Archive for the ‘science’ Category

Obama’s mythical mystique of government and science and their inherent moral benevolence

March 13, 2009

Presiden Obama is now on track to federalize schools, health care, some aspects of the media, science and just about every aspect of your American life.

Alarmist?

Maybe.  You judge for yourself.

The point is: some people do not believe that federal government rules for our schools will lead to better education across the board.

Some people do not believe that government control of health care will really mean better “care.”

Some people do not believe it is time to tax coal and gas and oil companies while we harvest the wind….There might still be too much hot air in the energy/climate change discussion….

Some people no longer beliive our national intelligence system: they said there were weapons of mass destruction is Iraq, they missed the fall of the Soviet Union, they now say what about Iran and nukes and the president wanted an anti-Isreal and pro-China guy named Freeman for a key intelligence job. Politicized?  Maybe.

Some people do believe that the spending, taxing and socialist trends we are now seeing will lead to a bankrupt America with the social life the Netherlands or Sweden.

And some people suspect that when the White House Chief of Staff engineers an assault on a private American citizen speaking his mind (Rush Limbaugh) and some folks talk about  ……  free speech will be curtailed before long.

I no longer believe in the benevolence of government.  And I surely suspect trouble in the promised benevolence of science, government and stem cell research….

And I just don’t believe in the promises of Barack Obama: the post-partisan, post-racial hope-filled future was a lie….

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By Charles Krauthammer
The Washington Post
March 13, 2009

Last week, the White House invited me to a signing ceremony overturning the Bush (43) executive order on stem cell research. I assume this was because I have long argued in these columns and during my five years on the President’s Council on Bioethics that, contrary to the Bush policy, federal funding should be extended to research on embryonic stem cell lines derived from discarded embryos in fertility clinics.

I declined to attend. Once you show your face at these things you become a tacit endorser of whatever they spring. My caution was vindicated.

Preident Bush had restricted federal funding for embryonic stem cell research to cells derived from embryos that had already been destroyed (as of his speech of Aug. 9, 2001). While I favor moving that moral line to additionally permit the use of spare fertility clinic embryos, President Obama replaced it with no line at all. He pointedly left open the creation of cloned — and noncloned sperm-and-egg-derived — human embryos solely for the purpose of dismemberment and use for parts.
I am not religious. I do not believe that personhood is conferred upon conception. But I also do not believe that a human embryo is the moral equivalent of a hangnail and deserves no more respect than an appendix. Moreover, given the protean power of embryonic manipulation, the temptation it presents to science and the well-recorded human propensity for evil even in the pursuit of good, lines must be drawn. I suggested the bright line prohibiting the deliberate creation of human embryos solely for the instrumental purpose of research — a clear violation of the categorical imperative not to make a human life (even if only a potential human life) a means rather than an end.

On this, Obama has nothing to say. He leaves it entirely to the scientists. This is more than moral abdication. It is acquiescence to the mystique of “science” and its inherent moral benevolence. How anyone as sophisticated as Obama can believe this within living memory of Mengele and Tuskegee and the fake (and coercive) South Korean stem cell research is hard to fathom.

That part of the ceremony, watched from the safe distance of my office, made me uneasy. The other part — the ostentatious issuance of a memorandum on “restoring scientific integrity to government decision-making” — would have made me walk out.

Restoring? The implication, of course, is that while Obama is guided solely by science, Bush was driven by dogma, ideology and politics.

What an outrage. Bush’s nationally televised stem cell speech was the most morally serious address on medical ethics ever given by an American president. It was so scrupulous in presenting the best case for both his view and the contrary view that until the last few …

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dy
n/content/article/2009/03/12/AR20
09031202764.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

http://michellemalkin.com/2009/03
/12/laughingstock-president-doom-
does-a-180-cancels-fear-mongering/

Obama’s Hope, Post-Partisan, Post-Racial Promises Were All BS

Never Wrong? U.S. Intelligence Says Iran Does Not Nave Any Highly Enriched Uranium
.
http://johnbrodigan.com/2009/03/12/epi
sode-v-the-republicans-strike-back/

Republicans: If You Can’t Agree On Core Values Now, Commit Harakiri

Stem Cells, Obama, Science, Morality, Taxes, Responsibility

March 9, 2009

One of our regulary readers commented on another site: “Yes, please. Let’s allow scientists to determine what is right and moral; they have such a lack of bias and experience in knowing right from wrong.  I’m sure Dr. Mengele would approve wholeheartedly of such a course of action.”

