Tag Archives: science

SKYWATCH: COMET LANDING SITE PICKED, COUNTING ALL THE SKY’S STARS, AND MORE

LATEST NEWS

Where Will Philae Land on Comet 67P?
On November 11th, the European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft will dispatch the heavily instrumented Philae lander to an area called “Site J” on one end of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

Small Galaxy Boasts Big Black Hole


Astronomers have detected a supermassive black hole in the center of a tiny galaxy – where it has no right to be.

OBSERVING HIGHLIGHTS

9,096 Stars in the Sky – Is That All?


Ten thousand stars bedazzle the eye on a dark night. Wait, how many?

Tour September’s Sky: Farewell to Saturn


The astronomical calendar says autumn arrives on September 22nd. It’s a season of transition, with plenty of celestial comings and goings in the evening sky.

This Week’s Sky at a Glance, September 19-27


Sky & Telescope’s weekly celestial-events calendar, with sky views, offers selected astronomy sights for your unaided eyes, binoculars, or a telescope.

COMMUNITY

Calling All U.S. Amateur Astronomers


NASA’s Night Sky Network is conducting a new survey in order to better help the amateur astronomy community in the United States.

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WORLD SIGHT DAY: OCTOBER 11, 2012

 

WORLD SIGHT DAY

Quick Facts

World Sight Day is annually held on the second Thursday of October to raise awareness about blindness and vision impairment.

Local names

Name Language
World Sight Day English
Día Mundial de la Visión Spanish

World Sight Day 2012

Thursday, October 11, 2012

World Sight Day 2013

Thursday, October 10, 2013

World Sight Day is a global event that focuses on bringing attention on blindness and vision impairment. It is observed on the second Thursday of October each year.

Looking through eyeglasses at an eye exam chart.World Sight Day raises awareness about blindness and vision impairment, as well as the provision of eye health care . ©iStockphoto.com/Gene Chutka

What do people do?

The World Health Organization (WHO), which is the UN’s directing and coordinating authority for health, and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) are actively involved in coordinating events and activities for World Sight Day. Associations such as Lions Clubs International have also been actively involved in promoting the day on an annual basis for many years.
Many communities, associations, and non-government organizations work together with WHO and IAPB to promote the day for the following purposes:

  • To raise public awareness of blindness and vision impairment as major international public health issues.
  • To influence governments, particularly health ministers, to participate in and designate funds for national blindness prevention programs.
  • To educate target audiences about blindness prevention, about VISION 2020 and its activities, and to generate support for VISION 2020 program activities.

Some people plant trees to commemorate World Sight Day and while others submit a photo for an international photo montage that focuses on the theme of blindness. Other activities include taking part in awareness-raising walks or distributing and displaying posters, bookmarks, booklets and other forms of information the raise awareness about preventable blindness.

Public life

World Sight Day is a global observance but it is not a nationwide public holiday.

Background

The world’s population is ageing and people are living longer but blindness from chronic conditions is also rising, according to WHO. About 80 percent of the world’s 45 million blind people are aged over 50 years. About 90 percent of blind people live in low-income countries, where older people, especially older women, face barriers to getting the necessary eye health care. Yet, many age-related conditions leading to blindness – such as cataract, refractive error and glaucoma – can be easily and cheaply treated or cured. Timely intervention can often delay or reduce their effects on vision.

Lions Clubs International partnered with blindness prevention organizations worldwide to commemorate the first World Sight Day on October 8, 1998. This event was later integrated into VISION 2020, a global initiative that the IAPB coordinates. This initiative is a joint program between WHO and the IAPB. It involves non-government organizations, and professional associations, as well as eye care institutions and corporations.

World Sight Day Observances

Weekday Date Year Name Holiday type Where it is observed
Thu Oct 8 1998 World Sight Day United Nations observance
Thu Oct 14 1999 World Sight Day United Nations observance
Thu Oct 12 2000 World Sight Day United Nations observance
Thu Oct 11 2001 World Sight Day United Nations observance
Thu Oct 10 2002 World Sight Day United Nations observance
Thu Oct 9 2003 World Sight Day United Nations observance
Thu Oct 14 2004 World Sight Day United Nations observance
Thu Oct 13 2005 World Sight Day United Nations observance
Thu Oct 12 2006 World Sight Day United Nations observance
Thu Oct 11 2007 World Sight Day United Nations observance
Thu Oct 9 2008 World Sight Day United Nations observance
Thu Oct 8 2009 World Sight Day United Nations observance
Thu Oct 14 2010 World Sight Day United Nations observance
Thu Oct 13 2011 World Sight Day United Nations observance
Thu Oct 11 2012 World Sight Day United Nations observance
Thu Oct 10 2013 World Sight Day United Nations observance
Thu Oct 9 2014 World Sight Day United Nations observance
Thu Oct 8 2015 World Sight Day United Nations observance

