Tag Archives: science

1 Step Forward, 2 Steps Back?

5 Mar

Image result for drowning the government in a bath

Stephen Bannon, President Trump’s Chief Advisor, recently provided an explanation as to why almost all of the President’s cabinet choices are known mostly for opposing the very Federal agencies they’ve been designated to lead.

Mr. Bannon said, “If you look at these cabinet nominees, they were selected for a reason, and that is deconstruction.”

deconstruction: the analytic examination of something often in order to reveal its inadequacy; dismantling.

So, according to Steve Bannon, President Trump’s right-hand man, The President’s cabinet has a mission. And that is to show how inadequate their departments are and then perhaps help dismantle them….because, after all, do we really need clean air, clean water, fair labor laws, fair housing standards, anti-discrimination laws, financial protections, food and drug safety, national education standards and such?

Will this be the result of 4 years of a Trump Presidency? The dismantling and downsizing of the government as famed Republican strategist, Grover Norquist, has advocated for many years… until it can be :”Drowned in a bathtub”?

It is of course too early to tell and it is hard to know on which ideology President Trump’s ever changing mind will settle, but it does not bode well especially when you consider that the President has already signed an executive order on future and present government regulations.

“If you have a regulation you want, No. 1, we’re not gonna approve it because it’s already been approved probably in 17 different forms,” President Trump said. “But if we do, the only way you have a chance is we have to knock out two regulations for every new regulation. So if there’s a new regulation, they have to knock out two.”

The President’s supporters tend to applaud whenever they here this mantra repeated at rallies and speeches but if you take the time to think about it this new policy on government regulations is either one of 2 things. It is either a short-sighted and silly gimmick that sounds like it could be a good idea, when left unexamined… or it is meant to be quite sinister in nature from the get go…and here’s why.

Mathematically, the end result of this policy will leave one with no regulations at all. For if you have, let’s say, 100 regulations to start with then by creating 100 new ones you will have to eliminate 200…and 200 regulations will be exactly how many you would have after creating the 100 new ones. Any which way you examine it, a 1 step forward 2 step back approach will leave you, not in the same place that you started, but rather a considerable distance backward.

And if you think I’m being silly because you know that the President doesn’t really mean it (like he doesn’t mean most of what he says…literally?) then why did he make it a Presidential Order? Do those mean nothing to him also? He is our President after all…and he made it a Presidential Order! (with his giant signature and everything!) So if you don’t think he meant it to be literally true… then does the POTUS know that?…or doesn’t he?

Should we be listening to his advisors and spokespeople and tweets and executive orders…and believe what we are hearing and seeing?…Or should we be taking them all with a grain of salt?

Once again…we have to wait and see. Will everything simply work itself out in the end and all for the best? Just like in a Hollywood Movie… or Network Reality Show… or Good, Bad Dream?… Or should we prepare to draw America its bath?

Don’t Cry for Me, Scandinavia

22 Feb

Image result for Scandinavia

President Trump likes to get most of his information and news from TV…you know, just like the average American does. Even though he says that the news media is the “enemy of the people” (That would be us) he still likes to watch Fox and Friends, CNN, NBC news, ABC, CBS, Saturday Night Live and then stay up late to tweet about all of it…to other people like him… who like to watch TV also.

He says that Fox and Friends is the only “Honorable” news program out there and that the rest are crap! and not just any old crap but the lying, deceitful, dishonest, scummy kind of crap. Between all of the TV he watches during the day and night, and the time it must take to apply his “tan” each day, I often wonder how he finds time to do other things like….be President of the United States!

Anyway, at a pep rally this weekend (why does a POTUS need to throw pep rallies? I haven’t been to one since high school… How about you?) President Trump  falsely suggested that there was an immigration-related security incident in Sweden and that Sweden was having serious problems with immigrants… Can you imagine that? Sweden? (his words, not mine) The President later said that his comment was based on a television report he had seen…on Fox News… about how dangerous life has become in Sweden!

Of course wouldn’t you know…This was news to Sweden… and they called the U.S. State Department for an explanation…who of course…didn’t have one! So a little bit later a White House spokeswoman told reporters that President Trump had been referring generally to rising crime in Sweden, not a specific incident in the Scandinavian country.

But official statistics show that Sweden’s crime rate has fallen since 2005!… even though it has taken in hundreds of thousands of immigrants from war-torn countries like Syria and Iraq…So the Swedish foreign minister decided to post on Twitter an excerpt of a speech in which she said democracy and diplomacy “require us to respect science, facts and the media.”

