on the other side of the aisle, Democrats are still perceived as being a party in chaos and opposed to the simplicity of classic Republican values.  Part of this apparent disunity is the inevitable result of our willingness to see the complexities of the real world and the inevitably differing prioritization of our goals by individuals, but in the important world of public opinion it is largely the result of our failure to control and organize our message.

Our car is on 50% Biodiesel by Miss Jones :

Today we went for a typical Sunday drive... stopped off at the sushi bar for a nice lunch. Drove through bumper-to-bumper holiday traffic to a computer shop to buy our son a new hard drive since his self-destructed a couple of days ago, and ended up detouring to a second computer store some distance away. We covered about 50 km. on this drive, and noticed nothing unusual. Nothing strange. Except the exhaust didn't smell so bad like it used to when we first bought the car! And it ran smoother, more quietly. Is that our imagination?

Your Daily Share of ANWR: One Cup, One Mile by ColoRambler :

In a recent diary about the recent energy bill, lots of people noted that oil from the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge would be little more than a drop in the bucket.  Even if it all entered the U.S., rather than being sold overseas, it's a tiny amount compared to current U.S. consumption.

Shrinking BigOil - The Economist on oil (I) - the smart stuff by Jerome a Paris :

The Economist has published in its most recent edition a survey of oil, which I promised to review here. As it is behind a subscription wall, the links (below the jump)  are unlikely to be accessible to most of you, so I have tried to summarise its content before critiquing it.

The Economist on oil (II) - rosy corporate view of peak oil by Jerome a Paris :

In a earlier diary, I commented on the first half of the recent survey of oil which came out in the last edition of The Economist. I described that half as a very well informed take the oil market and the biggest players, the oil majors. In this second part , I will critique the other half, i.e. their views on peak oil and the future of alternative energies, which reflects the  deliberately rosy official view of corporate America, which still encourages monstruosities like the one in the picture.

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The Desktop PC is dead by Expo :

Dallas Mavericks owner and blogger Mark Cuban says, that the desktop PC is boring and all the fun is on the portable side of the pc world.

Hubble mission in the works, w/poll by Nicholas Phillips :

As for my opinion on the matter, the Hubble Space Telescope [HST] is one of the greatest scientific instruments ever assembled and put into use. Its observations have increased our understanding of everything from our solar system up to the details of our Universe. In between, it has helped us understand how galaxies and clusters of galaxies form, along with how plantery systems form (see above image).

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Conclusion: Geology, Myth, & the Good Mother Earth by DarkSyde :

It is a loosely guarded secret in astronomy: The earth should be a lifeless snowball. Our planet lies just outside the habitable zone. Despite what creationists may say about the privileged position of our world with respect to the life giving star we orbit, we're too far out, a little too distant, a bit too cool. By the rights of thermal science our oceans should be frozen solid, our air crisp and free of humidity, and life as we know it should only huddle furtively in small pockets of melt water preserved underneath tons of ice by hot thermal vents; if at all. There are two factors preventing our lovely mother earth from descending into a grim, permanent ice age with no hope of escape. One is the sun; it's slowly heating up. The other is greenhouses gases. They're no myth. They are in fact, the breath of life itself, keeping our world twenty to thirty degrees warmer than it would otherwise be. But mythology is rife with both legendary heroes and terrible monsters. And often the two are hard to tell apart.

SciFri: 'Eyes of Nye' by lapin :

Bill Nye (who started his illustrious TV career on a Seattle produced show called Almost Live) has a new television series that is broadcast on PBS stations through American Public Television (PBS won't distribute his show; it wasn't serious enough for them, whatever).  If you're like me and feel that the scientific method has been taken to the woodshed one too many times lately, then you need to watch this show.  And tell everyone you know to watch it as well.  If the two episodes I saw are representative of the series, then reasoned discussion of scientific issues on American television is not dead.

Nerd Alert : Organic Materials Spotted High Above Titan's Surface
by SeattleLiberal :

The Cassini-Huygens team has discovered complex organic molecules in the atmosphere of Titan.

This discovery raises some interesting questions about how these organics may have formed here on Earth. This gives us an opportunity to study formation of these complex molecules in an atmosphere that is not so influenced by the biological processes occurring in our own.

