Politics and activism will join forces at ‘March for Science’ on Earth Day

A boy holds a sign at the Women’s March on Washington urging the support of scientific research. Photo: Twitter/ @LDmay 

The April 22 nationwide March for Science event is meant to “urge policy, educational, and community leaders to put science at the forefront,” one organizer said.

Saturday’s worldwide March for Science rallies will coincide with Earth Day, and that’s no coincidence. Organizers formed the March for Science political movement to counter President Donald Trump’s efforts to undo many environmental and climate regulations.

The scientific community has increasingly found itself under fire, organizers say. So this year, instead of simply marking a day to celebrate the Earth, they will use the April 22 event to mix politics with activism.

The March for Science will take place in Washington, D.C. and more than 500 locations across the globe, including Boston, New York and Philadelphia. The goal, organizers say, is a nonpartisan effort to shape new policies concerning science and education. “We join together to urge policy, educational, and community leaders to put science at the forefront when making decisions,” said Ashley Ciulla, a co-chairwoman of Boston’s Science March who conducts research at Harvard Medical School and MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer. 

On the March for Science homepage, there is a sense of urgency behind the message: “In the face of an alarming trend toward discrediting scientific consensus and restricting scientific discovery, we might ask instead: can we afford not to speak out in its defense?”

Some critics, such as Joe Funderburk, an entomologist at the University of Florida,   have urged against speaking out, believing that science “must be free of bias. It must be free of political passion.”  Supporters like Michèle Lamont, a Harvard University professor and the president of the American Sociological Association, say all they’ve heard from other scientists is to make the event more political.  The ASA is a partner of Washington’s March for Science, and Lamont said she reached out to all the heads of university sociology departments around the county, urging them to participate.

The Boston area has the largest concentration of academic institutions in the country, and many of them “depend on federal dollars for a good part of their activities and research,” she said. “So the concern here is very high.”

Ciulla said the issue was too important for her to remain silent. “The passion that scientists of all kinds harbor for their work and for the people they are helping is so incredibly real,” she said. “The benefits to humanity are so important and worth fighting for. Scientists coming together to fight for all of the progress we have made, and will make, is absolutely worth a couple of hours of your time.”

March for Science in the U.S. & around the World

On Earth Day, April 22, the March for Science will include more than 500 marches in the U.S. and across the world. The event is in partnership with the Earth Day Network, the Nature Conservancy, the National Center for Science Education, and other organizations.

Boston March for Science begins at 1PM at the Boston Common. About 75,000 people responded they would attend on the group’s Facebook page. The event will stay within the area of the Common and include a main rally with speakers, music performances and a “Kids Zone.”

New York March for Science rally and staage area 10:30AM at West 62nd Street and Central Park West. About 11,000 people responded they would attend on the group’s Facebook page. New York’s March will head down Central Park West onto Broadway via Columbus Circle and finish at 52nd Street and Broadway.

Philadelphia March for Science 10AM at the south side of City Hall. About 6,000 people responded they would attend on the group’s Facebook page. Philadelphia’s March will start at City Hall,and end at Penn’s Landing Great Plaza.

For a full list of events, visit the March for Science website.

Series About the Brontë Sisters Coming Soon | Bookstr


BOOK REVIEW: Elegy for April by Benjamin Black

Elegy for April
by Benjamin Black

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

April Lavery has vanished. A junior doctor at a local hospital, she is something of a trail-blazer in the deeply conservative and highly patriarchal society of 1950s Dublin. Though her family is one of the most respected in the city, she is known for being independent-minded; her taste in men, for instance, is decidedly unconventional, as evidenced by her current boyfriend, a handsome and charismatic medical student from Nigeria.

Then April disappears, and Phoebe Griffin, her best friend, immediately suspects the worst. Frantic, Phoebe seeks out Quirke, her brilliant but erratic father, and asks him for help. Sober again after intensive treatment for alcoholism, Quirke soon learns that his old sparring partner, Detective Inspector Hackett, has been assigned to the high-profile case. This time, Hackett welcomes Quirke’s help—the pathologist’s knowledge of the darker byways of the city may allow him to uncover crucial information about April’s whereabouts. And as Quirke becomes deeply involved in April’s murky story, he encounters complicated and ugly truths about race-hatred, Catholic ruthlessness, and family savagery.

Both an absorbing crime novel and a brilliant portrait of the difficult and relentless love between a father and his daughter, this is Benjamin Black at his sparkling best.

View all my reviews

Rare World War II Propaganda Posters | Time.com

Though some wartime propaganda art has since become iconic, plenty of posters from the World War II era are rare, with few original examples having survived through the decades. World War II Posters, a new book, brings to light some of those artifacts. The book features highlights from the more than 10,000 posters collected over…

via See the Rare Propaganda Posters of World War II — TIME

Solange Knowles: I am a Proud Black Feminist and Womanist

Solange Knowles has never been shy about standing up for what she believes in and her latest interview is no exception. As the cover star of BUST‘s latest issue, the A Seat at the Table singer opened up in her interview about what feminism means to her in this day and age. “I am a…

via Solange Knowles: ‘I Am a Proud Black Feminist and Womanist’ — TIME

Is It Too Soon for Deadpool Graphic Novel?

