Why is Congress so clueless about tech? Because they fired all their experts 20 years ago

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It's been 21 years since the Republican Congress zeroed out the $20M budget of the Office of Technology Assessment, a casualty of Newt Gingrich's "Contract With America" that deprived Congress of its principal source of technological expertise. Read the rest

Nominations open for the Maddox Prize for Standing Up for Science

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Chris from Sense About Science writes, "Nominations are now open for the 2016 John Maddox Prize for Standing up for Science. Now in its fifth year, the prize recognises the work of an individual anywhere in the world who promotes sound science and evidence on a matter of public interest, facing difficulty or hostility in doing so." Read the rest

A brief history of the surveillance debate

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2012: "Mass surveillance is fine -- if it wasn't, you'd see major corporations trying to court new business by building in crypto tools that kept out the surveillance agencies. The fact that they're not doing this tells you that surveillance opponents are an out-of-touch, paranoid minority." Read the rest

Watch: Florida climate survivors travel to New Hampshire to confront Marco Rubio

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Brant from Climate Truth writes, "A fishing boat captain, a restaurateur, and a Cuban refugee being displaced by rising seas in South Florida are setting off for New Hampshire next week to harangue Rubio for being shitty on climate change." Read the rest

Florida mayors write to GOP presidential hopefuls demanding action on climate change

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Open letters from the mayors of 15 Florida cities and towns to Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush urge both would-be presential candidates to acknowledge the reality of anthropogenic climate change, and to take urgent action to remediate it. Read the rest

California assemblyman joins NY legislator in proposing ban on crypto for phones

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California assemblyman Jim Cooper (D-9th) has copy-pasted New York assemblyman Matthew Titone's (D-61st) insane, reality-denying bill that bans companies from selling smartphones with working crypto on them, introducing nearly identical measures in the California legislature. Read the rest

Young Earth Creationist will run Arizona Senate education panel

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Sylvia Allen, the GOP state Senator from Snowflake, AZ, believes the Earth is 6,000 years old. She will run the state Senate's committee to oversee educational legislation. Read the rest

A flowchart for arguing with science denialists

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Whether you think you might win over the crowd who're watching from the sidelines or change a denialist's mind, John Timmer's flowchart presents tried-and-true tactics for using science, reason, and facts to overcome ignorance and fear. Read the rest

Exponential population growth and other unkillable science myths

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There's a widespread understanding that the vaccine-autism link and climate denial are bullshit, but there are plenty of widespread science myths that are repeated by people who should know better, from the idea that early screening lowers cancer mortality to the idea that the human population is growing exponentially. Read the rest

Nuanced profile of the Oklahoma County where "no one believes in climate change"

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Oklahoma native John Sutter visited Woodward County, Oklahoma. At first, he could find no one who'd admit to believing in anthropogenic climate change, not even the headmaster of the local academy, who paid out of his own money to erect a statue of a little girl on a stegosaurus' back with a plaque that read, “A dinosaur like this roamed the Earth 5,000 years ago.” Read the rest

Mapping the disciplined ranks of anti-vax Twitter

Anti-vax Twitter consists of several thousand vaccine denialists whose present project is stopping California's mandatory vaccine bill, through campaigns of lockstep tweeting to lawmakers, workplace and home-based harassment of dissenters, and coordinated SEO campaigns that muddy the waters for concerned parents who try to research the subject. Read the rest

House Republicans hold hearing on politics in science, don't invite any scientists

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Anti-vaxxer ordered to pay EUR100K to winner of "measles aren't real" bet

Stefan Lanka, a "vaccination skeptic" who claims that measles are a psychosomatic condition brought on by "traumatic separations," publicly challenged people to prove that measles was caused by a virus. Read the rest

Don't argue about vaccination with Rob Schneider if you value your sanity

California Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez made the mistake of returning actor Rob Schneider's deranged anti-vaxx phonecalls and lived to tell the tale: "That is 20 minutes of my life I'll never get back arguing that vaccines don't cause autism with Deuce Bigalow, male gigolo." Read the rest

The Tory war on science in Canada: a chronology

Nine years of cuts; muzzlings; bad science, retaliatory firings, burned libraries, layoffs, closed investigations, censorship, withdrawal from international accords; Read the rest

The American science-denial playbook

Michael Mann, the author of The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines and creator of the "hockey-stick" climate-change graph used in An Inconvenient Truth, writes in the the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists about the uniquely American "witch-hunt" he and other climate scientists are subjected to. Read the rest

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. Read the rest

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