I guess in Scandinavia they don’t watch a lot of Fox news or Fox and Friends on their Swedish TV sets…but here in the United States watching television is how our President learns about reality and as a former Reality TV star he knows that Fox broadcasts facts and not the fake news that all of the other networks manufacture. And we know he knows this because he is like, smart. (his words not mine)

But seriously, wouldn’t you think that as the President of the United States you could get your facts from the people who work for you and not have to rely on watching TV at all? You have access to the Cabinet and the Congress and the Pentagon and 17 Intelligence Agencies and Secretaries General and even Modern Major Generals! Heck, you have a direct hot-line to all of the leaders of the world, not to mention Alexa, Siri and Google!

You are the 45th freaking President of The United States! Why, in the name of all that is holy, are you gleaning information about the world from a TV show called Fox and Friends and then regurgitating UN-verified and possibly “alternative facts” to a crowd of admirers at a pep rally that you’ve had staged for your own aggrandizement?!

WHEN YOU ARE ALREADY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES!!!!!!!

DON’T YOU HAVE ANYTHING BETTER TO DO????????

You’d like, think…like, wouldn’t you?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Do We Do What We Do?

11 Feb

Image result for movie violence

Here’s something interesting: According to new Pediatrics research PG-13 movies feature 23% more gun violence than do R rated movies.

According to the Motion Picture Association of America’s film rating system:
PG-13 – Parents Strongly Cautioned
Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. Parents are urged to be cautious. Some material may be inappropriate for pre-teenagers.
R – Restricted
Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian. Contains some adult material. Parents are urged to learn more about the film before taking their young children with them.

So in order to compensate for less “adult material” we add more gun violence to our movies? Is this so we can make them equally entertaining?

ergo: movies +sex+violence+adults = movies -sex-adults +1/4more gun violence?

It’s just curious that we live in a society where guns are revered and violence is accepted as a natural bi-product of that reverence, yet the viewing of sexual activity is still considered damaging to the youthful brain and not something to talk about or a natural bi-product of life at all.

And here we are worrying about the extreme vetting of foreigners who want to enter our country not because we are worried about them having sex with us but because we fear they might do violence to us.

Yet, we will not extremely vet our own citizens who want to purchase guns, even though they are the ones most likely to do violence to us and each other over 32,000 times each year…which is just about 32,000 times more than foreigners will or actually do.

Something to think about the next time you’re watching a movie, having sex or shooting someone?

Just When You Thought We Couldn’t Get Any Dumber…or…Don’t Worry, Be Happy!

21 Nov

In just one year, the percentage of Americans who don’t believe in climate change has actually gone up 7%! Now almost 1 in 4 Americans thinks that climate change is just a big hoax… even though over 97% of all scientists who have written about global warming and its causes agree that its human caused.  And The other 3% don’t deny it, they simply haven’t stated their position as to its cause one way or the other.

So 23% of Americans (laymen) still don’t believe in climate change despite what facts and statements scientists (the experts) show and tell them… But if you’ve ever been a teacher you know that this is nothing new and why testing is a big waste of time. If all of these scientists, who completely agree on the facts, were teachers in today’s public schools, they would be facing pay cuts and possible unemployment because their students (in this case 23% of the public) just don’t listen to them and/or believe in what they have to say…no matter how hard they try…and as a result wouldn’t be able to pass a test on the facts…leaving a passing rate of 77% …or in public school terminology…total failure!

So do we need better trained scientists? Higher science standards? Free market Charter science academies? More rigor in our de ri·gueur?… In order to get more people to learn and accept the truth? Research (the polls) have shown that if you’re one of the 23% who does not believe in global warming then you’re not very likely to change your mind no matter what evidence you are confronted with, or how many times you are polled…It still gets cold in the winter and hot in the summer and that’s about all of the science and data on climate change you need to know.

Hey teachers! Does this ring any bells?

A 2012 poll from the Pew Research Center found that even though 97% of all scientists agree that humans are causing the spike in global warming, less than half of all Americans thought scientists agreed so completely. And why do So many Americans think that the scientists are still split about what’s causing all of this warming?

Well, The media has assisted in this public misconception, because most of their climate stories are always “balanced” with a “skeptic” perspective making those few scientists who might be in disagreement seem like half! So by trying to balance their stories by showing both sides of the debate (even though there is really only one side and no debate at all) the media has actually created a completely unbalanced perception of reality. As a result, people believe scientists are still split about what’s causing global warming.

So why can’t people learn? Duh…it’s the television! That damn stupid TV!

But then again, any teacher (let alone scientist) could have told you that!

Moral of the story? Take a day when you can and just Call in sick and go to the beach, cause this old world is still gonna blow a gasket…whether you or those other 23% believe in the facts or not…(which of course you won’t)

And that’s the fact Jack!

