It's May Day! We're supposed to be thinking of flowers and spring and new life and Revolution and labor and the rights of the working class, but here in western Minnesota we're looking at snow and a late freeze and fierce winds—the snow is coming down sideways, always a bad sign—so I'm sitting indoors with a stack of papers to grade and thinking about these things in only the most abstract ways, I'm afraid. I'm going to bring up something completely different, science on the web.
So first, I will urge everyone to think positive thoughts about life and biology and science, good stuff to consider any day of the year and not just in the spring, and remind you all that a new edition of the Tangled Bank will be online this Wednesday, hosted by Buridan's Ass. The Tangled Bank is a biweekly collection of writing about science, natural history, medicine, etc., and it is now taking submissions of your good stuff on those subjects—send links to <buridans AT buridansass DOT com> or to me or to firstname.lastname@example.org by Tuesday. And if you are snowed in or bored, browse the archives to find out who's talking about science on the weblogs.
There's another, even closer deadline coming up, and this one is your opportunity to strike a blow for good science in the so-called mainstream media. Last week, a major metropolitan newspaper, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, ran several opinion pieces on Intelligent design creationism, both pro and con. This isn't unusual, but they are also asking for more reader contributions on the subject:
An invitation to readers on ID/evolution.
We're interested in your thoughts on intelligent design, evolution, and their proper places in school curricula. Write us an e-mail of no more than 150 words and send it to email@example.com, with the word "evolution" in the subject line. Be sure to include your name, address and telephone number so we can contact you if we decide to publish your response. Please reply by Monday, May 2.
This is a great opportunity to show our support for good science teaching and make a public statement in opposition to creationism. I know it's short notice, but heck, 150 words? That's a paragraph or two. I've made a suggestion about possible topics (in short: keep it positive, and let's encourage the newspapers to take a strong pro-biology stance), and if you'd like to see an example, here's one person publicly working through a couple of drafts.
The extremists and the lunatic religious right are usually far better at flooding the media with calls for action—let's try and reverse that pattern this time, OK?