Weekend Reads 5/16/15

We're in the Process of Decimating 1 in 6 Species on Earth

The result is alarming: One out of every six species could face extinction if global warming continues on its current path. The picture is less dire if we manage to curb climate change, dropping to only 5.2 percent of species if warming is kept within the internationally-agreed upon target of 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

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Republican Leadership on Climate Change?

In these days, when Republican presidential candidates are proud to deny the reality of anthropogenic climate change, and the Republican chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee is leading denier in all of Washington, it might be hard to remember the time a leading Republican spoke these words:

The issue of climate change respects no border. Its effects cannot be reined in by an army nor advanced by any ideology. Climate change, with its potential to impact every corner of the world, is an issue that must be addressed by the world.

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Simpson's Paradox

Simpson's paradox is named after statistician Edward Simpson, who first described the effect in a 1951 paper titled The Interpretation of Interaction in Contingency Tables. Simpson described a scenario where the results of a scientific study appear to support one conclusion, but when the results are split to account for a particular variable, the results show a different conclusion.

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Weekend Reads 5/9/15

If Black People Lived As Long As White People, Election Results Would Be Very Different

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 8.5 million black people died during that 35-year period. But if the mortality rates had been comparable, an additional 2.7 million black people would have been alive, and of those, an estimated 1 million would have cast votes in the 2004 election.

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Discrimination in Kentucky

It's been fifteen months since Ken Ham debated Bill Nye over the viability of creationism as a model of origins (video link). Ham has spent most of those 15 months embroiled in a different sort of controversy.

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Weekend Reads 5/2/15

Love Is the Primary Energy to Amend Climate Change

It my seem odd to look to a colonial Quaker as the model for amending climate change — I say amend because we have already changed the climate; the best goal now is to stop further change and amend our way of live — but his model/witness may be the exact model/witness we need.

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Dealing with Drought

California is dry. Really dry. Historically dry. Life-alteringly dry. Dry enough to bring out the political extremists, as if they had crawled up through those cracks in the ground.

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Weekend Reads 4/25/15

Genetically modified crops? Nature got there first

One of the most frequently mentioned issues with GMO foods is a vague concern about bringing genes from distantly related organisms into plants. But an international team of biologists has now found that this has occurred naturally in a major crop plant: the sweet potato.

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How and Why

The ancient Babylonians believed solar eclipses were a sign of the anger of the gods. Often, the priests recommended appeasing the gods by sacrificing the king. But Babylonian astronomers recorded the dates and times of eclipses, and discovered a regular pattern. Armed with this knowledge, they were able to predict the date of the next eclipse.

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