Perot Science Museum missing tiny climate exhibit (but there's lots about fracking!)


The $185M Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas has a lot of positive info on the wonders of fracking, but a tiny panel explaining climate change in the original plans never made it into the joint. In fact, none of the exhibits at the Perot mention climate change -- not the display on water, not the display on weather, and certainly not the display on the miracle of shale gas.

The hall where the climate change panel was meant to hang was endowed by American oil baron Trevor Rees-Jones and bears his name. A natural gas exec on the museum's board says that climate is "too complex and fast-changing to tackle in a permanent exhibit." And the Perot is not alone: as the Dallas Morning News points out, science museums all over the USA wrestle with how to present the overwhelming scientific consensus on issues like climate and evolution.

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Canadian scientists accuse govt of using junk science to prop up pipeline

Dave Ng sez, "The Canadian government is poised to once again abhor evidence-based decision making. 300 scientists have looked over the Joint Review Panel Report that is being used to push forward the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project have concluded that it 'has so many systemic errors and omissions, we can only consider it a failure.'"

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Death toll from the American anti-vaccine movement

The Anti-Vaccine Body Count site reminds us that since celebrities like Jenny McCarthy took the cause of scaring parents into avoiding life-saving vaccines, thousands of preventable illnesses and deaths have struck. Since 2007 alone, more than 110,000 preventable illnesses and 1,170 deaths have occurred. In that same timeframe, the number of autism diagnoses linked through scientific evidence and review to vaccination is zero. (via Making Light) Cory 119

Climate science, climate change, and denial

CONvergence, Minneapolis' great big science fiction and fantasy convention, also has a whole series of panels based on hard science—Skepchickcon. This year, I was invited to speak on a few of the panels, including two that dealt with climate science. The best bits of those panels—"The Chilling Effects of Denialism,” and “Who Will Save the Polar Bears"—have been edited up and published online as this week's Skeptically Speaking podcast. Besides myself, the panels included engineering professor John Abraham, science advocate and writer Shawn Otto, and biological anthropologist Greg Laden. We had some great conversations! Take a listen.

CNN reporter tells Bill Nye that he doesn't understand climate change

Watch in awe as CNN's Carol Costello tells Bill Nye, a respected scientist, engineer, and science educator, that he's a "kooky guy who doesn't know what he's talking about" when he asserts the scientific consensus on anthropogenic climate change.

Bill Nye - Could climate change be wildfire cause?

Top US drug cop can't tell the difference between marijuana and heroin

Drug Enforcement Administrator Michele Leonhart, a Bush appointee, was questioned by Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) in a House Judiciary Subcommittee hearing. Polis asks Leonhart about the relative harms arising from prescription painkillers, marijuana, heroin, and crystal meth. She is incapable of distinguishing between them, and stonewalls on questions regarding whether some substances are more addictive than others. It's a rather astonishing performance, and an amazing example of politicized science -- one of America's top drug cops can't bring herself to say what practically every adult knows: marijuana's harms, whatever they are, are not in the same league as heroin or crystal meth.

“Is crack worse for a person than marijuana?” Polis, who has called for an end to marijuana prohibition, asked.

“I believe all illegal drugs are bad,” Leonhart responded.

“Is methamphetamine worse for somebody’s health than marijuana?” Polis continued. “Is heroin worse for somebody’s health than marijuana?”

“Again, all drugs,” Leonhart began to say, only to be cut off by Polis.

“Yes, no, or I don’t know?” Polis said. “If you don’t know this, you can look this up. You should know this, as the chief administrator for the Drug Enforcement Agency. I’m asking a very straightforward question.”

Leonhart said that heroin was highly addictive, but accused Polis of asking a “subjective” question. After being pressed further, she conceded that heroin was more addictive than marijuana, but added “some people become addicted marijuana and some people become addicted to methamphetamine.”

Top DEA agent won’t admit heroin more harmful than marijuana (via MeFi)

Update: In the comments, Rep Polis sez, "So hi! I've been a dedicated Boing Boing reader for many many years, more than I care to say. And I was so excited that *I* am on Boing Boing! So I photographed myself in my Boing Boing shirt, which I wear every day of course, and posted it here. I wanted to get the mention of me in the background but it kinda came up overexposed no matter what I did. Oh well. I'm psyched to be on Boing Boing!"

