[Crossposted at Daily Kos]

As some of you know, this is a weekly series I do at Daily Kos. I was not sure this would be O.K. to post here. If it is – then next week I will add Booman Tribune diaries as well (If they are not crossposted).

I started this series to highlight the week’s science diaries. Many political issues will require input from the scientific community to make sound policy decisions.

Some criteria for the diaries I will be including in Nerd Network News:

  • Diary must have verifiable sources.
  • Copyright standards must be followed. The sources must be quoted in part and referenced (no complete articles).
  • Writer must comment or show some analysis of the article (no “link only” diaries)

This is to try to keep the diaries as useful as possible. There may be exceptions if an important subject was brought up and there were no other diaries covering the subject.

The opinions expressed in the diaries are not necessarily my own and spelling errors in the gray boxes are intentionally left as written.

If I missed anyone, sorry.

More below

Science Diary Categories

Click on link to take you there.

Ecology and Global Climate Change
Medicine & Healthcare
Other dKos Diary Lists or Series
dKos Writer’s
Science Blog Roll

This Week in Science History


April 20

In 1902, Marie and Pierre Curie isolated one gram of radium, the first sample of the radioactive element. They had refined it from eight tons of pitchblende ore.

April 21
Revolving restaurant

In 1962, the first revolving restaurant in the U.S., the Top of the Needle, Seattle, Washington, was opened by remote control by President John F. Kennedy from Palm Beach, Florida.

April 22
Roller skates

In 1823, roller skates were patented by Robert John Tyers, a fruiterer in Picadilly, London. His Volitos were an “apparatus to be attached to boots … for the purpose of travelling or pleasure.” They used five small wheels in a single line. Tyers demonstrated them at the tennis court in windmill Street. The first use of roller skates is believed to be by Joseph Merlin in Belgium (1760). The first four-wheeled skates, using small boxwood wheels in pairs, were patented in 1863 by James L. Plimpton of New York

April 23
Max Planck

Born 23 Apr 1858; died 4 Oct 1947.

Max (Karl Ernst Ludwig) Planck was a German theoretical physicist. He studied at Munich and Berlin, where he studied under Helmholz, Clausius and Kirchoff and subsequently joined the faculty.he became professor of theoretical physics (1889-1926). His work on the law of thermodynamics and the distribution of radiation from a black body led him to abandon classical Newtonian principles and introduce the quantum theory (1900), for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1918. This assumes that energy is not infinitely subdivisible, but ultimately exists as discrete amounts he called quanta (Latin, “how much”). Further, the energy carried by a quantum depends in direct proportion to the frequency of its source radiation.

April 24
Scopes Monkey Trial

In 1925, Darwin’s theory of evolution was taught on this day in Dayton, Tenn. The high school textbook used was George Hunter’s Civic Biology, that promoted Charles Darwin’s The Descent of Man. For this, teacher John Scopes, 24, was prosecuted under a 21 Mar 1925 state law, the Butler Act, against the teaching of evolution in public schools. At the trial (10-21 Jul 1925) both sides desired only one legal outcome – a conviction! The defense intended to make an appeal that might overturn the Tennessee statute. He was convicted and fined $100. On appeal, the state supreme court upheld the constitutionality of the 1925 law but acquitted Scopes on the technicality that he had been fined excessively. The law was repealed 17 May 1967.

Science Diary Categories

Ecology and Global Climate Change

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Death of Environmentalism v2.0 by NeverSummer :

What are these unforseen payoffs I speak of?  Looking to the past, and what it means for the future, I can see the animosity created toward the “liberal left” which includes many Environmental movements and groups.  The Sierra Club, ELF, PETA, Greenpeace and more are grouped and dissected for examples of how they represent the “Left gone wrong”.  If we do not tread lightly, we will lose the fence-sitting people who once cared about the environment, but will now be conviced nothing is wrong, and America may continue with its destructive and irresponsible policies.

Order 81 – It’s the WHEAT Seeds by gimbal :

I will leave it to the reader, crtainly, to determine what The Ecologist (UK periodical) has reported, in their frank wisdom, and what the Pentagon’s Centcom had to say, on its part, about wheat … and, well, seeds — and what more and broader depth and what details exists, of that famed Order 81, an expression of whom did derive it — that non-fiction, as a law, put to the people of Iraq, — that work, present and as long as it stays, “future”.

