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Second Symposium on Astrosociology at SPESIF 2010Collapse )

Of particular note is that the Medical Astrosociology section is in real need of papers, if there is even the slightest chance you might be interested, please contact me. I found out less than a week ago that I'm to chair it, if there are papers. Of course they tell me this right before the initial deadline so I didn't get a chance to do any publicity since I wasn't originally planning on attending the conference.

If you know of any students that are currently working in any area that combines social sciences and outer space that might want to present some work (either a paper or presentation), have them send in an abstract. I think there is the option of a poster as well. Feel free to pass this on to any other person or other faculty that might be interested. And yes, we accept things that are "weird" so try us.

Here are some important things to note.

There will be student rates, but any interested student would have to confirm with the head of the conference on what those rates are. There is also a coattending student discount that is even cheaper, but their professor has to be at the conference as well.
Also the $50 reading fee that the head of the conference is trying to charge for papers only is going to be waived for most people so try to not worry about that.

I just uploaded the pdf to my website so you can view everything if you want to... Astrosociology sessions. If you are submitting a paper, abstract, or title to any of these sessions I would really appreciate being CCed. I can also help you decide where your paper goes if you are unsure. You can use my gmail address : melsmarsh AT gmail

Crossposted to callsforpapers
03 July 2009 @ 06:40 am

June 30th, 2009 by Britt Kennerly

Ken A. Ham President and Chief Executive Officer of Answer in Genesis stands with a mechanical Utahraptor at The Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky, in 2007. For a group of paleontologists, a tour of the Creation Museum, which has been dubbed a "creationist Disneyland," seemed like a great tongue-in-cheek way to cap off a serious conference.

For a group of paleontologists, a tour of the Creation Museum seemed like a great tongue-in-cheek way to cap off a serious conference.

But while there were a few laughs and some clowning for the camera, most left more offended than amused by the frightening way in which evolution -- and their life's work -- was attacked.

"It's sort of a monument to scientific illiteracy, isn't it?" said Jerry Lipps, professor of geology, paleontology and evolution at University of California, Berkeley.

"Like Sunday school with statues... this is a special brand of religion here. I don't think even most mainstream Christians would believe in this interpretation of Earth's history."

The 27 million dollar, 70,000-square-foot (6,500-square-metre) museum which has been dubbed a "creationist Disneyland" has attracted 715,000 visitors since it opened in mid-2007 with a vow to "bring the pages of the Bible to life."

Its presents a literal interpretation of the Bible and argues that believing otherwise leads to moral relativism and the destruction of social values.

Creationism is a theory not supported by most mainstream Christian churches.

Lisa Park of the University of Akron cried at one point as she walked a hallway full of flashing images of war, famine and natural disasters which the museum blames on belief in evolution.

"I think it's very bad science and even worse theology -- and the theology is far more offensive to me," said Park, a professor of paleontology who is an elder in the Presbyterian Church.

"I think there's a lot of focus on fear, and I don't think that's a very Christian message... I find it a malicious manipulation of the public."

Phil Jardine posed for a picture below a towering, toothy dinosaur display.

The museum argues that the fossil record has been misinterpreted and that Tyrannosaurus rex was a vegetarian before Adam and Eve bit into that sin-inducing apple.

Jardine, a palaeobiologist graduate student from the University of Birmingham, was having fun on the tour, but told a reporter that he was disturbed by the museum's cartoonish portrayal of scientists and teachers.

"I feel very sorry for teachers when the children who come here start guessing if what they're being taught is wrong," Jardine said.

Arnie Miller, a palentologist at the University of Cincinnati who was chairman of the convention, said he hoped the tour would introduce the scientists to "the lay of the land" and show them firsthand what's being put forth in a place that has elicited vehement criticism from the scientific community.

"I think in some cases, people were surprised by the physical quality of the exhibits, but needless to say, they were unhappy with things that are inaccurately portrayed," he said.

"And there was a feeling of unhappiness, too, about the extent to which mainstream scientists and evolutionists are demonized -- that if you don't accept the Answers in Genesis vision of the history of Earth and life, you're contributing to the ills of society and of the church."

Daryl Domning, professor of anatomy at Howard University, held his chin and shook his head at several points during the tour.

"This bothers me as a scientist and as a Christian, because it's just as much a distortion and misrepresentation of Christianity as it is of science," he said.

"It's not your old-time religion by any means."
14 June 2009 @ 10:13 pm
I'd like to see this community become a bit more active--and interactive--and I'd like to start posting more items for discussion with greater frequency. To get things moving, though, I'd like to examine the internal dynamics of our own dear little Society first.

So... who's out there, and what do you like?

LJ-Cut, for the sake of Friends Lists everywhereCollapse )
Current Location: Virginia, USA
Current Mood: curiouscurious
Current Music: "In A Sentimental Mood" - Ella Fitzgerald
23 April 2009 @ 07:46 am
The Science Guy offends Waco
Good thing he didn't tell them about the Earth around the Sun thing.

Bill Nye "The Science Guy" was booed in Waco, Texas for suggesting the Moon did not generate its own light, but reflected light from the sun.

Trouble started when the children's entertainer brought up Genesis 1:16, which reads: "God made two great lights -- the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars," and pointed out that the lesser light was actually a reflector.

At this point, several people in the audience stormed out, including woman with three small children who shouted, "We believe in God!" and left.

Nye was taking part in McLennan Community College's Distinguished Lecture Series, giving talks on global warming, Mars exploration, and energy consumption, but it was the moon thing that got them.

According to Morgan Matthew, "This story originally appeared in the Waco Tribune, but the newspaper has mysteriously pulled its story from the online version, presumably to avoid further embarrassment."

This is the link: http://www.wacotrib.com/news/content/news/stories/2006/04/06/04062006wacbillnye.html

06 April 2009 @ 10:11 pm
Baby chicks do basic arithmetic (link with video)

Baby birds can do arithmetic, say researchers in Italy.

Scientists from the universities of Padova and Trento demonstrated chicks' ability to add and subtract objects as they were moved behind two screens.

Lucia Regolin, an author of the study said the animals "performed basic arithmetic" to work out which screen concealed the larger group of objects.

The findings are reported in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Read more...Collapse )
19 March 2009 @ 10:15 pm
Earlier today, there was an earthquake in the vicinity of the Pacific islands of Tonga.

The island is located immediately adjacent to the Tonga Trench, a region where the Pacific tectonic plate is subducting--being pushed under--the Tonga and Australia plates. This process often generates notable volcanic and seismic activity, and is what drives the "Ring of Fire."

The earthquake, about 200 km SSE of the islands of Tonga, had a magnitude of 7.9 and a depth of 34 km.

I find this notable because there are pictures and video of recent volcanic eruptions in the area that are simply spectacular. Enjoy. :-)
An international team of bundled-up scientists will soon set off for Antarctica’s interior in a quest to learn about the continent’s most massive and mysterious mountain range; although the Gamburtsev mountains are as high and mighty as Europe’s Alps, even the tallest peak is buried beneath 2 miles of ice. Now, during the southern hemisphere’s summer, the researchers will investigate how the Gamburtsevs formed in a place where scientists say no mountains should be.  (more...)

A follow-up article.

The best part is the comments.  You have to read the comments.
11 February 2009 @ 06:41 am

Marine experts have given 25 octopuses a Rubik's Cube each in a study aimed at easing their stress levels in captivity.

Scientists believe the intelligent sea creatures have a preferred arm out of eight that they use to feed and investigate with.

They are now testing this theory with a month-long observation project in which the octopuses will be given food and toys to play with.


Now, what if the octopi begin SOLVING the cubes?!