Archive for the ‘Science’ Category

81581_relCarl Kauffeld image 450 pxFor many years until his death, Carl Kauffeld, the director of the Staten Island Zoo and at the American Museum of Natural History, insisted that he had discovered a new species of frog leaving in New York and New Jersey, but faced widespread dismissals from his colleagues. Kauffeld died in 1974, but this week he received not just vindication but a new species named after him: Rana kauffeldi. The frog was found living in wetlands from Connecticut to North Carolina near I-95.

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300px-F5_tornado_Elie_Manitoba_2007tao-greyThere was much coverage recently about the claim of physicist Rongjia Tao (left) of Temple University that tornados could be curtailed dramatically in the Midwest by the construction of 1,000-foot walls across the middle of the country. Meteorologist Brice Coffer of North Carolina State University says that his research blows away that theory.

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220px-Chocolate02Finally, a study that we can believe in and truly get behind. A study published in Nature Neuroscience found that chocolate has a natural compound from cocoa that can reverse age-related memory loss. The problem is that you have to eat so much that you immediately remember that you have a serious weight problem.

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ICS_Lima.svgebolaThere appears to be a race by politicians to show who is more serious about Ebola by imposing greater and greater restrictions on anyone suspected of being a carrier. It now appears that we may have our first court challenge to these limitations and there are viable claims to be made. The American Civil Liberties Union is acting on behalf of a nurse, Kaci Hickox, who has been under quarantine after she arrived at Newark International Airport. I will be discussing the case on CNN this afternoon with Wolf Blitzer.

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By Mark Esposito, Weekend Blogger

Can religious beliefs actually retard our intuitions for justice and fairness? Research seems to suggest it might well. The Christian religion has imbued Western thought with the fundamental belief that God presides over a just world – one where sin is punished and rightly-held beliefs and actions are rewarded. We see this attitude in every aspect of human interaction. Today, in some sparkling sports stadium an earnest athlete is bound to thank his deity of choice for the good fortunes that befell his team or his game changing performance. By extension, the loser ( a value loaded word if ever there was one) will decry his lack of luck. From the Book of Job to Pinocchio and Cinderella, this belief in what some psychologists call “immanent justice” or “The Just Word Hypothesis” seeks to explain our plight and our success. It also hardens our attitudes about the poor, victims of crimes and those folks either buoyed or sunk by pure chance.

The Book of Job gets us into the mindset. A saintly man if ever there was one as the Bible itself acknowledges, God allows Satan to test Job with all manner of suffering to determine his worthiness. Stripped of his wealth, prestige and power, Job then loses his children and ultimately his health and vigor. Still, Job endures and never ever curses his fate – or his God. He does consult his friends for some inkling as to the cause of his travails. Their answer, which comes like a thunderclap is: “Behold,” one of them declares, “God will not cast away an innocent man, neither will he uphold evildoers” (Job 8:20). Classic “Blame the Victim” mentality from this coterie of advisers.

Puzzled but resolute, Job however concludes that despite his worldly righteousness, he can never know divine justice and according to the story prostrates himself silent before his Master’s “Just World.’ For that, he is rewarded with the resumption of his wealth and status. He even replaces his children with seven new ones. The clear message to the world however is the same: God handles the world’s justice and we are powerless to exact our own except on only the most superficial level.

Jesus himself gets in on the act in the New Testament. Addressing the multitude in the Sermon on the Mount, he has two distinct things to say about justice and our expectations of it: Blessed are…..those who hunger and thirst for righteousness: for they will be filled. (Matt. 5:6) and Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matt. 5:10). In modern speak, “Don’t worry God will handle it in his own way and, if you let him do so, you’ll get the whole enchilada. The pearly gates, the mansions, those singing and harp-playing cherubim … you, my faithful believer, get it all.”

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Submitted by Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

lady-with-ermineA French engineer has revealed two portraits beneath one of polymath Leonardo Da Vinci’s great works known in the English art world as “The Lady with an Ermine.” Pascal Cotte studied the work over the course of three years utilizing a novel technology involving reflective lighting to render some surprising elements to the five hundred year old painting.

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300px-Chernobyl_Disaster1280px-Fukushima_I_by_Digital_GlobeOne of the chief objections to nuclear power is the catastrophic implications of nuclear accidents or leaks. No better examples of that danger can be found in the aftermath of the Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear disasters. Reports out this week show precisely how lasting such damage can be.

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