Taxonomy term

science and society

Texas Board of Education votes to strike amendment questioning evolution

Blogging on EARTH

Evolution will still be taught in Texas. After months of proposed amendments, statements by special interest groups and lengthy debate, the Texas Board of Education voted 8-7 today to strike language from its curriculum that required students to “analyze and evaluate the sufficiency or insufficiency” of common ancestry, a major tenant of the theory of evolution.

27 Mar 2009

Saving Energy and Water Through Superior Sanitation

Have you ever thought about using your urine to fertilize your tomatoes and cucumbers? Full of nutrients like phosphorus, potassium and nitrogen, urine can work wonders in your garden. How about composting your feces — packed with rich organic matter just waiting to be decomposed — to help your rose bushes and oak trees grow? If you don’t use feces for composting, then it could be a source of natural gas and hydrogen for use as an alternative energy supply. Or perhaps you would be more comfortable with the thought of reusing the water you wash your clothes in to flush your toilets?

03 Mar 2009

Benchmarks: March 1, 1872: "Bone Wars" heat up

By Brian Fisher Johnson

Edward Drinker Cope stood before a smoke-filled audience at the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia, Pa., on March 1, 1872. One of the nation’s leading paleontologists, Cope would present his latest fossil find: an extinct flying reptile he designated Ornithochirus. Certainly the piece would be recognized as a major contribution to the scientific understanding of ancient life. More importantly, Cope thought, he would receive credit as its discoverer.

27 Feb 2009

Wanted: Interim nuclear waste storage site

The United States is in a nuclear waste holding pattern. Yucca Mountain, the site of the proposed geological repository that is supposed to permanently store the country’s nuclear waste, was supposed to open in 1998. Controversy has led to numerous delays, and the repository won’t open until 2020 — assuming everything goes smoothly from here on out.

06 Feb 2009

Criminals steal London dino's dung

Blogging on EARTH

A series of robberies over the past five years at London’s Natural History Museum has curators frustrated — and puzzled. From stuffed squirrels to scarab beetles, it seems that anything that can be carried is vulnerable. But most oddly, some thieves made off with a piece of fossilized dinosaur dung.

04 Feb 2009

Scientists Go to the Movies

Hollywood’s sometimes sloppy depiction of scientific concepts often galls scientists. Some productions strive for accuracy; others — well, they wing it. Not surprisingly, there are gaffes. Movie stars burst through glass without a scratch, plants grow where they shouldn’t and woolly mammoths help construct the Egyptian pyramids. Now, the National Academy of Sciences is fighting back.

30 Jan 2009

Weird whale tusks act as matchmakers

In the depths of the ocean, the bizarre beaked whale looks more like an eerie mutant than a gentle giant. With its bird-like beak and sharp tusks that jut out from the top of its head, anyone would wonder: What’s with all the weaponry? Now scientists think they’ve found the purpose of these weird tusks — and it is not nearly as maleficent as you may think.

30 Jan 2009

Danger in the Deep: Chemical weapons lie off our coasts

Flash back to 1944: It’s a misty Hawaiian morning and a military vessel carries a nervous crew and deadly cargo from Pearl Harbor into the Pacific. The crew’s instructions are clear: Travel eight kilometers out to sea and dump tons of unused chemical weapons that are piled on deck. As the ship reaches the open ocean, the captain slows the vessel and sailors start pushing their lethal freight into the water. During the next half-hour, several thousand chemical bombs go overboard and into the abyss.

27 Jan 2009

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