Michele Bachmann, anti-vax ignoramus

Michele Bachmann went on national TV this week to tell the world that the HPV vaccine could render women "retarded." Here's Funny or Die's response, which is apt, because while it's funny that Bachmann is such an ignoramus, women who get cancer because they believe her might die. Get it? Funny or die.

Michele Bachmann moves to the left (on crazy conspiracy theories) (via Respectful Insolence)

Deceptive "independent research" from Hollywood front suggests Australians are easily frightened

A press release from a mysterious "independent" Australian research outfit announced that if Aussie ISPs would help the movie industry by threatening the families that Hollywood says are downloading without permission, copyright infringement would fall by a whopping 72 percent.

This is a big number. A very big number. Especially since the same poll question, when asked in France (where the motion picture lobby has succeeded in passing a "disconnect anyone we don't like from the Internet" law) showed that only four percent of downloaders changed their habits out of fear of detection.

No, it's not that Australians are easily frightened. Rather, the Intellectual Property Awareness Foundation (an "independent" firm that lists the MPAA on its board and has no visible clients apart from the entertainment industry) included responses from people who don't download in its poll -- that is, they lumped in the very small number of people (zero, possibly) who said, "I download, and this would make me stop" with the very large number of people who said, "I don't download, but, well, hypothetically, if I did, this might make me stop."

If 72 percent say they would stop sharing after a warning, then 28 percent didn’t agree with this statement. And since only 22 percent of the people said they used file-sharing software in 2011 (the only people who would be affected by a three strikes system), this means that warnings from ISPs wouldn’t even deter people who aren’t the target of this system in the first place.

Or put differently, it could very well be that none of the 22 percent file-sharers indicated that they would stop doing so when notified by their ISP.

Now that’s an entirely different conclusion isn’t it?

Anti-Piracy Lobby Misleads Aussie Press for Three-Strikes Campaign

German cops call airport full-body pornoscanners "useless," EU requires opt out from scanning

Bruce Schneier rounds up a series of links about problems with airport full-body "pornoscanners." The German police call them "useless" (35 percent of fliers repeatedly set them off, though they weren't carrying anything dangerous), some scanners are set off by sweaty armpits, and the European Parliament requires EU aviation authorities to allow you to opt out of full body scans (both UK and Dutch airports have a "get scanned or don't fly" requirement for people pulled for full-body scans). Here a bit from the Agence France Presse:
The report said the machines were confused by several layers of clothing, boots, zip fasteners and even pleats, while in 10 percent of cases the passenger's posture set them off.

The police called for the scanners to be made less sensitive to movements and certain types of clothing and the software to be improved. They also said the US manufacturer L3 Communications should make them work faster.

In the wake of the 10-month trial which began on September 27 last year, German federal police see no interest in carrying out any more tests with the scanners until new more effective models become available, Welt am Sonntag said.

German Police Call Airport Full-Body Scanners Useless

Bill Nye explains to Fox News why lunar volcanoes don't disprove anthropogenic global warming

Here's a great clip of Bill Nye the Science Guy gently, but firmly, explaining to Fox News's Jon Scott that the potential existence of extinct lunar volcanoes doesn't disprove global warming. Scott believes that "...if the moon erupting volcanoes a few million years ago, you know, it's not like we've been up there burning fossil fuels." Whatever that means.

NYE: Uh, no, volcanoes are not connected to the burning of fossil fuels, it's connected to mining, but the big thing for us, on my side of this thing, is the science is true, and so when you discover -- the people who got really got involved in climate change, got involved in it often by studying Venus, the planet Venus. So the physics, the science that happens on Venus, is the same as the science that happens on the earth, the science that happens on the moon, in this case the geology the study of rocks, that happens on the moon, is the same science that happens on the earth. So when you say to yourself, well, I'm going to ignore all the evidence of climate change, you're saying, I'm going to ignore the best ideas anybody's ever had, that's science. And so this is quite troubling to those of us on our side of it.

Fox Anchor Wonders If Moon Volcanoes Mean Global Warming Isn't Happening