Thursday, June 30, 2011

Climate Scientists Face Hostility, Undermining Scientific Freedom

From the American Association for the Advancement of Science:
"Reports of personal attacks on climate scientists, including harassment, legal challenges, and even death threats, have created a hostile environment that inhibits the free exchange of scientific findings and makes it difficult for factual information to reach policymakers and the public, the AAAS Board of Directors said in a statement of concern."

Read “Statement of the Board of Directors of the American Association for the Advancement of Science Regarding Personal Attacks on Climate Scientists.” [pdf] Approved on June 28.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Faculty-Student co-authored publication in J PHYS CHEM

Recent publication by Adam Birdsall, '11 and Professor of Chemistry Matt Elrod, as found in ISI Web of Science:
Comprehensive NO-Dependent Study of the Products of the Oxidation of Atmospherically Relevant Aromatic Compounds.
Birdsall, AW.; Elrod, MJ.
Journal home page
JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY A 115 (21): 5397-5407 JUN 2 2011. [subscriber access, @ ACS publications]

Monday, June 06, 2011

Imams add their support for teaching evolution

The Clergy Letter Project expands and creates opportunity for Muslims to support evolution, explains Michael Zimmerman in a recent Huffington Post column (posted June 2, 2011).   

Extracted from Zimmerman's column:
"One of the overarching goals of The Clergy Letter Project is to demonstrate that the battle that so many want to portray as being between religion and science is actually something very different. In fact, there are religious individuals whose beliefs are at odds with science, and those people, typically fundamentalists regardless of their religion, are convinced that their perspective is the only "correct" one; that all other religious views are wrong. But, regardless of how much attention these people receive, they are in the minority and their views are every bit as much in conflict with the broader religious world as they are with the perspectives of the scientific community. These fundamentalists are attempting to claim all of religion for themselves by casting it in their own image while working feverishly to redefine science in a way that privileges their idiosyncratic readings of ancient texts."

Related reading:
Being human in Islam : the impact of the evolutionary worldview / Damian A. Howard
Abingdon, Oxon ; New York, NY : Routledge, 2011

Friday, June 03, 2011

Black lung disease is back with a vengence

Living on Earth on May 27, 2011 presented a sobering story on a highly aggressive form of black lung, or coal workers’ pneumoconiosis, saying "An investigation into last year’s [Massey Energy's Upper Big Branch] coal mine disaster in West Virginia reveals a tragedy within a tragedy: autopsies show most of the men who died in the explosion also had black lung."  The prevalence of black lung had been declining since the 1970s, due to stricter regulations governing the amount of coal dust permitted in active work areas. "Lax enforcement and monitoring of dust" are considered likely contributors to the increased incidence and severity of black lung, coupled with changes in mining practice that result in more silica dust as well as coal dust in smaller, confined areas.

The Government Accountability Office in 2008 found that 87% of miners' claims for disability benefits due to black lung were initially denied (Black Lung Benefits Program, report to U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Health Care, Committee on Finance).

Ironically, Senate Hearing 110-527 [Coal: a Clean Future] does not once mention black lung in its 252 pages (hearing before the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Energy, Natural Resources, and Infrastructure, Committee on Finance).  The "clean future" does not, apparently, include miners' lungs -- or the environment around coal mining sites.

More about --
Black lung:  National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
Massey's denial of culpability for the disaster: Wall Street Journal, June 3.
Mountain top removal for coal extraction.