The Monkeys are Running the Zoo

Workout notes 4000 yards: 17:21 1000 (after an 8:53 start), 5 x (100 drill/swim/drill/swim with fins, 100 paddle), 4 x 250 (slow!) on the 5 (4:15, 4:17, 4:24, 4:24), 10 x (25 fly, 75 free) on the 2 (1:46-47 each).

Then 3 mile plus walk outside (46 minutes; probably about 3.4-3.5); it was an almost toasty 24 F.

Science Check out this article which is mostly a slide show about the types of worms that can infest humans. The slides…well…don’t exactly arouse one’s appetite. Hat tip: 3-quarks daily.

New Amphibians discovered in Columbia My sister sent me a link to this article about 10 new species of amphibians being discovered in Columbia.


With amphibians under threat around the globe, the discovery was an encouraging sign and reason to protect the area where they were found, said Robin Moore, an amphibian expert at the environmental group Conservation International.

The nine frog species and one salamander species were found in the mountainous Tacarcuna area of the Darien region near Colombia’s border with Panama.

Because amphibians have permeable skin, they are exposed directly to the elements and can offer early warnings about the impact of environmental degradation and climate change, Moore said. As much as one-third of all amphibians in the world are threatened with extinction, he said.

“Amphibians are very sensitive to changes … in the environment,” Moore said in a telephone interview. “Amphibians are kind of a barometer in terms of responding to those changes and are likely to be the first to respond, so climate change … impacts on amphibians heavily.”

Amphibians also help control the spread of diseases like malaria and dengue fever, because they eat the insects that transmit these ailments to people.

“Moderate Senators” attempt to cut NSF funding from the Stimulus Package. That’s right: a couple of so-called moderates are trying to cut the money going to science out of the stimulus package:

Tonight, an AP article reports that senate “moderates” are working on a compromise stimulus package that cuts $88B from the nominal senate version. Doesn’t sound so bad, until you read the fine print. Here’s what they plan on cutting:

Nearly 20 senators from both parties met twice during the day and reviewed a list of possible cuts totaling 88 billion. They included elimination of at least $40 billion in aid to the states, which have budget crises of their own, as well as $1.4 billion ticketed for the National Science Foundation.

Geesh! We’re talking more than $800B of stimulus and the very first thing on the chopping block is basic science. That demonstrates just how low basic science is regarded. It looks like education is also being cut.

From the AP article:

Senate moderates seeking to pare back Barack Obama’s economic plan are rekindling their efforts in hopes of building a bipartisan vote that eluded the president in the House.

A group of nearly 20 moderates from both parties — more Democrats than Republicans — huddled off and on all day Thursday in hopes of cutting as much as $100 billion from Obama’s plan, which ballooned to $937 billion on the Senate floor, with further add-ons possible during a long day of votes Friday.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., displayed impatience with the moderates, led by Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Ben Nelson, D-Neb., at a midday news conference, but he lent them encouragement as he sent senators home later Thursday.

“It’s gotten more encouraging and that’s because the leadership has indicated that they have some appreciation for the work that this bipartisan group is doing,” said Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La. “It’s still got life. It’s still breathing.”

A roster of $88 billion worth of cuts was circulating, almost half of which would come from education grants to states, with an additional $13 billion in aid to local school districts for special education and the No Child Left Behind law on the chopping block as well. Some $870 million to fight the flu was among the first items to go, but other items divided the group.

There is the big problem: basic scientific research, including the type that is often ridiculed by the ignorant among us, is what drives these major advances.

Oh well; the silver lining is that this is the first stimulus bill and more will be eventually be coming; we don’t have to get it ALL in this one but we do need to get this one out.

I sure hope that the Senators know what they are doing.


February 6, 2009 - Posted by | Barack Obama, politics, politics/social, ranting, science, swimming, training

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