Arizona School Board Votes To Get Rid Of Textbook Pages That Discuss Abortion

An Arizona school district is making sure that students are not educated about abortion in biology class.

This week, Gilbert Public Schools’ governing board voted to remove pages from an honors biology textbook because the pages talk about mifepristone, a pill that can induce an abortion, reports local outlet 12 News. Members of the board contended that the pages violate a state statute, which prevents school districts from providing instruction that “that does not give preference, encouragement and support to childbirth and adoption as preferred options to elective abortion,” says the outlet.

The specific section in question is titled “Contraception can prevent unwanted pregnancy.” It says that “complete abstinence (avoiding intercourse) is the only totally effective method of birth control, but other methods are effective to varying degrees.” The passage, from the seventh edition of Campbell Biology: Concepts and Connections, goes on to describe the morning-after pill and mifepristone.

The issue was first brought to the board’s attention after the conservative Christian organization, Alliance Defending Freedom, wrote a letter to the district’s superintendent in August, saying that the textbook violates state regulations, reports the outlet. The board voted 3-2 to redact the pages in question, <a target="_blank" —> Read More Here

Rapa Expedition: The Difficulties of Leaving Paradise

A month ago we'd never been to this island in our lives. Now it feels like a home away from home. (Photo by Manu San Felix)

After exploring, diving, writing, photographing, and just plain living here in Rapa in far southern French Polynesia for the past few weeks, leaving is difficult.

The weather is perfect, our ship is in great order, our equipment is stowed ready for the seven-hundred-mile passage, and yet we feel such a strong connection to this community that we just can’t bring ourselves to depart. In fact we have re-calculated the passage plan a few times just so that we leave the site of the latest Pristine Seas expedition as late as possible.

A month ago we’d never been to this island in our lives. Now it feels like a home away from home. (Photo by Manu San Felix)

We love these waters, full of life, and little touched by human activities, but we also love these people and every moment with them counts.

Besides, we can’t possibly leave at the moment, as we have all of the island’s sixty schoolchildren aboard for a tour! They arrived at the ship, sang songs for us and are now in the cabins, on the bridge, in the engine room, the saloon, and the galley, and are hugely interested in everything especially the diving gear, helicopters, drop-cameras, and —> Read More Here

Hubble Spies Spooky ‘Ghost Light’ Of Dead Galaxies

ghost light dead galaxies

Just in time for Halloween, the Hubble Space Telescope has spotted something a bit spooky: the faint glow of stars spewed out billions of years ago by galaxies in their death throes.

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The image shows “Pandora’s Cluster,” a group of 500 galaxies–formally known as Abell 2744–located 4 billion light-years from Earth. The “ghost light” (artificially colored in blue in the photo above) comes from so-called orphan stars that drift freely between galaxies.

Astronomers believe these stars were once part of as many as six Milky Way-sized galaxies that were torn apart by gravitational forces around 9 billion years ago. They hope to use the “ghost light” to gain a better understanding of how galaxy clusters form and change.

“The Hubble data revealing the ghost light are important steps forward in understanding the evolution of galaxy clusters,” Ignacio Trujillo, an astrophysicist at The Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain, who was involved in the Abell 2744 research, said in a written statement.

A study describing the research was published online Oct. 1 in The Astrophysical Journal. —> Read More Here

Thank a Teacher Thursday: White House Edition

As Associate Director for Science at the White House Office of Science and Jo Handelsman, Ph.D. Technology Policy, Dr. Jo Handelsman, “helps to advise President Obama on the implications of science for the Nation, ways in which science can inform U.S. policy, and on Federal efforts in support of scientific research.” She took leave from her position as Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor and Frederick Phineas Rose Professor in the Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology at Yale University to serve the nation in this new role. But this is hardly the first time that Jo has taken on major challenges in addition to her academic research. When she sees a need, she dives in — usually by applying a stiff dose of science.

No doubt lots of assistant professors, more or less confident in their ability to do research, find their roles as teachers and mentors more challenging than they expected. Jo — who became an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, at the ripe old age of 26 — certainly did. So she set about learning what was known about effective teaching, and it turns out that there is substantial research on the subject. Not content —> Read More Here

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