Well, we aren’t much suprised at the irony of American life: a nation that has food banks for underfed dogs and cats has chosen a course of politial action called “choice,” which is really a birth control measure for those too lazy to use prevention measures wnich results in, many say, human death.

We are in the age of f**k you!

So now we are going to use the human death of some future genertion to keep alive (if the science eventually works) older people suffering from Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and other fatal illnesses.

Maybe.

And the president who hosted a “Fiscal Responsibility Summit” sees no lack of responsibility in abortion and the use of hman tissue for “research.”

Ironic.

Well, the unborn are overtaxed already under the Obama spending, borrowing and debt plan so who cares if the unborn live to pay their tax bill?

We’ll be gone.

Seems America has joined others in the world of the totally selfish….Fiscal responsibility is now the mantra: yet we are burdening our children with debt (if they survive their embrionic stage).

Ironic.

I am sure the Vatican will weigh in on this latest American retreat from morality and that most of the mainstream media will blow off the Pope by saying he supports sexual abuse of children….

Charles Krauthammer siad, “The President hasn’t thought about  this enough.”

Related:

http://eideard.wordpress.com/2009/03/09/obam
a-to-let-health-institute-decide-day-to-day-policy-
on-stem-cells/

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By Rachel Zoll, Ap Religion Writer

A wide-ranging study on American religious life found that the Roman Catholic population has been shifting out o of the Northeast to the Southwest, the percentage of Christians in the nation has declined and more people say they have no religion at all.

Fifteen percent of respondents said they had no religion, an increase from 14.2 percent in 2001 and 8.2 percent in 1990, according to the American Religious Identification Survey.

Northern New England surpassed the Pacific Northwest as the least religious region, with Vermont reporting the highest share of those claiming no religion, at 34 percent. Still, the study found that the numbers of Americans with no religion rose in every state.

“No other religious bloc has kept such a pace in every state,” the study’s authors said.

In the Northeast, self-identified Catholics made up 36 percent of adults last year, down from 43 percent in 1990. At the same time, however, Catholics grew to about one-third of the adult population in California and Texas, and one-quarter of Floridians, largely due to Latino immigration, according to the research.

Nationally, Catholics remain the largest religious group, with 57 million people saying they belong to the church. The tradition gained 11 million followers since 1990, but its share of the population fell by about a percentage point to 25 percent.

Christians who aren’t Catholic also are a declining segment of the country.

In 2008, Christians comprised 76 percent of U.S. adults, compared to about 77 percent in 2001 and about 86 percent in 1990. Researchers said the dwindling ranks of mainline Protestants, including Methodists, Lutherans and Episcopalians, largely explains the shift. Over the last seven years, mainline Protestants dropped from just over 17 percent to 12.9 percent of the population.

The report from The Program on Public Values at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., surveyed 54,461 adults in English or Spanish from February through November of last year. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 0.5 percentage points. The findings are part of a series of studies on American religion by the program that will later look more closely at reasons behind the trends.

The current survey, being released Monday, found traditional organized religion playing less of a role in many lives. Thirty percent of married couples did not have a religious wedding ceremony and 27 percent of respondents said they did not want a religious funeral.

About 12 percent of Americans believe in a higher power but not the personal God at the core of monotheistic faiths. And, since 1990, a slightly greater share of respondents — 1.2 percent — said they were part of new religious movements, including Scientology, Wicca and Santeria.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090309/
ap_on_re/rel_religious_america

File:Petersdom von Engelsburg gesehen.jpg

Michelle:
http://michellemalkin.com/2009/03/09/anot
her-unhinged-democrat-to-taxpayer-get-the-fk
-out-of-my-office/

Related:
http://nobamablog.wordpress.com/2009/03
/09/obamas-political-munchausen-by-prox
y-syndrome/

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By Philip Pullella

 

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – President Barack Obama‘s lifting of restrictions on federal funding for human embryonic stem cell research puts him at odds with Pope Benedict and the American Roman Catholic Church.

