ONTD Political

East Hampton Police on the Case of Nature Trail Giraffe

A fake giraffe standing at least nine feet tall was found chained to a tree at the Huntting Lane entrance to the East Hampton Village Nature Trail on Wednesday morning, puzzling police who said nothing like it had been reported stolen as of about 9 a.m.

"It's obviously stolen, but we don't know from where," East Hampton Village Police Chief Gerard Larsen said. "We're looking into it."

so where did it come from?Collapse )



i’s difficult to know what to make of the giraffe. It shuffles like a camel (right legs forward, then left legs) but runs like a rabbit (hind legs forward, then front legs). Its distinctive aroma repulses many ticks but enchants certain people. It bellows, hisses, and moans in the wild, and in captivity it hums in the dark. It naps with its head aloft but sleeps like a swan, with its head on its haunches. Had Aristotle ever seen a giraffe, he might have said that it was the product of an interspecies dalliance at the watering hole, which he thought of as a kind of zoological swingers’ club—a place where “bastard animals are born to heterogeneous pairs.”

basically a giraffe is like SCREW EVOLUTION IMMA BREAK THE NATURAL LAWSCollapse )
source is the New Yorker
Earth Is Tipping Because of Climate Change

Melting ice and shifting rain patterns are causing the north and south poles to drift


More under the cut...Collapse )

More links on this (in case you're still not sure you understand, like me :-):
-'Climate Change is Moving the North Pole'.
-'Greenland and Antarctic melt isn’t just raising seas — it’s changing the Earth’s rotation'.

OP: As explained in the first of these two links, this is a completely different phenomenon from the behavior of the planet's magnetic poles.
A Biologist Is Writing a Wikipedia Article About a Woman Scientist For Every Harassing Email She Gets

You probably won’t be shocked to read that she has written a whole bunch. Emily Temple-Wood is an undergrad at Loyola University who will be heading to medical school in the fall. Online harassment wasn’t her original impetus when she began WikiProject Women Scientists in 2012, but it’s fueling the tank now.

Wikimedia Blog reports Temple-Wood’s first entry was also powered by rage, when she realized few of the female members of the Royal Society (science’s cool club) had a Wikipedia page. She says, “I got [angry] and wrote an article that night … I literally sat in the hallway in the dorm until 2am writing [my] first women in science article.”

As the popularity of the project grew, so did the harassment Temple-Wood experienced:

My surprised face, let me show you it...Collapse )

Wikimedia Blog Post.
Women Scientists wiki project home page.

Cross-posted to ontd_science

Fair warning, I spent a good hour this morning reading these articles. Beware of the time sink. ;)

Mods: I thought this was awesome when I saw it and thought it would be a good post for Women's History Month. I recognize it's not precisely politics though, so no worries if it doesn't work here.

Professor Richard Dawkins has had an invitation to speak at a science event withdrawn by organisers for sharing a "highly offensive" video mocking feminists on Twitter.

Dawkins was scheduled to speak at the Northeast Conference on Science and Skepticism which will take place in New York City in May, but on Thursday organisers issued a statement concerning his participation.

“The NECSS has withdrawn its invitation to Richard Dawkins to participate at NECSS 2016. We have taken this action in response to Dr. Dawkins’ approving re-tweet of a highly offensive video.

“We believe strongly in freedom of speech and freedom to express unpopular, and even offensive, views. However, unnecessarily divisive, counterproductive, and even hateful speech runs contrary to our mission and the environment we wish to foster at NECSS. The sentiments expressed in the video do not represent the values of NECSS or its sponsoring organisations.”

The video in question, “Feminists Love Islamists” was shared by Dawkins on Thursday, alongside the explainer: “Obviously doesn’t apply to vast majority of feminists, among whom I count myself. But the minority are pernicious.”. Dawkins later deleted the tweet but the NECSS shared a screengrab of it.

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Residents, including a retired science teacher, were concerned it would stop plants from growing and cause cancer

A town council in North Carolina rejected plans to rezone land for a solar farm after residents voiced fears it would cause cancer, stop plants from growing and suck up all the energy from the sun.

Two citizens reportedly made the allegations at a Woodland Town Council meeting in Northampton County, northeastern North Carolina, on Wednesday.

Bobby Mann said the farm would "suck up all the energy from the sun and businesses would not come to Woodland," the Roanoke-Chowan Herald-News reports.

