Category: Science

Survey: BBC and FOX Are Most Trusted TV News Brands In U.S.

200px-bbcsvg180px-Foxnewslogo.svgA survey  by Research Intelligencer by Brand Keys found that BBC, Fox News and PBS are the most-trusted TV news brands in the U.S.  The survey covered over 4,000 news viewers.  It is most interesting that BBC can in first in the United States — a well-deserved distinction for the venerable news organization but a bit of an embarrassment for U.S. media.

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Cosmic Whale Music: Listen To What Cassini Picked Up Near Saturn

 

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Credit: NASA

NASA has released an extraordinary tape of the sound picked up by the Cassini spacecraft as it plunged into Saturn on its final mission in 2017.  The craft captured plasma waves from Saturn to its rings and into one of its moons, Enceladus. It is mesmerizing. It has been describing as Saturn singing and it is strangely beautiful.

 

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Just When You Thought You Had Enough To Worry About . . . Lunar Hay Fever

apollo moon photos-1033716704_v2.grid-6x2If you are planning to join the first Moon colony, you might want to read the latest report from NASA which found that moon dust is actually quite harmful to humans.  A recent study published in the April issue of the journal GeoHealth found that moon dust produces what some described as “lunar hay fever.” Indeed, it might give you Moon Lung if you live there long enough.

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Indian Minister Claims Ancient Hindus Invented The Internet

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Biplab Deb, who is the chief minister of the north-eastern state of Tripura, has become an international clown after claiming that the Internet was invented thousands of years ago by ancient Indians.   He now competes as the world’s least intelligent person with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan who claimed that Muslims discovered America.

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Federal Court Permits Emoluments Challenge To Move Forward

1600_executive_branchA federal judge issued a surprising decision that allowed part of an emoluments challenge to proceed toward trial.  The opinion has been widely misreported, but still represents a rare win for those arguing that President Donald Trump is accepting prohibited payments from foreign governments at the various Trump properties.  However, the decision is only on the threshold standing question and did not address the merits of the constitutional claim.  Moreover, United States District Judge Peter Messitte dramatically narrowed the action to only claims related to the Trump Hotel in Washington, D.C.  These is considerable debate over the meaning of the Constitution’s “emoluments” clause.  There are clearly good-faith arguments that such payments fall within the meaning of the language, but I remain highly skeptical.  Even with the much reduced action, I think Messitte is wrong and that the action should have been dismissed in its entirety.  Previous actions have been dismissed.

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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”