The Water’s Great but Watch Out for the Soap!

23 May

File:Ivoryso2.jpg

Here is a new word of the day: Triclosan

It’s a chemical and antibacterial agent that is found in soaps, toothpastes, cosmetics, deodorants, and many other products. Apparently it is so common that it’s difficult to avoid. One study found triclosan in the bodies of 75 percent of people tested.  

That’s a lot of people…and triclosan!
 
And now, of course, and as you might have guessed, many experts are saying that it doesn’t just kill bacteria but it is also known for altering hormones, interfering with muscle function, causing allergies, and spawning resistant germs…But product manufacturers, of course and as you also might have guessed, say that triclosan is safe in humans…so?…Who to believe?
 
Well a little investigative, computer research found that… Triclosan does penetrate the skin on contact and enters the bloodstream… A 2010 study found that children who had higher exposure to triclosan had a higher incidence of hay fever. Triclosan is toxic to aquatic bacteria at levels found in the environment. Triclosan inhibits phoysynthesis in diatom algae, which are responsible for a large part of the photosynthesis on Earth!…and several studies have found that Triclosan has estrogen effects on the body and has been linked to breast cancer in women, prostate cancer in men, and a whole host of other health problems.
 
And finally Triclosan also has been employed as an effective selective agent in molecular cloning!
I don’t know about you but when an ingredient used in a common household product can also be the subject of a science fiction novel, I say let’s stop using it.
 
But here’s the real kicker…although Triclosan is used in three-quarters of antibacterial liquid soaps and body washes…according to the Food and Drug Administration….plain soap is just as effective as triclosan-containing antibacterial washes in removing bacteria from hands and preventing illness! So in other words…IT DOESN’T EVEN WORK!
I’ve never understood why companies have to add all sorts of chemicals to products that otherwise would work just fine especially when the added chemicals are dangerous and ineffective. If you want to fool me into thinking that your product is new and improved just tell me that, or make up a name for the special additive that you really aren’t adding and don’t add it! How would I know? I just want to wash my hands!
 
When I was younger, whenever I would see an Ivory soap commercial that would claim that Ivory soap was 99 and 44/100% pure, I would always wonder…pure what? Pure Ivory? So I looked it up and Ivory soap contained: sodium tallowate, sodium cocoate, sodium palm kernelate, water, sodium chloride, sodium sillicate, magnesium sulfate and fragrance….So I guess it’s pure sodium? With fragrance of course so it doesn’t smell like crap…but at least it doesn’t have Triclosan!
 
Because apparently that stuff will make you…sickeningly… clean.
 
So far it has been banned in Minnesota but if you don’t live there you can
  • Stay away from products labeled “antibacterial,” “antimicrobial,” or “germ killing.
  • Use nontoxic soap for hand-washing and bathing (what a concept!)
  • Avoid “antibacterial” or “antimicrobial” household items such as cutting boards, towels, shoes, clothing, and bedding because those products are often impregnated with triclosan.

Good luck! And may the faucet be with us!

 

Here’s Looking at You…Kid

6 Mar

Here is a new word for your dictionary!

De-extinction.

Scientists are now working hard on ways to bring extinct animals back to life… like the Wooly Mammoth, Saber Tooth Tiger, Giant Auk and for some reason, the Passenger Pigeon! Why you ask? The main answers seem to be those good old scientific mainstays: “Why not?” and “Because we’d like to see if we can do it!”

But what I’m thinking is that you know there must be a billionaire or two out there who are thinking about their own soon to be and eminent extinctions and the possibility of resurrecting themselves some day. I mean, who needs a Wooly mammoth when they can have another…me! You just know that Donald Trump has to be thinking along these lines…

Anyway, just imagine a not so distant future when all of this de-extinction technology becomes routine and saving your DNA becomes an iPhone app and everybody’s doing it. And then imagine that your will contains the stipulation that if your ancestors want to inherit your stuff (money) then they must agree to give birth to…you!

Or what about a future when you and your wife, when deciding it’s time to have children, can decide to have… yous!

Oh boy! You just know that this technology is going to create havoc someday with either the unexpected return of giant Wooly Mammoth stampedes or with eccentric billionaires suddenly replicating like flocks of Passenger Pigeons! (I’m pretty sure us little people will most likely be denied this technology either through expense or “for our own good”, reasons)

And don’t be surprised if this technology first appears in humans somewhere within the sports world, where almost all scientific breakthroughs that could lead to more homeruns or larger offensive linemen, do. They say that A-Rod is keeping a low profile over the next year while he sits out his MLB suspension before returning to the Yankees in 2015.