Happy Earth Day To You: Antarctic Glaciers Retreating by ColoRambler :

About the only good news here is that the glaciers in question represent a fairly small portion of the Antarctic ice sheet — the Antarctic Peninsula in the northernmost part of the continent. Even there, the process is a little disturbing, because this is an area of Antarctica that is uniquely susceptible to ice melting as a result of local climate change. More below:

Abolish This Day by philinmaine :

Heavens to Murcatroy, it’s Earth Day again, well, officially it’s Friday April 22nd (I think). Earth Day used to be a big deal a few decades ago complete with rallies, legislation, personal commitment to daily improvement but that was then, this is now. Now it’s all about consumerism, it’s about the stuff.

It’s A Sad Earth Day For Me by Patriot for Al Gore :

I wrote this diary a week ago and I poured my heart out about the love I feel for this Earth. Today, I weep for this planet. Today, I mourn for the loss of the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge. Today, Earth Day, a day when we should celebrate Mother Earth and reflect on what we have accomplished and what we still need to do, we have the most corrupt and environmentally destructive administration in the history of this country sucking her dry. I cannot feel happy today when I look at the blatant disrespect so many people have for this planet, and the level of acrimony those who say they love this country carry for her in their hearts based on their actions.

Good News! Uranium mining banned on Navajo rez! by navajo :

I reported in January that Canadian uranium companies wanted to start mining uranium again on the Navajo reservation.  The mining in the 1920’s through the 80’s left Navajo’s with radiation sickness, contaminated tailings and contaminated water.

Earth Day 35. Are We Getting Anywhere? by Meteor Blades :

Although that first Earth Day focused needed attention on the world’s environmental troubles, it was also a diversion. Just a week after Earth Day, on April 29, the U.S. sent troops into Cambodia and, within three weeks, six students had been killed during protests at Kent State and Jackson State universities. Then, too, while millions joined in Earth Day activities, the event was peppered with corporate sponsors, many of whom were more interested in making a public relations coup than anything substantively ecological. Indeed, some corporate participants took a downright hostile tone when it was pointed out that something engaged in by them might be environmentally destructive.

Happy Earth Day; here’s your gas mask. by BobcatJH :

Happy Earth Day, everyone. I guess everyone celebrates in different ways; for instance, the radical Republicans in the House of Representatives started the party a little early, writing a love letter to Big Energy yesterday.

Global Warming: Glacier Losses Accelerating by Unstable Isotope :

A new report using satellite images to track the glaciers has found that they are melting, and that the melting has accelerated in the last decade.

Environmental News to give you the Blues by jillian :

A loophole in the fine print of the Bush Administration’s `Clear Skies’ bill would exempt many of the nation’s power plant units from ever having to reduce their mercury emissions. A loophole in the bill could exempt 39% of the nation’s mercury-emitting power plant units from regulation. These 441 units collectively emitted 4,971 pounds of mercury into the air in 1999. In some cases, the loophole could let entire plants off the hook for cleaning up their mercury emissions. The fine print: how a loophole in the `Clear Skies’ bill lets power plants off the hook for their Mercury emissions. Published by Michigan Public Interest Research Group.

My Earth Day speech Columbia Missouri by Keith Brekhus :

Got to give a 7-8 minute speech between bands today at Columbia, Missouri’s Earth Day celebration. Here is what I had to say (almost verbatim, but since I didn’t read as I spoke it was slightly different and probably included some “umms” and other imperfections :-). The speech is below. Feedback is welcome even though its already been spoken….


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Know Your Creationists: DR Jonathan Witt by DarkSyde :

Jonathan Witt holds a Ph.D. in Literary Studies from the University of Kansas. Before joining the Discovery Institute as Writer in Residence, Witt served for nine years as the head of creative writing at Lubbock Christian University, and has published fiction and creative non-fiction in addition to his scholarly articles. He is curently writing a book to be called The Meaning-full Universe.

