Tag: politics

Punked! Slate's Doctored Photos Mess With Readers' Memories

By Joseph Calamia | May 27, 2010 3:21 pm

clinton“How will we remember the 2000s? What were the high and low points? Who were the heroes and villains?” William Saletan asked in a Slate article last week.

Do you remember when Senator Joe Lieberman voted to convict President Clinton at his impeachment trial, when President George W. Bush chilled at his Texas ranch with Roger Clemens while Hurricane Katrina destroyed New Orleans, and when Hillary Clinton used Jeremiah Wright in a 2008 TV attack ad against Barack Obama?

You shouldn’t remember any of these things, because they didn’t happen. But Slate made pictures to use as evidence that these events did actually occur as an exercise in “altering political memories.” Slate mixed doctored photos of these fake events with other photos of real ones, and asked the readers which they remembered. The readers had no idea they were part on an experiment in memory hacking.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: What’s Inside Your Brain?

The Iron Curtain Kept Invasive Species Out of Eastern Europe

By Eliza Strickland | January 11, 2010 3:10 pm

cold-warThe Cold War didn’t just restrict the movement of people, ideas, and trends in rock n’ roll, according to a new study–it also kept invasive species from moving into Eastern Europe.

Researchers looked at the number of non-native birds present in both Western and Eastern Europe over the past century. Before the Cold War restricted trade on the continent, Western Europe had 36 alien bird species and Eastern Europe had 11. By the time the Berlin Wall fell and the Iron Curtain crumbled, the number of alien birds in Western Europe had increased to 54, but the number in Eastern Europe had declined to five.

A National Geographic blog explains:

“Global trade is a real concern for invasive species, and the lessons we can learn from the Cold War offer a warning flag to developing countries that are now expanding in an international economy,” said Susan Shirley, a research associate in the College of Forestry at Oregon State University.

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Can Number-Crunching Reveal Whether Iran's Election Was Rigged?

By Allison Bond | June 22, 2009 11:40 am

NumbersThere’s something fishy going on with the vote counts from Iran’s recent election, according to two political scientists from Columbia University. In fact, they argue that the figures released by the Iranian government reveal that the election was fixed.

The political scientists did a little number-crunching; they examined, for example, the last two digits of the vote counts that the Iranian government released, which included 29 of the nation’s 30 provinces.

The result? The numerical patterns of the vote tallies would be extremely unlikely to occur in a fair election, according to an article in the Washington Post. Here are the article’s main points:
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Twitter Surpasses Continental Drift in Congressional Awareness

By Melissa Lafsky | April 28, 2009 12:00 pm

U.S. Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX)—the ranking member on the House Energy & Commerce Committee—has displayed more than a little trouble with the concept of Continental Drift. Imagine our surprise, then, to see that he is apparently an avid Twitterer:

Barton Tweet

Good thing no one’s asking him to explain how exactly all those Tweets got from his computer to teh Internets.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Technology Attacks!
MORE ABOUT: idiocy, internet, politics

Scientists Gone Wild! The Best Science Reactions to the Stimulus

By Rachel Cernansky | February 27, 2009 3:22 pm

happy scientistWhile the $787 billion stimulus bill has not been without controversy, it has also achieved a rare accomplishment: creating something on which most scientists agree. The new bill will distribute a lot of money, so much so that many of the recipients in the science community are overjoyed—even if they aren’t necessarily prepared to handle it.

The extent to which some offices will be overwhelmed is exemplified by this reporting in The New York Times:

Utah expects that its state energy office will receive $40 million for energy efficiency, renewable energy and related programs—123 times the size of the office’s current budget, said Jason Berry, who manages the four-person unit. He is about to go on a hiring spree.

Equally thrilled with their soon-to-be windfalls, scientists have made some prize comments in the media this week about their good fortunes. Here are a few of our favorites:

“It’s like they finally got to the other side of the desert and it’s pouring rain,” Seth Kaplan, vice president of the Conservation Law Foundation. (The New York Times)

“We’re kind of like the dog that caught the car…[though] if we don’t [distribute the money] well, the technical term is: we are toast,” Ernest Moniz, a M.I.T. physicist who served as undersecretary of energy for President Bill Clinton. (Nature News)

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Paris Hilton's Energy Policy Is All Wrong

By Tyghe Trimble | August 6, 2008 2:20 pm

oil gusherAs John McCain and Barack Obama aim for the White House, the fights over experience and age, the war in Iraq and terrorism, and the economy and budget-balancing drag on. But whenever a serious science and technology debate comes up —including education, medicine, and energy—we here at DISCOVER perk up. Even if that debate is being furthered by Paris Hilton.

Granted, the point of Paris’ most recent (and perhaps only) talk about energy policy on funnyordie.com is not to start an energy debate that has teeth, but to make a humorous entry into presidential politics with faux-serious solutions. If this is an effective way to get people to discuss energy policy—an admittedly wonkish and often boring topic—so be it.

And now, let’s discuss Paris Hilton’s “energy plan.”

First of all, Hilton is taking on oil, not energy. She is not discussing nuclear, coal, wind, or solar—just the stuff that is turned into plastic water bottles, heats our homes, and makes cars go “vroom”. So this is not a comprehensive energy plan, but a look at lowering gas prices and shedding dependence on foreign oil.

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MORE ABOUT: biofuel, energy, politics, solar, wind

Bush ♥ Science?

By Lizzie Buchen | February 22, 2008 4:04 pm

The Bush era of federally funded science was a smashing success. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service took the southwestern bald eagle off of the endangered species list, the Bureau of Land Management endorsed cattle grazing regulations that would prove “beneficial to animals,” and the U.S. Forest Service recommended legislation to protect animals from wildfires, to name a few.

Surprised? Well, there is one problem with these success stories: They’re all examples of political distortion, manipulation, and suppression of scientific research by the federal government.

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MORE ABOUT: politics

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