Saturday, April 29, 2006
Sunday, April 16, 2006
Caught In The Act!
Friday, April 07, 2006
Let's see how this works.
300 Million Year Old Rock
The summer before my senior year of college I worked as a park ranger guiding hikes in one of the most beautiful state parks in the country. Its central feature was a 256-foot waterfall that plunged down through a gorgeous natural amphitheater, cutting through bands of limestone and sandstone and collecting in a deep pool, the perfect hangout for summer swimming. My favorite program was the hike to the base of the falls. Layers of rock are like chapters in a history book and this canyon, carved so deeply, told an ancient story. Standing at the bottom, calling out over the roar of the falls, I got to teach the exciting conclusion, “The layers of slate and shale beneath our feet tell us that 300 million years ago, this deciduous forest was a tropical jungle.”
“What book d’ya get that out of?” came the reply one day. And thus it began, for this waterfall was not only located in ancient rock, it was also in the heart of the Bible-belt. I had heard there were people who believed the Earth was only 6,000 years old, but I never thought I would actually meet any. That summer, and every other summer I worked teaching science to the public, I met a lot of them. Though most objectors would just walk away from the program, some mothers would cover their children’s ears to protect them from the “blasphemous park ranger.” One man, after I patiently explained how we know the age of rocks, finally just threw up his hands, exclaimed, “The Devil made that rock look that old to turn you away from God,” and led his family back up the trail.
At the time, to a college kid with a summer job, these responses seemed bizarre but relatively harmless – they were local, “everyone’s entitled to their own beliefs”, “no skin off my back”, “whatever”… But now, 15 years later, I understand these taunts to be the threat they truly are: dangerous beliefs made more dangerous because more and more people believe them.
How does believing a 300 million year-old rock is only 6,000 years old become dangerous? It is a reflection of where and how we find answers. A 300 million year-old rock is the answer resulting from decades of observation, research, field study, laboratory testing, comparative studies and critical thinking. A 6,000 year old rock is the answer because God said so.
Is the accurate age of a rock really important? Interesting, yes, but important? Maybe not. But what if the question is about Polio? Should we seek an answer from decades of observation, research and field study, discover a vaccine and destroy a worldwide plague or does the answer lie in God’s plan?To Read more of this article visit: http://www.csicop.org/intelligentdesignwatch/rocks.html
Lauren Becker is a science interpreter who has taught at museums and parks around the country. She is Public Relations Assistant for the Center for Inquiry.
Thursday, April 06, 2006
Is it a ploy created by the big pharmaceutical companies to scare consumers into buying more medication when the bottle expires? Are medicines safe to use beyond thier printed 'use by' date? Some say yes. I recently recieved email from a friend stating that many medications can be used long after the expiration date if kept cool. He may be right but there is some controversy about this topic. Below is my response to my friends email.
I would be concerned about using prescribed medication after the expiration date. An article on Associated Content says that the expiration dates on pharmaceuticals are based on the medicines ability to be effective. Exposure to various environmental conditions such as light as well as temperature can be variable factors on shelf life. However controversial this topic is, I don't think it is a ploy by the pharmaceutical companies to sell more product. Many disposal programs for drug stores include a credit for returned expired drugs. Below is an excerpt from the article that I found.
"No one knows for sure if expired medications are safe. A consumer-oriented version of the Pentagon shelf-life program - which would check the actual life span of prescription drugs stored in bathrooms, kitchens, purses and cars - has never been done. "Currently, I am not aware of any programs that focus on drug stability in the consumer environment," said Dr. Claudia Okeke, an associate director at the U.S. Pharmacopeia in Rockville, Md."
Read the whole article here.
I have heard about dollar stores selling toothpaste that is expired or manufactured in other countries, but that is a different topic altogether. Read snopes story.
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
This time my vote counted!
“It was a very tight race in District 5, with incumbent Bill Martinson defeating John Kirby by just 21 votes.”
The reason I voted for Republican Bill Martinson instead of Democrat John Kirby is because on Kirby’s website he listed as his accomplishments his active church membership and volunteer time with the youth fellowship of his church. I’m not against someone being involved in church and definitely applaud efforts to help youth organizations, but to list your religious accomplishments in your campaign platform is a good indication that he has no idea about separation of church and state.So now my question is, if the guy I voted for is a screw-up, do I still get to bitch?