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HATEWATCH: LEADING RACE ‘SCIENTIST’ DIES IN CANADA

Leading Race ‘Scientist’ Dies in Canada

by Don Terry on October 5, 2012

Jean Philippe Rushton, a psychology professor and probably the most important race scientist in North America, died of cancer Tuesday night in Canada. The man who sparked a firestorm of controversy and protest in the late 1980s with his theories about the correlation between genital size and intelligence, and in later years was the head of a right-wing fund that has long supported the research projects of academic racists from around the world, was 68.

“He’s the end of an era of academic racists of his style and notoriety,” Barry Mehler, professor of history and director of the Institute for the Study of Academic Racism at Ferris State University in Michigan, said today. “I don’t think we’ll see that again.’’

That’s not to say that academic racism has died, only its most prominent elder.

Rushton taught psychology at the University of Western Ontario for 25 years and began his academic career investigating the basis of altruism – why one person sometimes aids another, even at personal risk. But it was in the fields of biology and genetics, academic disciplines unrelated to his training, that Rushton made his biggest mark — and left his largest stain.

Rushton’s infamous theory about race and intelligence can be summed up in two words: size matters.

He postulated that brain and genital size are inversely related, implying that whites are more intelligent than blacks and that Asians are the smartest of all.

Saying that Rushton’s ideas were “monstrous” and “simply do not qualify as science,” David Suzuki, an actual geneticist, debated Rushton on the Western Ontario campus in 1989 before 2,000 students and more than 100 reporters and television crews. Security was tight inside and out of the auditorium.

“I did not want to be here,” Suzuki told the audience. “I do not believe that we should dignify this man and his ideas in public debate.” A few minutes later, he added, “There will always be Rushtons in the world. We must be prepared to root them out.”

Brian Timney, dean of social science, which includes the psychology department where Rushton actually worked, said Rushton’s legacy “was not a great one.” “His research was not highly thought of,” Timney said. “I work in neuroscience and I expect some academic vigor. He was not vigorous.”

The dean said while the university refused to fire Rushton, he was removed from the classroom for at least a semester during the height of the uproar in 1989.  ”There were so many protesters gathered outside his door, he couldn’t get in or out,” Timney said. Rushton delivered his lectures via videotape.

While Rushton may still be a big name in race science circles, at Western University “he sort of disappeared off the radar a long time ago,” the dean said.

Mehler also debated Rushton that year. The men appeared together on “The Geraldo Rivera Show.” “Is There a Master Race?” was the title of the segment.

Mehler remembers telling Rivera and his audience, “I have a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois in institutional racism. I am an expert at recognizing racism when I see it. Rushton is a racist.”

Rushton kept his cool and soon he was red hot in the world of academic racists.
“He was very photogenic,” Mahler said today. “He never got flustered. He became the focus and the spokesman for the academic racists.”

But no matter how calm and cool Rushton was on the talk-show circuit, Rushton was pushing old-fashioned racism. “I couldn’t believe what I was hearing,” Mehler said.

While simultaneously defending his academic freedom, University of Western Ontario officials twice reprimanded Rushton for conducting research on human subjects in 1988 without required prior approval, according to a Southern Poverty Law Center profile of RushtonIn the first incident, Rushton surveyed first-year psychology students, asking questions about penis length, distance of ejaculation and number of sex partners. In the second, he surveyed customers at a Toronto shopping mall, paying 50 white people, 50 black people and 50 Asians five dollars apiece to answer questions about their sexual habits.

Rushton took his ideas on the road in 1989. He presented his views to a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

It did not go well.

Association officials called a news conference the same day to attack what the association’s president called Rushton’s “highly suspect” research. A spokesman for the AAAS, Earl Lane, said Thursday: “For now, I think we’ll have to just say that the quick actions of the association officials, in holding a press conference to refute Rushton’s research and his ‘highly suspect’ views, speak for themselves.”

Not everyone saw Rushton that way.

