FUNDRAISING FOR SCHOLARSHIPS FOR TRANS STUDENTS

We are hosting a first-of-a-kind scholarship opportunity for transgender, gender nonconforming, and gender diverse students!

Scholarships will be between $500 and $2,000 depending on donations. We will be offering at least three scholarships focusing on trans youth activism. You can learn more about the scholarships here.

I work with my acting coach to help me get into character and do pronunciation drills and tongue twisters to help me deliver lines.

I envision the script as a story in my mind, memorize the entire thing and have it play out. It helps me figure out where my character needs to go.

You have to be serious, but you also have to make your own time to have fun.

I tell jokes, I laugh with the people on set, I play with the director. Then I try to pay attention and see what I have to do.

When I need to cry, I think of very sad things, mostly about animals. My favorite animal is a polar bear. They’re going extinct, and I really don’t want that to happen.

— 

Quvenzhané Wallis

Quotes are from Quvenzhané Wallis’s Secrets: Work Hard, Play Hard, Think About Polar Bears in The New York Times by Molly Young. She got to talk to Quvenzhané about her creative process. This child is so gifted.

(I’m still low key mad that her epic commercial wasn’t a film but instead a commercial for Maserati. I’m gonna go see Annie during Christmas time, in the meanwhile.)

This is Scarlett Lenh. She’s 16, she’s trans, and she’s been crowned homecoming queen at Sand Creek High School in Colorado. 

'It was really exciting. It felt really good. I couldn't stop smiling,' she said, according to the Associated Press, after finding out about the vote.

Initially, she was surprised by her nomination. There were three other nominees.

'One of my friends mentioned it, and I didn't think anything of it because I didn't think I'd be nominated. But, now, it really matters to me,'  the student said.

'This is something I've wanted to do since my freshman year. I want people to be themselves and not feel uncomfortable in their own body and mind.'

!!! So exciting and inspiring! Congrats to her! 

Bill Nye the Science Guy asks parents not to raise creationist kids
The famous interview that led to the creationist debate

"Denial of evolution is unique to the United States," Nye says in the video. After praising the U.S. as the world’s most advanced technological society, he credits that ranking to "intellectual capital we have, the general understanding of science. When you have a portion of the population that doesn’t believe in that, it holds everybody back, really."

Nye goes on to say that he asks those who don’t believe in evolution to explain to him why they feel that way, and that “your world just becomes fantastically complicated when you don’t believe in evolution.”

He notes that explaining dinosaurs, radioactivity and other concepts is all linked to understanding and accepting evolutionary theory, and says that “if you try to ignore that, your world view just becomes crazy, just untenable, itself inconsistent.”

His plea to parents comes with the hope that the children they’re raising will become “scientifically literate.”

"And I say to the grownups, if you want to deny evolution and live in your world, in your world that’s completely inconsistent with everything we observe in the universe, that’s fine," Nye says. "But don’t make your kids do it because we need them. We need scientifically literate voters and taxpayers for the future. We need people that can — we need engineers that can build stuff, solve problems."

Nye also says that in a couple of centuries, the creationist viewpoint “just won’t exist. There’s no evidence for it.”

Nye has already helped raise at least one generation of scientists. The NASA team that helped the Curiosity rover land on Mars are big fans. In a recent question-and-answer session for Reddit’s “Ask Me Anything” series, when the rover team was asked which educational or science-oriented TV shows influenced them as children, “Bill Nye the Science Guy” was called their “hands-down” favorite.

Naturally, his video sparked some heated debate in the YouTube comments.

"GOD IS THE CREATOR AND SCIENCE IS THE EVIDENCE OF GOD….IF YOU BELIEVE THAT MONKEY BUSINESS,YOU ARE BEING DECIEVED," wrote one viewer.

Another had some fun with the concept, writing, “Why stop at creationism? There are plenty of highly unlikely science fields that we could be confusing our children with. I really want my children to learn about orgones, pherenology and crystal focusing energy. I really wish schools would consider pet sciences that confirm MY worldview.”

Credit: Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, TODAY

A Poem For Her

Grade 11 Student:  “Sir, have you ever written a poem for a girl?”

Me:  “Yes.  I was about your age.”

Him:  “How did she take it?”

Me:  “She wasn’t impressed.”

Him:  “I thought girls liked that kind of stuff.”

Me:  “Here’s the thing:  if a girl already likes you, she’ll find it romantic.  If she’s on the fence about you, she’ll find it creepy.”

Him:  “Really?”

Me:  “I don’t know.  That’s how I justified it in my mind.”

2

As the Texas state board of education chooses textbooks for schools, we’re noticing an alarming trend:

A recent review by the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) found that several textbooks under consideration by the Texas Board of Education, which includes numerous members who deny global warming, cast doubt on the basic fact that carbon pollution is driving climate change. National Journal explained that since “Texas is the second-largest market in the U.S. for textbooks after California,” the textbooks chosen by the board could affect what publishers sell to states across the country.

According to the National Center for Science Education, here are some concerns that the appointed anti-science textbook reviewers  have raised: 

“I feel very firmly that ‘creation science’ based on Biblical principles should be incorporated into every Biology book that is up for adoption.”

