Kraken Pseudoscience – This link is from National Geographic, but this “news” of the potential discovery of a “kraken”, a gigantic sea-monster sized fossil squid, has been all over the “news” in the past week. I REALLY HATE when a citizen science site like National Geographic posts complete crap like this. Some wacko totally overinterprets a fossil find as being evidence of an intelligent Kraken, and you start to see “news” about a fossil sea monster discovery. It’s no wonder that so many Americans have a seemingly negative view of science right now, when complete hogwash like this is passed off as science on popular websites.
Sea-level rise projected to continue for centuries – A paper published in Global and Planetary Change finds that even in the most optimistic (aka, unrealistic) projections of when human beings will curb emissions of greenhouse gases, sea-level rise will continue for several centuries into the future. But hey, there is good news, as sea-level rise in YOUR lifetime may ”only” be a moderate global economic and environmental hardship. It’s just your children and grandchildren who will really see catostrophic levels of economic and environmental destruction. That kind of long-term consequence is way too far out into the future for most Americans to lose sleep over.
“Liberal” media hard on Obama? – The Pew Research Center evaluated press coverage of political candidates and politicians, and found that Obama actually gets more negative press coverage than do Republican presidential candidates. Shocking! What about that “liberal” media bias? I think the only media bias is towards people of prestige and power. The more power and prestige someone has, the harder the media tries to tear that person down. It’s not just the media, as tearing successful people down seems to be a growing American pasttime. Rather than try to emulate the hard work and dedication of successful people, rather than try to elevate YOURSELF to that level, lazy Americans find it MUCH easier to try to tear successful people down.
WeBird – Bird Song Identification App – I was hoping someone would make a smartphone app that does this!! By spring of next year, the WeBird app should be available, an app that will identify a singing bird for you. There are already a number of applications that have pre-recorded bird songs, which are indeed useful to have in the field. However, if you hear a completely unknown bird song, the WeBird app is supposed to be able to not only identify the bird species, but may also be able to identify an individual bird. The app has promise not only for recreational birders, but also for avian researchers. Automatic recording and identification of bird songs is already being done on a limited basis, but such an app could take the idea mainstream for birder and researcher alike.
Elizabeth Warren “Going for the Hick Vote” - I can’t imagine running for a public office with as much visibility as Senator or President. The intense scrutiny, the parsing of every single word that you say, would simply drive me nuts. Elizabeth Warren, Scott Brown’s likely Senate opponent in Massachusetts, was heavily criticized in many quarters for jokingly saying she was “going for the hick vote” during an interview. Warren was making fun of her own Oklahoma background during the exchange, but of course the media parses out one line out of context and places Warren in a bad light.
World Population Set to pass 7 Billion!! – Not exactly cause for celebration, but the best estimates state that the World’s population will pass 7 billion by the end of October. As the article notes, what’s sad is that high population growth and poverty seem to go hand in hand. Humanity has shown they have about just as much of a committment to solving this long-term problem as they have to solving the long-term issue of climate change. We just seem incapable of addressing any issue over timescales outside of a decade or two.