In a 1,219-word tribute to Rushton upon his death, Greg Johnson on the North American New Right website said what he admired about “good old Phil’’ was his “manner of stating the most radical claims in a calm and unapologetic way.” “Because of his scientific and political convictions,” Johnson added: “Rushton endured decades of social ostracism, professional discrimination, grotesque smears, mentally unhinged stalkers, attempts to have him fired from his job, and even physical assaults at the hands of Canada’s egalitarian peace-and-love-mongers.’’

Born in Bournemouth, England, Rushton earned his Ph.D. in social psychology at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Author of a handful of academic tomes, numerous articles, and a one-time fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, Rushton’s major published work is Race, Evolution and Behavior. His findings: black people have larger genitals, breasts and buttocks — characteristics that Rushton alleged have an inverse relationship to brain size and, thus, intelligence.

In recent years, Rushton spoke on the alleged IQ deficiencies of minorities at conferences of the racist American Renaissancemagazine and website, and published a number of articles in that magazine. His work also is often published on racist websites, including the anti-immigrant hate site VDARE.com. In 2002, after renting several academic mailing lists, Rushton mailed an abridged version of Race, Evolution and Behavior to 40,000 people — a mailing paid for by the Pioneer Fund, the race science outfit that he led for several years.

Reacting to complaints from scientists who had received the mailing, the book’s original publisher, Transaction, disavowed the smaller booklet and said that the abridged version had been “purged” of any “evidentiary basis.”

In 2002, Rushton became president of the Pioneer Fund, which has for decades funded dubious studies linking race to characteristics like criminality, sexuality and intelligence. Pioneer has long promoted eugenics, or the “science” of creating “better” humans through selective breeding. Set up in 1937 and headed by Nazi sympathizers, the group strove to “improve the character of the American people” through eugenics and procreation by people of white colonial stock. Pioneer has financed a number of leading race scientists, lavishing large sums each year on those who work to “prove” inherent racial differences that the vast majority of scientists regard as nonsense.

As a teacher, Rushton was given several positive reviews on the RateMyProfessor.com website, like the student who wrote, “Cutting edge research into race differences. One of the few professors not afraid to undertake ground breaking research.’’

But a majority of the reviewers rated him “poor quality.’’

“He epitomizes the overall capacity of the human species to rationalize superficial ignorance towards others,” one student wrote. “Not a good prof,” another wrote. “His work on race and ethnicity makes me wonder if I’m in the 19th century. Don’t take him if you want to keep your sanity.”

SOURCE

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I agree with what one of the students stated:

“Don’t take him if you want to keep your sanity.”

The loss of one’s sanity is not the only thing one stands to lose.

Penis size and brain capacity. Color of skin and intelligence capabilities.

Wow.

I have already addressed the bias that occurs with so-called IQ tests in a previous post  here. On the other hand, people like Jean Philippe Rushton will never let go of their insane beliefs in so-called racial superiority.

It is not what a man (or woman) has, but how he (she) uses it that says a lot about him (her).

Whether in the bedroom, or on the job.

Sadly, some men or sorely lacking in both skills, and the worst thing about it is that they do not even know it.

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WORLD MENTAL HEALTH DAY: OCTOBER 10, 2012

 

WORLD MENTAL HEALTH DAY

Quick Facts

World Mental Health Day, which is supported by the United Nations (UN), is annually held on October 10 to raise public awareness about mental health issues worldwide.

Local names

Name Language
World Mental Health Day English
Día Mundial de la Salud Mental Spanish

World Mental Health Day 2012

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

World Mental Health Day 2013

Thursday, October 10, 2013

World Mental Health Day, which is supported by the United Nations (UN), is annually held on October 10 to raise public awareness about mental health issues worldwide. This event promotes open discussions on illnesses, as well as investments in prevention and treatment services.

Depression, including among young people, is a major mental health problem. World Mental Health Day promotes the awareness of such issues. ©iStockphoto.com/Christopher O Driscoll

What do people do?

World Mental Health Day is observed in more than 100 countries on October 10 through local, regional and national World Mental Health Day commemorative events and programs. Activities include:

  • Officials signing the World Mental Health Day proclamation.
  • Public service announcements.
  • Educational lectures and the distribution of research papers on mental health issues.
  • Awards to individuals or organizations who made significant contributions in improving mental health issues.