“Text neglects to tell students that no transitional fossils have been discovered. The fossil record can be interpreted in other ways than evolutionary with equal justification.”

“evolutionary theory is challenged by science, reason and mathematics.”

“Presentation fails to include metaphysics (not a pseudoscience) as a limitation to scientific inquiry.”

“Modern evolutionary biology is based on comparisons of DNA sequence information, not fossil records.”

“CO2 levels have been much higher in the past and life survived just fine.”

“Plants always grow better with higher CO2 levels.”

“No mention is made of the benefit to plants of higher CO2 concentrations.”

“The earth has not warmed now for 16 years and the sun spot cycle is approaching a long minimum that willreduce [sic] temperatures.”

In November the Texas board of education will be voting on which textbooks they’ll adopt. In the meantime, NCSE and the Texas Freedom Network are gathering signatures to ask publishers to “remove climate change denial from Texas social studies textbooks.”

2

Wonderful editorial by Frank J. Sulloway of Smithsonian Magazine on the geographical hardships Darwin faced while venturing around the Galapagos Islands.

As I was reading, I couldn’t help but recall the overwhelming feelings I first experienced when reading ‘Voyage of the Beagle’, which I chose to read before ‘On The Origin Of Species’ in order to have a more chronological understanding of Darwin’s life.

It’s incredibly discouraging to me that the public school system highlights such a man as Christopher Columbus, yet, there’s no mention of Charles Darwin and his literal and figurative struggle for existence amidst the HMS Beagle expedition.

The rampant religious fundamentalism that continues to taint Darwin’s name and belittle his achievements without understanding his life at all, are maddeningly disrespectful.

It truly is amazing that Darwin even made it back alive from his expedition. So to toss the foundation of life science out simply because it doesn’t agree with Biblical scripture….it vexes me.

Explore Darwin’s 5 year mission aboard the HMS Beagle through this interactive infographic via the Natural History Museum; and indulge in Darwin’s most notable of works, ‘On The Origin of Species' via Darwin Online.

Ideally, what should be said to every child, repeatedly, throughout their school life is something like this: ‘You are in the process of being indoctrinated. We have not yet evolved a system of education that is not a system of indoctrination. We are sorry, but it is the best we can do. What you are being taught here is an amalgam of current prejudice and the choices of this particular culture. The slightest look at history will show how impermanent these must be. You are being taught by people who have been able to accommodate themselves to a regime of thought laid down by their predecessors. It is a self-perpetuating system. Those of you who are more robust and individual than others will be encouraged to leave and find ways of educating yourself — educating your own judgements. Those that stay must remember, always, and all the time, that they are being moulded and patterned to fit into the narrow and particular needs of this particular society.
—  Doris Lessing - The Golden Notebook
3

In Bill Moyers’ recent show “Climate Change — Faith and Fact” he interviews someone who is trying to bridge the gap between ignorance and knowledge amongst the Evangelical Christian community, while being one herself.

I don’t truly know how to feel about this. Personally, it makes me think of band-aids. Instead of actually fixing the problem by keeping mainstream media, politicians, corporations, industry, and alleged “leaders” of faith accountable, this is an approach - albeit a seemingly positive and forward-thinking one - to essentially solve it with a psychological band-aid.

By suggesting, “oh, well, if the biblical “God” of the Christian scriptures is whom you believe, then wouldn’t he want you to do all you could to protect all life on Earth and take action on our steps to mitigate carbon emissions?” you’re not actually helping those people discern between fact and fiction, reality vs fantasy, but aiding in their psychosis.

To me, it seems more like a way to navigate around the bigger issues: scientific illiteracy; and a more engaging approach regarding how we educate children (and adults), the communication of science in general, teaching proper history, and critical thinking.

Synopsis from Bill Moyers’ website:

The latest in a string of dire reports on climate change came this week from the United Nations’ meteorological advisory body, which said that the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere reached a new record high in 2013, due to a “surge” in carbon dioxide, prompting fears of an accelerated warming of the planet.

A majority of Americans think global warming is real and that human activity’s a factor, believing in the science behind reports on climate change. But some two-thirds of white evangelical Christians aren’t convinced.

In the face of those who use religion to deny the worldwide crisis of climate change, climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe, an evangelical Christian, believes that her faith is compatible with science. This week she speaks to Bill about ending the gridlock between politics, science and faith in order to find solutions to the widespread threats associated with global warming.

…The New Testament talks about how faith is the evidence of things not seen,” says Hayhoe, who was recently named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People. “By definition, science is the evidence of things that are seen, that can be observed, that are quantifiable. And so that’s why I see faith and science as two sides of the same coin.

Oh, and the above quote is absolute garbage. Sorry, not sorry

SCIENCE:

(1.) the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.

(2.) a systematically organized body of knowledge on a particular subject.

(3.) knowledge covering general truths of the operation of general laws, esp. as obtained and tested through scientific method [and] concerned with the physical world.

No, Mrs. Hayhoe…BY DEFINITION, science is not “the evidence of things that are seen…" because your definition of "seen" needs some work.

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