Green billionaire prepares to attack ‘anti-science’ Republicans
By Peter Hamby, CNN National Political Reporter
updated 7:36 AM EDT, Thu May 22, 2014
Bill Nye battles with CNN host
Billionaire’s environmental group is targeting Senate, governors’ races
Focus is on races with contrast between pro-environment vs. “anti-science” candidates
Critics accuse Tom Steyer of hypocrisy, saying he made his money on fossil fuels
Washington (CNN) — An environmental advocacy group backed by hedge fund tycoon Tom Steyer is set to unleash a seven-state, $100 million offensive against Republican “science deniers” this year, a no-holds-barred campaign-style push from the green billionaire that could help decide which party controls the Senate and key statehouses come November.
The Steyer-backed outside group, NextGen Climate, has billed itself as a progressive, pro-environment counterbalance to the wealthy oil and gas industry — as well as the primary foil to the pro-business Koch brothers and their well-funded conservative donor network.
The outfit, launched last year by the San Francisco billionaire, has already pledged to spend heavily this midterm year in Iowa to assist the Democratic Senate nominee Bruce Braley, and in Florida, where Gov. Rick Scott is facing a difficult re-election fight against Democrat Charlie Crist.
Red news, blue news: Climate change Rubio: Scientists wrong on climate White House: Climate change to get worse
Steyer’s 2014 map now includes Senate races in Michigan, New Hampshire and Colorado as well as governor’s races in Maine and Pennsylvania, home to two of the most endangered Republican governors in the country, Paul LePage and Tom Corbett.
“This is the year, in our view, that we are able to demonstrate that you can use climate, you can do it well, you can do it in a smart way, to win political races,” said Chris Lehane, the longtime Democratic consultant advising Steyer.
Lehane and NextGen political strategist Sky Gallegos revealed their 2014 strategy Wednesday in a briefing with reporters in Washington.
‘Pro-climate action’ vs. ‘anti-science’
Absent from their list of 2014 targets: must-win Senate races for Democrats in conservative-leaning states such as Arkansas, Alaska, North Carolina, Louisiana and Kentucky. That’s because Democrats on those ballots have expressed support for the Keystone XL pipeline, the coal industry, offshore drilling or hydraulic fracturing — all nonstarter issues for environmentalists.
Instead, Lehane said the 501(c)4 group will play in races that feature a stark choice between “pro-climate action” candidates — all Democrats — and “anti-science” Republicans who have questioned the veracity of climate change or supported the interests of the oil and gas industry.
GOP candidates in the NextGen cross hairs — Scott in Florida, Terri Lynn Land in Michigan, Scott Brown in New Hampshire and Cory Gardner in Colorado — hew closely to the “Republican troglodyte brand,” Lehane argued.
“They are anti-immigrant, anti-women, anti-science,” he said. “It’s a tough brand to win elections around.”
The group said that climate can be successfully used as a wedge issue — Lehane framed it as a moral clash between “right and wrong” — to boost turnout among Democratic voting groups that tend not to show up in midterm election years, specifically young voters, Hispanics and African-Americans.
Cutter presses Graham on climate change Climate change is here Climate change in the Northeast
As in the Virginia governor’s race last year — when Steyer spent nearly $8 million on a campaign to disqualify GOP nominee Ken Cuccinelli with a combination of TV, mail and field operations — the efforts will extend beyond the TV airwaves and include what they call “nano-targeting” to tailor messaging to discrete voting groups.
“We are not some super PAC that’s going to come in, throw up some ads and leave,” Lehane said. “You can come into these states and really run a total campaign.”
Focusing on hyper-local issues
Lehane said the effort, which is budgeted at around $100 million but could grow, will focus attention on hyper-local issues — such as drought in Iowa or flood insurance costs in Florida — that could influence voter perceptions in key pockets of each state. Pollution-related health concerns such as asthma and clean drinking water hit home for lower-income voters, he said.
It wasn’t lost on reporters that the NextGen map featured multiple states that figure prominently in presidential races — Iowa, New Hampshire and Florida among them. Lehane said that was by design. “Almost all of these states align with being really important presidential states either in the primary process or the general election,” he said, promising that Steyer will be active throughout the 2016 campaign.