 

After Obama signed the order on Monday, the Vatican and U.S. and Italian Church leaders condemned the move. One commentator said the test of “a real democracy” was its defense of the most defenseless.

 

Obama’s executive order reversed and repudiated restrictions placed on the research by his predecessor, George W. Bush, freeing labs across the country to start working with the cells, which can give rise to any kind of cell in the body.

 

Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ committee on pro-life activities, called Obama’s decision “a sad victory of politics over science and ethics.”

 

“This action is morally wrong because it encourages the destruction of innocent human life, treating vulnerable human beings as mere products to be harvested,” he added.

 

The Catholic Church, other religious groups and pro-life advocates oppose stem cell research — which scientists hope can lead to cures for diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s — because it involves the destruction of embryos.

 

The Catholic Church supports adult stem….

Read the rest:
http://www.reuters.com/article/vcCa
ndidateFeed2/idUSTRE52933620090310

China: Schools, High Tech, Stimulus “A matter of survival”

January 11, 2009

Amena Schlaijker makes her students cluck like chickens, mimic a toothbrush, jump up and down or pretend to die an agonizing death.

The aim is to make budding business leaders think outside the box.

It may sound extreme, but this is China, where students have grown up on rote learning and the ruling Communist Party has long discouraged creative thinking lest it lead to challenging authority.

“You can tell them to think outside of the box, but some employees don’t even have the concept of a box to begin with,” said Roy Magee, an Australian whose training company, AchieveGlobal, has operated in China since 1997. “We just have to go in and start from scratch.”

By Chi-Chi Zhang
Associated Press Writer

It comes as the government works on the economy’s next leap forward – to transform the nation’s industry from “Made in China” to “Invented in China.” Addressing parliament last year, President Hu Jintao spoke of making China a nation of innovators. At the same time, China is recognizing that as wages and land prices rise, it is no longer a cheap place to manufacture other countries’ products, and needs to invent its own to remain globally competitive.

While the state is spending billions of dollars on technology parks, research grants and art programs, the drive for creativity has spawned a market for classes run by foreign trainers like Schlaijker and Magee.

“It’s a matter of survival,” said Schlaijker, a Chinese-speaking American who works in Shanghai for ?What If!, a British marketing and employee-development consultancy.

Read the rest:
http://www.charlotteobserver.com/world/story/466232.html

Economic Stimulus? Math, Science, Schools Must Create High Tech Jobs, Not More Shovel Jobs

January 11, 2009

Over the next couple of years, two very big countries, America and China, will give birth to something very important. They’re each going to give birth to close to $1 trillion worth of economic stimulus — in the form of tax cuts, infrastructure, highways, mass transit and new energy systems. But a lot is riding on these two babies. If China and America each give birth to a pig — a big, energy-devouring, climate-spoiling stimulus hog — our kids are done for. It will be the burden of their lifetimes. If they each give birth to a gazelle — a lean, energy-efficient and innovation-friendly stimulus — it will be the opportunity of their lifetimes.

By Tom Friedman
The New York Times
January 11, 2009
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So here’s hoping that our new administration and Congress will be guided in shaping the stimulus by reading John Maynard Keynes in one hand — to get as much money injected as quickly as possible — and by reading “Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future” with the other.

“Gathering Storm” was the outstanding 2005 report produced by our National Academies on how to keep America competitive by vastly improving math and science education, investing in long-term research, recruiting top students from abroad and making U.S. laws the most conducive in the world for innovation.

You see, even before the current financial crisis, we were already in a deep competitive hole — a long period in which too many people were making money from money, or money from flipping houses or hamburgers, and too few people were making money by making new stuff, with hard-earned science, math, biology and engineering skills.

The financial crisis just made the hole deeper, which is why our stimulus needs to be both big and smart, both financially and educationally stimulating. It needs to be able to produce not only more shovel-ready jobs and shovel-ready workers, but more Google-ready jobs and Windows-ready and knowledge-ready workers.

Related:
“America becoming the nation of the unemployed” — Schools to Blame?
.
U.S. Students Failing International Science Measures
.
Bill Cosby: We Need To Educate; Do the Math

Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/11/
opinion/11friedman.html?_r=1

“America becoming the nation of the unemployed” — Schools to Blame?

