Monthly Archives: April 2008

Grateful Dead Donate Archives to UC Santa Cruz

The Grateful Dead Archive will be at UC Santa Cruz:

Band members Bob Weir and Mickey Hart made the announcement this morning at a press conference held in the poster room of San Francisco’s historic Fillmore auditorium.
Documenting the history of the band from 1965 to the present, The Grateful Dead Archive will reside in the University Library’s Special Collections at UC Santa Cruz. The focal point of the collection will be a dedicated room named “Dead Central,” where both academic researchers and the general public will have access to the archive.

Here is a stream of the announcement…fairly entertaining for Deadheads…Bob, Mickey, Eileen Law and others answer questions.

And, yes, at least one pair of Bob’s cutoffs will be in the archive.

Bill Gates Says He will Release His Personal Genome

With one caveat: he will not have his genome sequenced and release it until after the top 20 infectious diseases have been cured.
On Wednesday, 4/23, the University of Washington Department of Genome Sciences kicked of their 2008 Symposium with a Special Panel Discussion: The Personal Genome: Consequences for Society.
Gates joined Dr. George Church, Dr. Eric Lander and Dr. Leena Peltonen on the panel. After a 15 minute introduction by Dr. Lander the panel, moderated by Dr. Maynard Olson, answered questions from the audience, local and online, for the next 90 minutes. For example:

  • The personal genome is likely to benefit only those in developed countries. How will it assist undeveloped countries?
  • Does all this knowledge of genetic variations risk a world of designer babies?
  • Given the influence of environment over our health doesn’t the public over emphasize the power of genes?

Some important points:

  • Even though dramatic advances are being made at an accelerating pace genomicists are still just scratching the surface,
  • 2) there are significant privacy issues to be worked out,
  • there is a high risk of misuse and abuse of genomic information and
  • public education on genomicsand collaboration with the public on the above and related issues will be critical.

You can stream a video of this Panel Discussion. Dr. Lander’s introduction is worth the price of admission and Gates’ commitment is near the end of the program.

An Easy Decision for the Texas School Board

Nope, they should not have any trouble rejecting this proposal:

A bid by the Dallas-based Institute for Creation Research to train future science teachers was flatly rejected by Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board members Wednesday.

Here is a sampling of what you would get from ICR:

The purpose of ICRGS is (1) to prepare science teachers and other individuals to understand the universe within the integrating framework of a biblical perspective using proven scientific data, and (2) to prepare students for leadership in science education. A clear distinction is drawn between scientific creationism and biblical creationism, but it is the position of the Institute that the two are compatible and that all genuine facts of science support the Bible.
The programs and curricula of the Graduate School, while similar in factual content to those of other graduate colleges, are distinctive in one major respect. ICR bases its educational philosophy on the foundational truth of a personal Creator-God and His authoritative and unique revelation of truth in the Bible.

The first two goals of their distance education program are:

# create a network of science teachers who desire to teach scientific truths about biblical creation;
# learn the most effective ways to teach scientific truths about biblical creation;

Excellent goals! Ones that any decent science teacher can already handle just fine.
If someone really wants a course like this as part of their educational credentials then they should certainly be allowed to do so. But they should not expect it to qualify them to teach real science.

On a related note, John Freshwater can keep his bible on his desk. However, it sounds like some of his teaching points and methods are well aligned with ICR.

Update: Greg Laden has a related petition you should go sign.

Law and Politics

Professor Brian Tamanaha suggests that perhaps constitutional law should not be taught in law schools and notes:

Students who learn that constitutional law is infused with politics (though it cannot be reduced to that) might wrongly come to think that all law is like that, an easy error to fall into because constitutional law has so much prominence and attention within the legal academy.

Well, they would not be wrong about the reams of dead trees, being fully imbued with politics, shipped from the loading docks of legislatures far and wide.