When the 2016 presidential primary campaigns lurch into overdrive next year, NextGen will continue to call attention to turnout-driving local issues — and on attacking Republican candidates. Steyer has already funded an ad in Florida attacking Sen. Marco Rubio, one of many possible GOP White House aspirants, as a tool of oil lobbyists. “We look forward to a conversation with the Rubios of the world,” Lehane said of the group’s 2016 plans, without revealing specifics.
The outside air cover should come as welcome news to Democratic candidates in their target states who are drowning in a flood of TV ads from conservative groups such as the Koch-endorsed Americans for Prosperity. But the campaign may put some Democrats in a bind.
In Colorado, for instance, Lehane said NextGen will attack Gardner by showcasing his support for hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and the adverse health effects of natural gas extraction on suburban communities. But the strategy could force Democratic Sen. Mark Udall to take a definitive stand on a divisive state issue that pits the business community against environmentalists, an important slice of the Democratic base. Meanwhile, the state’s Democrat governor, John Hickenlooper, has been cautiously supportive of the gas industry as a revenue and jobs creator.
Charges of hypocrisy
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As the founder of the hedge fund Farallon Capital Management, Steyer made part of his fortune from investments in fossil fuels, including foreign coal investments, which has prompted charges of hypocrisy from the Koch-affiliated groups he’s fond of condemning.
“Tom Steyer’s investments at Farallon have lined his pockets with millions of dollars from the foreign coal industry,” said James Davis, a spokesman for Freedom Partners, the Koch-backed political network. “Now he wants to burden the American people with new energy regulations to protect his current green energy investments. He’s already attempting to buy the votes of Senate Democrats on Keystone, which will cost America thousands of good-paying jobs. Surely the media will call him out on the hypocrisy of his claims.”
Lehane said Steyer ordered his investments be diverted from coal and tar sands when he stepped down from Farallon in 2012 but was not aware if he had investments in other energy sectors.
But the primary difference between Steyer and conservative mega-donors, Lehane said, is that Steyer is not personally profiting from his political efforts. “He is giving all the money away,” he said. “He doesn’t have stand to gain some economic benefit by spending money that translates into his own personal economics.”
Lehane added, “We are spending a drop in the big oil bucket as compared to the fossil fuel industry, especially the Koch brothers. All Tom is trying to do is try to balance and level the playing field. We are never going to have as much money as the other side.”
-Please go to http://www.yearsoflivingdangerously.com to see some of the frightening realities facing us today due to man-made climate change, and watch the bald-faced deniers tout their god as the answer and the politicians stick their heads in the sand! This is very real, and as I have said before, I have done MY research and applied skepticism and have come up with the same disturbing conclusions as the pro-climate change faction. Most of the deniers are, in fact, Republicans and their signatures are all over renewable energy repeal bills currently being considered or written.
ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, is working with other groups to insert political bills at various levels that will effectively dismantle most renewable energy initiatives in an effort to further the shale oil and LNG industries which are polluting the North America right now. These organizations have absolutely nothing but loyalty to the top %1, and do not even see the little man starving to death due to drought and ensuing bankruptcy! The people that make up these councils are ultra-rich people who are sealing deals to secure their masters and peers that next billion dollars while farms disappear and industry withers in the heartland, and many of the heartlanders believe that the sky fairy is going to deliver them! We, the scientifically literate, need to act at our levels and participate as much as possible in the political machinations that will defeat and dismantle the deniers’ initiatives! We need to demonstrate, donate, write and even disrupt when necessary, the job sites, conventions, legislative sessions and meetings of those who would profit off of the destruction of our planet.
We can act now or see our planet become a poisoned unlivable wasteland with too little resources to feed even half of the population, or we can sit back and swallow the Kool-Ade that says that climate change is natural. Be careful on the waiting game though, there isn’t much time before it’s too late to stop what is already in motion. Readers, I give you The Keeling Curve URL to analyze for yourselves the cO2 concentrations in our atmosphere.
Could string theory explain similarities between utracold gases and quark gluon plasma?