World Mental Health Day is an initiative of the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH). The World Health Organization (WHO), which is the UN’s directing and coordinating authority for health, supports this event. The Mental Health Foundation is another organization that is proactive in promoting World Mental Health Day.

Public life

World Mental Health Day is a global observance and not a public holiday.

Background

Mental disorders affect nearly 12 percent of the world’s population – about 450 million or one out of every four people around the world – will experience a mental illness that would benefit from diagnosis and treatment. WHO statistics for 2002 showed that 154 million people globally suffered from depression, which is a form of mental illness. According to WHO, mental health is defined as a state of well-being in which people realize their own potential, can cope with normal life stresses, can work productively, and can contribute to their community.

Mental health services lack human and financial resources in many countries, particularly low and middle income countries. More funding is needed to promote mental health to increase people’s awareness of the issue. In response to making mental health a global priority, World Health Day was first celebrated in 1992 as an initiative of the WFMH, which has members and contacts in more than 150 countries. Each year the UN, through WHO, actively participates in promoting this event.

Symbols

The WHO logo or emblem, which was chosen by the first World Health Assembly in 1948, is often associated with the UN’s promotional material for World Mental Health Day. The emblem consists of the UN symbol surmounted by a staff with a snake coiling round it. The staff with the snake has long been a symbol of medicine and the medical profession. It originates from the story of Aesculapius who was revered by the ancient Greeks as a god of healing and whose cult involved the use of snakes.

The UN logo is often associated with marketing and promotional material for this event. It features a projection of a world map (less Antarctica) centered on the North Pole, inscribed in a wreath consisting of crossed conventionalized branches of the olive tree. The olive branches symbolize peace and the world map depicts the area of concern to the UN in achieving its main purpose, peace and security. The projection of the map extends to 60 degrees south latitude, and includes five concentric circles.

World Mental Health Day Observances

 

Weekday Date Year Name Holiday type Where it is observed
Sat Oct 10 1992 World Mental Health Day United Nations observance
Sun Oct 10 1993 World Mental Health Day United Nations observance
Mon Oct 10 1994 World Mental Health Day United Nations observance
Tue Oct 10 1995 World Mental Health Day United Nations observance
Thu Oct 10 1996 World Mental Health Day United Nations observance
Fri Oct 10 1997 World Mental Health Day United Nations observance
Sat Oct 10 1998 World Mental Health Day United Nations observance
Sun Oct 10 1999 World Mental Health Day United Nations observance
Tue Oct 10 2000 World Mental Health Day United Nations observance
Wed Oct 10 2001 World Mental Health Day United Nations observance
Thu Oct 10 2002 World Mental Health Day United Nations observance
Fri Oct 10 2003 World Mental Health Day United Nations observance
Sun Oct 10 2004 World Mental Health Day United Nations observance
Mon Oct 10 2005 World Mental Health Day United Nations observance
Tue Oct 10 2006 World Mental Health Day United Nations observance
Wed Oct 10 2007 World Mental Health Day United Nations observance
Fri Oct 10 2008 World Mental Health Day United Nations observance
Sat Oct 10 2009 World Mental Health Day United Nations observance
Sun Oct 10 2010 World Mental Health Day United Nations observance
Mon Oct 10 2011 World Mental Health Day United Nations observance
Wed Oct 10 2012 World Mental Health Day United Nations observance
Thu Oct 10 2013 World Mental Health Day United Nations observance
Fri Oct 10 2014 World Mental Health Day United Nations observance
Sat Oct 10 2015 World Mental Health Day United Nations observance

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WORLD POST DAY: OCTOBER 9, 2012

WORLD POST DAY

Quick Facts

World Post Day marks the anniversary of the Universal Postal Union’s establishment in 1874. It is held on October 9 each year.

Local names

Name Language
World Post Day English
Día Mundial del Correo Spanish

World Post Day 2012: Theme: “A New Strategy for a New World”

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

World Post Day 2013

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

World Post Day marks the anniversary of the Universal Postal Union’s establishment and is annually held on October 9. The union aimed to create and maintain a structure for the free flow of international mail around the world.

World Post DayWorld Post Day marks the anniversary of the Universal Postal Union’s establishment. ©iStockphoto.com/Shawn Gearhart

What do people do?

In many international organizations and countries, high ranking officials or ministers make speeches or issue proclamations on the history or achievements of national or international postal services. Postal services may issue special postage stamps to commemorate the ideals, history or achievements of the national postal service on or around World Post Day. These are prized by stamp collectors and philatelists (people who study stamps). In addition, special lessons on these topics may be arranged for school children and the postal services and their employees may receive extra training or recognition and attention in the media.

