A pertussis (whooping cough) outbreak in Illinois has afflicted over 1100 individuals as of December 2011. In order to protect children and non-immunized adults, WJBC reports that beginning in the 2012-2013 school year, all students in the state of Illinois entering sixth and eighth grade must show proof of having received the whooping cough vaccination. Continue reading “Mandatory whooping cough vaccinations for Illinois students”
A seventeenth patient has contracted measles in Indiana. The patient, who was not vaccinated for measles, had travelled outside of the US to an area where the disease is prevalent.
Although 17 cases may seem like a small outbreak, it is actually large compared to the disease’s almost non-existence during the past few years. Measles is so contagious that those who are not vaccinated are highly susceptible.
Natural selection at its most powerful.
I’ve added a new FAQ that lists out various logical fallacies to which I refer occasionally while writing about the pseudoscience pushing groups. You can reach it through this link or through the navigation bar. I’ll add new ones as required.
The Vermont Senate just passed a bill that will end the so-called “philosophical exemption” from requirements for students to receive vaccines before attending public schools. This exemption is used by the anti-vaccine lunatics to allow their children to attend schools without having the standard courses of vaccinations. Of course, these philosophical objections are almost always based on pseudoscientific beliefs rather than evidence. Continue reading “Vermont Senate passes bill to end philosophical exemptions from vaccinations”
When Republican climate change denialist, Ken Cuccinelli, was elected as attorney general of Virginia, he decided that his position entitled him to squash science that didn’t meet his limited, and clearly anti-science, viewpoint of the world. Just three months after being elected, he decided to go after Dr. Michael E. Mann, at that time, a University of Virginia geophysicist and world-renowned climatologist. In other words, Dr. Mann, a real scientist with numerous studies published, offended the Republican anti-science and global warming denialism credo. That must have spurred Cuccinelli to use his vast powers to suppress such knowledge from the world. Continue reading “Academic freedom prevails over Republican “witch hunt””
Alabama’s House Bill 133, which would “authorize local boards of education to include released time religious instruction as an elective course for high school students”, cleared the Alabama House Education Policy Committee on February 29, 2012. As discussed previously, this legislation is probably unconstitutional, violating the Establishment Clause of the US Constitution, mainly because the school boards would be responsible for setting the curriculum. I didn’t realize this before, but each child could have access to studies about their own religion. So there would have to be credit given for Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, Christian (and which sect of christianity would be taught). And what about atheists? I guess those kids could actually study something real, like science. Then get the great jobs. And discover the cure for a disease. Then the anti-science religious student will come begging for the cure. Continue reading “Creationism legislation–Alabama (update 2)”
I’m a huge fan of Apple products. This blog is being written on a MacBook Pro running WordPress. I have an iPhone 4 running everything I need. I don’t own an iPad, but I have had one for a few months a couple of years ago, and I was singularly unimpressed with it, and unless it has suddenly fixed some of its shortcomings, I remain unimpressed. It’s not just the iPad, it’s the whole genre of computer. Continue reading “Study confirms iPad’s shortcomings for diagnostic radiology”
Recently, Springer, one of the largest scholarly scientific book publishers in the world, was considering publishing a book entitled, Biological Information: New Perspectives. In a purely scientific context, a book with that title might be interesting, because there is so many new ideas in biology. For example, though there is no dispute about the Fact of Evolution, there’s still a lot of discussion about the mechanisms of evolution, one of the most fascinating and vibrant fields in biology these days. Continue reading “Major scientific book publisher is considering a creationist book”
A couple of months ago, I wrote about the Laacher See, a caldera lake and potentially active volcano in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. The Daily Mail, a UK tabloid, published a story stating that the volcano was ready to erupt soon. Though there is plenty of evidence that the volcano is still active and may one day erupt, there is no evidence that it’s about to do so anytime soon. Continue reading “Volcano in Germany is definitely not going to erupt soon”
I just blogged about giant fleas in the Jurassic. Now, I’ve got to mention the giant Penguin that has just been reconstructed from fossils found in New Zealand. The penguin lived about 26 million years ago and does not look like any modern penguins. It was about 1.3 m tall (approximately 50 inches), and weighed about 60 kg (around 132 lbs), which is about 50% larger than the biggest modern penguins.
It also had vestigial wings, much larger than current day penguins, which might indicate an intermediate species between the common ancestor to all birds and the modern species. Based on its body shape, it probably could go deeper and faster than modern penguins.