Neil Shubin describes your “inner fish” – the evolutionary journey of the human body

October 23, 2009

More resources:


News flash: Dallas 5th graders not ready for college? How about middle school?

October 23, 2009

It’s not so much of a “Duh!” moment as you might think.

Studies by the Dallas Independent School District indicate that about half of all Dallas fifth grades students are not on the development arc they need to be on to be ready for college upon graduation seven years later.  Half of fifth graders are not even ready for middle school.

As Dallas schools focus on getting all students ready for college, they face a daunting challenge uncovered by a new district tracking system: Almost half of fifth-graders are not even ready for middle school.

Roughly 52 percent of the fifth-graders were considered “on track for middle school” at the end of their elementary years in 2008-09, according to a Dallas Morning News analysis of data recently released by the school district.

That seriously impinges on my ability to teach them what they need to know when I get them.

Here’s the newspaper article from the Dallas Morning News.  Here’s school-by-school data.

I predict DISD will take hits for “failing” instead of getting plaudits for finding a root source of a much bigger problem that manifests later.  Stay tuned.

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Naomi Oreskes: The lecture Lord Monckton slept through, which he hopes you will not see

October 23, 2009

Here’s another example of where historians show their value in science debates.

Naomi Oreskes delivered this lecture a few years ago on denialism in climate science.  Among other targets of her criticism-by-history is my old friend Robert Jastrow.  I think her history is correct, and her views on the Marshall Institute and denial of climate change informative in the minimum, and correct on the judgment of the facts.

You’ll recognize some of the names:  Jastrow, Frederick Seitz, S. Fred Singer, and William Nierenberg.

Oreskes details the intentional political skewing of science by critics of the serious study of climate warming.  It’s just under an hour long, but well worth watching.  Dr. Oreskes is Professor of History in the Science Studies Program at the University of California at San Diego.  The speech is titled “The American Denial of Global Warming.”

If Oreskes is right — and I invite you to check her references thoroughly, to discover for yourself that her history and science are both solid — Lord Monckton is a hoaxster.  Notice especially the references after the 54 minute mark to the tactic of claiming that scientists are trying to get Americans to give up our sovereignty.

Nothing new under the sun.

“Global warming is here,  and there are almost no communists left,” Oreskes said.

Nudge your neighbor:

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