Category: Science

Study Criticizes Engineering Programs For Focusing On Math and Science Rather Than Political Concerns

One_of_Diamonds_Mathematical_instruments_1702We recently discussed how University of Illinois math professor Rochelle Gutierrez triggered a national controversy over her work “Building Support for Scholarly Practices in Mathematics Methods” in which she criticized math classes as a “tool of whiteness.”  Then we discussed CUNY Professor Laurie Rubel’s publishing of a peer-reviewed article in the  Journal of Mathematics Education arguing that the concepts of meritocracy and “color-blindness” are ideological precepts that work against minorities.  Now four professors denouncing the “hegemony of meritocratic ideology” and the “masculine culture” in engineering courses as hostile to women. University of California (Irvine) Professor Carroll Serron’s March 1 study insists that merit-based advancement in engineering is harming women and fails to consider political factors in recognizing engineers.  The professors criticize the focus on “empirical science, technical thinking, merit, and individualism” as the cause for the isolation of female engineers.

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Stanford “Gender Research” Director Declares Space Exploration To Be “Another Example of Male Entitlement”

as11-40-5875hreditWe previously We discussed recent publications by academics arguing that math is a form of white privilege and male domination.  Now, Marci Bianco, the communications manager of Stanford University’s Clayman Institute for Gender Research, has found a new manifestation of patriarchy: space exploration.  In the article on NBC.com, Bianco declares that “the patriarchal race to colonize Mars is just another example of male entitlement.”  The efforts reveals a “Columbusing attitude.” The movie The Martian will now be renamed “The Patriarch.”

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NOAA Data Shows Arctic Ice At Its Lowest In 1500 Years

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We have been following the overwhelming evidence of drastic climate change, but few studies are as striking as the most report from NOAA’s Arctic research program.  The annual Arctic Report Card  that we have reached the highest loss of Arctic ice in 1500 years. Recently discussed the controversial statements of Administration officials like Energy Secretary Rick Perry on the U.S. offering a better future through fossil fuels.  These studies show a potentially catastrophic future as our climate continues to change exponentially.

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NASA Continues To Rack Up “Firsts,” Including “Heat Shield Rock” Found On Mars

 

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As many of you know, I love the NASA site and all things associated with space exploration.  In that vein, I had to share this photo of the first meteorite found on another planet.  I could come up with a better name than “Heat Shield Rock” (like Rocky McRock Face or something) but those NASA people are a bit literal.  There is a stark beauty of such objects, hardened and shaped by billions of years. I also still get a thrill of being able to see these pictures from another world.  While this picture was taken in 2015, there are some new pictures that are truly record breaking in terms of distance below.  These images should remind the public of the tremendous breakthroughs being made by NASA and its partners with limited funding, including significant cuts.  Indeed, as Trump pushes to make the International Space Station a private or corporate effort, we need to keep in mind the windfall of new information that has come with each of these programs.

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Sooners Find Evidence of A Trillion Exoplanets

download-4History has shown that if you want to find new land, ask a Sooner to find it.

Scientists at the University of Oklahoma found evidence that there are approximately 2,000 extragalactic planets for every one star beyond the Milky Way.  Some appear as small as the moon and other as large as Jupiter.  The study, published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, used information from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and a planet detection technique called microlensing.

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CUNY Professor Denounces Meritocracy and Color-Blindness In Math As “Tool of Whiteness”

faculty_pictureWe recently discussed how University of Illinois math professor Rochelle Gutierrez triggered a national controversy over her work “Building Support for Scholarly Practices in Mathematics Methods” in which she criticized math classes as a “tool of whiteness.”  Now, CUNY Professor Laurie Rubel has published a peer-reviewed article in the  Journal of Mathematics Education arguing that the concepts of meritocracy and “color-blindness” are ideological precepts that work against minorities.  It is a worrisome trend among academics to challenge even the most objective fields of advancement as requiring a more race-conscious approach.

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RES IPSA HITS 33,000,000

Audience_Frontier_FiestaWe have hit another milestone today with over 33,000,000 views. We are also expected to reach 35,000 followers on Twitter.  That hardly makes us competition for the largest sites but it is still an impressive collection of people seeking a place for civil but passionate discourse on legal and policy issues  of our time (and perhaps a few wacky stories).  We often use these milestones to look at the current profile of the blog and its supporters around the world.

