Competitive Enterprise Institute Distorting Science

I don’t normally write much about global warming, but since this is kind of close to home I thought I’d mention it.
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch a university of Missouri – Columbia professor is crying foul over the way the Competitive Enterprise Institute is using his research in their ad campaign.

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More Interesting Science News

Via Bootstrap Analysis comes a link to an interesting paper in Plos Biology Scientific Illiteracy and the Partisan Takeover of Biology:
[I have fixed the above links – afarensis]

The era of nonpartisan science is gone, says Miller, who urges scientists and science educators to learn the rules of this new game and get behind moderate Republicans as well as Democrats to protect the practice and teaching of sound science. Given the partisan attack on evolution and stem-cell research, he thinks scientists need to learn more about how the political process works. They need to be willing to run for the school board, write $500 or even $5,000 checks to support moderate candidates, and defeat Christian right-wing candidates. “Scientists need to become involved in partisan politics and to oppose candidates who reject evolution or attack scientific research,” he says. “It takes time, money, and paying attention to the issues.”

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Funding for Anthropological Research in Danger

Added Later: Duane over at Abnormal Interests has an interesting discussion of the bill…
Via Kambiz at Anthropology.Net comes news of impending cuts that would strip money for behavioral research from the NSF budget.
The American Anthropological Association has this to say about it:

OPPOSE the Hutchison amendment to S. 2802 (the “American Innovation and Competitiveness Act of 2006”) which excludes the behavioral and social sciences from consideration in the awarding of NSF research grants, and undercuts their role in advancing national innovation and competitiveness.
SUPPORT the amendment to S. 2802 sponsored by Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) which would eliminate the section of S. 2802 that prescribes research priorities to the NSF.

Question From the Corporate Masters

The powers that be at Seed would like to know:

“If you could shake the public and make them understand one scientific idea, what would it be?”

John at Stranger Fruit stole my answer so I will have to come up with another…although I am going to reprint his Darwin quote as a lead in to my response:

“There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved” (Charles Darwin, 1859)

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Does this Mean Apes Are Racists?

By now you have seen Ed’s post Individualism = Racism?. Here are the characteristics used to define “cultural racism”:

Those aspects of society that overtly and covertly attribute value and normality to white people and Whiteness, and devalue, stereotype, and label people of color as “other”, different, less than, or render them invisible. Examples of these norms include defining white skin tones as nude or flesh colored, having a future time orientation, emphasizing individualism as opposed to a more collective ideology, defining one form of English as standard, and identifying only Whites as great writers or composers.

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Homo floresiensis: More on Microcephaly

According to New Scientist a new study will be published in Science indicating that Homo floresiensis was a microcephalic member of a dwarved population (splitting the difference I guess). The study modelled dwarfism in a range of mammals:

“As they dwarf, species’ brain sizes decline far more slowly than body size,” says Ann MacLarnon from Roehampton University, UK, who modelled dwarfing in a range of mammals from dogs to elephants with a team from the Field Museum, Chicago, US. “Brain size is key to a mammal species’ identity,” she says. There is, for example, hardly any difference in brain size between the smallest modern humans, the 1.4-metre Bambuti people of Congo’s Ituri Forest, and the tallest, the 2-metre Masai of east Africa.
The team calculated that a dwarfed H. erectus with a 400cc brain would weigh just 2 kilograms. “That’s one-tenth of what the Flores people must have weighed,” she explains. The only way to explain the discrepancy, the team believes, is microcephaly.

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What’s Your Favorite Primate: Aye-Ayes!

Because one can never see too many pictures of Aye-Ayes (my favorite primates – followed by ring tailed lemurs and tarsiers).

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When Did Humans Start Wearing Shoes: Two From the Archives

This is actually a combination of two posts I wrote on the same subject…
According to Eric Trinkaus we started wearing shoes approximately 30,000 years BP.
Feet%201.jpg(A 26,000 year-old early modern human, Dolni Vestonice 16 from the Czech Republic, showing the reduced strength of the bones of the lesser toes. It is one of three partial foot skeletons from Dolni Vestonice that shows the reduced lesser toe strength, all dating to about 26,000 years ago.[Photo Credit: Erik Trinkaus / Czech Academy of Sciences])

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More on the Black Jack Story

Since Ed wrote Those Good Ol’ Family Values, a previous post I wrote on the subject has started receiving some comments, so I though I would provide this update. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch the family that has been denied an occupancy permit by the City Council of Black Jack, MO.

The council voted 5-3 against a recommendation made last month by the planning and zoning commission that would have allowed “two unrelated individuals having a child or children related by blood, adoption or foster care relationship to both such individuals” to live in a single-family dwelling together.

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A New Post at Transitions

My good blog buddy (and frequent provider of journal articles) Aydin, over at Snail’s Tales has written an insightful post on Learn the controversy: sympatric versus allopatric speciation for Transitions: The Evolution of Life. Check it out and be sure to visit Snail’s Tales and thank Aydin…