June 10, 2010
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
For a few millionths of a second after the Big Bang, the universe consisted of a hot soup of elementary particles called quarks and gluons. A few microseconds later, those particles began cooling to form protons and neutrons, the building blocks of matter. Could string theory explain similarities between utracold gases and quark gluon plasma?
A visualization of one of the first full-energy collisions between gold ions at Brookhaven Lab’s Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider, as captured by the Solenoidal Tracker At RHIC (STAR) detector.
Credit: Brookhaven National Laboratory
For a few millionths of a second after the Big Bang, the universe consisted of a hot soup of elementary particles called quarks and gluons. A few microseconds later, those particles began cooling to form protons and neutrons, the building blocks of matter.
Over the past decade, physicists around the world have been trying to re-create that soup, known as quark-gluon plasma (QGP), by slamming together nuclei of atoms with enough energy to produce trillion-degree temperatures.
“If you’re interested in the properties of the microseconds-old universe, the best way to study it is not by building a telescope, it’s by building an accelerator,” says Krishna Rajagopal, an MIT theoretical physicist who studies QGP.
Quarks and gluons, though they make up protons and neutrons, behave very differently from those heavier particles. Their interactions are governed by a theory known as quantum chromodynamics, developed in part by MIT professors Jerome Friedman and Frank Wilczek, who both won Nobel prizes for their work. However, the actual behavior of quarks and gluons is difficult to study because they are confined within heavier particles. The only place in the universe where QGP exists is inside high-speed accelerators, for the briefest flashes of time.
In 2005, scientists at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider at Brookhaven National Laboratory reported creating QGP by smashing gold atoms together at nearly the speed of light. These collisions can produce temperatures up to 4 trillion degrees — 250,000 times warmer than the sun’s interior and hot enough to melt protons and neutrons into quarks and gluons.
The resulting super-hot, super-dense blob of matter, about a trillionth of a centimeter across, could give scientists new insights into the properties of the very early universe. So far, they have already made the surprising discovery that QGP is a nearly frictionless liquid, not the gas that physicists had expected.
By doing higher-energy collisions, scientists now hope to find out more about the properties of quark gluon plasma and whether it becomes gas-like at higher temperatures. They also want to delve further into the very surprising similarities that have been seen between QGP and ultracold gases (near absolute zero) that MIT’s Martin Zwierlein and others have created in the laboratory. Both substances are nearly frictionless, and theoretical physicists suspect that string theory may explain both phenomena, says Rajagopal.
The above story is based on materials provided by Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.
This is wonderful how the news was delivered to Prof. Linde and is yet more proof that the information that we are learning will very soon completely validate Evolution and The Big Bang.
Cosmic Experiment Aims To Close Loophole In Quantum Theory
(ISNS) — An experiment of cosmic proportions, looking at some of the most distant visible corners in the universe, could help close what may be the last major loophole in quantum physics, or shake it to its very foundations.
In the bizarre realm of quantum physics, two or more particles can get linked so they stay in sync instantaneously no matter how far apart they are. Albert Einstein derisively called this seemingly impossible connection “spooky action at a distance” — scientists nowadays give it the name quantum entanglement. Einstein believed that quantum entanglement could be explained on a deeper level by the more intuitive laws of classical physics.
In the classical picture, two objects in different regions of space could not influence each other faster than the speed of light. Also, every particle would have well-defined properties at every moment in time — classical mechanics-based, “hidden variables” that would dictate the strangely synchronized entangled behavior between the particles.
Fifty years ago, physicist John Bell devised a mathematical formula that predicted what scenarios would occur if the counterintuitive predictions of quantum physics were governed by these classical hidden variables. Experiments on Bell’s theorem have supported a purely quantum physics picture, rejecting the existence of hidden variables and showing particles are linked more strongly than one would expect under the laws of classical physics.
However, researchers have also identified major potential loopholes in Bell’s theorem.
Two have been closed, but a third remains, “one known as ‘setting independence’ or sometimes colorfully called the ‘free will’ loophole,” said theoretical physicist David Kaiser at MIT. “It’s a really crazy-sounding loophole, but it turns out it’s the easiest way to fake an outcome in tests of Bell’s theorem.”