As always, I want to offer special thanks for our weekend contributors: Mike Appleton, Larry Rafferty, Darren Smith, Kimberly Dienes, and Cara Gallagher (particularly Darren who continues help up with periodic technical problems etc).

I particularly want to thank our regular commentators and readers.  We try to keep this blog as an open forum with as little interference or monitoring of the comments as possible.  Given our free speech orientation, we try not to delete comments and, for that reason, we are deeply appreciative of how most people avoid personal or offensive comments in debating these issues.  We have had to delete a handful of comments with personal attacks or profanity but the number remains quite low for a blog of this size.  The success of this blog is due to the fact that we offer something more than the all-too-common troll-driven, angry, and insulting commentary of the Internet.  Thank you for voluntarily assuming restraint over the tenor and content of your comments. Continue reading “RES IPSA HITS 33,000,000”

“Mathematics Itself Operates As Whiteness”: University of Illinois Professor Triggers Controversy In Calling For Professors To Recognize Math As Privilege

rg1University of Illinois math professor Rochelle Gutierrez has triggered a national controversy over her recent anthology for math educators entitled, “Building Support for Scholarly Practices in Mathematics Methods.” Gutierrez suggests that mathematic tends to perpetuate white privilege that must be actively addressed in classrooms.  For many, math is one subject that was viewed inherently objective and unbiased in its emphasis. Albert Einstein and others saw beauty in math.  He stated “Pure mathematics is, in its way, the poetry of logical ideas.” Yet, Gutierrez appears to see the  “politics that mathematics brings” and white privilege. Continue reading ““Mathematics Itself Operates As Whiteness”: University of Illinois Professor Triggers Controversy In Calling For Professors To Recognize Math As Privilege”

Notice: Programming Interruption On Saturday For End Of World

download-5We will be suspending blogging today due to the end of the world as predicted by Christian writer David Meade. While Meade is reportedly now hedging his bets on whether we may survive on September 23rd, I have already told my classes that they may disregard the remainder of the term syllabus.   I know that the end may come as something of a bummer for many. However, as stated in Monty Python’s The Life of Brian, “if life seems jolly rotten, there is something you’ve forgotten.” There are ten good reasons to welcome the apocalypse.

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Heinz Accused Of Selling “Natural” Food For Children With Sugar Levels Qualifying As Confectionary Item

There is an interesting case out of Australia that will confirm the concerns of many parents over food for young children.  The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) brought a legal action against Heinz in June after reviewing a complaint by the Obesity Policy Coalition about the sugar content of the food.  The Commission determined that the level of added sugar would qualify the food — which is sold as a “natural” and healthy choice — as a confectionary item like junk food.  The focus is a product line called  “Little Kids Shredz.”

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New Poll: Support For Creationism Falls To Record Low

300px-god2-sistine_chapelA new poll from Gallup shows a sharp decline in Americans who believe in creationism and specifically the “Young Earth” view that the Earth is less than 10,000 years old.  Only 38 percent of those polled now embrace creationism while 57 percent accept the theory of evolution as well as scientific data uniformly showing life existed millions of years ago.

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Martian Slave Babies! Alex Jones Airs Theory On Kidnapped Children Raised On Mars

flight-to-mars-movie-poster-1951-1010458980Alex Jones has been repeatedly accused of running false stories on his InfoWars program.  However, this week one guest caused jaws to drop and prompted a NASA spokesman to deny that it has kidnapped children and worked them as slaves on a Mars colony.  Of course, that is exactly what National Aeronautics and Slaves Administration (NASA) would say if it was kidnapping children and working them slaves on a Mars colony.

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Oregon County Mandates 2,000 Acre Organic Farm Sprayed With Chemical Herbicides

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

A 2,000 acre organic farm in central Oregon is facing what could be a be an existential threat to its operations after county weed control authorities sent notice mandating that the farm use chemical herbicides, such as Roundup, to eradicate weed growth.

The mandate would bring to an end nearly 18 years of organic farming, placing a significant loss of organic food to the public.

Azure Farms is a certified organic farm located in Moro, Sherman County, Oregon. The farm produces almost all the organic wheat, field peas, barley, Einkorn, and beef for Azure Standard.

Sherman County could issue a court order on May 22, 2017 to quarantine Azure Farms and possibly to spray the entire farm with poisonous herbicides contaminating them with Milestone, Escort, and Roundup.

Such a unilateral action on the behalf of the few individuals representing county government could set a precedent in damaging perhaps one of the few remaining healthy alternatives to mass-market agribusinesses.

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