Retired science teacher Jane Mann feared the proposed solar ranch could hinder photosynthesis -- the process of converting light energy from the sun into chemical energy for fuel -- in the area and stop plants from growing.

She added that no one could tell her solar panels didn't cause cancer.

Other residents feared the effect it would have on the price of their homes.

Councilors were voting on whether to redefine agriculturally designated land off U.S. Highway 258 for manufacturing.

Strata Solar Company representative Brent Niemann told the meeting the only sunlight used would be that which fell on the panels directly. "The panels don't draw additional sunlight," he said.

He told councilors that the farm would have no effect on property prices and promised that no toxic substances would be kept on site.

But Woodland Town Council turned down the proposal, effectively stopping the company from building the planned renewable energy ranch. The council later voted to put a moratorium on future solar farms in the area, the Herald-News reports.

Solar Power World Online ranks North Carolina fourth in the U.S. for installed solar power capacity, with 161 companies employing 3,100 people in the industry.


By Lee Moran, Trends Editor, The Huffington Post. 12/14/2015 09:10 am ET

The new Liberal government in Canada has been highly praised for what many are calling the restoration of science in the country. As well as appointing a Minister of Science and Minister for Innovation, Science, and Economic Development, the new Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has also dropped the convoluted and highly criticized system of communications policies that federal scientists were forced to undergo before they were allowed to speak to the media. Even if they were granted permission, they could only talk in a highly controlled way.

Our government values scienceCollapse )


Well, certainly off to a good start with this new regime. Suggestions for more tags welcome.

You may know that you can earn $13,000 a year selling your own feces, but now it seems that the U.S. government stands to make bank on your solid waste, as well. According to new research presented at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society, the itty-bitty particles of gold, lead, copper and other valuable metals found in biosolids (which you probably just call poop) could be worth "mining."

Put your tiny pick-ax away and flush the toilet: Itʼs not that simple.

Led by Kathleen Smith of the U.S. Geological Survey, the team of researchers initially set out to find better ways of extracting foreign particles from human waste. They werenʼt looking to mine that silver and gold, but rather to toss it out. Once human waste is treated, about half of it (3.5 million tons, in the United States) is used to fertilize farms and forests across the country. The primary goal is to get metals — which get into our waste by way of their presence in cleaning agents, beauty and hygiene products, and clothing — out of this fertilizer end-product to keep them from impeding its usefulness.

But by thinking like miners, Smith said, wastewater treaters could get two poop byproducts for their trouble: fertilizer and reusable metals. In fact, a recent study estimated that a city of 1 million people might produce $13 million worth of these biosolid metals every year. [In Florida, a water-pollution warning that glows at night]

Smith and her team are still figuring out the best methods for extracting these metals, but theyʼve had a lot of luck using the same chemicals used to leach tiny particles of metal from rock. Indeed, Smith told the ACS, a lot of human waste seems to have high enough concentrations of leachable metals that it would be considered commercially viable to mine it — if it was rock, that is.

Since biosolid metal extraction would require new procedures and facilities, itʼs obviously not a given that anyone will decide to go spelunking for cellphone-building alloys in human poop. But Smith and her team say the feasibility of the process should be considered on a case-by-case basis and could end up providing a valuable income boost to local economies.

Washington Post
Two bills are up for a vote in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, both of which could significantly impact the way the Environmental Protection Agency is allowed to use science to come up with regulations. The Secret Science Reform Act and the Science Advisory Board Reform Act both require the EPA to consider only publicly available, easily reproducible data when making policy recommendations. Scientific organizations and environmental groups, as well as a number of Democrats, disapprove of the bills, arguing that they favor industry over real science.

Over 50 scientific organizations spoke out in opposition to the Secret Science bill, noting that large-scale public health studies would be ineligible for consideration because large sample sizes could not be easily reproduced.

“I cannot support legislation that makes it easier for industry to implement their destructive playbook, because risking the health of the American people is not a game that I’m willing to play,” said Representative Paul Tonko (D-NY) last week.

The Science Advisory Board (SAB) Reform Act would change the structure of the SAB, the board of scientists and economists that review EPA risk assessments. The bill would give industry scientists more opportunities to join the panel, while preventing academic scientists from discussing their own research, ostensibly to avoid conflict of interest. What it actually does is “turn the idea of conflict of interest on its head,” according to Andrew Rosenberg, the director of the Center for Science and Democracy.
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Highly contagious disease, which spread through airports and the theme park after woman contracted virus, now at 26 cases in four US states

What started as a measles outbreak among seven people who visited Disneyland in December has spread to more than 26, as an unvaccinated California woman apparently transmitted the virus through airports and the theme park, health officials said.

