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Darwin Day is a global celebration of science and reason held on or around Feb. 12, the birthday anniversary of evolutionary biologist Charles Darwin. This year marks the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth.

On this website you can find all sorts of information about Charles Darwin and the Darwin Day Celebration. If you are hosting a Darwin Day event, you can post information about it on our events listing. You can also locate Darwin Day programs near you by searching our events section.

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Partially cut:

• $3.5 billion for energy-efficient federal buildings (original bill $7 billion)

• $75 million from Smithsonian (original bill $150 million)

• $200 million from Environmental Protection Agency Superfund (original bill $800 million)

• $100 million from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (original bill $427 million)

• $100 million from law enforcement wireless (original bill $200 million)

• $300 million from federal fleet of hybrid vehicles (original bill $600 million)

• $100 million from FBI construction (original bill $400 million)

Fully eliminated

• $55 million for historic preservation

• $122 million for Coast Guard polar icebreaker/cutters

• $100 million for Farm Service Agency modernization

• $50 million for Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service

• $65 million for watershed rehabilitation

• $100 million for distance learning

• $98 million for school nutrition

• $50 million for aquaculture

• $2 billion for broadband

• $100 million for National Institute of Standards and Technology

• $50 million for detention trustee

• $25 million for Marshalls Construction

• $300 million for federal prisons

• $300 million for BYRNE Formula grant program

• $140 million for BYRNE Competitive grant program

• $10 million state and local law enforcement

• $50 million for NASA

• $50 million for aeronautics

• $50 million for exploration

• $50 million for Cross Agency Support

• $200 million for National Science Foundation

• $100 million for science

• $1 billion for Energy Loan Guarantees

• $4.5 billion for General Services Administration

• $89 million General Services Administration operations

• $50 million from Department of Homeland Security

• $200 million Transportation Security Administration

• $122 million for Coast Guard Cutters, modifies use

• $25 million for Fish and Wildlife

• $55 million for historic preservation

• $20 million for working capital fund

• $165 million for Forest Service capital improvement

• $90 million for State and Private Wildlife Fire Management

• $1 billion for Head Start/Early Start

• $5.8 billion for Health Prevention Activity

• $2 billion for Health Information Technology Grants

• $600 million for Title I (No Child Left Behind)

• $16 billion for school construction

• $3.5 billion for higher education construction

• $1.25 billion for project based rental

• $2.25 billion for Neighborhood Stabilization

• $1.2 billion for retrofitting Project 8 housing

• $40 billion for state fiscal stabilization (includes $7.5 billion of state incentive grants)

Cedar Rapids and Estherville, Iowa

Hundreds of workers lost their jobs after the Rockwell-Goss printing press factory closed here in Cedar Rapids in 2001. The hulking empty shell sat idle on the outskirts of the city for four years.

But that was before wind power blew into town, bringing thousands of clean-tech manufacturing jobs to Iowa and the Midwest.

In many cases, the new industry is setting up shop in defunct heavy manufacturing plants, bringing new economic life and vitality to old settings.

Bob Loyd, who once oversaw crews manufacturing the last printing presses to leave the old Rockwell-Goss factory, now manages workers assembling the newest generation of giant wind turbines in the same building.

“We’ve all watched the demise of heavy manufacturing in the Midwest in recent years,” says Mr. Loyd, plant manager at Clipper Turbine Works, a division of Clipper Windpower in Carpinteria, Calif.

“I wouldn’t say it’s all returned. But wind power is definitely helping bring some of that manufacturing muscle back.”

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Over to your right, at the start of his U.S. News op-ed on creationism, Henry Morris contends that 60 percent of Americans believe in the Jewish and Christian myth of creation: that some 10,000 years ago, a Supreme Being created an Adam and Eve and so began the human race.

He cites this statistic as a reason for including creationism, along with Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, in public school biology classes.

By doing so, of course, Morris exposes the silliness in his own argument.

Humans believe in lots of stupid stuff. Ghosts. UFOs. Satan. Collateralized Debt Obligations.

Our ancestors believed that the sun was a flying God named Apollo. The Hopi, the Hindus, the Buddhists, the Mormons, and many other peoples have composed elaborately varying songs of creation. It is our nature, when looking out at the great twin expanses of space and eternity, to come up with comforting myths.

The alternative—”They give birth astride of a grave, the light gleams an instant, then it’s night once more”—makes for truly courageous literature, but too many sleepless nights. 

Here’s a challenge for Mr. Morris, as we consider the seriousness of popular opinion. Name one great movie star who hasn’t played a supernatural being, or otherwise starred in a science fiction or fantasy flick.

