MSNBC – Judge nixes evolution textbook stickers

MSNBC – Judge nixes evolution textbook stickers

A federal judge Thursday ordered a suburban Atlanta school system to remove stickers from its high school biology textbooks that call evolution “a theory, not a fact,” saying the disclaimers are an unconstitutional endorsement of religion.

The complete decision is here. The Judge claimed that the stickers failed the second and third parts of the so-called “Lemon Test”: in particular that’s primary purpose was to advance religion and that it created excessive entanglements between government and religion. Worth reading.

If you need some more stickers, print ’em up for yourself.

Brainwagon Radio: New Years Goals, Women in Podcasting and a Mellow Track

Where your host talks a bit about his goals for the New Year, chats about the newly announced Apple Mini and iPod Shuffle, rambles (probably incoherently) about the perceived gap between men and women in technical fields, and finishes with a mellow track from online record label Magnatune.

Some links:

  • Do you really need a link to Apple?
  • I build (or more accurately, used to build) telescopes. I hope to finish (nay, plan to finish) my 12.5″ Newtonian in 2005.
  • I’ve started actually running. According to some, I’m probably pushing myself too hard, but I’d like to run a 10k in 2005.
  • Getting Things Done by David Allen has some interesting tips on trying to get organized. The geek in me immediately wants to find some electronic organizer thing to make it all easy. Lazy.
  • 43 Folders turned me on to Allen’s book. Kudos to them.
  • Amy Gahran has been trying to find women’s voices in podcasting, and they seem to be few and far between. Her January 11th podcast is a plea for more women in podcasting.

    Frankly, I haven’t a clue why more women aren’t involved in podcasting. I suspect that it is merely a reflection of the relatively small proportion of individuals who (say) go into graduate school in computer science. Why that occurs is also a bit of a mystery to me. Lack of mentors? Discouragement from parents and teachers? Desire to begin families? None of these answers seem entirely adequate. If there is a “podcast gap”, is there something we should (or even can) do about it?

  • The closing track is from Falling You’s Touch, and is titled something about eve. Very relaxing.

Things to look forward to next time: a report on Wil Wheaton’s book signing in SF and a movie review of Electra… Stay tuned!

Cassini snaps pictures of Iapetus

IapetusThe Cassini probe has taken some awfully nice pictures, including this one of the moon Iapetus. The equatorial ridge is really very odd.

The most unique, and perhaps most remarkable feature discovered on Iapetus in Cassini images is a topographic ridge that coincides almost exactly with the geographic equator. The ridge is conspicuous in the picture as an approximately 20-kilometer wide (12 miles) band that extends from the western (left) side of the disc almost to the day/night boundary on the right. On the left horizon, the peak of the ridge reaches at least 13 kilometers (8 miles) above the surrounding terrain. Along the roughly 1,300 kilometer (800 mile) length over which it can be traced in this picture, it remains almost exactly parallel to the equator within a couple of degrees. The physical origin of the ridge has yet to be explained. It is not yet clear whether the ridge is a mountain belt that has folded upward, or an extensional crack in the surface through which material from inside Iapetus erupted onto the surface and accumulated locally, forming the ridge. The origin of Cassini Regio is a long-standing debate among scientists. One theory proposes that its dark material may have erupted onto Iapetus’s icy surface from the interior. Another theory holds that the dark material represented accumulated debris ejected by impact events on dark, outer satellites of Saturn. Details of this Cassini image mosaic do not definitively rule out either of the theories. However, they do provide important new insights and constraints.

Python Gadget of the Day – Pydot

Part of a directory treepydot is an interface to the GraphViz suite of programs for drawing abstract graphs and networks. Nifty. I’ve had need of such a thing quite a few times, and it only took me about two minutes to convert a part of my home directory hierarchy into the picture on the right. Fun stuff.

Unix HistoryNot that impressed? How ’bout this slightly nicer diagram of the history of Unix variants? Pretty cool.