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Daniel Bastian
Attended James Madison University
Lives in Arlington, VA
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Daniel Bastian

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My (very) comprehensive take on Making A Murderer. For obsessives only.
My comprehensive analysis of the Avery-Halbach case based on the evidence included and excluded from Making A Murderer.
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Daniel Bastian

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You may have heard that representatives from more than 100 countries will head to the UN on April 22 to sign the Paris Agreement, but you may also be wondering why this needs to happen at all. Didn’t the world already come to an agreement in Paris in December? Justine Sullivan offers a helpful primer to guide you through all things climate.
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The transition from sea to land has always been a hot topic in evo bio. There are many fish in the sea, but apparently only once in the history of life on earth have vertebrates successfully moved ashore with an anatomy for walking. Carl Zimmer wrote about this extensively in his book, At the Water's Edge.

Now, in one of those weird surprises that biology delivers with wonderful regularity, scientists have found a fish that really walks. It has even evolved a skeleton much like ours in the process. Making it an even more wonderful story is the fact that this fish lives only in a cave in Thailand, where it walks up waterfalls. Meet Cryptotora thamicola.
In a cave in Thailand, scientists discovered a parallel to one of evolution’s signature events: the transition from sea to land.
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As always, we should be careful to distinguish between the market and labor practices of the industry on the one hand, and GMO safety and scientific efficacy on the other. We should not let our misgivings of the former cloud our perception of the latter.

Golden rice, for example, was developed as an affordable alternative for nations across the African continent suffering from Vitamin A deficiency, which is responsible for 1-2 million deaths annually, including 670,000 children under the age of 5. All studies to date have found no risk to human health, and with major partners like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, next to other GM breakthroughs the rice is largely considered an achievement in biotech and humanitarian efforts. The possibility that Monsanto and other producers have engaged in ethically dubious business practices does not change these facts.

It's like people who condemn the very notion of government. That we would like it to operate better and more efficiently should not be construed as thinking the government is a purposeless entity.

At the same time, it’s inaccurate to say that all of the various processes involved with modern GM food production is qualitatively indistinct from what crossbreeding farmers have been doing for thousands of years. Farmers of yore were not inserting and replacing sequences of DNA (transgenics), for example; blue flowers (a rarity before humans started making them) originated through experimentation of selectively breeding flower varieties. But transgenesis is certainly continuous with earlier modes of modification. And if conducted properly, in adherence with certification protocols, the modern process is safer, because we know what genes we are inserting, and we understand precisely why we are doing it.
One of the many public controversies about science swirling around nowadays concerns so-called GMOs, or Genetically Modified Organisms. It has become fashionable in certain quarters to bash any cri…
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More evidence of greed placed above (intergenerational) ethics.* Disinformation campaigns have been a very successful component of climate denialism, particularly among low-information electorates, aka large swathes of the U.S.
The Energy & Environment Legal Institute (E&E Legal), a group best known for filing lawsuits seeking climate scientists' personal emails, has secretly...
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Not habitable by us is not the same as uninhabitable. Though at 41 light-years away and pigged with prussic acid, maybe we'll content ourselves with a rendezvous in the next Mass Effect installment.
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Daniel Bastian

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A fascinating speculation on the cosmic drivers behind extinction events and ice ages. Could dark matter play a role? Whatever explanation emerges victorious, it's clear we don't have the full picture just yet. And thanks to David Brin for bringing my attention to this quote by Mike DeSimone: “Humanity has two possible destinations: stars or strata."
Asteroids, gotta love the yummy things. For example: asteroid 5748 Davebrin made its closest approach to Earth April 4. (1.7 AU). Hey! I can see my house from here! Come on guys, it's mine so let's go melt it down and get ri...
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"However, while this group wields disproportionate influence, old, white, conservative American men are a small and dwindling population. While they may account for a plurality of Republican primary voters, that’s the full extent of their reach.

