Arquivo da tag: Educação

Climate Science Meets a Stubborn Obstacle: Students (New York Times)

“It’s his website,” she said.

 Mr. Sutter during his Advanced Placement environmental science class. He was hired from a program that recruits science professionals into teaching. Credit: Maddie McGarvey for The New York Times

For his part, Mr. Sutter occasionally fell short of his goal of providing Gwen — the most vocal of a raft of student climate skeptics — with calm, evidence-based responses. “Why would I lie to you?” he demanded one morning. “It’s not like I’m making a lot of money here.”

She was, he knew, a straight-A student. She would have had no trouble comprehending the evidence, embedded in ancient tree rings, ice, leaves and shells, as well as sophisticated computer models, that atmospheric carbon dioxide is the chief culprit when it comes to warming the world. Or the graph he showed of how sharply it has spiked since the Industrial Revolution, when humans began pumping vast quantities of it into the air.

Thinking it a useful soothing device, Mr. Sutter assented to Gwen’s request that she be allowed to sand the bark off the sections of wood he used to illustrate tree rings during class. When she did so with an energy that, classmates said, increased during discussion points with which she disagreed, he let it go.

When she insisted that teachers “are supposed to be open to opinions,” however, Mr. Sutter held his ground.

“It’s not about opinions,” he told her. “It’s about the evidence.”

“It’s like you can’t disagree with a scientist or you’re ‘denying science,”’ she sniffed to her friends.

Gwen, 17, could not put her finger on why she found Mr. Sutter, whose biology class she had enjoyed, suddenly so insufferable. Mr. Sutter, sensing that his facts and figures were not helping, was at a loss. And the day she grew so agitated by a documentary he was showing that she bolted out of the school left them both shaken.

“I have a runner,” Mr. Sutter called down to the office, switching off the video.

He had chosen the video, an episode from an Emmy-winning series that featured a Christian climate activist and high production values, as a counterpoint to another of Gwen’s objections, that a belief in climate change does not jibe with Christianity.

“It was just so biased toward saying climate change is real,” she said later, trying to explain her flight. “And that all these people that I pretty much am like are wrong and stupid.”

Classroom Culture Wars

As more of the nation’s teachers seek to integrate climate science into the curriculum, many of them are reckoning with students for whom suspicion of the subject is deeply rooted.

In rural Wellston, a former coal and manufacturing town seeking its next act, rejecting the key findings of climate science can seem like a matter of loyalty to a way of life already under siege. Originally tied, perhaps, to economic self-interest, climate skepticism has itself become a proxy for conservative ideals of hard work, small government and what people here call “self-sustainability.”

A tractor near Wellston, an area where coal and manufacturing were once the primary employment opportunities. Credit: Maddie McGarvey for The New York Times

Assiduously promoted by fossil fuel interests, that powerful link to a collective worldview largely explains why just 22 percent of Mr. Trump’s supporters in a 2016 poll said they believed that human activity is warming the planet, compared with half of all registered voters. And the prevailing outlook among his base may in turn have facilitated the president’s move to withdraw from the global agreement to battle rising temperatures.

“What people ‘believe’ about global warming doesn’t reflect what they know,” Dan Kahan, a Yale researcher who studies political polarization, has stressed in talks, papers and blog posts. “It expresses who they are.”

But public-school science classrooms are also proving to be a rare place where views on climate change may shift, research has found. There, in contrast with much of adult life, it can be hard to entirely tune out new information.

“Adolescents are still heavily influenced by their parents, but they’re also figuring themselves out,” said Kathryn Stevenson, a researcher at North Carolina State University who studies climate literacy.

Gwen’s father died when she was young, and her mother and uncle, both Trump supporters, doubt climate change as much as she does.

“If she was in math class and teacher told her two plus two equals four and she argued with him about that, I would say she’s wrong,” said her uncle, Mark Beatty. “But no one knows if she’s wrong.”

As Gwen clashed with her teacher over the notion of human-caused climate change, one of her best friends, Jacynda Patton, was still circling the taboo subject. “I learned some stuff, that’s all,’’ Jacynda told Gwen, on whom she often relied to supply the $2.40 for school lunch that she could not otherwise afford.