In this scenario, the two detectors measuring the entangled particles have a shared history, via an event, information or third party they have in common. This could link them and lead to biased results. Therefore, a scientist testing Bell’s theorem would not have complete control in choosing what each detector measures.
To solve this loophole, Kaiser and his colleagues have proposed looking for answers from the most remote corners of the known cosmos.
The experiment they propose relies on the fact that the universe has been expanding ever since the Big Bang happened nearly 14 billion years ago. As such, objects can be far enough away from each other to have been out of contact since the beginning of the cosmos, with no way for any signal to have ever reached from one to the other. This makes it possible to test the last loophole in Bell’s theorem for a so-called “Cosmic Bell” experiment.
The experiment would involve a pair of telescopes, aimed at opposite sides of the sky at different quasars — supermassive black holes up to billions of times the mass of the sun, which release extraordinarily large amounts of light as they devour matter.
The experiment would create two entangled particles here on Earth and send one of the two to both telescopes. The particles would be measured by detectors at the telescope, machines that would rely on information from the two unconnected quasars to determine which properties they would measure of the two entangled particles.
The scientists reason that because each detector’s settings are controlled by quasars that have shared no history since the universe was born, it should be impossible for these detectors to be part of a conspiracy to skew their results. If the experiment discovered the measurements of the entangled particles matched each other more than predicted by the laws of classical physics, that should close the “free will” loophole.
Although the researchers expect this experiment to verify quantum theory’s predictions, if the test finds otherwise, “that would be a win also,” Kaiser said. “It could mean that we have to change quantum theory, the fundamental theory governing matter. Or it could mean that there could be weird activity in the very earliest moments of the Big Bang.”
Kaiser said that the experiment is possible using modern technology.
The distance between each telescope and the source of the entangled particles needs to be on the order of 50 kilometers. Scientists have already carried out experiments with entangled particles 144 kilometers apart, between the two Canary Islands of La Palma and Tenerife off the northwest coast of Africa, a feat that was announced in 2007.
“It turns out the Canary Islands have some of the largest optical telescopes in the world, so maybe we could do it there,” Kaiser said.
High energy physicist Warren Huelsnitz with the MiniBooNE experiment at Fermilab in Batavia, Ill., who did not take part in this research, noted the experiment would be very challenging — scientists would have to make sure the light the telescopes measure really came from the quasars, as opposed to light pollution on Earth, or scattered starlight.
However, “If Bell’s inequality is not violated in the ‘Cosmic Bell’ experiment, then that would be truly amazing and it would set quantum mechanics, and perhaps all of physics, on its head,” Huelsnitz said. Nevertheless, Huelsnitz predicts that the results will likely be consistent with previous tests of Bell’s theorem.
Even closing this loophole “will not entirely rule out hidden-variables theories,” cautioned theoretical physicist Sabine Hossenfelder at the Nordic Institute for Theoretical Physics in Stockholm, Sweden, who did not participate in this study. For instance, there are so-called superdeterministic hidden variables that Bell’s theorem cannot be used to test. However, she is now investigating whether experiments could show whether those hidden variables exist or not as well.
Charles Q. Choi is a freelance science writer based in New York City who has written for The New York Times, Scientific American, Wired, Science, Nature, and many other news outlets. He tweets at @cqchoi.
Hello my friends!
I want to begin this post with the very reason that an atheist can NEVER rejoin ‘The Matrix.’ Faith. Once you have lost it truly, then you can never recover it no matter how hard you try! The reasons will be given here soon for all to see. First, I see very clearly how a person who had claimed to be logical and rational could now claim to be a true Jesus faithful! All that would be needed would be a hard dose of mortality laced with the fear of the unknown. Usually it is fear that keeps people in ignorance and adhering to religion because it gives them the ‘Afterlife Option.’ Science gives them the truth of what will really happen, decomposition. A very few thinking people become so afraid that they want to be re ‘plugged,’ and they should not be ridiculed for their weakness. Fear is human nature and plays to the very heart of the ancient fears that all primates have.
