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Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 12:08 PM
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Environmental Scientist

Journal Archives

Where Are the Hardest Places to Live in the U.S.?

Annie Lowrey writes in the Times Magazine this week about the troubles of Clay County, Ky., which by several measures is the hardest place in America to live.

The Upshot came to this conclusion by looking at six data points for each county in the United States: education (percentage of residents with at least a bachelor’s degree), median household income, unemployment rate, disability rate, life expectancy and obesity. We then averaged each county’s relative rank in these categories to create an overall ranking.

(We tried to include other factors, including income mobility and measures of environmental quality, but we were not able to find data sets covering all counties in the United States.)

The 10 lowest counties in the country, by this ranking, include a cluster of six in the Appalachian Mountains of eastern Kentucky (Breathitt, Clay, Jackson, Lee, Leslie and Magoffin), along with four others in various parts of the rural South: Humphreys County, Miss.; East Carroll Parish, La.; Jefferson County, Ga.; and Lee County, Ark.


Conservatives Don't Deny Climate Science Because of Ignorance. They Deny It Because of Who They Are

For many years, the US National Science Foundation, more recently with the help of the General Social Survey, has asked the public the same true or false question about evolution: "Human beings, as we know them today, developed from earlier species of animals." And for many years, the responses to this question have been dismal. In 2006, 2008, and 2010, for instance, less than half of the public correctly answered "true."

In 2012, however, the NSF and GSS conducted an experiment to try to better understand why people fare so badly on this evolution question. For half of survey respondents, the words "according to the theory of evolution" were added to the beginning of the statement above. And while only 48 percent gave the correct answer to the unaltered question, an impressive 72 percent correctly answered the new, prefaced version.

So why such a huge gap? Perhaps the original question wasn't tapping into scientific knowledge at all; rather, it was challenging the religious identity of creationists who think the earth is less than 10,000 years old. Presented with the new phrasing, however, even many creationists know what the theory of evolution states; they just deny that it is true. So are these people really "scientifically illiterate," as many in the science world might claim, or are they instead...something else?

This is a vital question in the field of science communication, because at its core is the issue of whether we are dealing with mass public scientific illiteracy on the one hand (which presumably could be fixed by education), or with something much deeper and more intractable. What's more, this problem isn't confined to evolution. The issue of climate change may be very similar in this respect. Ask a polling question about climate change in one way, and you may cause conservatives to reassert their ideological identities, and reject the most important finding of climate science (that humans are causing global warming). But ask it in another way and, well, it may turn out that they know what the science says after all (even if they don't personally believe it).


Thursday Toon Roundup 3- The Rest






World Cup

Thursday Toon Roundup 2- GOTEA

Thursday Toon Roundup 1- Dickin' the Middle East

This New Nanomaterial Can Withstand Forces 160,000 Times Its Weight

MIT engineers have taken inspiration from architecture to create a new material that combines high stiffness with low weight—by using a repeating geometric structure that's airy, yet remarkably strong.

The new material design has been developed in a collaboration with the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and uses microlattices with nanoscale features to combine "great stiffness and strength with ultralow density." Essentially, it uses the same principles of lattice work that you find in structures like the

Eiffel Tower to provide strength with the minimum of extraneous material. The research is published in the journal Science.

Usually, stripping away material from a microstructure decreases stiffness and strength, but the researchers have mathematically determined how the geometric structure distributes and directs loads, so that they can trim material away at the nanoscale in places where it won't be missed.



LOL- ISIS Runs Ad Campaign Featuring Photo With John McCain

…This 2013 photograph of John McCain is being circulated by members of ISIS as a photo of him with members of some of their members in Syria… The poster does not specify which of the men is actually from ISIS or “Al Qaeda In Iraq” as they were once called.

States slow to change on life without parole for children

The 2012 Supreme Court ruling that was supposed to spell the end of mandatory life sentences without parole for children hasn’t led to a sea change in the criminal justice system, a new analysis from the Sentencing Project has found.

Only a handful of states have passed laws to comply with the 2012 decision, which found that mandatory life sentences for individuals under the age of 18 without the chance for parole violates the Eighth Amendment. The decision also said that juries must be able to consider mitigating factors when deciding sentences because children have not finished developing physically and mentally and could be rehabilitated.

Thirteen of the 28 states that had mandatory life without parole sentences for juveniles now ban the practice. Things are slowly improving, but many tough-on-crime states still leave children facing long prison terms.

Some states have simply replaced mandatory life without parole with mandatory minimum sentences of several decades. And, the Sentencing Project’s analysis found that most states will allow life without parole to be imposed, as long as it is not required.



Georgia Police Left Two Teenagers In A Holding Cell With No Lights Or Food For An Entire Weekend

Two Georgia teenagers were left in a county courthouse holding cell from Friday to Monday with no food, lights, or toilet paper, Dave Huddleston WSB Atlanta reports.

"I’m embarrassed today as I can possibly be,” Douglas County Sheriff Phil Miller told reporters.

The teenage boys, ages 16 and 17, had court appearances on Friday, and were locked in the holding cell after neither of their parents showed up.

“Nobody that works in security is supposed to leave that building at night without checking the cells, and it’s not a hard job to do," Miller said, adding that eight to 10 officers were involved may lose their jobs once he completes the internal investigation.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/georgia-police-left-two-teenagers-in-a-holding-cell-2014-6

SF Giants’ Tim Lincecum no-hits Padres — again

By Henry Schulman

Anyone who understands the Giants in the last decade and a half knows the five starting pitchers must be the ones to take charge and lead them out of the darkness of the past two weeks and back to the promised land.

On a cool, overcast afternoon at AT&T Park on Wednesday, Tim Lincecum commandeered the leader’s baton, marched to the front of his brigade and, for the second time in less than a year, threw a no-hitter against the San Diego Padres.

In a 4-0 victory that the Giants absolutely needed after the Padres took the series’ first two games, Lincecum became the second Giant to throw two no-hitters. The other was Hall of Famer Christy Mathewson (1901 and 1905).

Lincecum threw the 16th no-no in franchise history, the eighth in the San Francisco era and the third at AT&T Park, following Jonathan Sanchez in 2009 and Matt Cain’s perfect game in 2012.


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