Nate Silver used massive amounts of data, statistical analysis, and careful computational modeling to predict the Presidential election. And he was right. This brings up the possibility that maybe, just maybe, climate scientists are right, too.
The odds of a tie vote, as in perfectly down the middle, in every 2012 battleground state are astronomically small. But they aren’t zero. Let What If? take you on a journey through odds, strange ways of dying, and how tied elections relate to being hit by airborne bales of cocaine, as only Randall Munroe can.
Quattuordecillion is a very big number.
A note about the elections…
When it comes down to the choice between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, we are a nation divided, and many people will go to bed disappointed tomorrow night.
But no matter who wins on Election Day, we should remember this:
- If Mitt Romney or Barack Obama win, the increasing luminosity from our Sun will ensure that our oceans boil away and life as we know it will likely cease to exist on Earth within about 1.5 billion years from November 6th, 2012.
- If Mitt Romney or Barack Obama win, the expansion of the Sun into a red giant will engulf the Earth in a fiery planetary death within about 7.9 billion years.
- If Mitt Romney or Barack Obama win, within about 120 trillion years all of the consumable hydrogen in the universe will be gone and the stars will all be extinguished.
I’m just saying … we know who would be better for science. But if your guy doesn’t win?
Life will go on.
For a little while, at least.
A Science Report Card
A candidate’s record and stance on “science issues” is but one head on the hydra that is the political campaign season. But for science-centered folks like us, it’s one of the most important tests of a candidate’s qualifications. Because we know how important science education and investment is to the cultural and economic health of our nation.
How has President Obama fared in his first term as a President for Science? The Scientist took a look, and scored Obama’s Science Report Card. There’s many reasons to be satisfied, and many areas left to improve. But most analysts agree that he has been leaps and bounds beyond his predecessor, and offers far better plans for science than his challengers.
So while science may be only a small part of what differentiates these candidates, I’d argue that it’s a damn important one. Visit The Scientist to see how Obama scored.
Disagree with any of the grades?
Register to Vote, or you don’t get a say in what happens to you.
Today is National Voter Registration Day! It doesn’t matter what your views are if you aren’t registered to express them in the polling booth. If you’re on your Tumblr dashboard, you may see a nice link pop up on the right reminding you to do it. Good job, Tumblr folks!
It’s super easy. Just click here to get started. Don’t wait another minute.
Don’t be a dodo.
Here’s their side-by-side responses to questions surrounding innovation, climate change, internet freedom, biosecurity, energy, vaccination, space, and food/water access.
These questions are the work of ScienceDebate.org and Scientific American, who asked American scientists what they thought were the most pressing science issues faced by these candidates.
There’s not exactly a lot of surprises here, but if you’re looking for a one-stop science policy shop for this year’s election … this is it.
Bachmann’s not the only one who gets evolution wrong
In regard to a post from earlier this week about GOP Prez candidate Michelle Bachmann’s laughable stance on intelligent design …
It’s easy to pile on Michelle Bachmann, because she spouts the cray-cray with Old Faithful-like dependability. But you can’t win the dodge-ball game just by aiming at the slow kids. It’s important to note that the other GOP hopefuls (but not all) are equally guilty on supporting ID in schools. Some actually (at least at some point in the past) have at least semi-logical views on the subject (if not incomplete):
- Tim Pawlenty actively supports teaching creationism as part of the school curriculum, although he tries to defer the decision to “parents and local school districts”.
- Mitt Romney is what we call a “theistic” supporter of evolution, meaning that he supports the science of evolution but views it as a process used by an intelligent creator.
- Newt Gingrich (in 2006) stated that he thinks evolution is the best explanation that we have, but that it isn’t a complete one. While saying that evolution is supreme for science classes, he leaves the door open for discussing ID outside of science classrooms.
- Ron Paul is unique in kinda sorta debating the strength of evolution, but being firm that government shouldn’t be deciding this for schools in the first place.
- Rick Santorum tried to get an education bill passed with an amendment demanding the teaching of creationism. They even named the amendment after him! ‘Nuff said.
- Herman Cain - I can’t find any specific quotes from Cain on evolution, but judging from his hyper-Christian and anti-Muslim stance, I can take a pretty good guess.
- Rick Perry has been a long-time supporter of getting creationism taught in schools, as his appointments to the Texas State Board of Education have shown ad nauseum. Emphasis on the nauseum.
- Rudy Giuliani is a breath of fresh air here, expressing strong support for evolution and allowing that theology and science can exist in peace, one day, in a land made of cotton candy.
- Jon Huntsman also supports the superiority of evolution in science classes, stating in 2006 that creation debates should be left to religious settings and college-level philosophy classes. He also agrees with climate scientists about global warming, so taken together these guarantee that he won’t get the GOP nomination.