Evolution: Common Descent Primer by DarkSyde :

Evolution: 1) From the point of view of genetics ‘a change in the frequency of alleles within a population over time’ 2) Diversification/speciation from common ancestors. Most folks who object to evolution are not rejecting the theoretical mechanisms by which species are thought to change over time, but rather the idea of common descent; specifically common descent of man and other forms of life. But the theoretical mechanisms by which species diverge from common ancestors could be dead wrong, and the evidence for common descent would be unaffected. The best resource which reviews all these is the Talk Origins FAQ called 29 Evidences for Macroevolution: The Scientific case for Common Descent. I usually group the evidence for common descent into six categories, and I’ll ramble on a bit about each of them below the jump (And I could use all the help I can get from anyone who wants to chime in because I’m sicker than a dog).

Third Anti-evolution Bill of ’05 Introduced in Alabama by DarkSyde :

A third antievolution bill was introduced to the Alabama State Legislature late in the 2005 legislative session. On April 5, 2005, Rep. Scott Beason (R-St. Clair, Shelby) introduced House Bill 716. The bill is dubbed the “Academic Freedom Act” and is a near-copy of a previous pair of antievolution bills   (HB352, SB240) introduced in February 2005. Those bills were themselves copies of antievolution legislation introduced in 2004. The 2004 bills were passed out of committee in both houses, but they died on the floor when the 2004 legislative session expired. … more

Fun New Creationist Law Suit! by SeattleLiberal :

In an article at worldnetdaily there is now another attempt at making the evolution/creationism debate into a “free speech” issue.

MSNBC HardBall and Those Colorful Young Earth Creationists by DarkSyde :

Having been primed by promos all day from the MSNBC News Show Hardball shouting out “Adam and Eve or evolution?”, I tuned in at 7 PM EST Thursday evening to see if the program would live up to the advertisment. Sad to say the portion of the program discussing creationism was woefully short, but all in all I was satisfied with the way what little was presented played out. Host Chris Matthews opened the segment by relating to creationist representative Terry Fox (Not sure if I have the name right) that as a young man in his Catholic Private School, Matthews had been taught evolutionary biology and he saw no conflict between evolution and Christian theology.

Medicine & Healthcare

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Universal Healthcare – A Way to Level the Playing Field by vtrob77 :

I was reading an article on CNN.com, Safeway CEO: No choice on health care, about how safeway had to stop paying the entire cost of healthcare and shift the burden to some of their employees.  (this is what lead to the strikes in SoCal).

HealthCare News Round-up – Tuesday 4/19/05 by the holy handgrenade :

Due to time and work constraints, today’s column will focus on only two topics: possible reductions to the possible Florida Medicaid reforms and rising California Blue Cross premiums.

The New Food Pyramid is Dead On Arrival by peeder :

With a big build-up and much fanfare, the USDA’s new Food Guide Pyramid is a classic exercise in a well-meaning waste of taxpayer time and money.

Behind the Curtain: Fundamental Pharmacists by mad ramblings of a sane woman :

Last week a friend, who is in healthcare, and I were discussing pharmacists, the pill and religion. She stated that there are many more pharmacists out there who would refuse to fill birth control prescriptions than we even realize. I wondered, with that intellectual curiosity that the current President lacks, where are these pharmacists coming from? What colleges are they going to? How are they paying for 5-6 years of college? Are there scholarships available only to Christians to attend universities and get a Pharmacology degree? So in e pluribus media style, I googled, and below the jump is what I found. What frightens me the most is that I am sure there are many more organizations like Christian Pharmacists Fellowship International.

HealthCare News Round-up – Wednesday 4/20/05 by the holy handgrenade :

Today’s column will focus on issues in the Wisconsin Medicaid program, the ongoing TennCare saga, foreign prescription drugs and updates in the estimated annual obesity related deaths.

Who cares if women die? by lorraine :

Yesterday, I posted a diary about the Guardian’s report that the US Dept of Health and Human Services was applying pressure to the World Health Organization to prevent it from moving two drugs, mifepristone and misoprostol, on to an “essential drugs list” that would constitute advice to governments about which drugs their country’s doctors should have on hand at all times. These two drugs, used in combination,induce abortion, much more safely than surgical abortion.

