A Science Teacher Confronts Young Minds Damaged By Propaganda

“What people ‘believe’ about global warming doesn’t reflect what they know,” Dan Kahan, a Yale researcher who studies political polarization, has stressed in talks, papers and blog posts. “It expresses who they are.”

In this New York Times article, we encounter science teacher James Sutter and his greatest challenge: teaching propaganda-hardened young minds the reality of climate change.

The Heartland Institute recently science teachers a book of misinformation titled “Why Scientists Disagree About Global Warming.” Their goal is to influence “the next generation of thought,” according to Joseph Bast, the group’s chief executive. See the SourceWatch page and Wikipedia entry on the Heartland Institute for more information on the group and its goals.

I’m not being hyperbolic when I say this is a fight for the hearts and minds of our children, and their future. Groups like the Heartland Institute are doing their best to implant ideas that benefit the harmful corporations they work for, while individuals like James Sutter and progressive groups are doing their best to educate students on the evidence and how to think critically about science so they’re prepared to act on that knowledge.

PSA: Homemade does not mean safe and mixing household cleaners can kill you.

DIY does not mean safe and mixing household cleaners can kill you.

If you’re thinking about making your own cleaners, please read this. The article also contains information about what cleaning products are dangerous or deadly when mixed. Mixing two easily available commercial cleaners (e.g. ammonia and bleach) can kill you. This is stuff everyone should be taught in grade school, but anytime is a good time to learn or be reminded of this.

It’s Time for Strong Government Intervention in the Economy

This short piece in the MIT Technology Review is a very good read, worthwhile for anyone wondering how we’re going to solve our most pressing social and environmental issues.

I support strong government involvement (via targeted funding) in directing the economy towards solving our most serious problems, including climate change, the broader problem of transitioning to cleaner energy, improving our education system, reducing wealth inequality, and reducing violence. This article covers this topic, its potential and its historical pitfalls, well.