Not all of us can be atheists. It takes great courage and the ability to stand being ostracized from ones social network to make such a drastic life choice. The rejection of the belief in a ‘Life Fairy Tale,’ takes possibly the most incredibly brave decision of a person’s life due to the devastating fallout that it produces. Most of this person’s associations are going to be with members of his church, and when they see that he no longer believes the fairy tale, they will turn against him and commit acts of sabotage. It is then up to this poor bastard to learn to effectively survive in a world where he is only in the world’s most fastest growing minority, ‘The Nones.’
The ‘Nones,’ are that caste of people reviled by the religious, not because of their non-belief, but because they are growing like a cancer among their ranks! ‘Nones comprise not only the current atheists, agnostics and non- affiliated, but the ‘Closeted atheists,’ that could make up as much as 20% more of YOUR ranks!! We are growing and there is nothing that ‘The Deluded Community,’ can do about it! Their GOD is becoming a choice and not a requirement with the freedom declaration of every new atheist/agnostic! Truly more people are becoming less afraid of the persecution that they will receive from the community of fairy tales!
I highly recommend TheThinkingAtheist.com podcast for those of you looking for a less controversial voice on atheism. Seth is an incredibly articulate gentleman who could talk God himself into becoming an atheist due to his finesse. He soothes the frayed nerves of the minister who calls in to confess his atheism and truly speaks to the pre-teen who is way ahead of her religious throwback parents.
I, on the other hand, lace my blog with vitriol and angst borne of a person who had to fight for his identity. I had a fundamentalist mother who traveled the states with her children in tow to the lowliest soup kitchens and claimed that she had God on her side. I fought as a 12 year old to break free of the insanity that IS belief in fairy tale bullshit to establish a belief in the wonders of science. I lived the spite and ridicule of that pitiful idiot as she proved to me time and time again, why her fantasy sky fairy wasn’t a part of reality! She and I degenerated into animosity that kept the two of us apart until I had received a call about 23 years later that she had passed on, I was 46 and the time is now!
I encourage all of those that this blog reaches to fly away! Spread your wings and ascend to the reality of the never-ending wonders of science! I ask that you put aside childish bullshit and secret invisible friends and enjoy the reality of knowledge!! Immerse yourself in the sciences and philosophy and question ALL that has ever been told to you! Ask questions and question the fantastic! Think freely and for yourself and question ANYONE that sets limits on your knowledge! If there is a condition and proof is not offered then the speaker is probably without merit and a charlatan selling the snake oil of religion! This is the quick feel good fix that lets you forget about reality and personal responsibility and ‘Let go, let God.’ The ultimate cop out in taking responsibility for your own actions!
Think for yourself but don’t be hasty. If you are in a social or work situation that might require much thought about ‘coming out,’ then weigh your pro’s and con’s. Do not irreparably damage yourself until you have a good support system in place because Christians are treacherous and vengeful and will do anything to discredit a dissenter! They have proven there evil over and over again and must be treated as a threat! New atheists need to be very careful not to ‘out’ others and of respecting the curious believer that appears to be questioning their indoctrination. The only thing that an atheist should be interested in, in my opinion, is spreading the truth and treating other well as many Christians have not! Be careful and help others to see the truth amidst the fairy tale.
In ending this, I hope to stir others to action and help others to protect budding non-believers from the idiocy of there detractors. Peace!
‘God particle’ theorists receive Nobel Prize in physics
- Francois Englert and Peter Higgs are awarded the Nobel Prize in physics
- The Higgs boson is what gives all matter its mass and is a central part of scientific theory
- The July 2012 discovery of the particle is billed as one of the biggest scientific achievements
Nearly 50 years ago, Francois Englert of Belgium and Peter Higgs of the United Kingdom had the foresight to predict that the particle existed.
Now, the octogenarian pair share the Nobel Prize in physics in recognition of a theoretical brilliance that was vindicated by the particle’s discovery last year.
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded the prize to them.
Higgs and Englert’s theories behind the elusive Higgs boson explained what gives matter its mass.
The universe is filled with Higgs bosons. As atoms and parts of atoms zoom around, they interact with and attract Higgs bosons, which cluster around them in varying numbers.
Certain particles will attract larger clusters of Higgs bosons, and the more of them a particle attracts, the greater its mass will be.