Canada on Plan B: No Prescription Necessary by catnip :

Health Canada has decided that women needing the “morning after pill” Plan B (levonorgestrel) will no longer need a doctor’s prescription in order to obtain it. It will sit behind the pharmacists’ counters, as many other drugs do, so that they can warn women of the side effects. Provinces are also able to decide if they would like to free all restrictions to the drug by moving it from behind the pharmacists’ counters altogethr.

an uncomfortable place for sex by seesdifferent :

Hatch is one of the lead sponsors of a bill which would allow federal funding for stem cell research. He also said that embryonic cell research is vital to medical research against a variety of diseases. “One of the best ways to be pro-life is to help take care of the living,” Hatch says. He and Arlen Spector stated further rationale for change: the cell lines existing when Bush made his edict are all contaminated with non-human cells (this results in the presence of sialic acid, which, shall we say, confuses the stem cells). Spector, of course, has lost his hair from treatment for Hodgkins Disease, a cancer of the lymphatic system. It is widely hoped that stem cell research could produce cures for cancer. In another appeal for bipartisan support, Spector pointed out that stem cell research was needed to fulfill Nixon’s commitment for a “war on cancer.” Dianne Feinstein D-Cal is the lead Democratic sponsor of the legislation.

Putting a Human Face on the Travesty that is our National Health Care System by MAlibdem :

Up here in Hanover, New Hampshire, a picturesque New England college town with a beautiful green, classic academic buildings, and a charming, thriving Main Street, there doesn’t seem to be too much suffering.  People seem well off, educated, a slice of small town America.

Bush Depression leads to increase in Suicide & Murder in some states by tiberius :

The rising murder & suicide rate in several states are just another snapshot of George W. Bush’s America. While the study below was only based on data from the first 6 states, it appears to be part of a national trend- probably because crime tends to increase as the economy falters

Good News On Contraception: NYC Begins Sane Policy by JaneKnowles :

Are you getting tired of bad news regarding contraception? If so, you will appreciate this story. Recently NYC Mayor Bloomberg announced that starting in June, doctors in city health facilities would offer prescriptions for emergency contraceptives — commonly known as “EC” — to any woman of childbearing age who wants it.

HealthCare News Round-up – Thursday 4/21/05 & Friday 4/22/05 by the holy handgrenade :

Today’s column will focus on a proposed increase to Iowa’s Medicaid roles, a Connecticut health benefit bill, Baltimore’s prescription plan and the ongoing Wisconsin Medicaid funding problem.


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Disability Rights (and Wrongs) by therealcervantes :

I was fortunate to be a student of the late Irving Kenneth Zola. Irv was one of the founders of the sociological study of disability, and of the very non-academic disability rights movement. He had multiple disabilities himself, but as a young scholar it hadn’t occurred to him that his disabilities constituted a social status or that they suggested a field of study. This awareness really grew out of his much broader work in the sociology of health and illness.

HealthCare News Round-up – Monday 4/18/05 by the holy handgrenade :

Today’s column will focus on pediatric vaccination shortages, another TennCare issue and North Carolina’s voiding of the current Medicaid contract. There isn’t much going on today, as the weekend was light on healthcare news.

What’s so bad about nuclear power? by Jensequitur :

I feel bad for these countries that are trying to build nuclear power plants.  All they really want to do is get out from under the yoke of OPEC and the Carlyle Group.  They need power for industrialization.  But our current administration’s knee jerk reaction is to accuse them of building bombs.

Congress Asked to Boost Ethanol Production by doink :

Of course, the oil industry opposes this; every drop of ethanol we put in our tanks helps keep prices of oil down by reducing demand. Wouldn’t want to interfere with the industry’s current record profits.

Energy Bill Passes the House. by environmentalist :

The Republican-crafted bill was approved by a margin of 249-183.

They’ve passed it, what, four times before but it cant seem to get past the Senate.  Thank God.  This year could be different though.  So, what’s in the Energy Bill of 2005?