Jacynda Patton, right, during Mr. Sutter’s class. “I thought it would be an easy A,” she said. “It wasn’t.”Credit: Maddie McGarvey for The New York Times

Hired a year earlier, Mr. Sutter was the first science teacher at Wellston to emphasize climate science. He happened to do so at a time when the mounting evidence of the toll that global warming is likely to take, and the Trump administration’s considerable efforts to discredit those findings, are drawing new attention to the classroom from both sides of the nation’s culture war.

Since March, the Heartland Institute, a think tank that rejects the scientific consensus on climate change, has sent tens of thousands of science teachers a book of misinformation titled “Why Scientists Disagree About Global Warming,” in an effort to influence “the next generation of thought,” said Joseph Bast, the group’s chief executive.

The Alliance for Climate Education, which runs assemblies based on the consensus science for high schools across the country, received new funding from a donor who sees teenagers as the best means of reaching and influencing their parents.

Idaho, however, this year joined several other states that have declined to adopt new science standards that emphasize the role human activities play in climate change.

At Wellston, where most students live below the poverty line and the needle-strewn bike path that abuts the marching band’s practice field is known as “heroin highway,” climate change is not regarded as the most pressing issue. And since most Wellston graduates typically do not go on to obtain a four-year college degree, this may be the only chance many of them have to study the impact of global warming.

But Mr. Sutter’s classroom shows how curriculum can sometimes influence culture on a subject that stands to have a more profound impact on today’s high schoolers than their parents.

“I thought it would be an easy A,” said Jacynda, 16, an outspoken Trump supporter. “It wasn’t.”

God’s Gift to Wellston?

Mr. Sutter, who grew up three hours north of Wellston in the largely Democratic city of Akron, applied for the job at Wellston High straight from a program to recruit science professionals into teaching, a kind of science-focused Teach for America.

He already had a graduate-level certificate in environmental science from the University of Akron and a private sector job assessing environmental risk for corporations. But a series of personal crises that included his sister’s suicide, he said, had compelled him to look for a way to channel his knowledge to more meaningful use.

The fellowship gave him a degree in science education in exchange for a three-year commitment to teach in a high-needs Ohio school district. Megan Sowers, the principal, had been looking for someone qualified to teach an Advanced Placement course, which could help improve her financially challenged school’s poor performance ranking. She hired him on the spot.

Mr. Sutter walking with his students on a nature trail near the high school, where he pointed out evidence of climate change. Credit: Maddie McGarvey for The New York Times 

But at a school where most teachers were raised in the same southeastern corner of Appalachian Ohio as their students, Mr. Sutter’s credentials themselves could raise hackles.

“He says, ‘I left a higher-paying job to come teach in an area like this,’” Jacynda recalled. “We’re like, ‘What is that supposed to mean?”’

“He acts,” Gwen said with her patented eye roll, “like he’s God’s gift to Wellston.”

In truth, he was largely winging it.

Some 20 states, including a handful of red ones, have recently begun requiring students to learn that human activity is a major cause of climate change, but few, if any, have provided a road map for how to teach it, and most science teachers, according to one recent survey, spend at most two hours on the subject.

Chagrined to learn that none of his students could recall a school visit by a scientist, Mr. Sutter hosted several graduate students from nearby Ohio University.

On a field trip to a biology laboratory there, many of his students took their first ride on an escalator. To illustrate why some scientists in the 1970s believed the world was cooling rather than warming (“So why should we believe them now?” students sometimes asked), he brought in a 1968 push-button phone and a 1980s Nintendo game cartridge.

“Our data and our ability to process it is just so much better now,” he said.

In the A.P. class, Mr. Sutter took an informal poll midway through: In all, 14 of 17 students said their parents thought he was, at best, wasting their time. “My stepdad says they’re brainwashing me,” one said.

Jacynda’s father, for one, did not raise an eyebrow when his daughter stopped attending Mr. Sutter’s class for a period in the early winter. A former coal miner who had endured two years of unemployment before taking a construction job, he declined a request to talk about it.