If he shows up with 3 younger brothers who look just like him who can play 1st, 2nd and short, then I’d say that somewhere George Steinbrenner, is alive and well and having lunch with Donald Trump(s) in a sky box in centerfield.

And Thanks to new words like de-extinction, it could happen…someday?

Galileo Gali…fianakis?

18 Feb

1.Does the Earth go around the Sun, or the Sun go around the Earth; and how long does this journey take?

2.Did Zack Galifianakis appear in the movie The Hangover; and did he appear in a sequel to that movie?

Odds are that if these questions were asked as part of a national survey, question #2 would receive more correct responses than question #1, because in a recent survey conducted by the National Science Foundation only 73% of those surveyed knew that the Earth revolves around the sun…and of those only 71% also knew that it takes 1 year for the Earth to complete said journey.

Wow! And why do we suppose that is?

Is it because only 74% of America’s science teachers in America’s public schools have ever mentioned or illustrated this amazing fact to America’s students?

Is it because only 74% of America’s parents have ever had “that talk” with their children about where the sun goes at night?

Is it because we are a Christian country and as such only 74 of us will ever believe in both god and science?

There must be an answer because the National Science Foundation has been conducting this survey with these exact same questions every two years over the past 20 years as part of a report that the National Science Board presents to the President and Congress and guess what?…According to their own report, “Generally speaking, the percentages have had little variation over the past twenty years.”

So 20 years ago one quarter of those surveyed did not know that the Earth revolves around the sun…and 20 years later one quarter of the U.S. population still doesn’t know this simple and basic fact…nor have any of the other questions received any significant increase in the number of correct responses.

What gives? 25% of Americans just can’t learn? Ever? Or is there something uniquely American when it comes to taking tests? I taught high school students for 33 years and every year I would meet children who could recite countless hip-hop songs from memory yet couldn’t remember 2 words on a vocabulary test. I had students who could surf their way through the internet on the newest computers with the greatest of ease but could not master the basics of Algebra I, even after 4 years in Freshman level Algebra! There were classes filled with young adults who could program and operate through their complicated cell phone menus and send and receive text messages using just their thumbs on a keypad smaller than Thumbelina’s purse and yet they could not write a coherent introductory paragraph for an essay question while using a pen and notebook, no matter how hard they tried…

And no matter how many standardized tests we gave them…and no matter how important we told them these tests were…and no matter how many times we revised the curriculum…and no matter how many times we developed new and improved learning strategies…and no matter how many times we replaced the Superintendent and Principal or revamped the teaching staff or asked the parents to please get involved or threatened the students with failure and the withholding of diplomas…or declared nationally that we would “Leave No Child Behind”…their test scores little improved.

I’m willing to bet that just about every American knows that the Earth goes around the sun. It’s just that a certain percentage of us just don’t see the importance of remembering that fact or in paying attention to someone who wants to ask us such a stupid question to see if we know it. Does the Earth or Sun care? They’re still going to be doing their thing whether I answer that question correctly or not, right? And don’t you have something better to do than ask me that?

We’re Americans after all…and we’re busy! We’re a nation of seriously professional consumers who have been trained literally from birth to buy and sell and entertain and be entertained and consume and waste and innovate and reinvent and get bored if all of that takes too long.

The question and answer test, especially in pencil. paper and booklet form, is just no longer relevant to the 21st century world and I believe that we 20th century minded educators are the ones who have to get out of the way and stop worrying about numbers on tests as the only way to discern and/or prove whether or not learning is taking place.

Here’s the National Science Foundation’s test. Take it and see how well you score. Then ask yourself how many times these answers were given to you over the course of your lifetime by your teachers and parents and how many times these topics were probably covered during your schooling or lifetime… And then ask yourself if how well you did or did not just score on this test has any bearing or relevance to your present life or living conditions, even if it once did. When you’re playing on your X-Box do you really need to still be tested on your Atari skills? If you score better than a 7 on the following test then…you’re not average…and maybe even not American?

Physical Science

  1. True or False: The center of the Earth is very hot.
  2. True or False: The continents on which we live have been moving their locations for millions of years and will continue to move in the future.
  3. Does the Earth go around the Sun, or the Sun go around the Earth; and how long does this journey take?
  4. True or False: All radioactivity is man-made.
  5. True or False: Electrons are smaller than atoms.
  6. True or False: Lasers work by focusing sound waves.
  7. True or False: The universe began with a huge explosion.

Biological Science

  1. True or False: It is the father’s gene that decides whether the baby is a boy or a girl.
  2. True or False: Antibiotics kill viruses as well as bacteria.
  3. True or False: Human beings, as we know them today, developed from earlier species of animals.
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