May 11, 2023

Posted by orrinj at 2:25 PM


Darwin's Dirty Secret Lives On: A recent book on evolutionary theory fails to reckon with the social side of natural selection. (JOHN G. WEST AND ERIC M. WALLACE, MAY 11, 2023, Christianity Today)

In 1904, thousands of indigenous people were brought to the St. Louis World's Fair to be put on public display. Scientists offered them as examples of lower stages of human evolution. Some were even presented to the public as "missing links" between humans and apes.

Two years later, an African named Ota Benga was exhibited in a cage next to an orangutan in the Bronx Zoo primate house. The display attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors. It also drew protests from Black and white clergy. Black minister James Gordon attacked the presentation for propagandizing on behalf of Darwinian evolution, which he regarded as "absolutely opposed to Christianity."

"Neither the Negro nor the white man is related to the monkey, and such an exhibition only degrades a human being's manhood," he declared.

Scientific and cultural elites, meanwhile, saw nothing wrong.

Leading evolutionary biologist Henry Fairfield Osborn of Columbia University praised the zoo exhibit, while The New York Times complained it was "absurd to make moan over the imagined humiliation and degradation" of Benga. The Times took special umbrage at Gordon's skepticism of evolution: "The reverend colored brother should be told that evolution, in one form or other, is now taught in the text books of all the schools, and that it is no more debatable than the multiplication table."

Only recently have many members of the scientific community begun to grapple with evolutionary biology's disturbing past. Last year, the science journal The American Naturalist published an article acknowledging that "the roots of evolutionary biology are steeped in histories of white supremacism, eugenics, and scientific racism."

Posted by orrinj at 10:30 AM



The increase in renewable generation was driven by growth in wind and solar generating capacity. According to the data report, utility-scale solar capacity went up from 61 gigawatts to 71 gigawatts (enough to power around 53.3 million homes by one estimate). Wind capacity increased from 133 gigawatts in 2021 to 141 gigawatts in 2022.

Posted by orrinj at 7:19 AM


Wind is main source of UK electricity for first time (Esme Stallard, 5/11/23, BBC News

Wind turbines have generated more electricity than gas for the first time in the UK.

In the first three months of this year a third of the country's electricity came from wind farms, research from Imperial College London have shown.

National Grid has also confirmed that April saw a record period of solar energy generation.

By 2035 the UK aims for all of its electricity to have net zero emissions.

Posted by orrinj at 7:13 AM


Microsoft signs nuclear fusion deal as part of sustainability push (Andrew Freedman, 5/11/23, Axios)

Helion plans to locate its fusion plant in Washington state, home to both companies, and sell power directly into the grid via Constellation.

Microsoft plans to use the electricity to power its data centers, chief sustainability officer Melanie Nakagawa told Axios in an interview.

The company, which attracted a $500 million funding round in 2021, says its Polaris fusion reactor is on track for the 2028 deadline. Fusion has long been viewed as the holy grail of clean energy, and recent advances have led to a mini-boom of funding fusion startups.

Helion has ambitious timelines, including proving it can produce electricity by 2024, but CEO David Kirtley told Axios they are confident they can be met.

Posted by orrinj at 6:09 AM


Has Putin's war arrived in Russia?: Assassinations, acts of sabotage and drone strikes on Russian soil could prove deeply destabilising. (MARY DEJEVSKY, 11th May 2023, spiked!)

The thwarted drone strike on the Kremlin may have been the incident that grabbed all the international headlines. But this was just one of a spate of apparent attacks in Russia in recent weeks. The war in Ukraine, it seems, is increasingly making itself felt in Russia itself.

On 6 May, an author and blogger, who goes by the name Zakhar Prilepin, became the latest Russian nationalist to be targeted by assassins. As he told it from his hospital bed, he was driving outside Nizhny Novgorod, a city more than 400km east of Moscow, when his car was struck by a bomb. His friend, sitting in the passenger seat, was killed. Prilepin survived, albeit with serious injuries. Social media showed pictures of the crater which had apparently been left by the explosion. Prilepin said a second bomb had been planned as well, but the presumed assassin had taken flight.

Over the past two weeks, small-scale shelling and acts of sabotage have also been reported, mostly in parts of Russia close to the Ukraine border. Four people were killed in the shelling of a village, Suzemka, just a few kilometres inside Russia. Then, two goods trains were derailed on successive days in the west Russian region of Bryansk. The railway authorities blamed these incidents on 'illegal interference in the work of railway transport'. The regional governor blamed them explicitly on explosive devices. The same week, there were two drone attacks on an oil refinery in the Krasnodar region of southern Russia, and reports of power lines being destroyed south of St Petersburg, again by explosive devices.