Economy/Energy/Environment – How Dems Can Win by Dem in Knoxville :

My background is in environmental chemistry, and so I tend to visualize the shifting prices and other measures of the economy in terms of a web of equilibria, like the incredibly complex web of equilibria in our bodies.  And like a web, you pull on one thread and everything else is affected to a greater or lesser degree.

Texas: Want green energy? Here’s how by Neverknowsbest :

Several years ago, Texas deregulated the power industry in certain areas. And for once, deregulation might actually work in our favor.  If you live near Houston, Dallas, or in south or west Texas, you might have the option to switch your electricity provider to an environmentally conscious, green energy provider.

This Diary Could Cost Me My Job by Devilstower :

I don’t know whether I want this to be widely read, or to sink into the tar.  I know it’s a bad idea to write this.

Not only am I risking my job to address this issue so directly, I’m also risking any credibility I have here at dailyKos.  Many of you are going to hate parts of this just as much as my employers hate the rest.

I’m not even sure what I hope to get out of it.  A bit of catharsis, maybe.  Or the chance to do something about a problem that I’ve had a very real hand in creating.   I guess I’m hoping for both those things.

Ladies and gentlemen, I want to talk to you about coal.

Peak Oil Is Here by randym77 :

Dr. Kenneth S. Deffeyes, oil worker turned Princeton professor, wrote a book about peak oil, called Hubbert’s Peak.  In the first chapter, he talks about how he knew peak oil had arrived for the U.S.:

A Peak Oil Night’s Mare by DarkSyde :

I put this up a few weeks ago. Laziness, sickness, and a recent surge of interest in Peak Oil, gives me the excuse to repost. Stimulated by Randym77’s insightful diary and observation, consider this the Edgar Allen Poe version of a Peak Oil primer for those who like the allegorical horror tale format.


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Blog Revolution: jScoop Is Alive! by pacified :

After only 3 weeks of blood, sweat, and beer, a little side project of mine I like to call jScoop is up and running on the Internets.

Challenging America – The Next Space Age by rkolker :

While it received scant attention in the campaign, we urge you to accelerate and elevate the attention given to changing the direction of civilian spaceflight in general and human spaceflight in specific. That the dollars spent on human spaceflight are spent badly is obvious to anyone who has observed the program’s glacial progress. Why changing that direction is urgent is not. May we take a moment to explain why.


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Santorum to Control Weather by pyrrho :

Santorum has submitted a bill to force NOAA to remove the weather information feed it currently provides for free via the internet.  By “free” I mean “already paid for by our taxes”.  Well, Santorum thinks, on behalf of “AccuWeather and The Weather Channel”, et al, we should not have this information.

Science Friday: Early, Weird, and Cool Edition by Devilstower :

You may think it’s corny (and it is), but so many people bought into the punchline, that a significant number of folks think Disney put his body on ice.  But bodies that are frozen aren’t in suspended animation.  They’re just plain dead.

Science Friday: Potpourri by Devilstower :

This is one of those days when the science news comes nearly as fast as the action in a Bolton hearing.  It’s hard to even pick the most important story of the day.

Is it that Antarctic Glaciers are melting faster than expected, giving us yet another sign of global warming (and prodding me to look for possible beachfront land in Arkansas)?

Super Nova, Creationism, and the Fate of the Universe by DarkSyde :

Often lost in the cynicism of politics, it’s all too easy to grow frustrated. This fine Saturday morning can I interest you in taking stock of some of the hopeful qualities in mankind? This story begins a long time ago, when a few clans of homo sapiens barely a few thousand strong living in Africa still shared their blue planet with Neandertals in ice-age Europe. The tale starts in a galaxy far, far, away, from those savannas, where a brash young star was paying the price for a life led too fast and too furious. The mighty sun had burned it’s precious nuclear fuel with reckless abandon, shining more brightly than a thousand less well endowed stars, but the glory was fleeting. Working down the familiar hierarchy of increasingly heavier elements, the ruthless force of gravity finally conspired with atomic physics to put an end to the giant’s gluttonous ways in a final cataclysm that would serve as both gravestone and funeral pyre.


While this is not necessarily a science category, you can not have good scientists without good education. So I will highlight education issues here.