“I think it’s that it’s taken a lot from him,” Jacynda said. “He sees it as the environmental people have taken his job.”

And having listened to Mr. Sutter reiterate the overwhelming agreement among scientists regarding humanity’s role in global warming in answer to another classmate’s questions — “What if we’re not the cause of it? What if this is something that’s natural?” — Jacynda texted the classmate one night using an expletive to refer to Mr. Sutter’s teaching approach.

But even the staunchest climate-change skeptics could not ignore the dearth of snow days last winter, the cap to a year that turned out to be the warmest Earth has experienced since 1880, according to NASA. The high mark eclipsed the record set just the year before, which had eclipsed the year before that.

In woods behind the school, where Mr. Sutter had his students scout out a nature trail, he showed them the preponderance of emerald ash borers, an invasive insect that, because of the warm weather, had not experienced the usual die-off that winter. There was flooding, too: Once, more than 5.5 inches of rain fell in 48 hours.

The field trip to a local stream where the water runs neon orange also made an impression. Mr. Sutter had the class collect water samples: The pH levels were as acidic as “the white vinegar you buy at a grocery store,” he told them. And the drainage, they could see, was from the mine.

It was the realization that she had failed to grasp the damage done to her immediate environment, Jacynda said, that made her begin to pay more attention. She did some reading. She also began thinking that she might enjoy a job working for the Environmental Protection Agency — until she learned that, under Mr. Trump, the agency would undergo huge layoffs.

“O.K., I’m not going to lie. I did a 180,” she said that afternoon in the library with Gwen, casting a guilty look at her friend. “This is happening, and we have to fix it.”

After fleeing Mr. Sutter’s classroom that day, Gwen never returned, a pragmatic decision about which he has regrets. “That’s one student I feel I failed a little bit,” he said.

As an alternative, Gwen took an online class for environmental science credit, which she does not recall ever mentioning climate change. She and Jacynda had other things to talk about, like planning a bonfire after prom.

As they tried on dresses last month, Jacynda mentioned that others in their circle, including the boys they had invited to prom, believed the world was dangerously warming, and that humans were to blame. By the last days of school, most of Mr. Sutter’s doubters, in fact, had come to that conclusion.

“I know,” Gwen said, pausing for a moment. “Now help me zip this up.”

Researchers say they’ve figured out what makes people reject science, and it’s not ignorance (Science Alert)

Why some people believe Earth is flat.


23 JAN 2017

A lot happened in 2016, but one of the biggest cultural shifts was the rise of fake news – where claims with no evidence behind them (e.g. the world is flat) get shared as fact alongside evidence-based, peer-reviewed findings (e.g. climate change is happening).

Researchers have coined this trend the ‘anti-enlightenment movement‘, and there’s been a lot of frustration and finger-pointing over who or what’s to blame. But a team of psychologists has identified some of the key factors that can cause people to reject science – and it has nothing to do with how educated or intelligent they are.

In fact, the researchers found that people who reject scientific consensus on topics such as climate change, vaccine safety, and evolution are generally just as interested in science and as well-educated as the rest of us.

The issue is that when it comes to facts, people think more like lawyers than scientists, which means they ‘cherry pick’ the facts and studies that back up what they already believe to be true.

So if someone doesn’t think humans are causing climate change, they will ignore the hundreds of studies that support that conclusion, but latch onto the one study they can find that casts doubt on this view. This is also known as cognitive bias.

“We find that people will take a flight from facts to protect all kinds of belief including their religious belief, their political beliefs, and even simple personal beliefs such as whether they are good at choosing a web browser,” said one of the researchers, Troy Campbell from the University of Oregon.

“People treat facts as relevant more when the facts tend to support their opinions. When the facts are against their opinions, they don’t necessarily deny the facts, but they say the facts are less relevant.”

This conclusion was based on a series of new interviews, as well as a meta-analysis of the research that’s been published on the topic, and was presented in a symposium called over the weekend as part of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology annual convention in San Antonio.

