Around the web 12/3/2013

UNIVERSITY THOUGHT POLICE AT WORK AGAIN — University of Michigan Kicks Christian Club off Campus because they require leaders to be Christians. This should be a no-brainer. Of course a Christian group on campus should have Christian leaders; this would be discriminatory only if the same rule were not applied to other groups. A Muslim group should be allowed to require Muslim leaders, a Buddhist group should be allowed to require Buddhist leaders, an atheist group should be allowed to require an atheist leader, and so forth.

PBS HATCHET JOB RETRACTED — pbs.org had posted an anti-creationist hatchet job with several inaccuracies entitled 10 Interesting Lessons from Creationist-Inspired Textbooks. Certainly some of the “10 interesting lessons” were straight out of the fringe (homeschool publishers Bob Jones and Abeka) of young-Earth creationism, but others were simply false accusations, such as the stating that the ID book Pandas and People teaches “biblical genetics” based on the story of Jacob mating Laban’s sheep and goats in Genesis 30.

The PBS article now reads:

Independent Lens [part of PBS] seeks to assure that its content offerings encourage a lively civic dialogue, and that they do not present only one point of view. In this spirit, this post has been removed…

There are enough really bad teachings in the YEC world without adding embellishments.

HT: Controversial Biblical scholar Peter Enns, who missed the Pandas and People error, but gives an idea of what is out there in the YEC homeschool world.

KILLER KITTIES — One of my cats (the cute one) fits the description of “killer.” That Cuddly Kitty Is Deadlier Than You Think.

Domestic cats in the United States […] kill a median of 2.4 billion birds and 12.3 billion mammals a year, most of them native mammals like shrews, chipmunks and voles rather than introduced pests like the Norway rat.

BROKEN LIGHT BULB? — From the EPA: What to Do if a CFL Breaks. (HT: Geology.com News)

TEN YEARS AGOCNN coverage of the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster.

Grace and Peace

Around the Web — 5/19/2012

Mitt Romney’s Environmental Platform — Ummm, Mitt Romney doesn’t seem to have an environmental platform. The menu at mittromney.com doesn’t have “Environment” as an option.

There isn’t anything substantial about the environment that I could find on the site. I am a conservative, and will vote for Romney in November. But why can’t we have a conservative presidential candidate who would actually be interested in conserving?

Richard Dawkins’ sloppy scholarship — Jay Wile does a good job of exposing militant atheist Richard Dawkins’ poor use of quotations. “This situation is very interesting, because creationists are often accused of quote mining, but here is a clear case where one of the greatest evolutionary evangelists of our time is doing it.”

The “Planet Debate” renewed? — A few years back, Pluto was demoted, so now we have only eight planets in the solar system. The debate is certain to be renewed at same point, not only about Pluto, but also about a couple of asteroids. The NASA article NASA Dawn Spacecraft Reveals Secrets of Large Asteroid refers a number of times to the planet-like qualities of the asteroid Vesta, such as having an interior differentiated into layers, including an iron core.

N.T. Wright sings about Genesis — sung to the tune of “Yesterday” by the Beatles. Watch it at the Internet Monk. Wright isn’t the world’s greatest musician, but he inserts a lot of theological issues into a few verses.

Why they had to fall, I don’t know, it doesn’t say
They did something wrong, and we’ve longed for God’s new day-ay-ay-ay

Grace and Peace

Stratolaunch

From Paul Allen and Burt Rutan: The Stratolaunch.

From Yahoo News: New Stratolaunch plane will take people into Earth’s orbit

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen is teaming up with aerospace pioneer Burt Rutan to build a giant machine that is part airplane and part spaceship. The new vehicle will be able to transport people and cargo into Earth’s orbit and is scheduled to be commercially available by 2016.

Grace and Peace

Seven years of Opportunity

The rover Opportunity has been on the surface of Mars for over seven years now. From Astronomy Picture of the Day for January 29th: Opportunity at Santa Maria Crater.

Credit: Mars Exploration Rover Mission, NASA, JPL, Cornell

The panorama is much more detailed on the APOD site.

The description from APOD:

Celebrating 7 years on the surface of the Red Planet, Mars exploration rover Opportunity now stands near the rim of 90 meter wide Santa Maria crater. Remarkably, Opportunity and its fellow rover Spirit were initially intended for a 3 month long primary mission. Still exploring, the golf cart-sized robot and shadow (far right) appear in the foreground of this panoramic view of its current location. The mosaic was constructed using images from the rover’s navigation camera. On its 7 year anniversary, Opportunity can boast traversing a total of 26.7 kilometers along the martian surface. After investigating Santa Maria crater, controllers plan to have Opportunity resume a long-term trek toward Endurance crater, a large, 22 kilometer diameter crater about 6 kilometers from Santa Maria. During coming days, communication with the rover will be more difficult as Mars moves close to alignment with the Sun as seen from planet Earth’s perspective.

Grace and Peace

Ice on the Moon

From Astronomy Picture of the Day 10/25/2010: Water Ice Detected Beneath Moon’s Surface

Blue is hydrogen-rich (probably water ice) and red is hydrogen-poor.

The explanation from the APOD site:

Is there enough water on the moon to sustain future astronauts? The question has important implications if humanity hopes to use the Moon as a future outpost. Last year, to help find out, scientists crashed the moon-orbiting LCROSS spacecraft into a permanently shadowed crater near the Moon’s South Pole. New analyses of the resulting plume from Cabeus crater indicate more water than previously thought, possibly about six percent. Additionally, an instrument on the separate LRO spacecraft that measures neutrons indicates that even larger lunar expanses — most not even permanently shadowed — may also contain a significant amount of buried frozen water. Pictured above from LRO, areas in false-color blue indicate the presence of soil relatively rich in hydrogen, which is thought likely bound to sub-surface water ice. Conversely, the red areas are likely dry. The location of the Moon’s South Pole is also digitally marked on the image. How deep beneath the surface the ice crystals permeate is still unknown, as well as how difficult it would be to mine the crystals and purify them into drinking water.