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March 21 2012

23:20

ALEC Climate Change Denial Model Bill Passes in Tennessee

The month of March has seen unprecedented heat and temperatures. A rational thinking, scientifically-grounded individual could only posit, "Well, hmm, I bet climate change has something to do with the fact that in Madison, WI, it is 80 degrees in mid-March. Sometimes it's 60 or 70 degrees colder than this!"

While that individual would be positing something that is the well-accepted scientific consensus, in some states, under law, that is only a "controversial theory among other theories."

Welcome to Tennessee, which on March 19th became the fourth state with a legal mandate to incorporate climate change denial as part of the science education curriculum when discussing climate change.

First it was Louisiana, back in 2009, then Texas in 2009, South Dakota in 2010 and now Tennessee has joined the club, bringing the total to four U.S. states that have mandated climate change denial in K-12 "science" education. 

Many other states could follow in their footsteps as well, given that, as DeSmogBlog exposed in late-January, this is an American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) model bill, a near miror image of its Orwellian-titled "Environmental Literacy Improvement Act."[PDF]

The machinations of ALEC are best explained by the Center for Media and Demoracy's "ALEC Exposed" project.

The ALEC bill passed as H.B. 368 and S.B. 893, with 70-23 and 24-8 roll call votes, respectively. Tennesse Republican Governor Bill Haslam is likely to sign the bill into law soon.

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February 24 2012

15:00

Want to Improve Science Communication? Start with Bad PowerPoint Habits

In the past three months, I’ve spoken on panels at two scientific mega-conferences—the American Geophysical Union’s Fall Meeting in San Francisco, which draws tens of thousands of scientists, and the annual American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) meeting, which this year was held in Vancouver (and pulls in about eight thousand).

As a science communication trainer and advocate, I’ve noticed much at these events that makes me very hopeful. More so than ever before, these conferences are thronged with panels on how to improve science communication, particularly with respect to pressing concerns like climate change. Indeed, a powerful theme at the AAAS meeting, articulated by organization president Nina Federoff, was that science is under attack—an attack that must be countered, including through direct-to-public communication efforts by scientists themselves (of which the excellent communicator Michael Mann provides a great recent example).

Federoff is absolutely right in her message. Science communication is, indeed, vital—and scientific organizations like AAAS and the AGU are driving a very welcome change in scientific culture with their efforts.

But here’s the thing: While these organizations have the best of intentions, there may be inadvertent aspects of what they do that actually undermine their stated goals. In particular, in this piece I’m going to argue we can make science communication better not only by having lots of panels on the matter, but by changing some very simple and basic things about how scientists present their knowledge at conferences like AGU and AAAS.

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June 29 2011

22:47

Group Condemns Harassment of Climate Scientists

"Reports of harassment, death threats, and legal challenges have created a hostile environment that inhibits the free exchange of scientific findings and ideas," the board of a leading scientific society warns.

March 03 2010

15:49

Seymour Simon Teaches Our Children

Seymour Simon is the author of more than 250 highly acclaimed science books (many of which have been named Outstanding Science Trade Books for Children by the National Science Teachers Association), as well as the Einstein Anderson, Science Detective series of fiction books. He is also a creator and the author of a series of [...]
14:07

GLOBAL WARMING

“Simon may have done more than any other living author to help us understand and appreciate the beauty of our planet and our universe.” – Kirkus Reviews GLOBAL WARMING By Seymour Simon Award-winning science writer Seymour Simon teams up with the Smithsonian Institution for GLOBAL WARMING, a full-color photographic introduction to the causes and effects of global warming [...]

March 01 2010

12:21

Climate Change and Coral Reefs: Coral Species Has Developed the ‘Skills’ to Cope With Rising Temperatures

ScienceDailyhttp://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100222094803.htm (Feb. 27, 2010) — Move, adapt or die. Those are the options marine plants and animals have in the face of climate change, said Stanford biologist Steve Palumbi, who has been exploring how to help them go with the first two options, rather than the third. He’s come up with some surprising answers. Palumbi discussed [...]

February 21 2010

16:20

December 11 2009

10:25

Exec. Publisher of Science journal responds to Palin op-ed in Washington Post

Alan Leshner, the CEO of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the executive publisher of the journal Science, responded to Sarah Palin's op-ed in the Washington Post, calling her out for her denial of climate science and her lack of basic understanding of the difference between climate vs. weather. 

In his own op-ed, titled "Don't Let the Climate Doubters Fool You," Leshner says that Palin "distorted the clear scientific evidence" of climate change and "she also badly confused the concepts of daily weather changes and long-term climate trends."

Palin's attempt to use the "Climategate" email theft scandal to promote the cause of climate denialism is thoroughly refuted by Leshner, who summarizes clearly the vast scientific evidence of human-driven climate change.  Read Leshner's op-ed in the Washington Post, it speaks for itself.

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