The goal was to figure out what’s going wrong with science communication in 2017, and what we can do to fix it.

The research has yet to be published, so isn’t conclusive, but the results suggest that simply focussing on the evidence and data isn’t enough to change someone’s mind about a particular topic, seeing as they’ll most likely have their own ‘facts’ to fire back at you.

“Where there is conflict over societal risks – from climate change to nuclear-power safety to impacts of gun control laws, both sides invoke the mantel of science,” said one of the team, Dan Kahan from Yale University.

Instead, the researchers recommend looking into the ‘roots’ of people’s unwillingness to accept scientific consensus, and try to find common ground to introduce new ideas.

So where is this denial of science coming from? A big part of the problem, the researchers found, is that people associate scientific conclusions with political or social affiliations.

New research conducted by Kahan showed that people have actually always cherry picked facts when it comes to science – that’s nothing new. But it hasn’t been such a big problem in the past, because scientific conclusions were usually agreed on by political and cultural leaders, and promoted as being in the public’s best interests.

Now, scientific facts are being wielded like weapons in a struggle for cultural supremacy, Kahan told Melissa Healy over at the LA Times, and the result is a “polluted science communication environment”.

So how can we do better?

“Rather than taking on people’s surface attitudes directly, tailor the message so that it aligns with their motivation,” said Hornsey. “So with climate skeptics, for example, you find out what they can agree on and then frame climate messages to align with these.”

The researchers are still gathering data for a peer-reviewed publication on their findings, but they presented their work to the scientific community for further dissemination and discussion in the meantime.

Hornsey told the LA Times that the stakes are too high to continue to ignore the ‘anti-enlightenment movement’.

“Anti-vaccination movements cost lives,” said Hornsey. “Climate change skepticism slows the global response to the greatest social, economic and ecological threat of our time.”

“We grew up in an era when it was just presumed that reason and evidence were the ways to understand important issues; not fear, vested interests, tradition or faith,” he added.

“But the rise of climate skepticism and the anti-vaccination movement made us realise that these enlightenment values are under attack.”

The Violence of Forgetting (New York Times)

Brad Evans: Throughout your work you have dealt with the dangers of ignorance and what you have called the violence of “organized forgetting.” Can you explain what you mean by this and why we need to be attentive to intellectual forms of violence?

Henry Giroux: Unfortunately, we live at a moment in which ignorance appears to be one of the defining features of American political and cultural life. Ignorance has become a form of weaponized refusal to acknowledge the violence of the past, and revels in a culture of media spectacles in which public concerns are translated into private obsessions, consumerism and fatuous entertainment. As James Baldwin rightly warned, “Ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.”

The warning signs from history are all too clear. Failure to learn from the past has disastrous political consequences. Such ignorance is not simply about the absence of information. It has its own political and pedagogical categories whose formative cultures threaten both critical agency and democracy itself.

What I have called the violence of organized forgetting signals how contemporary politics are those in which emotion triumphs over reason, and spectacle over truth, thereby erasing history by producing an endless flow of fragmented and disingenuous knowledge. At a time in which figures like Donald Trump are able to gain a platform by promoting values of “greatness” that serve to cleanse the memory of social and political progress achieved in the name of equality and basic human decency, history and thought itself are under attack.

Once ignorance is weaponized, violence seems to be a tragic inevitability. The mass shooting in Orlando is yet another example of an emerging global political and cultural climate of violence fed by hate and mass hysteria. Such violence legitimates not only a kind of inflammatory rhetoric and ideological fundamentalism that views violence as the only solution to addressing social issues, it also provokes further irrational acts of violence against others. Spurrned on by a complete disrespect for those who affirm different ways of living, this massacre points to a growing climate of hate and bigotry that is unapologetic in its political nihilism.

It would be easy to dismiss such an act as another senseless example of radical Islamic terrorism. That is too easy. Another set of questions needs to be asked. What are the deeper political, educational, and social conditions that allow a climate of hate, racism, and bigotry to become the dominant discourse of a society or worldview? What role do politicians with their racist and aggressive discourses play in the emerging landscapes violence? How can we use education, among other resources, to prevent politics from being transformed into a pathology? And how might we counter these tragic and terrifying conditions without retreating into security or military mindsets?

