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Tennessee set to pass bill attacking evolution and global warming in education

Creationists Switch Tactics In Tennessee
Could intelligent design finally be dead? The term is conspicuously absent from the latest antievolution education bill, which passed the Tennessee legislature in March and awaits action by the governor. The bill’s language reveals a new tactic on the part of creationists. They seem to have retired intelligent design and replaced it with a concept as sneaky as stealth aircraft. “These bills sound very innocent,” said Eugenie Scott, executive director of the National Center for Science Education. That’s intentional, she said. The legislation has been crafted to be legally bulletproof. The Tennessee bill hijacks language from scientists and skeptics: Teachers are allowed to promote “critical thinking” in areas where there’s “debate and disputation.” That’s not unreasonable on the surface, since there are plenty of areas of dispute — the value of certain cancer screenings, the safest way to store nuclear waste, or what benefit feathers would have bestowed on dinosaurs. And critical thinking skills can be taught by examining bad science, such as cold fusion, or pseudoscience, such as homeopathy. But those aren’t the controversies the bill drafters care about. The bill singles out climate change and evolution. The summary says that schools cannot prohibit “any teacher in a public school system of this state from helping students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories covered in the course being taught, such as evolution and global warming.” This is misleading. Some details of evolution are still not known, but there’s no scientific controversy over whether evolution or creationism better describes the world we live in. . . .

April 08, 2012

Amazon might be bad but Random House is worse

An author discusses his treatment at the hands of Random House and why you shouldn't cry too much over the death of Big Publishing. Hate Amazon? Well Read About What Random House Did to Me and My Family | The Passive Voice
Once more, I’ll bullet my near suicidal relationship with the Big Six and, in particular, Delacorte Press…You know, the supposed “good guys” of the industry. –I was contracted in 1999 for mid-six figure two book hard and soft deal. –I was told to change the name of my novel, The Innocent to As Catch Can, because another author in their stable was publishing one of the same title. As Catch what????? –While the hardcover was being produced, talk around the office centered on Delacorte being swallowed up by another publisher. They more or less dropped attention on As Catch what???, and rushed a very poor front cover into production…Yup, an insider pulled me aside and admitted the cover was a total fuck up….Oops, it’s just people’s lives we’re dealing with here… –I was promised ads in The New York Times and support for a Northeast tour. I got neither. –Delacorte shut down and was indeed swallowed up by the new publisher only weeks after the publication of As Catch what???? –I was suddenly the bastard child of the new publisher. –They reneged on the contract and only agreed to publish the second book in the deal in paper. It was of course my right to sue them. But who in the world wants to sue a conglomerate cartel like Big New York? The big wigs laughed at me and went on vacation in the Hamptons. –The second book was printed. Not published. Not even the B&N around the corner from Times Square had one in stock. It was around this time I met my then editor for a drink in NYC. In her words, “You didn’t hear it from me, but they are preventing you from selling books.” –Now that I didn’t sell out my 250G contract for no fault of my own, another publisher wouldn’t touch me if a gun was pressed to his or her temple. And at one time, the most powerful agent in the world was repping me: Suzanne Gluck. I must assume that an agent of her caliber chooses only manuscripts she sees tremendous potential in. –Delacorte (Random House) refused to release my rights…even though they remaindered my books. An evil, self-serving move if ever there was one. “We’re not going to sell your books, but ahhh, neither can you!” Hitler comes to mind here…Too harsh? Okay, at least Uncle Joe Stalin. –I went broke. –I had to sell my house –I lost my wife –My children had to move, quit their schools, give up their friends –I nearly lost my reputation and my sanity –I could have quit writing –But I didn’t… . . .

April 07, 2012

Local Boys Make Good: Poor Mojo's Giant Squid to be featured in upcoming steampunk anthology

Ecstatic Days -- Blog Archive -- Steampunk Revolution – Announcing...