January 8, 2009

Without a long-term plan for investment in science and technology that stresses innovation and jobs, America will be the nation of the unemployed,  Norman Augustine, retired Chairman of Lockheed Martin told Congressional leaders Wednesday, January 7, 2009.

He said that government spending often only yields short-term jobs and when the global economy is jump started “those new long-term jobs won’t be here.”

“We need a companion effort to these [short-term job] proposals that addresses long-term job creation,” said Augustine. “What replaces them when the jobs run out? Investments in science and technology are likely to underpin any advancement in our country, helping to solve the energy problem, and creating new jobs.”

Augustine said the needed structural reforms could come from a complete overhaul of our schools and a renewal of science and technology in the classroom.

“This is not a short term economic ill we are facing.”

He said that almost 90% of American science teachers lack a degree in a science study area….

Mr. Augutine appeared before the  House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee, Chaired by Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Augustine often tells Congress what members don’t care to hear.  We recall him saying once, “By the time of the United States tricentennial, there will be more government workers than workers.”

We used the word Cappuccino in the headline just to get your attention and to make the point that often American schools spend their resources on all the wrong things.  Schools need to be geared toward excellence without further catering to the slowest students.  This is a national and not a local issue anywhere in our opinion: and Mr. Augustine told Congress that yesterday…

Anter yesterday’s hearing, House Republican leader John Boehner of Ohio said, “We cannot borrow and spend our way back to prosperity when we’re already running an annual deficit of more than one trillion dollars.  I was pleased to hear the president-elect say yesterday that we need to stop just talking about our national debt and actively confront it.”

John E. Carey
Wakefield Chapel, Virginia

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Related:
http://money.cnn.com/2009/01/07/news/economy/steerin
g_committee_forum/index.htm?postversion=2009010712

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Related:
 America’s Future? Grim Reality Unless Major Changes Are Adopted
.
U.S. Students Failing International Science Measures

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School Lacks Toilet Paper, Light Bulbs

A Detroit elementary school is asking for donations of toilet paper and light bulbs to keep their school functioning.

The principal of the Academy of Americas sent a letter to staff, parents and partners asking for donations of items “that are of the utmost importance for proper school functioning and most importantly for student health and safety.”

In the letter, Principal Naomi Khalil cited budget constraints within the district as the reason why the school could no longer stock the items.

The district is grappling with a more than $400 million budget deficit and is on the verge of being assigned an emergency financial manager by the state.

Read the rest:
http://www.clickondetroit.com/new
s/18430596/detail.html

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School System Spent $67,000 On Cappuccino Machines

Chicago Sun-Times

Chicago public school bureaucrats skirted competitive bidding rules to buy 30 cappuccino/espresso machines for $67,000, with most of the machines going unused because the schools they were ordered for had not asked for them, according to a report by the CPS Office of Inspector General.

That was just one example of questionable CPS actions detailed in the inspector general’s 2008 annual report. Others included high school staffers changing grades to pump up transcripts of student athletes and workers at a restricted-enrollment grade school falsifying addresses to get relatives admitted.

In the case of the cappuccino machines, central office administrators split the order among 21 vocational schools to avoid competitive bidding required for purchases over $10,000. As a result CPS paid about $12,000 too much, according to Inspector General James Sullivan. “We were able to find the same machines cheaper online,” he said.

“We also look at it as a waste of money because the schools didn’t even know they were getting the equipment, schools didn’t know how to use the machines and weren’t prepared to implement them into the curriculum,” Sullivan said.

CPS spokesman Michael Vaughn said CPS plans to change its purchasing policy so that competitive bidding kicks in when a vendor accumulates $10,000 worth of orders, no matter how many schools are involved. One person was fired and disciplinary action is pending against three others, he said.

Read the rest:
http://www.suntimes.com/news/education/
1365268,CST-NWS-inspect07.article

Rich, Famous Lead World’s Scientific Illiteracy

December 27, 2008

Barack Obama, Kate Moss, Oprah Winfrey and Demi Moore all take hits….

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When it comes to science, Barack Obama is no better than many of us. Today he joins the list of shame of those in public life who made scientifically unsupportable statements in 2008.

Closer to home, Nigella Lawson and Delia Smith faltered on the science of food, while Kate Moss, Oprah Winfrey and Demi Moore all get roastings for scientific illiteracy.