The pop culture industry—that supposed font of liberal atheism—constantly fills our heads (and its bank accounts) with comforting imagery of dancing angels, talking pigs, kung fu pandas, star cruisers, zombies, cavemen riding dinosaurs, sensuous vampires, lost loved ones who linger as friendly spirits, comic book superheroes, cuddly aliens, prep schools for wizards, and cute beeping robots.

The Force is ever with us. When you add all that mythology to the pervasive influence of Sunday church services, religious schooling, and Christian rock radio, it’s a wonder that science can carve out any space in our culture at all.

Skeptical journalism? Well, consider U.S. News—which gives Mr. Morris and his superstitions equal time, in homage to “objectivity.”

And yet, we humans can compartmentalize. We may not want to weigh the pointlessness of life in every waking moment—there are too many fun things to do. But at some level we acknowledge that myths are myths and facts are facts and it’s better for the race if we keep the two things separate. The place for that is science class. And we need to keep it that way.

(CNN) — Environmentalists are encouraged by President Barack Obama’s focus this week on renewable energy and stricter emissions standards, although some economists are skeptical he can pull the country out of the recession while cleaning up the planet.  Obama must strike a careful balance between stimulating the economy in the coming months and investing in the long-term future of the environment, said Raj Chetty, professor of economics at the University of California, Berkeley.

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 By William Branigin, Juliet Eilperin and Steven Mufson, Washington Post Staff Writers

 President Obama today promised new U.S. leadership in the fight against global warming as he announced a series of steps aimed at making American cars more fuel efficient and reducing greenhouse gases, including a directive to the Environmental Protection Agency to reconsider granting California and other states waivers to set their own strict regulations on auto emissions.

In remarks at the White House at the start of his second week in office, Obama declared a national goal of ending dependence on foreign oil and called on Congress to pass a massive stimulus package that he said would help “create a new American energy economy.”

Flanked by Transportation Secretary  Ray LaHood and EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, he signed two presidential directives that could lead to the production of more fuel-efficient American cars with reduced tailpipe emissions.

The moves are aimed at reversing decisions by Bush administration, which he said had stood in the way of bold action by California and other states to limit greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles.

“The days of Washington dragging its heels are over,” Obama said.

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After 2 decades of right wing christian oppression and social and scientific regression, are we, as a society, finally moving forward?

The intellectual and philosophical developments of that age (and their impact in moral, social, and political reform) aspired towards greater rights & liberties for common people based on self-governance, natural rights, natural law, central emphasis on liberty, individual rights, reason, common sense, and the principles of deism. These principles were a revolutionary departure from theocracy, autocracy, oligarchy, aristocracy, and the divine right of kings. For modern counterparts to oligarchy and monarchy, or other forms of individual, social, religious, and economic tyrrany, see totalitarianism, Nazi Party, democratic centralism, Leninism, Stalinism, Soviet Union.) The Enlightenment marks a principled departure from the Middle Ages, State & Church mandated oppression, toward an era of rational human discourse, freedom of religion, liberty, scientific advancement, and modernity.

Daniel SchulmanLast week, the state of Alaska announced it plans to mount a legal challenge to the listing of the Cook Inlet beluga whale under the Endangered Species Act. (Placing the belugas on the endangered list requires a review of federally funded or permitted activities that could affect the health of the whales, the establishment of a recovery plan, and the designation of “critical habitat.”) This marks the second time in a year that Palin’s administration has squared off with the federal government over an ESA listing. Over the summer, her administration sued Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne after his agency conferred threatened status on the polar bear.

In 1994, there were some 650 Cook Inlet belugas living off the coast of Anchorage, but their numbers were nearly halved by 1997. This sharp decline was largely attributed to overharvesting by Native hunters, and by 2005 this already small whale population reached an all-time low of 278, by one government estimate. Presently, scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) estimate the number of Cook Inlet belugas at 375.

In 2000, the whales were protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, but government scientists eventually concluded that this wasn’t enough. “In spite of protections already in place, Cook Inlet beluga whales are not recovering,” James Balsiger, the acting assistant administrator for the NOAA’s Fisheries Service, said in October, announcing that the whales had received endangered species protection.

Palin begs to differ. Her administration argues that that the belugas are faring just fine under the protections in place, and the population is even beginning to show signs of recovering. For this reason, the state of Alaska contends that additional regulation is unnecessary. “The State of Alaska has worked cooperatively with the federal government to protect and conserve beluga whales in Cook Inlet,” Palin said last week. “This listing decision didn’t take those efforts into account as required by law.”

At the heart of Palin’s objections are concerns that additional safeguards will interfere with oil and gas development, among other lucrative projects.