The explanation helped complete scientists’ understanding of the nature of all matter.
“The awarded theory is a central part of the Standard Model of particle physics that describes how the world is constructed,” the Royal Swedish Academy said in a post on Twitter.
As is tradition, the academy phoned the scientists during the announcement to inform them of their win. They were unable to reach Higgs, for whom the particle is named.
The conversation with Englert was short and sweet. “I feel very well, of course,” he said, when he heard the news. “Now, I’m very happy.”
When the Nobel announcement came down, the Higgs boson’s discoverers in Geneva, Switzerland, broke out the champagne, said lead physicist Joe Incandela.
“The place erupted into applause.” There must have been over 100 people in the room at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, he said.
Many of them were American scientists. About one quarter of the physicists involved in the discovery came from the United States.
The researchers felt equally recognized alongside the Nobel recipients. They were not expecting to receive the prize themselves. That would have been atypical.
It goes more often to those involved on the theoretical side and not on the experimental side, Incandela said. But it didn’t matter.
“We’re extremely happy with that,” he said. “I’m elated. We feel that we’ve been recognized.”
The fact that the prize was awarded to the theorists so soon after the particle’s existence was detected by experimenters is a confirmation of the value of their contribution, Incandela said.
The July 2012 discovery of the Higgs boson in the most powerful particle accelerator in the world, the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, has been billed as one of the biggest scientific achievements of the past 50 years.
But the Royal Academy passed over the Higgs boson last year, to the surprise of many.
The scientists, in the meantime, have confirmed their discovery and solidified its place in science.
On March 14, what would have been Albert Einstein’s birthday, they announced that, over time, the particle they found looked even more like the Higgs boson they had been chasing for almost 50 years.
It was a landmark scientific advancement, and it was a first.
Many scientists dislike the term “God particle,” even though it’s become popular in the media. The nickname came from the title of a book by Leon Lederman, who reportedly wanted to call it the “Goddamn Particle” since it was so hard to find.
The Nobel Prize in physics makes a nice lifetime achievement award for Englert and Higgs. Both are professors emeritus: Englert at the Free University of Brussels; Higgs at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.
Though deserving, they are lucky, as the Royal Academy had a long list of brilliant scientists and achievements to choose from.
And the field of physics covers a virtually infinite scale, from beyond the smallest sub-atomic particles to the largest, most distant stars and quasars in the vast reaches of the universe.
Last year’s winners
Last year’s prize to Serge Haroche and David J. Wineland rewarded work in the field of quantum optics. It could lead the way to superfast computers and and the most precise clocks ever seen.
The two approached the same principles from opposite directions.
The American used light particles to measure the properties of matter, while his French colleague focused on tracking light particles by using atoms.
Both Nobel laureates found ways to isolate the subatomic particles and keep their properties intact at the same time.
Prior to the breakthrough, such particles quickly interacted with matter, which changed their qualities and rendered them unobservable. That left scientists stuck doing a lot of guesswork.
Past and future Nobels
Since 1901, the committee has handed out the Nobel Prize in physics 107 times, including this year’s award. The youngest recipient was Lawrence Bragg, who won in 1915 at the age of 25. Bragg is not only the youngest physics laureate; he is also the youngest laureate in any Nobel Prize area.
The oldest physics laureate was Raymond Davis Jr., who was 88 years old when he was awarded the prize in 2002.
John Bardeen was the only physicist to receive the prize twice, for work in semiconductors and superconductivity.
Two Americans and a German shared the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine this year.
Americans James E. Rothman and Randy W. Schekman and German Thomas C. Sudhof were awarded the prize Monday for discoveries of how the body’s cells decide when and where to deliver the molecules they produce.
Disruptions of this delivery system contribute to diabetes, neurological diseases and immunological disorders.
In the coming days, prize committees will announce the laureates in chemistry, literature, peace and economics.
Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel created the prizes in 1895 to honor work in physics, chemistry, literature and peace. The first economics prize was awarded in 1969.