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Battle Growing Over College for Immigrant Kids by ProgressiveSouth :

One of the sharpest political debates erupting in statehouses this year — and a key battle between progressive and anti-immigrant forces nationwide — is over proposals to give the children of undocumented immigrants in-state tuition at state colleges and universities.

NCLB & Private School Vouchers.. a destructive mix for education. by Scoopster :

This diary is the reply to a short comment I found on another blog. It’s more a stream of logical events that is now happening on a daily basis throughout our country. Please let me know what you think below, as this is something I wrote myself while researching and thinking about the basic ideas and facts. The original comment is:

Be More Philosophical by pyrrho :

In the history of mankind, lets say the last 10,000 years, Western Civilization (that Gandhi is such a kidder) we have long periods of religious neurosis, oppressive dogmatic regimes symbolized by animosity toward inquiry and change, marked with relatively short philosophical periods of a century or three.

warning about a new “report” on teachers by teacherken :

from the Progressive Policy Institute which for those who don’t know is the ‘think tank” for the DLC — Al From is the head of the parent Third Way Foundation.  They combined DLC/PPI has sent out an email broadcast about their new report on teacher quality.  Not surprisingly, they find that quality lacking.

Three States and Teacher’s Union Fights No Child Left Behind Law by bhlogger :

We’ve long been reading about the negative consequences the No Child Left Behind program is having on school districts nationwide. It looks like a few states and the larges teacher’s union in the nation is finally stepping up to the plate.

teachers and the law by teacherken :

in keeping with my practice of making available resources and information that I think may be of value to people on this list, I want to call your attention to a resource.  It is dsigned primarily for teachers, of which clearly there are many on this blog.  But the information covered will be of interest and perhaps even of use for many others.

Education Secretary fined Texas $444,282 for defying NCLB by Eloy :

The Texan Margaret Spellings now Education Secretary fined Texas for noncompliance of No Child Left Behind Act.  Margaret Spellings helped draft the original NCLB Act in Texas when she advised then-Gov. George W. Bush from 1994 to 2000.

Should federal scientists have to raise funds for their projects? by Boppy :

No.  Scientists are not fundraisers.  Hello!!  Knock, Knock!   We can afford tax cuts for the the weatlhy and for a needless war.  We can afford to support our federal scientists.  This following is from PEER.

Other dKos Diary Lists or Series

These are great lists to help you catch up with easily missed diaries every week.

Newsie8200’s “Newsie’s Week In Reviewsies”
jotter’s “Most Recommended Diaries”
social democrat “17 best-rated comments”

These series offer help for everything from saving money to saving your soul.

Newsie8200’s “Newsie’s Media News Monday”
bonddad “Today’s Economic News”
dhonig “Daily Pulse”
advisorjim. “Confessions of a Former Dittohead”
pamindurham “LGBT news roundup”
catnip “Daily Kos Diary Series: A Compilation”
Our Man In Redmond “Sunday Griot”
the holy handgrenade “Healthcare News Round-up”
Frankenoid “Saturday Morning Garden Blogging”
Ptolemy “Weekly Torah”
Soj “PDB”
Bill in Portland Maine “Cheers and Jeers”

A series of photos from Iraq

RubDMC “Iraq War Grief Daily Witness”

Previous Nerd Network News Lists
Nerd Network News – Week of December 20-26
Nerd Network News – Week of December 27 – January 2
Nerd Network News or “N cubed” – Week of January 2 – 8
Nerd Network News – Week of January 9 – 15
Nerd Network News (Science Diaries) – Week of January 16-22
[Science] Nerd Network News – Diaries from the Week of January 23-29
[Science] Nerd Network News – Diaries from the Week of Jan 30 – Feb 5
[Science] Nerd Network News – Diaries from the Week of February 6-12
[Science] Nerd Network News – Diaries from the Week of March 21 – 27

dKos Writer’s

(listed by id#)
This is a list of dKos members that frequently focus on science. If you know of others that should be added please add their names in a comment below.

Paul Rosenberg
Plutonium Page

Science Blog Roll

greenState A new blog on Environmental issues by fellow Kossians.
Science And Politics and circadiana by our own coturnix
Chris C Mooney
The Panda’s Thumb
Preposterous Universe

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