State health departments in California, Colorado, Utah and Washington and have confirmed cases of the extremely contagious virus, the Los Angeles Times reported on Wednesday. Taken together, the cases would account for almost 12% of the expected measles cases for the entire year (there are 220 cases per year on average, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

The CDC calls measles the “most deadly of all childhood rash/fever illnesses”. Measles is a virus that lives in the nose and throat of those infected, and causes fever, rash, red eyes and coughing. Though there is a vaccine that is commonly given, an anti-vaccination movement has gained traction in the US despite widespread scientific criticism and debunking of the movement’s claims.

The California department of public health said on 7 January that officials believe the woman who started the outbreak was staying in the Disneyland theme park in December. According to the LA Times, the woman is believed to be an unvaccinated traveler in her 20s.

The woman became sick and contagious on 28 December while at the theme park. From there, the LA Times reports, she flew from Orange County to Snohomish County in Washington state. She then returned to Orange County on 3 January, and California health officials announced the outbreak on 7 January.

The virus is highly contagious, can live for up to two hours on surfaces and is transmitted through an infected person’s coughs or sneezes. Measles is so contagious that “90% of the people close to that person who are not immune will also become infected”, according to the CDC.

Though an estimated 20 million people worldwide contract measles each year, the CDC only expects about 220 people in the US will become infected. American public health officials tamped down spread of the virus through the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine that children older than one year are recommended to receive two doses of, and which most college students are required to receive.

Though the vaccines are said to be 99% effective, a recent anti-vaccination movement in the US has falsely linked autism to the vaccines. Scientists have thoroughly decried the claims as false and misleading. Nevertheless, many have linked the movement to the record number of measles cases in 2014. Last year, 644 cases were confirmed, accounting for a nearly two-decade high.


(CNN) -- While the world watched the historic landing of a space probe on a comet 310 million miles from Earth, many were distracted by what was happening closer to home.

Rosetta Project scientist Matt Taylor caused a firestorm with his choice of fashion during the European Space Agency's live stream of Wednesday's Philae landing.Taylor initially sported a shirt featuring women in lingerie, possibly not the wisest choice of attire given all of the discussion surrounding the challenges for women in the tech and science fields.

"The fact that a scientist of any gender, but especially a man, would think it's a good idea to wear a shirt covered in naked women while representing a major space agency and a significant research project is appalling; and clearly, he had no idea that he was engaging in exactly the kind of casual sexism that drives women away from STEM," S.E. Smith wrote in an article on XOJane.

STEM is the acronym for science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and women in those disciplines have long complained of sexism and other difficulties in their male-dominated fields.

The shirt quickly spawned its own hashtag on Twitter -- #shirtstorm -- as both sexes took Taylor to task.

"No no women are toooootally welcome in our community, just ask the dude in this shirt," tweeted The Atlantic tech writer Rose Eveleth.

"I don't care what scientists wear. But a shirt featuring women in lingerie isn't appropriate for a broadcast if you care about women in STEM," tweeted astrophysicist Katie Mack.

"You think a shirt like this makes women feel welcome? I don't," Mack added when another Twitter user questioned whether she was going too far.

Smith wrote that the shirt was sexist and that "The people who were upset by it weren't just those silly oversensitive feminists who can't take a joke. Scientists from all perspectives were unimpressed with the shirt, both on professional grounds and gendered ones. "

Taylor has been one of the most public faces of the mission and is known as an unconventional scientist. He sports tattoos all over his arms and, in honor of the Rosetta mission, got some new ink in January: a drawing of the space probe landing on the comet.

During a recent Wall Street Journal Facebook Q&A, Taylor was asked about whether tattooed men can achieve greatness and said, "The people I work with don't judge me by my looks but only by the work I have done and can do. Simple."

Taylor reportedly changed out of the shirt during the live stream.

On Friday, he made an emotional apology during another live stream about the mission.

"The shirt I wore this week, I made a big mistake, and I've offended many people, and I am very sorry about this," Taylor said before wiping his eyes.
We can land on a comet, but we can't ...

Matt Taylor's apology

The Young Turks soundoff (independent news source)

Source: http://www.cnn.com/2014/11/13/living/matt-taylor-shirt-philae-rosetta-project/

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