April 24, 2014

© 2014 Microsoft CorporationMore Than Half of Americans Aren’t Confident in the Big Bang Theory
While scientists believe the universe began with a big bang, most Americans put a big question mark on the concept, an Associated Press-GfK poll found. Yet when it comes to smoking causing cancer or that a genetic code determines who we are, the doubts disappear. When considering concepts scientists consider truths, Americans have more skepticism than confidence in those that are farther away from our bodies in scope and time: global warming, the age of the Earth and evolution and especially the big bang from 13.8 billion years ago. (Seth Borenstein and Jennifer Agiesta, Associated Press)

Can Feeling Pleasure From Meaningful Activities Protect Teens From Developing Depression?
In a new study, researchers aimed to figure out how the tender brains of adolescents reacted to the more bacchanalian rewards, like video games and drugs, versus the more prosocial ones, like “helping others in need, expressing gratitude, and working toward long-term goals.” Would the teens who get their jollies from volunteering be happier, in the long run, than those who live only for Grand Theft Auto? (Olga Khazan, The Atlantic)

Why Were All of the Artifacts at a 4,500-Year-Old Site in California Removed and Reburied?
The story is actually a lot more complicated than Good Archaeologists vs. Bad Developers. The actual decision to rebury the artifacts wasn’t left to the town or to the developers. The call was made by the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, the likely descendants of the ancient people who lived on the site. (Mary Beth Griggs, Smithsonian.com)

The Faith-Based Environmentalism of “Noah”
Chris Mooney: No matter what the Christian right may say, Noah is a deeply religious and spiritual film containing an authentic moral message. And that message feeds strongly into a vital and growing religious tradition of our time, one that especially appeals to younger believers: faith-based environmentalism, or what is sometimes called “creation care,” which uses biblically based moral imperatives to impel conservation and stewardship. (Mother Jones)

Q&A
Jeremy Pritchard

The Conversation organized a public question-and-answer session on Reddit in which Jeremy Pritchard, senior lecturer in biology at the University of Birmingham, explained the science of evolution and tackled the contentious issue of science and religion. Here are curated highlights. (The Conversation)

Category: Field Notes

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