News & Submissions 3/29/2012

March 29th, 2012 by sivodd

Environment & Science:

Fossils foot bones hint at mystery walker
Scientists have obtained a fascinating new insight into the evolution of humans and our ability to walk.

It comes from the fossilised bones of a foot that were discovered in Ethiopia and dated to be 3.4 million years old.

The researchers say they do not have enough remains to identify the species of hominin, or human ancestor, from which the right foot came.

But they tell Nature journal that just the shape of the bones shows the creature could walk upright at times. Read full story from bbc.co.uk

Climate Change Poses Disaster Risk for Most of the Planet
Climate change is bringing more droughts, heat waves and powerful rainstorms, shifts that will require governments to change how they cope with natural disasters to protect human lives and the world economy, a new U.N. report says.

The 592-page analysis by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, released yesterday, also makes clear the uneven toll extracted by extreme weather, because its effects can be magnified by a lack of resources to plan for disasters and cope with their aftermath. Read full story from scientificamerican.com

News:

NYC Schools Want To Ban ‘Loaded Words’ From Tests
New York (CNN) — Divorce. Dinosaurs, Birthdays. Religion. Halloween. Christmas. Television. These are a few of the 50-plus words and references the New York City Department of Education is hoping to ban from the city’s standardized tests.

The banned word list was made public — and attracted considerable criticism — when the city’s education department recently released this year’s “request for proposal” The request for proposal is sent to test publishers around the country trying to get the job of revamping math and English tests for the City of New York.

New York (CNN) — Divorce. Dinosaurs, Birthdays. Religion. Halloween. Christmas. Television. These are a few of the 50-plus words and references the New York City Department of Education is hoping to ban from the city’s standardized tests.The banned word list was made public — and attracted considerable criticism — when the city’s education department recently released this year’s “request for proposal” The request for proposal is sent to test publishers around the country trying to get the job of revamping math and English tests for the City of New York. Read full story from ktvz.com

Suspects: Alleged sexual assault part of religion
MARIETTA – A Marietta couple was arrested Tuesday night for allegedly sexually assaulting a teenage family member, acts they say occurred due to their religious beliefs.

Arrested were Daniel R. Hess, 45, and his live-in girlfriend, Lacey K. Day, 30, of 728 Mount Tom Road, Marietta. The couple was charged with third-degree sexual battery after allegedly assaulting a 15-year-old girl on three occasions beginning in late 2010.

“We’ve been conducting the investigation for about the last two weeks. It came to our attention through another public service agency within the county,” said Washington County Sheriff Larry Mincks. Read full story from newsandssentinel.com

Mysterious Stone Monolith Likely an Ancient Astronomical Calendar
A mysterious stone monolith jutting from the ground near Manchester, England probably served as a crude seasonal calendar for Stone Age farmers.

The moss-covered monolith has three faces and appears to be roughly 4,000 years old, based on dating of other relics sprinkled about the site, which is called Gardom’s Edge.

“The stone is a singular, very striking feature in contrast to the landscape,” said astronomer Daniel Brown of Nottingham Trent University in the UK. “It’s definitely not a Space Odyssey alien relic. It’s far more mundane and tricky.”Read full story from wired.com

Religion:

How religion has been used to promote slavery
(CNN) – Which revered religious figure – Moses, Jesus, or the Prophet Muhammad – spoke out boldly and unambiguously against slavery?

Answer: None of them.

One of these men owned slaves, another created laws to regulate – but not ban  - slavery. The third’s chief spokesman even ordered slaves to obey their masters, religious scholars say.

Most modern people of faith see slavery as a great evil. Though the three great Western religions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam – disagree on many matters, most of their contemporary followers condemn slavery.

Yet there was a time when Jews, Christians and Muslims routinely cited the words and deeds of their founders to justify human bondage, scholars say.

At times, religion was deployed more to promote the spread of slavery than to prevent it. Read full story from cnn.com

Media:

Police Probe Animal Sacrifice (Source: NBC Connecticut)

View more videos at: http://nbcconnecticut.com.

Giant Solar Tornado Caught in NASA Video (Source: National Geographic)



Sean Faircloth & Richard Dawkins address the American Atheists Convention Source: YouTube – RichardDawkinsdotnet)

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Thanks for stopping by! Well wishes to you all, have a great day!

Lisa

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