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New West Daily Roundup for Feb. 27, 2017

MSU, Montana State University

Today in New West news: 406 Labs at Montana State University fosters startups; audio of Herbert, OIA call released; and UC Boulder researchers debut metamaterial providing “paper-thin air-conditioning.”

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New West Daily Roundup for July 14, 2016

Credit: Larry Johnson, "Denver Skyline at Sunset," December 17, 2009

Today in New West news: CSU explores why women leave STEM, Army Corps of Engineers sued over bull trout, medical marijuana in Montana, and Denver-based cybersecurity firm raises $9M.

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A Disturbing New Model for Global Warming

University of Utah climate scientist Jim Garrett made the national news recently with a new climate model which has disturbing implications for moderates in the global warming debate.

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Controversial 9/11 Scholar and BYU Professor Steven Jones is Placed on Paid Leave

What really happened on September 11, 2001? To most Americans this remains an abstract, emotionally complicated question, but for Steven Jones, a professor of Physics at Brigham Young University, it’s a matter of science. Jones’ reputation and career have been put on the line because of his controversial research concerning the science of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center. As of last week, Mr. Jones was placed on paid leave at BYU because of his involvement with Scholars for 9/11 truth, a group for which Jones acts as co-chair. The group recently began ascribing blame for the attacks to unnamed members of the U.S. government.

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Author Of Climate Change Report Says Her Conclusions Misrepresented By Deniers

One by one, the arguments made by climate change skeptics and lawmakers on Capitol Hill—that climate change is somehow part of an elaborate hoax—are melting as fast as the northern permafrost. In June, the venerable Wall Street Journal published an op-ed piece that proclaimed the scientific consensus on climate change had been refuted by the findings of a paper written by Naomi Oreskes in the journal Science. Now in a wicked turn of events for the fossil fuel industry, Oreskes herself has fired back in a guest column that appeared July 24, 2006 in the Los Angeles Times. Her contention: The piece in the Journal misrepresented her findings, as did the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce last week which used the misrepresentation of her work as a reason to continue stalling in taking meaningful action on US carbon dioxide emission reduction.

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Students Score Well on National Science Test

In news that makes Idaho’s future look a little brighter, the State Department of Education says the state’s fourth- and eighth-graders did well on the 2005 National Assessment of Educational Progress, the Nation’s Report Card. Test results, which for this test determined progress in science, indicate that only six states had higher average scores than Idaho's eighth-graders and twelve states had higher average scores than Idaho’s fourth-graders.

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An Inferno Rages Over Federal Wildfire Policy

As decisionmakers in the U.S. Forest Service remain stricken by "analysis paralysis", yet another round of controversy has erupted over scientific studies related to wildfire prevention and salvage logging on Western forestlands. Once again, ground zero is the site of the Biscuit Fire in Oregon but the ramifications, as the region heads into another fire season, are far and wide, extending to millions of acres of public land and the edges of cities where millions of people live. In this commentary from Alison Berry and Jane S. Shaw of the Property and Environment Research Center (PERC) in Bozeman, it is argued that a "one size fits all" management protocol for confronting wildfire risk is a bad idea for the Forest Service. They also point out an example of what they suggest is suppression of scientific dissent. PERC, best known as a public policy thinktank that promotes market-based solutions to public lands over regulation, has drawn criticism over the years from mainstream environmentalists. Among those who have applied PERC's reasoning over the years to their own thinking are former Interior Secretaries James Watt and Gale Norton, current Assistant Interior Secretary Lynn Scarlett and other environmental policy advisors close to President George W. Bush. However, in this instance, with this essay, it would appear that PERC and conservationists share much in common.

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Buttars Gets Owned

Have you seen the video? [Use caution when clicking that link. Not for the faint of heart.] The one where a kid, riding in the backseat of a car, opens his door to hit another kid on his bike? He falls out of the car and, on the way down, smashes his face into the bumper of a parked car? You haven’t? Well, it’s brutal. And as I surfed for information on the aftermath of the accident, I discovered there’s a word for that kind of brutality. When someone gets so thoroughly jacked up, one can say “He got owned.” [Note: the emphasis is essential. See also Burrrrrn! and Face!.] This week, Rep. Chris Buttars’ (R-West Jordan) “origins of life” bill—which would have forced teachers to read an anti-evolution statement before teaching evolution—got owned.

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Profs Ask Journal to Reject Student’s Forestry Paper

An Oregon State University study alleging that salvage logging kills off forest re-growth has sparked a wildfire of controversy ...from fellow forestry professors.

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Rep. Rehberg Reborn As Science Advocate

By Steve Eshbaugh Denny Rehberg’s recent piece in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, lauding his own vote for the Threatened and Endangered Species Act (TESRA) in place of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) was certainly a very intriguing piece of writing. Let’s put aside the argument of the value of the ESA and look at the arguments Rehberg offers for gutting this cornerstone piece of environmental legislation. Mr. Rehberg states in his piece that “After months of review, real scientists at the prestigious National Academy of Sciences…”? say the actions taken to protect the shortnose sucker fish in Oregon were unnecessary. He later posits, “What ever happened to sound science and peer review?”? Suddenly we have a strong advocate for the National Academies of Science and peer review in the House of Representatives. Hooray! But wait a minute. Has there been a sudden change of heart in our brilliant representative?

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