Looking for Leads on an Environmental Story by susanhbu :

This sounds like a great opportunity for a lot of you talented, smart people. The contact info you'll need is at the end.

While this is not necessarily a science category, you can not have good scientists without good education. So I will highlight education issues here.

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Alabama Bill Could Limit What I Can Teach! by smileypv :

Currently pending in the Education Committee in the Alabama State Legislature is a bill called HB30 submitted by Representative Gerald Allen of the 62nd District. The bill requires that "no state funds should be used to pay for materials that foster homosexuality" among other prohibitions, including that no state employee of any library, university, or public school "shall require or encourage the entity's members or employees to provide information or materials or engage in any activities that, directly or indirectly, sanction, recognize, foster, or promote a lifestyle or actions prohibited by the sodomy and sexual misconduct laws of the state of Alabama." (sources: HB30 and Gay book ban goal of state lawmaker)

LEAKED: Union-Busting memo at Columbia University & the Academic Freedom case there by Nate Roberts :

An internal memo from the Provost, Alan Brinkley, to top administrators outlines his plans to implement union-busting tactics that would have the university not merely emulate the strategies of private corporations, but in fact go far beyond them.  What Brinkley has proposed calls for retaliatory actions against union supporters that would be illegal under the National Labor Relations Act.

Don't let my critics in !!! by teacherken :

One thing that is characteristic about the current administration is its unwillingness to have meaningful dialog with those of opposing views.  We have seen this in the staged "town hall meetings" on Social Security in recent months.  That pattern is unfortunately apparently widespread among all elements of the political right, including in education.

Burn Books! Alabama wants to censor school library books by blueohio :

According to CBS news correspondent Mark Strassman, Alabama Republican lawmaker Gerald Allen thinks he knows what's best for everyone and has proposed a bill that would ban public school libraries from buying new copies of books or plays by gay authors or about gay characters.

Healthcare, Education, and National Defense by mrboma :

After reading Maryscott's excellent diary (and all the great comments it elicited) here it got me thinking about how to get more funding for education. What argument could we use that might convince some conservatives?

Education Meta Diary #3 by teacherken :

This weekend is Pascha (Easter) for those following the Eastern Church Calendar, the Orthodox (Russina, Greek, Rumanion, OCA, Atniocnian, etc), and the Oriental (Coptic, Armenian, etc).  My wife is Orthodox, so our weekend is very full and I will not have time for a thoughtful NEW education diary.  For those with time to read, I therefore offer the third of my meta-diaries.

Christian Schools: Do they teach children to be mean? by SanJoseLady :

As I diaried last week, we have put our son in a private school for the remainder of this 8th grade year, and since this new school is 30 miles away, we  asked the school if there were any students near us who were also taking the train to school.

No Cuspid Left Behind by Toddlerbob :

I just recently discovered, via the ordinary circulating e-mail grapevine, this astute essay by John S. Taylor, former superintendent of the Lancaster County School District in South Carolina.  Since I sort-of remember reading something that said he didn't mind people passing it on, I printed the whole thing below the fold.

LINKED: Marla Ruzicka Attack & Academic Freedom at Columbia University by Nate Roberts :

The slander of slain peace activist Marla Ruzicka by David Horowitz of the David Project has already been written about here .

But what has been missing from the discussion, so far, is any mention of David Horowitz and the David Project's central role in the intimidation campaign at Columbia University.

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OrganicMatter   by chris at organicmatter

Thanks to ImageShack for Free Image Hosting

Originally posted to SeattleLiberal on Mon May 02, 2005 at 02:04 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Crossposted (4.00)

    I suggest . . . we encourage the reestablishment of the old Soviet Union. Sure it was an evil empire, but at least it kept the Republicans busy. - Bill Maher

    by SeattleLiberal on Mon May 02, 2005 at 02:00:23 PM PDT

  •  Thanks for pre-chewing... (none)
    ... and giving us easily digestible chunks of nerd news for the busy, er... hour after lunch.  I look forward to catching some of the diaries I missed!

    "Talking to a conservative is kind of like talking to a refrigerator." -Utah Phillips

    by wobblie on Mon May 02, 2005 at 02:07:10 PM PDT

    •  Great! (none)
      Nice little digest there.  I think its awesome that you took the time and effort to compile all this sciency goodness!

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