Smartening Up America
During this election period we've noted a frightening level of ignorance in America. Many people interviewed at political rallies evidence little knowledge about history, geography, or religions or cultures different than their own. I saw one video clip in which a man said, "I don't know about electing a Nigra [sic]; after all, this is a Christian country." Now, where would you begin with this guy?
He's far from alone. In The Age of American Unreason, Susan Jacoby relates that a quarter of Texas' high school biology teachers believe that humans and dinosaurs were contemporaries. Evidently we're burdened with an old and endemic anti-intellectualism. My cynical side predicts that during my lifetime I'll be called an "elitist" because I can read.
Popular ignorance threatens democracy. Unless we terminate this creeping disdain for knowledge, we'll lose our nation as we know it. So here's my question: do you know of any ongoing or impending intiatives designed to educate Americans about the rest of the world and America's place in it?
Giving our solar system a "slap in the face."
- A stream of galactic debris is hurtling at us, pulling dark matter along with it
- It's traveling so quickly it's been described as a hurricane of dark matter
- Scientists are excited to set their particle detectors at the onslffaught
The climate change we're witnessing is more dramatic than we might think.
A lazy buzz phrase – 'Is this the new normal?' – has been doing the rounds as extreme climate events have been piling up over the past year. To which the riposte should be: it's worse than that – we're on the road to even more frequent, more extreme events than we saw this year.
Once again, our circadian rhythm points the way.
- Seven individuals were locked inside a windowless, internetless room for 37 days.
- While at rest, they burned 130 more calories at 5 p.m. than at 5 a.m.
- Morning time again shown not to be the best time to eat.
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