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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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Is Intelligent Design Science?

Its proponents claim it has scientific merit; its detractors say it is grounded in religious doctrine. But the truly salient characteristic the Intelligent Design (ID) movement in the first three decades is the amount of time it has spent embroiled in court battles.

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"I'm Not a Scientist"

Five years ago this week a massive snowstorm shut down Washington, D.C. for several days. The family of Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe built an igloo on the National Mall and labeled it "Al Gore's new home" in a mocking tribute to Gore's efforts to publicize the seriousness of global warming. Inhofe told reporters he thought the igloo was "really humorous".

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Olbers' Paradox

“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble,” Mark Twain once said. “It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”

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Can We Find a Middle Ground on Measles Vaccination?

One side says mandatory vaccination is the best way to protect children from deadly diseases. The other side says vaccinations often cause the diseases they are supposed to prevent, and can sometimes even trigger autism. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a possible 2016 presidential candidate, has tried to strike a middle ground by calling for balance between public health concerns and parental choice. But is a middle ground even possible?

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A Brief History of Vaccination

The practice of inoculation--exposing a person to a mild case of an illness to build up an immunity--is possibly a thousand years old. Some evidence exists that 11th century Chinese physicians may have prevented the spread of smallpox by exposing people to pus from the sores of smallpox victims. There was a slight risk of actually giving a person smallpox through this form of inoculation, but it was a smaller risk than the much greater exposure they could get during an epidemic.

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