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Posts Tagged ‘St. Patrick

“Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents”*…



During St. Patrick’s Day, most revelers won’t remember the patron saint of Ireland for his role as a snake killer. But legend holds that the Christian missionary rid the slithering reptiles from Ireland‘s shores as he converted its peoples from paganism during the fifth century A.D.

St. Patrick supposedly chased the snakes into the sea after they began attacking him during a 40-day fast he undertook on top of a hill. An unlikely tale, perhaps—yet Ireland is unusual for its absence of native snakes. It’s one of only a handful of places worldwide—including New Zealand, Iceland, Greenland, and Antarctica—where Indiana Jones and other snake-averse humans can visit without fear.

But St. Patrick had nothing to do with Ireland’s snake-free status, scientists say….

Find out what actually happened to those snakes at : “Snakeless in Ireland: Blame Ice Age, Not St. Patrick.”

[image above: source]

* Luke 10:12


As we just say no to serpents, we might send chronically-correct birthday greetings to Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon; he was born on this date in 1707.  A naturalist, mathematician, cosmologist, and encyclopédiste, Buffon formulated a crude theory of evolution, and was the first to suggest that the earth might be older than suggested by the Bible: in 1778 he proposed that the Earth was hot at its creation and, judging from the rate of its cooling, calculated its age to be 75,000 years, with life emerging some 40,000 years ago.

In 1739 Buffon was appointed keeper of the Jardin du Roi, a post he occupied until his death. There he worked on the comprehensive work on natural history for which he is remembered, Histoire naturelle, générale et particulière. He began in 1749, and it dominated the rest of his life.  It would eventually run to 44 volumes, covering quadrupeds, birds, reptiles and minerals.  As Max Ernst remarked, “truly, Buffon was the father of all thought in natural history in the second half of the 18th century.”



Written by (Roughly) Daily

September 7, 2018 at 1:01 am

Calling Mr. Wizard…

from ToothpasteForDinner.com

A new national survey commissioned by the California Academy of Sciences and conducted by Harris Interactive  says that the U.S. public is unable to pass even a basic scientific literacy test.

The good news; U.S. adults do believe that scientific research and education are important. About 4 in 5 adults think science education is “absolutely essential” or “very important” to the U.S. healthcare system (86%), the U.S. global reputation (79%), and the U.S. economy (77%).

People are starting to realize that innovation and industry – not making cheap mortgages a government mandated right – are what propels successful economies.    That means people have to understand science.

The big issues are global health and energy these days so if people are going to make smart policy decisions, they need to understand what is going on.   Since not everyone reads www.scientificblogging.com yet, we’ll have to be patient while they catch up.

To get some more science literacy, check out http://www.calacademy.org/.   To test your already existing scientific literacy, take this Richard Carrier literacy test.   If you’re already confident in your knowledge, here’s what other people do not know:

* Only 53% of adults know how long it takes for the Earth to revolve around the Sun.
* Only 59% of adults know that the earliest humans and dinosaurs did not live at the same time.
* Only 47% of adults can roughly approximate the percent of the Earth’s surface that is covered with water .(*)
* Only 21% of adults answered all three questions correctly.

Knowledge about some key scientific issues is also low. Despite the fact that access to fresh water is likely to be one of the most pressing environmental issues over the coming years, less than 1% of U.S. adults know what percent of the planet’s water is fresh (the correct answer is 3%). Nearly half didn’t even hazard a guess. Additionally, 40% of U.S. adults say they are “not at all knowledgeable” about sustainability.

“There has never been a greater need for investment in scientific research and education,” said Academy Executive Director Dr. Gregory Farrington. “Many of the most pressing issues of our time—from global climate change to resource management and disease—can only be addressed with the help of science.”

This survey was conducted by telephone within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of the California Academy of Sciences between December 17 and December 21, 2008 among 1,002 adults ages 18+.


(*) The approximately correct answer range for this question was defined as anything between 65% and 75%. Only 15% of respondents answered this question with the exactly correct answer of 70%.

From ScientificBlogging.com

As we attend to titration, we might we might raise a pint of Guinness to St. Patrick, the patron saint (caster-of-snakes-from-) Ireland; he died on this date in 451 in Saul, Downpatrick where he had built his first church.  While the Irish have celebrated St. Patrick’s death day as a religious holiday more or less since he passed, the first public (and largely secular) celebration– the first St. Patrick’s Day Parade– was held in New York City in 1762.  There’ll be another there today.

St. Patrick

Written by (Roughly) Daily

March 17, 2009 at 5:36 am

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