The Universal Postal Union in cooperation with UNESCO has, for the past 35 years, organized an international letter-writing competition for young people. Many participating postal services use World Post Day to award prizes to the winners of the competition.

Public life

World Post Day is a global observance and not a public holiday.

Background

From the earliest times in history, “postal services” existed in the form of messengers who travelled large distances on foot or horseback. In the 1600s and 1700s, many countries set up national postage systems and entered into bilateral agreements for the exchange of mail between countries. By the late 1800s there was a large web of bilateral agreements that made the distribution of international mail complicated, nontransparent and inefficient.

In 1863, Montgomery Blair, Postmaster General in the United States of America, organized a conference of representatives from 15 European and American countries. During this conference, the delegates laid down a number of general principles for mutual agreements on international postal services but did not create an international postal agreement. On September 15, 1874, Heinrich von Stephan, a senior postal official in the North German Confederation (an area that now forms parts of Germany, Poland and Russia), opened a conference in Berne, Switzerland, with delegates from 22 countries. On October 9, 1874, the delegates signed the Treaty of Berne and established the General Postal Union.

The number of countries that were members of the General Postal Union grew rapidly and the union’s name was changed to the Universal Postal Union in 1878. In 1948, the Universal Postal Union became a specialized agency of the United Nations. The 16th Universal Postal Union Congress was held in Tokyo, Japan, from October 1 to November 16, 1969. During this conference the delegates voted to declare October 9 each year as World Post Day.

The work of the Universal Postal Union continues to be very important to global communication and trade, even in the era of digital communication. In areas and communities with a high level of access to digital communication, postal services are important for distributing goods bought in Internet stores. In communities with lower levels of access to digital communication, postal services remain vital for the distribution of information and goods. Post offices and trucks used to deliver mail to outlying areas are also becoming service points to bring digital communication to many more people. Moreover, the union is working on ways to bring electronic money transfer services to rural areas in countries in the Middle East and in north-east Africa.

World Post Day Observances

Weekday Date Year Name Holiday type Where it is observed
Thu Oct 9 1980 World Post Day United Nations observance
Fri Oct 9 1981 World Post Day United Nations observance
Sat Oct 9 1982 World Post Day United Nations observance
Sun Oct 9 1983 World Post Day United Nations observance
Tue Oct 9 1984 World Post Day United Nations observance
Wed Oct 9 1985 World Post Day United Nations observance
Thu Oct 9 1986 World Post Day United Nations observance
Fri Oct 9 1987 World Post Day United Nations observance
Sun Oct 9 1988 World Post Day United Nations observance
Mon Oct 9 1989 World Post Day United Nations observance
Tue Oct 9 1990 World Post Day United Nations observance
Wed Oct 9 1991 World Post Day United Nations observance
Fri Oct 9 1992 World Post Day United Nations observance
Sat Oct 9 1993 World Post Day United Nations observance
Sun Oct 9 1994 World Post Day United Nations observance
Mon Oct 9 1995 World Post Day United Nations observance
Wed Oct 9 1996 World Post Day United Nations observance
Thu Oct 9 1997 World Post Day United Nations observance
Fri Oct 9 1998 World Post Day United Nations observance
Sat Oct 9 1999 World Post Day United Nations observance
Mon Oct 9 2000 World Post Day United Nations observance
Tue Oct 9 2001 World Post Day United Nations observance
Wed Oct 9 2002 World Post Day United Nations observance
Thu Oct 9 2003 World Post Day United Nations observance
Sat Oct 9 2004 World Post Day United Nations observance
Sun Oct 9 2005 World Post Day United Nations observance
Mon Oct 9 2006 World Post Day United Nations observance
Tue Oct 9 2007 World Post Day United Nations observance
Thu Oct 9 2008 World Post Day United Nations observance
Fri Oct 9 2009 World Post Day United Nations observance
Sat Oct 9 2010 World Post Day United Nations observance
Sun Oct 9 2011 World Post Day United Nations observance
Tue Oct 9 2012 World Post Day United Nations observance
Wed Oct 9 2013 World Post Day United Nations observance
Thu Oct 9 2014 World Post Day United Nations observance
Fri Oct 9 2015 World Post Day United Nations observance

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