I wrote a couple of bits across the last year related to worrying news stories; this last fortnight has seen further happenings in both stories, and I’ve been a lazy bugger writing-wise, so I’ve done a joint update.
In April, animal researchers broke into a psychiatric animal facility in Milan, and, because Italy is a ridiculous place sometimes, part of the deal allowing them to walk away scot-free (having caused several million Euros of taxpayer-funded damage) was to take some of the animals with them. Some of these animals were immuo-compromised, and as such required careful treatment to make sure they didn’t die; as such, their enclosures were specially designed, and their handling precisely controlled. Below is a picture of where animals from the lab were kept after their liberation:
Source: Nature News Blog
Fan-bloody-tastic. The compassionate liberators showing such care for the animals they’ve saved, by putting them in a load of tubs in a bathroom. Certainly, the animals will be suffering far less crammed together in someone’s bog than they did in their individual cages in a controlled atmosphere. The lady who posted this on Facebook ensured she contacted Nature News, having seen this plastered on their blog, to assure them that this was a temporary step, before movement to more suitable accommodation. So that’s alright, then. Viruses and bacteria are well-known for their honourable respect of temporary weakness, and never exploit it.
So things in Italy remain such that they resemble the scientific equivalent of the drunken pervy uncle at a wedding. They should have elected that clown bloke, he’d personify their country’s current world status perfectly. However, in the USA, some brighter flowers bloom, science-wise at least (this isn’t the forum to discuss possible gross miscarriages of justice). A year ago, I wrote a piece condemning the top-dog nation in the world for allowing anti-intelligent views to persist in the face of evidence, with the pathetic excuse that mentally-deficient rednecks should have as much right to decide what is true as evidence-based investigations. In particular, I was irked by the passage of anti-evolutionary laws by the Tennessee legislature. This month, the Next Generation Science Standards, a programme of science education reform across the States (for which I am taking all credit) has started kicking in. Five state education boards – Rhode Island, Kentucky, Kansas, Maryland and Vermont – have accepted the standards, with several more to vote in the next few months. The battle to stop lying to American children about evolution and climate change is far from over, with other states to be won over, and legal challenges to be defeated in those states that have accepted already. There are powerful people, including Kentuckian Senator Mike Wilson (R – of course), who are opposed to teaching children established scientific opinion, and these are not foes to be written off lightly. The passage of 11 anti-evolution/climate change bills in the States in 2013 alone shows that this has become a war for the minds of American children; both sides have fired their opening volleys long ago, but the bloodiest battles are just beginning…