When presidential candidates get together onstage for a group discussion it's often called a debate. But real debates have well-defined scoring determining a winner as sure as the Super Bowl. Real debates have real coaches and real star players. And on any given Sunday, the underdog can prevail. But they're entertaining, as was watching engineer turned science educator Bill Nye (Seen on Daily Kos here) going up against Creationist Ken Ham. Oddly, one person telling Ham to please STFU was Pat Robertson:
“Let’s face it, there was a bishop who added up the dates listed in Genesis and he came up with the world had been around for 6,000 years,” Robertson began. “There ain’t no way that’s possible … To say that it all came about in 6,000 years is just nonsense and I think it’s time we come off of that stuff and say this isn’t possible.”Some advice for any news networks looking for someone to represent science when covering this: there's an entire blog full of talented professionals with loads of public speaking experience called the Panda's Thumb and a whole degreed faculty who do this for a living called the National Center for Science Education. Both institutions feature dedicated spokespeople armed with zippy one-liners and camera-friendly smiles.
“Let’s be real,” Robertson begged, “let’s not make a joke of ourselves.”
- Phil blogging at Bad Astronomy responds to 22 classic creationist points of malarkey and I swiped the same questions and followed suit.
- A new preserved human footprint has been found dating to almost a million years earlier than when Ken Ham claims the world was created.
- Enough of that messy wet science! The quantum computer goes commercial:
Advocates claim quantum computing could be more powerful than standard silicon processing in that its small scale of operations can simulate problems too large to be represented in traditional computing systems. D-Wave markets its machines, which it started selling in 2011, as very large co-processors, handy for solving complex optimization and machine-learning problems that could overwhelm classically designed computers. Google has invested in one of D-Wave's computers and is evaluating the results.