By Steve Connor, Science editor
The Independent, London


Oprah

The Celebrities and Science Review 2008, prepared by the group Sense About Science, identifies some of the worst examples of scientific illiteracy among those who profess to know better – including top politicians.

Mr Obama and John McCain blundered into the MMR vaccine row during their presidential campaigns. “We’ve seen just a skyrocketing autism rate,” said President-elect Obama. “Some people are suspicious that it’s connected to the vaccines. This person included. The science right now is inconclusive, but we have to research it,” he said.

His words were echoed by Mr McCain. “It’s indisputable that [autism] is on the rise among children, the question is what’s causing it,” he said. “There’s strong evidence that indicates it’s got to do with a preservative in the vaccines.”

Exhaustive research has failed to substantiate any link to vaccines or any preservatives. The rise in autism is thought to be due to an increased awareness of the condition.

Sarah Palin, Mr McCain’s running mate, waded into the mire with her dismissal of some government research projects. “Sometimes these dollars go to projects that have little or nothing to do with the public good. Things like fruit fly research in Paris, France. I kid you not,” Ms Palin said. But the geneticist Ellen Solomon takes Ms Palin to task for not understanding the importance of studies into fruit flies, which share roughly half their genes with humans. “They have been used for more than a century to understand how genes work, which has implications in, for example, understanding the ageing process,” she said.

Hollywood did not escape the critical analysis of the scientific reviewers, who lambasted Tom Cruise, for his comments on psychiatry being a crime against humanity, and Julianne Moore, who warned against using products full of unnatural chemicals.

“The real crime against humanity continues to be the enduring misery caused by the major mental illnesses across the globe, and the continuing lack of resources devoted to supporting those afflicted,” said the psychiatrist Professor Simon Wessely.

In answer to Moore, the science author and chemist John Emsley said that natural chemicals are not automatically safer than man-made chemicals, which undergo rigorous testing.

“Something which is naturally sourced may well include a mixture of things that are capable of causing an adverse reaction,” Dr Emsley said.

Other mentions went to the chefs Nigella Lawson, who said “mind meals” can make you feel different about life, and Delia Smith, who claimed it is possible to eliminate sugar from the diet. The dietician Catherine Collins said that Lawson’s support for expensive allergy foods is a wasted opportunity and too costly for those on limited incomes, while Lisa Miles of the British Nutrition Foundation said that sugars are part of a balanced diet.


Candidate for Science Advisor?

Kate Moss, Oprah Winfrey and Demi Moore all espoused the idea that you can detoxify your body with either diet (scientifically unsupportable) or, in the case of Moore, products such as “highly trained medical leeches” which make you bleed. Scientists point out that diet alone cannot remove toxins and that blood itself is not a toxin, and even if it did contain toxins, removing a little bit of it is not going to help.

Read the rest:
Celebrity Health Advice: Not What’s Good For You

Read the rest:
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/scientific
-illiteracy-all-the-rage-among-the-glitterati-1212406.html

U.S. Students Failing International Science Measures

December 10, 2008

What is the future of America?  Our schools and student performance may  give you a dark view…

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U.S. students are doing no better on an international science exam than they were in the mid-1990s, a performance plateau that leaves educators and policymakers worried about how schools are preparing students to compete in an increasingly global economy. 

By Maria Glod
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, December 10, 2008; Page A10

Results of the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), released yesterday, show how fourth- and eighth-graders in the United States measure up to peers around the world. U.S. students showed gains in math in both grades. But average science performance, although still stronger than in many countries, has stagnated since 1995.

Students in Singapore, Taiwan, Japan and Hong Kong outperformed U.S. fourth-graders in science. The U.S. students had an average score of 539 on a 1,000-point scale, higher than their peers in 25 countries.

In eighth grade, Singapore topped the list, with an average score of 567. Students in Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, England, Hungary and Russia were among those earning higher marks than their U.S. counterparts. The average score in the United States was 520.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/w
p-dyn/content/article/2008/12/0
9/AR2008120901031.html

Other views on the America of the future:

Government Picks Winners, Losers, Calls Other Shots and Pays The Bills: Happy Now?

Get the Feeling Russia and China Are Slicing Up The World and the U.S. Will Be Left Out?

 Juggernaut of U.S. Industrial Might Now “Rust Belt,” For Good Or Bad?