Science

RIP, Great Barrier Reef

Remember when they warned us in school that the Great Barrier Reef was changing over the years and if we didn’t address climate change, it would die? It died. About 1,400 miles of living coral and the animals that called it home is now not much more than an oceanic wasteland. Scientists have officially declared the Great Barrier Reef to be dead after living for 25 million years.

No fracking way

Today is the International Day of Action Against Fracking.

People all around the world are taking action against fracking (or hydraulic fractioning) today. By now, you’ve probably seen the scary water photos (that the government, of course, assures us are harmless), heard the horror stories, and become aware of how dangerous fracking can be. From ground water contamination to air pollution, flowback to spills, fracking presents a danger to humans as well as our environment and wildlife. So why is it still happening?

Because it’s profitable, of course. Isn’t that always the answer?

The World in 2030

An enlightening speech by Dr. Michio Kaku

I was watching a video on how the whole concept of science fiction movies was born. I was excited to see Dr. Michio Kaku whom I greatly admire to be in it as well. It was the idea of how George Lucas and the Star Wars saga really took technology and science to a whole new level.

"The World in 2030" by Dr. Michio Kaku

Akin to buffoonery

Why Todd Akin’s asinine statement sort of makes me happy

By now you and everyone else in America has probably heard about the ridiculous statement Todd Akin, a representative from Missouri, has made about rape. You can read his vile and, for no better word, stupid statement here; in short, he basically said that if a woman is “legitimately” raped, her body will shut down and not let her get pregnant.

If this is the first time you are reading this, I will pause to allow you to throw something, laugh, cry or call Akin and complain.

Are you back? Now that you know what an idiot Todd Akin is, you might want to note that Kirk Cameron and Steve King (the representative, not to be confused with the author) plenty of Missouri’s General Assembly members are idiots as well, as they continue to endorse him after this horrific remark.

And the remark is horrific, no doubt. It’s not only completely false in the way that a statement like “Humans can stop bleeding by the power of telekinesis if they really want to!” or “Babies can turn into lemurs if given the proper amount of sleep!” is false, it’s also completely demeaning and offensive and hateful to any rape survivor. Whose rape is “legitimate” and whose isn’t, after all?

That burger could turn your kid into a mutant

Here's another reason to eat fresh.

It turns out that it’s not just the food that our kids we need to worry about. It’s not even just the foods we eat during pregnancy. The foods we eat throughout our lives can very well have an impact on our future children’s DNA, even if we haven’t officially started, ahem, working on said children just yet. What’s even scarier is that our food choices today can affect our DNA so greatly that they will impact future generations as well.

Take action for animals and the environment

If not you, then who?

The animals and environments of the world depend on us to protect them from complete destruction. Please take a few moments to see if you would like to help save rainforests and whales today, then click to take action.

Stop Illegal Logging

We humans have destroyed so much of this planet’s natural resources in such little time. I am not speaking of a need to shame our ancestors, but of a need to stop what we are doing right now and protect these resources instead. Right now, the RELIEF Act is being considered by our representatives, and it would open the few protected places on earth, such as the forests of Brazil and Madagascar, to logging and complete deforestation. Celebrities like Dave Matthews, Sarah McLachlan, and Sting have all already voiced their opposition, but it’s citizens like us that our representatives need to hear from. Please contact yours today by clicking here.

The Internet News Effect: Turning Voters Into Political Parrots

Eli Pariser and his colleague argue that the search filters for our news are protecting our ideological comfort zone.

There’s no question that we’re experiencing a spike in political and social division in this country, and that as we come closer to the Presidential election, the arguments across the chasm are likely to become louder and more inflammatory. There have also been plenty of claims as to why the national conversation has become to partisan and ideologically charged. Some point to fear over the economy and joblessness, others to government policies under Barack Obama or a new, radical, Republican center. Illegal immigration, reproductive rights, federal spending, and a host of other issues have all served to polarize the political discussion. Eli Pariser, former president of MoveOn.org, and University of Virginia professor Siva Vaidhyanathan, point to another possible culprit: the internet.

When we use a search engine like Google, or log on to a social networking site like Facebook, we are accessing a kind of personalized vault of consumer information. Facebook makes money showing ad banners that have been tailored to our interests based on previous online searches. Similarly, the Google search algorithms attempt to tailor our “hits” to what we’re most likely looking for based on previous activity. For things like car loans, tablecloths, and music downloads, this may be a perfectly harmless way of going about our consumer “research”. However, what happens when you apply the same filters and screening processes to searches for more complex things, like your news?

China's Rise and U.S. Power Not Mutually Exclusive

Call it Cold War thinking, but Americans should stop freaking out about the rise of China and India, and should work more on their national brand.

This may ask you step out of your cultural submersible, but the economic and cultural rise of Asia may not be an entirely bad thing. Now I’m not going to go as far as to say that the U.S. doesn’t need to continue to be competitive (although it seems bound and determined to try to do that in all the wrong ways), by the ratcheting up of China, India, South Korea, and other formerly “underdeveloped” nations’ economies could prove to be a boon to an industrious and interconnected global economy. Consider the reason that Europe chose to form the European Union and to introduce that practical and (adorably monickered) currency, the euro? The greater the number of independently stable national economies are part of a great economic community, the healthier and more stable that economy is.

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