The Blue Marble blog

Jen Phillips-Oh, Sarah Palin. I’m sick of hearing your name already. But I’ll say it once more because there is evidence that Ms.Palin may be a global warming-denier. Palin has said that she’s “unconvinced” human emissions are contributing to global warming. “Science will tell us,” her spokesman said. “She thinks the jury’s still out.” If by “jury” she means “the Bible,” then yes, the jury is still out. But if “jury” means scientific consensus, then Palin needs to check out the IPCC’s site or pick up an issue of Nature.

Though Palin may not believe in global warming, she does believe that polar bears are just fine, thank you very much. She sued the federal government in an attempt to derail their delayed listing of polar bears as an endangered species. In addition, Palin is in favor of drilling vital polar bear habitat in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, maybe in part because her husband works for BP. I don’t know if Palin is motivated to support oil companies for love or for money. Either way, with her as Vice President, life will look even bleaker for those ice-dependent polar bears.

The Blue Marble blog

The south costs us in so many ways……………….
ATLANTA (AP) — Kentucky and West Virginia — where people traditionally smoke the most — have the highest death rates from smoking, a new federal study has found.
Rounding out the 10 states with the highest average annual smoking death rates were Nevada, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Arkansas, Alabama,  and Missouri.

The lowest death rates were in Utah and Hawaii, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study.

The smoking death rate in Kentucky was about 371 deaths out of every 100,000 adults age 35 and older.

That was nearly one-and-a-half times higher than the national median of 263 per 100,000. And it was nearly three times the rate for Utah, which was 138 per 100,000.

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Perhaps only in President Barack Obama’s Washington could the CEOs of the nation’s top wind and solar trade organizations pass for celebrities.

Yet if anyone needed an indicator of the growing prominence of the renewable energy world in the nation’s capital during the age of Obama, it was on display Monday night at the Green Inaugural Ball, hosted by former Vice President Al Gore at the National Portrait Gallery.

Standing on the red—or rather, green—carpet alongside musicians like John Legend, Maroon 5, and will.i.am were Denise Bode, the CEO of the American Wind Energy Association, and Rhone Resch, the Solar Energy Industries Association’s president and CEO.

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A new study shows that some of the most vulnerable babies are exposed to high levels of the chemical bisphenol A before they even leave the hospital.

Many manufacturers have taken BPA out of plastic baby bottles in the past year because of concerns that the estrogen-like chemical could harm young children. Studies have linked high levels in adults to heart disease and diabetes.

CDC researchers had detected BPA in more than 90% of Americans tested (read the pdf report).

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If not, you’re not alone.  It is an unfathomable amount of trash, approximately the SIZE OF CANADA, made up of millions of tons of garbage, mostly plastic, floating in vortex currents in the western Pacific Ocean.  It is estimated that it causes the death of about 1,000, ooo sea birds and 100,000 mammals each year.  Scientists are also watching another garbage patch (albeit smaller) off of Antartica, and a recently discovered one off the coast of Chile.

Wonder we we don’t hear about this in those TV commercials by the Plastics Council touting the wonders of plastic products…

“Shyness is nice, and shyness can stop you from doing all the things in life you’d like to,” Morrissey once sang. It’s a wonder that this classic Smiths song was never used in an ad for Paxil, the Prozac also-ran that GlaxoSmithKline successfully repurposed into a magic bullet for people with “social anxiety disorder,” a.k.a. shyness—now the third most common psychiatric disorder in America behind depression and alcoholism.

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Bruce Falconer-Desperate times call for desperate measures. Nowhere is this more the case than with today’s commercial aviation business, whose slow death has been accelerated of late by the twin nightmares of soaring fuel costs and global recession. The price of oil is way down from last year, but the financial breather will inevitably be short-lived as scarcity of fossil fuels grows in years to come.

What’s a desperate airline to do? Charging for alcoholic beverages and checked bags won’t cut it. (Don’t expect these costs to vanish any time soon.) Nope, the only solution lies in experimentation with new fuel sources. Take Virgin Atlantic. Last year, Richard Branson’s airline made news by powering a Boeing-747 with fuel partially derived from oils extracted from babassu nuts and coconuts.

In a piece I wrote for Mother Jones prior to the Virgin flight, I reported on widespread speculation that Branson might also choose to test algae as a biofuel. He never did so, of course, and now Continental Airlines has beaten him to the punch. 

From the BBC:

The 90-minute flight by a Continental Boeing 737-800 went better than expected, a spokesperson said.

One of its engines was powered by a 50-50 blend of biofuel and normal aircraft fuel.

Wednesday’s test is the latest in a series of demonstration flights by the aviation industry, which hopes to be using biofuels within five years.

The flight was the first by a US carrier to use an alternative fuel source, and the first in the world to use a twin-engine commercial aircraft (rather than a four-engine plane) to test a biofuel blend.

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