Check out the trade collection of the Deadpool mini-series.

via Marvel Weekly Graphic Novel Review: Deadpool: Too Soon? — Graphic Policy

Everything you ever wanted to know about the U.S. foreign assistance budget – Washington Post


Excellent article by The Washington Post (factually specific, multi-sourced, data-driven) detailing: how much foreign aid the United States provides; to whom; and the stated purpose for the aid. 

The Two-State Solution: What It Is and Why It Hasn’t Happened | Max Fisher, The Interpreter, The New York Times, 12/29/16

A construction site in the Israeli settlement of Efrat in the West Bank. (BAZ RATNER / REUTERS) 

Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday  joined a growing chorus warning that the so-called two-state solution, which he called “the only way to achieve a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians,” could be on the verge of permanent collapse.

The two-state solution has for decades been the primary focus of efforts to achieve peace in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but the contours of what it would actually look like — and why it has been so hard to achieve — can get lost. Here’s a basic guide.

What is the two-state solution?

It helps to start with the problem the solution is meant to address: the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. At its most basic level, the conflict is about how or whether to divide territory between two peoples.

Graphic showing Palestinian land loss since 1947. This visual speaks to the absurdity of any possible two-state solution that does not re-apportion the division of the land. (Added to original article by wordnerdproblems.com editor, Melissia Lenox.) 

The territory question is also wrapped up in other overlapping but distinct issues: whether the Palestinian territories can become an independent state and how to resolve years of violence that include the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, the partial Israeli blockade of Gaza and Palestinian violence against Israelis.

The two-state solution would establish an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel — two states for two peoples. In theory, this would win Israel security and allow it to retain a Jewish demographic majority (letting the country remain Jewish and democratic) while granting the Palestinians a state. 

And most important, the current Israeli leadership, though it nominally supports a two-state solution, appears to oppose it in practice.

Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister since 2009, endorsed the two-state solution in a speech that year. But he continued to expand West Bank settlements and, in 2015, said there would be “no withdrawals” and “no concessions.”

Mr. Netanyahu appears personally skeptical of Palestinian independence. His fragile governing coalition also relies on right-wing parties that are skeptical of or outright oppose the two-state solution.

Israeli public pressure for a peace deal has declined. The reasons are complex: demographic changes, an increasingly powerful settler movement, outrage at Palestinian attacks such as a recent spate of stabbings, and bitter memories of the Second Intifada in the early 2000s, which saw frequent bus and cafe bombings.

And the status quo has, for most Israelis, become relatively peaceful and bearable. Many see little incentive for adopting a risky and uncertain two-state solution, leaving Mr. Netanyahu with scant reason to risk his political career on one 

Are there other solutions?

There are, but they involve such drastic costs that the United States and many other governments consider all but the two-state solution unacceptable.

There are multiple versions of the so-called one-state solution, which would join all territories as one nation. One version would grant equal rights to all in a state that would be neither Jewish nor Palestinian in character, because neither group would have a clear majority. Skeptics fear this would risk internal instability or even a return to war.

Another, advocated by some on the Israeli far right, would establish one state but preserve Israel’s Jewish character by denying full rights to Palestinians. Under this version, Israel would no longer be a democratic state.

With few viable or popular alternatives, the most likely choice may be to simply maintain the status quo — though few believe that is possible in the long term.

What happens if there is no solution?

A common prediction, as Mr. Kerry stated, is that Israel will be forced to choose between the two core components of its national identity: Jewish and democratic.

This choice, rather than coming in one decisive moment, would probably play out in many small choices over a process of years. For instance, a 2015 poll by the Israel Democracy Institute found that 74 percent of Jewish Israelis agreed that “decisions crucial to the state on issues of peace and security should be made by a Jewish majority.” That pollster also found that, from 2010 to 2014, Jewish Israelis became much less likely to say that Israel should be “Jewish and democratic,” with growing factions saying that it should be democratic first or, slightly more popular, Jewish first.

Many analysts also worry that the West Bank government, whose scant remaining legitimacy rests on delivering a peace deal, will collapse. This would force Israel to either tolerate chaos in the West Bank and a possible Hamas takeover or enforce a more direct form of occupation that would be costlier to both parties.

This risk of increased suffering, along with perhaps permanent setbacks in the national ambitions of both Palestinians and Israelis, is why Nathan Thrall, a Jerusalem-based analyst with the International Crisis Group, told me last year, “Perpetuating the status quo is the most frightening of the possibilities.” 

Follow Max Fisher on Twitter @Max_Fisher. 

When Black Lives Stop Mattering

Fun Facts About Birthstones [INFOGRAPHIC]

Most people know what their birthstone is without a second thought, but how much do we really know about the actual gemstones themselves? The gems designated as birthstones have been around for tho…

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