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Leap Day 29 Feb 2008

Posted by Jessa in Science.
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Happy Leap Day everyone!  If you want to know more about leap days, check out Bad Astronomy Blog’s “Why we have leap days“.  Turns out the whole leap day thing is fascinating, and a bit wacky.  I learned something new.

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Expelled Security “Breech” 27 Feb 2008

Posted by Jessa in Non-Science.
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OH NOES! The makers of Expelled are hopping mad that someone “snuck in” to a private screening and then wrote a negative review of the movie.

We already had our first security breech [sic] and are asking YOU now for your support to stand up for EXPELLED: No Intelligence Allowed. Hosted by Ben Stein, EXPELLED contains a critical message at a critical time. As an underdog in Hollywood right now, we need your support.

Recently Robert Moore, a film critic from The Orlando Sentinel pretending to be a minister, snuck into a private screening, did not sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement, and criticized the film the next day in his article.

Moore compared Stein, who is Jewish, to Holocaust Deniers and charge that Stein’s linking of Darwinism to the Holocaust was “despicable.” Stein states, “The only thing I find despicable is when reporters sneak into screenings by pretending to be ministers. This is a new low even for liberal reporters.”

That’s rich. I re-read the review, and it states that the reviewer received an e-mail invitation to the screening. The screening was tailored for a receptive audience of ministers, but the review does not give any indication that the reviewer was “pretending to be a minister”. That the producers let someone who hadn’t signed and NDA see the movie is their fault, not the reviewer’s. It’s not a security breach.

What pegs my irony meter is that these guys are throwing a hissy fit that someone might have misrepresented themselves to get into a screening. To refresh your memory, these are the same folks that obtained several of their interviews for the movie by misrepresenting their intentions.

Hat tip: Pharyngula

Happy Valentine’s Day! 14 Feb 2008

Posted by Jessa in Uncategorized.
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Looking for a way to embrace both your sweetie and your inner science geek?

Those Pesky One-Sided Facts 13 Feb 2008

Posted by Jessa in Non-Science, Science.
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The Florida State Board of Education is set to vote next week on new standards that would require teaching evolution in public schools. Predictably, this has stirred up a lot of opposition. There were over 10,000 comments on the proposed standards, many of them critical of the plan.

One of my favorite comments, as published by the Orlando Sentinel:

“I have no problem with them hearing about evolution. I just don’t want them to hear a one-sided fact,” said LeVon Pettis, a Panhandle father who may look for private schools for his daughters if the standards are adopted as is.

One-sided facts? This is obviously news to Mr. Pettis, but facts don’t have sides. They’re not liberal or conservative, religious or irreligious, bad or good. They just are. Your interpretation of them may be one-sided, or you may use them to bolster a one-sided opinion, but don’t confuse such an action with the facts themselves.

P.S. Here’s another gem from the webcast of the public comment section of last week’s meeting:

Now I have in my hand an orange. I was about to eat this orange yesterday, but before I did I sat down and read about this evolution stuff. I learned that this orange is actually my first cousin. I didn’t want to eat the orange no more. So now I’m going to give it to you people on the committee, and you can eat it if you want. But if you do decide to eat it, it shows that you don’t believe in this evolution either. And we shouldn’t be teaching our kids something no one believes.

Wow. I don’t think I could even make up a statement as ridiculous as that.

Are You Smarter Than A Chimp? 13 Feb 2008

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Does This Make Me A Geek? 11 Feb 2008

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I would love to get this card for Valentine’s Day.

valentine-sagan-small.gif

Proteomics Incident: One Author Responds 11 Feb 2008

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Pharyngula has received an apologetic e-mail from Jin Han, one of the authors of the Proteomics paper that caused a stir.  Like PZ, I don’t buy the whole “confusion between drafts” thing.  It doesn’t address either the bizarre claims made in the paper or the plagiarism.  But at least the authors are going to request a retraction.

Peer review may have failed at the official level, but it’s alive and well in the blogosphere.

The Proteomics Paper Problem 10 Feb 2008

Posted by Jessa in Science.
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A bit of a scandal has been brewing in the scientific blogging community over an ahead-of-print paper in the journal Proteomics. Pharyngula had some serious issues with the peer-review process of this article because it contains an invocation of a “mighty creator” and some weird claim of a body-soul connection in mitochondria.  It appears that this was a case of shoddy work by the paper’s reviewers, who seemingly approved the paper without reading it in depth.

Then it got even more serious.  Some astute commenters on Pharyngula noticed that a significant portion of the paper was plagiarized from other sources.   I hope that the editors of Proteomics responds to these issues quickly and decisively, for the sake of their integrity.

Think You Know What Heaven Is Like? 10 Feb 2008

Posted by Jessa in Religion.
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Think again, according to Anglican Bishop N.T. “Tom” Wright.

Check out Christians Wrong About Heaven, Says Bishop.

There are several important respects in which it’s unsupported by the New Testament. First, the timing. In the Bible we are told that you die, and enter an intermediate state. St. Paul is very clear that Jesus Christ has been raised from the dead already, but that nobody else has yet. Secondly, our physical state. The New Testament says that when Christ does return, the dead will experience a whole new life: not just our soul, but our bodies. And finally, the location. At no point do the resurrection narratives in the four Gospels say, “Jesus has been raised, therefore we are all going to heaven.” It says that Christ is coming here, to join together the heavens and the Earth in an act of new creation.

Huckabee and Evolution 10 Feb 2008

Posted by Jessa in Non-Science, Politics, Religion, Science.
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I just came across this slightly old post from Wired: Evolution Not ‘Just a Theory’, and Yes, Huckabee It Does Matter. It’s an interesting read, and the comments are quite entertaining.