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Thursday, May 8,2014

In case you missed it

SCIENCE EDITOR: FOX NEWS CUT CLIMATE CHANGE CONVO 

If you’re an expert science journo, you just might appear on Fox News’ Fox & Friends to opine about all things futuristic, like Google’s robot cars, gene therapy and how we’ll all be traveling in spaceships one day. Just don’t bring up climate change. That’s what Michael Moyer, an editor for Scientific American, learned last week. Asked what tops his crystal-ball-gazing list beforehand, he told a show producer “climate change.” That’s apparently not a good subject in Foxland.

“I was told to pick something else,” Moyer alleged in a tweet. Undaunted, he went on air and mentioned the gorilla in the future’s room anyway, but when he saw the segment, mentions about climate change were gone. And... commercial. That led Moyer to tweet, “I kinda feel like I should take a shower.”

Hosts from the show definitely read tweets, and were in near-histrionic form the following day chiding Moyer for being humorless and ungrateful.

“He stabs us in the back!” one host claimed. Moyer blogged up a retort, citing a study that found that, “in general, Fox hosts and guests were more likely than those of other networks to disparage the study of climate science and criticize scientists.”

Why appear on Fox in the first place? “I did go on the show to discuss the other topics, because they are genuinely interesting and I love to share cool science with whomever will listen,” he wrote.

RACISM IN COLORADO AND BEYOND 

If you thought allegations of racism are a thing of the past, look no further than recent headlines. Exhibit A: Donald Sterling, the uberwealthy Los Angeles basketball team owner caught on tape telling his former girlfriend “don’t bring black people” to the games. For that, Sterling, the owner of the Clippers, was banned for life from the National Basketball Association.

Exhibit B: Comments made by Colorado state Sen. Mary Hodge, of Brighton, decried as “ignorant” and “racist” in a Facebook post by fellow Democrat, Rep. Joe Salazar of Thornton. The claim came after Hodge delivered the key vote in killing a proposal to provide Native American college students with instate tuition. At issue: Hodge’s comments to Indian Country Today Media Network.

“I don’t know how long we can make reparations [to Native Americans] or how far we’d have to go back,” she said. “I guess my point is we can’t fix what we did.” Hodge has not been banned from the Legislature.

Exhibit C: Don’t call your dopey friend a Neanderthal to win an argument. Not only are you committing a fallacy in the art of argument known as ad hominem (Latin for “make everyone laugh at your opponent instead of addressing the matter at hand”) you are also mischaracterizing Neanderthals. University of Colorado Boulder researcher Paola Villa says the primitive people were not cognitively inferior, as long thought: “Researchers were comparing Neanderthals not to their contemporaries on other continents but to their successors.”

Now who, we ask, are the dimwits? We’re left looking at a long line of caveperson scholars (with the exception of Villa [but only if he’s right]).

THIS WEEK IN NEW JERSEY’S ‘QUALITY OF LIFE’ 

Lately, we haven’t heard a peep from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. He’s the guy who skewered Colorado for its “head shops” and pot tourism; for being a place that’s “not the quality of life” he envisions for his Garden State. Given the boasting, we admit we’ve been staring at Jersey, even though we don’t want to, just to see if we can find a hint of a pang of jealousy. Still waiting. We learned a few things, including that Christie’s state is 32nd of 50 when it comes to business and careers, according to Forbes (Colorado is 5th). And the students in Jersey seem, for lack of a better term, as pissy as their governor. Sixty-three Jersey high school students were arrested for urinating down the hallways in a revolting prank that shocked authorities’ 1950s-ish sensibilities about what makes a prank a good one.

“When you’re doing something lighthearted, that’s one thing,” Ken Trump, a New Jersey school safety advisor told The Los Angeles Times. “When you’re talking about urinating and breaking into an alarmed structure, that’s another.”

But don’t judge Jersey too fast. A couple of kids in Boulder made headlines after zinging rocks at some fuzzy-headed, groggy-looking defenseless ducklings, prompting a commando rescue by a heroic resident and the Greenwood Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. Lesson: Some lame ducks can be loved.

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