Archives for January, 2011

A tragic afternoon in Tucson

President Josiah Bartlet: The streets of heaven are too crowded with angels tonight. They’re our students and our teachers and our parents and our friends. The streets of heaven are too crowded with angels, but every time we think we have measured our capacity to meet a challenge, we look up and we’re reminded that…

Nature: “Stand up for science”

This week’s Nature has a great report on efforts to get scientists more active in policy discussions. It starts with an ecologist who got some media training, which gave her the courage to go on the Colbert Report and defend a paper she co-authored about the dangers of mountaintop removal. From there, we get a…

Wonk Room reports that Wichita-based Koch Industries is suing. Someone sent out a spoof press release in Koch’s name, claiming they were going to stop funding climate change denial groups, and now: Pollution machine Koch Industries is taking to court to defend its reputation as a cesspool of global warming denial. The right-wing carbon industry…

Open Lab 2010

Congrats to the bloggers chosen for the Open Lab blogging anthology. I was a judge this year, as I was last year, and it’s amazing how much really good science blogging is out there. Jason Goldman deserves enormous credit for taking on the difficult task of putting together not just the best science blog posts,…

The sky is blue. Winter is cold. Jerry Coyne is upset with NCSE. These are the implacable truths anchoring us in reality. The interesting question is not whether Coyne is upset with NCSE, but what he’s upset about this time. Today, Coyne is upset that the award-winning, NSF-funded website Understanding Evolution addresses a common objection…

Militantly not militant

To be clear, my last post was not a defense of a phrase that I use. I searched my archives, and don’t see any instances where I referred to atheists as “militant.” Indeed, that post is the only one where I used the word “militant” without quoting someone else! I don’t think it’s the best…

Militant, adj. and n.

PZ Myers points to a governor of Pakistan’s assassination, and insists: “Don’t ever call atheists militant, except where they do something like this.” Which is all well and good, and I suppose I wouldn’t want to be called militant either. But I also wouldn’t want to contradict the dictionary. Here’s the OED on “militant”: A.…

On politics

Ophelia Benson has a post up looking at an interview between Benjamin Nelson (a sometime commenter here) and Chris Mooney. Nelson summarizes the interview, and the broader accommodation/confrontation conflict, by writing: [Mooney's] stance is self-consciously political. At least to some extent, there is a “difference in goals” between Mooney and the activist atheists — by…

Time for Senate reform

Sandy Levinson makes a good case that Wednesday is the acid test for the Obama administration’s commitment to “Change We Can Believe In.” On Wednesday, the President of the Senate, Vice-President Joe Biden, will be asked to rule that the Senate is a non-continuing body, which he will do if he has any political instincts…

Happy New Year!

And may every year suck less than the one before!