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June 23, 2014

Physicist Offers $10,000 To Anyone Who Can Disprove Climate Change

I'm always a fan of offering people money to prove their utter bullshit. Physicist Offers $10,000 To Anyone Who Can Disprove Climate Change | ThinkProgress
When not refuting the 97 percent of scientists who believe in human-caused global warming, climate change deniers often draw upon the conspiracy that it’s is a fabricated theory invented by those in a position to gain financially or otherwise from efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. A Texas-based physicist is turning that notion on its head by offering $10,000 of his own money to anyone who can disprove mainstream, accepted climate science. Dr. Christopher Keating, a physicist who has taught at the University of South Dakota and the U.S. Naval Academy, says in his blog post that the rules are easy: there is no entry fee, participants must be over 18, and the scientific method must be employed. “Deniers actively claim that science is on their side and there is no proof of man-made climate change,” Keating told the College Fix by email. “You would think that if it was really as easy as the deniers claim that someone, somewhere would do it.” Keating is planning to post entries on his blog along with comments. He is willing to field a wide array of submissions and is also offering $1,000 to anyone that can provide any scientific evidence at all that climate change isn’t real. “They are even free to find proof on the Internet and cut and paste it,” he said.

June 13, 2014

Michigan lawmaker wants to classify "burning toxic waste" as a renewable energy source

This could be an Onion headline, but it's not. Michigan Lawmaker Wants Tar Sands Waste To Count As Renewable Energy | ThinkProgress
A Michigan lawmaker wants to change his state’s renewable energy standard to include some rather unconventional fuels. State Rep. Aric Nesbitt (R) is sponsoring a bill that would alter Michigan’s definition of renewable energy to include plastic waste and petroleum coke, a byproduct of tar sands refining. The aim of the bill is to “remove unnecessary burdens on the appropriate use of solid waste as a clean energy source.” Nesbitt told Midwest Energy News that he thinks burning things like plastic waste and petcoke for fuel would be a logical alternative to storing them in a landfill or having them pile up along rivers. “I find it extremely troubling that some groups do not believe we should be encouraging or allowing for the development of utilizing our waste stream or preventing it from going to landfills,” he said. “If they want to support increased landfill use, that can be their position.” Nesbitt is a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a conservative group that’s fought hard to repeal or weaken renewable energy standards like Michigan’s across the country. Most recently, ALEC, whose donors include billionaires Charles and David Koch, backed a bill that sought to weaken Kansas’s RPS.

June 06, 2014

New "gay gene" evidence is fascinating

Think of it not as a gene that makes people gay, but rather a gene that makes you really attracted to men. When the gene is present in a woman, she marries earlier and has more kids than women who don't have the gene. But when the gene is present in a man, it makes him gay or bi or closeted. How our genes could make us gay or straight - The Washington Post
The claim that homosexual men share a “gay gene” created a furor in the 1990s. But new research two decades on supports this claim – and adds another candidate gene. To an evolutionary geneticist, the idea that a person’s genetic makeup affects their mating preference is unsurprising. We see it in the animal world all the time. There are probably many genes that affect human sexual orientation. But rather than thinking of them as “gay genes,” perhaps we should consider them “male-loving genes.” They may be common because these variant genes, in a female, predispose her to mate earlier and more often and to have more children. Likewise, it would be surprising if there were not “female-loving genes” in lesbian women that, in a male, predispose him to mate earlier and have more children. . . . Perhaps “male-loving” alleles in a female predispose her to mate earlier and have more children. If their sisters, mother and aunts have more kids who share some of their genes, it would make up for the fewer children of gay males. And they do. Lots more children. An Italian group showed that the female relatives of gay men have 1.3 times as many children as the female relatives of straight men. This is a huge selective advantage that a male-loving allele confers on women, and offsets the selective disadvantage that it confers on men. . . .