Tag Archives: Science


Happy birthday, Mr. Jefferson!

At the University of Virginia (U.Va.), today is called “Founder’s Day.”

At the same time that I temper my admiration for him with the knowledge that he kept people in bondage, bought and sold them, and abided their maltreatment, I also want to remember that Mr. Jefferson was among the principal architects—if not the lead author—of many socio-cultural, governmental, and philosophical constructs that I hold dear:

The  list could continue….And I very much appreciate these contributions to the commonweal. So, it’s a b’day worthy of celebration.



Leave a comment

Filed under Atheism, Birthdays, Civil rights, Education, Equity, Free speech, Humanism, Justice, Neighborhood, News, Notes and comments, UVa

XKCD survey

http://xkcd.com/1572/. Complete it yourself. Pass it along to others.

Leave a comment

Filed under Amusements, News, Other sites, Technology, What I'm reading

Change the naming of hurricanes

Over at ClimateNameChange.org there is this too funny video. It won’t even take three minutes for you to watch it, so don’t hesitate, click now!

Flash of the electrons to my pal Frank for turning me on to this.

Leave a comment

Filed under Amusements, Eco-stuff, News, Notes and comments, Politics, Science

Snake dreams—don’t run away

Among the many marvelous features at Virginia’s Herpatological Society are excellent photographs of of indigenous snakes along with important information about their status in the Commonwealth. For example, not only can one learn where different subspecies are usually found—I saw a beautiful, > 1-meter Northern Black Racer on our porch this afternoon; it went racing down the garden stairs after it saw me!— but also size, alternative names, and many other facts (e.g., conservation needs). Of course, because folks get freaky about venomous snakes, there are identification guides, though that part is pretty easy.

Glossy Crayfish Snake

But, back to the other interesting stuff. For example, I was surprised to learn that there is a Glossy Crayfish Snake. I’d never heard of such! It turns out that this beauty has a range that is restricted pretty much to what is called the Virginia Pennisula, and then only a small part of it. The Wikipedia page about the GCS didn’t have it even living in Virginia, so I updated that document, based on the VaDGIF documents.

What’s a serious bummer is that this snake apparently is on the verge of extirpation in the Commonwealth. Now, I like crayfish, but I don’t mind competing against a little snake for a few. They may have have their share, but I don’t want to drive them out of Virginia; they’ve surely been here longer then I have. I have to guess they are losing in the space wars…people probably are moving into their territory. Read all about it! Wouldn’t that be a bummer if they were no longer living in that neighborhood?

Meanwhile, among the other cool things one can do at the Herp Site: If you see a Box Turtle, submit the data! Yep, you might remember Brer Terrapin because he won the race. Well his appearances on roadsides and backyards are being collected by the Herp Folx. Send yours in today using this link. (There ought to be an app for this, but for now, the image is hot, too.) It’d be pretty cool to help track the movements of large numbers of Box Turtles, no?

Leave a comment

Filed under Amusements, Eco-stuff, Neighborhood, News, Notes and comments, Science, Technology

Global light maps

satellite view of Earth at night showing western hemisphere
NOAA-NASA Satellite Image

I look at maps frequently and at length. I find them fascinating. Aerial images also appeal to me, because they have a map-like quality. Among those that have intrigued me are images of Earth showing lights at night. I came upon a new one to me recently and am sharing it here, in case others might has a similar interest.

I snagged this image from a section of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Web site devoted to the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) instrument on the Suomi NPP satellite. Interested readers can go to the page called “Our Earth at night” to read lots more, but here’s a snippet to explain a bit.
Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Amusements, Eco-stuff, Notes and comments, Science, Technology

Skeptic’s Dictionary for Kids!

Bob Carroll announced that he’s completed his latest project, a Skeptic’s Dictionary for Kids, in his weekly newsletter dated 7 August 2011. In the newsletter he explained why he took on this new complement to his massive and long-standing Skeptic’s Dictionary:

I wrote the SD for Kids to promote science and scientific skepticism among young people. I haven’t seen anything else like it on the Web or in print. I was encouraged to do an SD for kids by one big person who thinks kids deserve an SD of their own and by some little people who are already questioning some of their teacher’s beliefs. My 12-year-old consultant took down from her parents’ bookshelf a copy of The Skeptic’s Dictionary to look up “astrology” after her teacher told her class that she believed the stars and planets affect who we are and what happens to us. My consultant thought my writing was a bit obtuse. OK. She said “hard” and “too long.” My 10-year-old consultant wanted more pictures. He especially wanted to see a picture of Area 51, which was mentioned in some movie he saw. He wanted to know more about aliens and UFOs, too.

Mr. Carroll recommends SD for Kids for children ages nine and older and suggest that they start with the about pages and the introduction to scientific reasoning. It’s all at http://sd4kids.skepdic.com/

1 Comment

Filed under News, Other sites, Science, Skepticism

Podblack Cat

I am adding Kylie Sturgess’ Podblack Cat to the links (“blogroll”). Podblack Catis a work on a wide variety of topics, but what makes it merit inclusion here are Ms. Sturgess’ focus on skepticism, atheism, and science. However, because of her focus on education, I also plan to add it to the blogroll on Teach Effectively.

In short, I’ve gone from being ‘just a secondary-school English teacher’ …. to an M.Ed in Special Learning needs; a writer for the new Philosophy and Ethics course in my state; a research-assistant on retention and engagement in schools at a Perth university and the Education Department; an author for several journals on science and critical thinking and (best of all!) a teacher-trainer for the current and next generation of primary and secondary educators in my state.

I’m also writing my dissertation on paranormal and pseudoscientific beliefs in teenagers and work with other professionals in the field. All of these things at the same time, yes.

Sometimes I’m found at conferences, taking too many notes. More often than not, using my blog to post the literature review for my dissertation. The rest of my time belongs to my family – and ballroom dancing. My tango is something to be seen.

Link to Ms. Sturgess’ Podblack Cat. Flash of the electrons to Liz Ditz for alerting me to this source.

Leave a comment

Filed under Amusements, Atheism, Equity, News, Other sites, Science, Sites I visit