"As the GOP scrambles to deal with the Trump candidacy, it may also have to deal with the conditions that made that candidacy possible - the same conditions that have left the Republican Party as the only major climate-denying political party in the world."
Dana Nuccitelli: Old, white, conservative males support Trump and oppose free market climate solutions for similar reasons
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"I'd put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don't have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that."

- Thomas Edison, 1931

And then what happened? What happened was over the course of the next few decades oil prices fluctuated, with a spike in the 1970s (fostering decent growth in the solar sector as the technology became more widely available) and a particularly sharp drop occurring in the 1980s (moving the needle back toward fossil fuels and other nonrenewables). Concurrently, world leaders like Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher deregulated the energy sector, making it easier for fossil fuel corporations to gain control of the global market. In the early 1980s, more than a million solar water heaters were installed in the U.S., and a surplus of wind power construction took shape; both infrastructural initiatives were halted under the Reagan administration.

All of this despite the artificially cheap price of oil and coal, given the social costs to global and environmental health which fossil fuel interests exploit and which market rates do not capture.
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Great article on some of the current limitations and challenges of DNA profiling.
Cutting-edge technology has enabled analysis of ever-tinier genetic samples. But as the science pushes boundaries, some experts are raising reliability questions.
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Prime Minister Narendra Modi claims genetic science existed in ancient times, and was merely re-"discovered" in the modern era. If only we had scoured Sanskrit epics written in the name of the elephant-headed god Ganesha. This is no different from certain Muslim sects that claim verses in the Quran prefigured modern science, or fundamentalist Christians who throw context to the wind by reading contemporary data into their holy texts as if this were even close to the original meaning.

The assumption made here is that prescientific religious writings are bastions of empirical wisdom and that researchers should bump findings against them as a sort of litmus test to guide them in their inquiry. The problem with this, of course, is that this has already been tried. The history of science shows that this project was a failure. It was only by studying nature, and not religious texts, that science came into its own and ushered in a new era of human well-being.

In the end, this only goes to show that that we should prioritize evidence-based over faith-based thinking at every level of society.
Scientists join writers, artists and historians in protesting the Modi government’s growing interference in academic affairs
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Non-historian David Barton is at it again, bending old words for modern gain. For the low, low price of an unmarketable degree from a thinly accredited "work" college, the satirist's invention will now teach you how to speak Christianese, twist and distort basic history, prioritize ideology above integrity, and further destabilize the American political system by smuggling in Christian-right dominionism. Those with a base rate of indoctrination and a low wonder quotient won't want to miss out on this opportunity.
Ecclesia College, a Christian college in Arkansas, is excited to announce that in the fall of 2016, it will be launching the David Barton School of Political Science! Seriously: Ecclesia
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In his circles
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Have him in circles
612 people
Marisa Feil's profile photo
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NaNa Quame Iso's profile photo
ReBelle Rose's profile photo
Elizabeth Grogan's profile photo
ARCpoint Labs of Richmond's profile photo
Terry Waldrop's profile photo
Martesha Burrage's profile photo
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  • Writer, present
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Arlington, VA
Previously
Washington, DC - Arlington, VA - Richmond, VA
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Science Writer | Passionate Thinker | Serial Informer | Eternal Student
Introduction
Informed Citizen. Savvy Conversationalist. Knowledge Hound. Autodidact. Information Distiller. Fluent in science, technology and religion. Vanguard of truth. I like to debunk 'bunk'. Videophile. Audiophile. Purist.

I am an active Google+ user who contributes a good amount of original content. You'll also find I am not a fan simply resharing articles and will typically preface with additional insight to add value for my followers.

You can stay connected with me here and through my website, where science, technology, the web and a relentless artillery of thoughts collide in a fury of cerebral pyrotechnics: Waiving Entropy


Some suggested circles to put me in:
  • New developments in science
  • Climate science
  • Evolutionary biology
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  • Display technology and HD media
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Education
  • James Madison University
    2004 - 2009
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Male
Birthday
July 5
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In a relationship