Monthly Archives: February 2004

Cornell’s Backyard Bird Count

Are you looking for something to do this weekend? Well then, how about participating in the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Great Backyard Bird Count, which is currently underway (February 13th through 16th). Check out for more details (including a printable bird tally list for your area):

February 2004 — Scientists and bird enthusiasts can learn a lot by knowing where the birds are. Now that winter has gripped much of the continent, what are our birds doing? Bird populations are dynamic, they are constantly in flux. We want to take a snapshot of North American bird populations and YOU can help us. Everyone’s contribution is important. It doesn’t matter whether you identify, count, and report the 5 species coming to your backyard feeder or the 75 species you see during a day’s outing to a wildlife refuge. Your data can help us answer many questions:
– How will this winter’s snow and cold temperatures influence bird populations?
– Where are the WINTER finches and other irruptive species?
– Will late winter movements of many SONGBIRD and waterfowl species be as far north as they were last year?

As of 2004-02-14 23:29:52.0 the total tally is as follows:
Total Checklists Submitted: 8,325
Total Species Observed: 436
Total Individual Birds Counted: 865,385

Ban Dihydrogen Monoxide!

I first saw the following text in an e-mail back in 1997. For those of you who have not yet read it, or have seen it and may have forgotten about it, I thought that it might be fun to post it here. It’s a good reminder of the fact that there really are no totally harmless substances. Find out more about the origin of this “warning” at


Dihydrogen monoxide is colorless, odorless, tasteless, and kills uncounted thousands of people every year. Most of these deaths are caused by accidental inhalation of DHMO, but the dangers of dihydrogen monoxide do not end there. Prolonged exposure to its solid form causes severe tissue damage. Symptoms of DHMO ingestion can include excessive sweating and urination, and possibly a bloated feeling, nausea, vomiting and body electrolyte imbalance. For those who have become dependent, DHMO withdrawal means certain death.

Dihydrogen monoxide:
* is also known as hydric acid, and is the major component of acid rain.
* contributes to the “greenhouse effect.”
* may cause severe burns.
* contributes to the erosion of our natural landscape.
* accelerates corrosion and rusting of many metals.
* may cause electrical failures and decreased effectiveness of automobile brakes.
* has been found in excised tumors of terminal cancer patients.

Continue reading Ban Dihydrogen Monoxide!

The Debate Continues…

Georgia’s lawmakers have proposed a bill that would require the state-wide curriculum to correspond to the national standards. Check out the following articles that were published in the Athens Banner-Herald over the last couple of days:

  • Concern over evolution prompts curriculum bill (February 10, 2004)
  • Evolution flap prompts curriculum bill (February 9. 2004 )
  • Note: Read more about the National Science Education Standards here.

    Revisiting Evolution in Georgia

    A number of other weblogs (e.g., “So you want to be a science teacher” and “Pharyngula“) have already posted about the fact that putting the word “evolution” back into Georgia’s K-12 science curriculum doesn’t solve the problem with the proposed life sciences curriculum. However, since I feel very strongly about this topic and I wanted to post about this topic on “Citizen Scientist” as well.

    For those of you who haven’t already read it, I recommend that you read An Analysis of Georgia’s Proposed Standards for Life Science, written by Reed Cartwright, a doctoral student in Genetics at the University of Georgia. This article highlights how Georgia’s proposed standards for the life sciences differ from those recommended by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

    You should also check out the following websites which Reed has linked to off his own website:

  • Georgia Science Education Petition
  • Georgia Citizens for Integrity in Science Education
  • I would also like to refer you to a recent post on Jeff Hellman’s blog So you want to be a science teacher about why evolution should be taught in school.

    Science is Child’s Play

    via Alan Boyle’s Cosmic Log:

    “Turn science into child’s play: Sally Ride, the first American woman to go into space, has had her share of somber duties as a member of the investigative boards for the Challenger explosion as well as the Columbia tragedy. But she also is involved in happier chores, such as helping with the second annual TOYchallenge.”

    TOYchallenge gives students in grades five through eight the opportunity to exercise their skills in science, engineering and design by coming up with new ideas for games and toys. Ride created the contest, along with Hasbro Inc. and Domenico Grasso, director of Smith College’s Picker Engineering Program. The idea is to inspire young people