Warp Drive May Be More Feasible Than Thought, Scientists Say
|A ring-shaped warp drive device could transport a football-shape starship (center) to effective speeds faster than light. The concept was first proposed by Mexican physicist Miguel Alcubierre.
Credit: Harold White
HOUSTON — A warp drive to achieve faster-than-light travel — a concept popularized in television’s Star Trek — may not be as unrealistic as once thought, scientists say.
A warp drive would manipulate space-time itself to move a starship, taking advantage of a loophole in the laws of physics that prevent anything frommoving faster than light. A concept for a real-life warp drive was suggested in 1994 by Mexican physicist Miguel Alcubierre; however, subsequent calculations found that such a device would require prohibitive amounts of energy.
Now physicists say that adjustments can be made to the proposed warp drive that would enable it to run on significantly less energy, potentially bringing the idea back from the realm of science fiction into science.
Irish schoolchildren to learn about atheism
Up to 16,000 primary-school pupils in multi-denominational sector will learn about atheism, and others will be offered courses on the internet and smartphone apps
The lessons on atheism, agnosticism and humanism for thousands of primary-school pupils in Ireland will be drawn up by Atheist Ireland and multi-denominational school provider Educate Together, in an education system that the Catholic church hierarchy has traditionally dominated.
Up to 16,000 primary schoolchildren who attend the fast-growing multi-denominational Irish school sector will receive tuition about atheism as part of their basic introduction course to ethics and belief systems, including other religions.
From September 2014 children could be reading texts such as Dawkins’ The Magic of Reality, his book aimed at children, according to Atheist Ireland.
But Michael Nugent, Atheist Ireland’s co-founder, stressed that all primary-school pupils, including the 93% of the population who attend schools run by the Catholic church, can access their atheism course on the internet and by downloading an app on smartphones. He said these would be advertised and offered to all parents with children at primary schools in the state.
“There will be a module of 10 classes of between 30 to 40 minutes from the ages of four upwards. It is necessary because the Irish education system has for too long been totally biased in favour of religious indoctrination. And if parents whose kids are in schools under church control want to opt their kids out of learning religion (as is their right these days) then they can use our course as an alternative for their children to study,” he said.
Nugent added: “Religion isn’t even taught properly as an objective subject with various religions and their origins examined and explained. The teaching is to create faith formation first, not objective education. We see our course as a chance for young Irish children to get an alternative view on how the world works.”
Jane Donnelly, a member of Atheist Ireland and a parent of two children in an Irish secondary school, welcomed the creation of an atheism alternative for Irish pupils.
“I opted my two girls out of religious education classes and they were told to go to the library and find a philosophy book to read during RE instead. The range of philosophy books was very limited so I sent them into school each day with a copy of Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion for them to read.”
Religion, education and the Irish Republic
• God is omnipresent in the 1937 Irish constitution, with article 6.1 stating: “All powers of government, legislative, executive and judicial, derive, under God, from the people”; and article 44.1 noting: “The State acknowledges that the homage of public worship is due to Almighty God. It shall hold His Name in reverence, and shall respect and honour religion.”
• Since the foundation of the republic, the Catholic church controls up to 93% of the state’s 3,200 primary schools.
• The Catholic church’s near monopoly of influence in education means that the ultimate power in each school is the local Catholic bishop.
• In Dublin the city’s archbishop, Diarmuid Martin, is patron of about 470 primary schools. He is responsible for the management of the ethos of those schools, for senior appointments and is the one who can be sued when legal action takes place.
• The Irish taxpayer, and not the church, pays the bills for all the schools the hierarchy controls.
• The Irish education minister, Ruairi Quinn, has promised “the most radical change in primary education in Ireland since the state was founded in the 1920s” by taking the power of the church from running almost all schools in the state and putting it into the hands of elected governors. So far his reforms have not begun in earnest.
• This article was amended on 27 September 2013 to clarify that pupils in multi-denominational schools will learn about atheism as part of the wider curriculum covering ethics, beliefs and religion. Atheists will not be teaching children that God does not exist, as originally stated, rather, children will be educated about atheism, including the atheist belief that God does not exist.
This guy may be ‘in your face’ about things, but he does his research and does it well. He also is not afraid to take on Wm Lane Craig as others are.