Violence maims not only the body, but also the mind and the spirit.

B.E.: You insist that education is crucial to any viable critique of oppression and violence. Why?

H.G.: I begin with the assumption that education is fundamental to democracy. No democratic society can survive without a formative culture, which includes but is not limited to schools capable of producing citizens who are critical, self-reflective, knowledgeable and willing to make moral judgments and act in a socially inclusive and responsible way. This is contrary to forms of education that reduce learning to an instrumental logic that too often and too easily can be perverted to violent ends.

So we need to remember that education can be both a basis for critical thought and a site for repression, which destroys thinking and leads to violence. Michel Foucault wrote that knowledge and truth not only “belong to the register of order and peace,” but can also be found on the “side of violence, disorder, and war.” What matters is the type of education a person is encouraged to pursue.

It’s not just schools that are a site of this struggle. “Education” in this regard not only includes public and higher education, but also a range of cultural apparatuses and media that produce, distribute and legitimate specific forms of knowledge, ideas, values and social relations. Just think of the ways in which politics and violence now inform each other and dominate media culture. First-person shooter video games top the video-game market while Hollywood films ratchet up representations of extreme violence and reinforce a culture of fear, aggression and militarization. Similar spectacles now drive powerful media conglomerates like 21st Century Fox, which includes both news and entertainment subsidiaries.

As public values wither along with the public spheres that produce them, repressive modes of education gain popularity and it becomes easier to incarcerate people than to educate them, to model schools after prisons, to reduce the obligations of citizenship to mere consumption and to remove any notion of social responsibility from society’s moral registers and ethical commitments.

B.E.: Considering Hannah Arendt’s warning that the forces of domination and exploitation require “thoughtlessness” on behalf of the oppressors, how is the capacity to think freely and in an informed way key to providing a counter to violent practices?

H.G.: Young people can learn to challenge violence, like those in the antiwar movement of the early ’70s or today in the Black Lives Matter movement.

Education does more than create critically minded, socially responsible citizens. It enables young people and others to challenge authority by connecting individual troubles to wider systemic concerns. This notion of education is especially important given that racialized violence, violence against women and the ongoing assaults on public goods cannot be solved on an individual basis.

Violence maims not only the body but also the mind and spirit. As Pierre Bourdieu has argued, it lies “on the side of belief and persuasion.” If we are to counter violence by offering young people ways to think differently about their world and the choices before them, they must be empowered to recognize themselves in any analysis of violence, and in doing so to acknowledge that it speaks to their lives meaningfully.

There is no genuine democracy without an informed public. While there are no guarantees that a critical education will prompt individuals to contest various forms of oppression and violence, it is clear that in the absence of a formative democratic culture, critical thinking will increasingly be trumped by anti-intellectualism, and walls and war will become the only means to resolve global challenges.

Creating such a culture of education, however, will not be easy in a society that links the purpose of education with being competitive in a global economy.

B.E.: Mindful of this, there is now a common policy in place throughout the education system to create “safe spaces” so students feel comfortable in their environments. This is often done in the name of protecting those who may have their voices denied. But given your claim about the need to confront injustice, does this represent an ethically responsible approach to difficult subject matters?

Critical education should be viewed as the art of the possible rather than a space organized around timidity, caution and fear.

H.G.: There is a growing culture of conformity and quietism on university campuses, made evident in the current call for safe spaces and trigger warnings. This is not just conservative reactionism, but is often carried out by liberals who believe they are acting with the best intentions. Violence comes in many forms and can be particularly disturbing when confronted in an educational setting if handled dismissively or in ways that blame victims.

Yet troubling knowledge cannot be condemned on the basis of making students uncomfortable, especially if the desire for safety serves merely to limit access to difficult knowledge and the resources needed to analyze it. Critical education should be viewed as the art of the possible rather than a space organized around timidity, caution and fear.

Creating safe spaces runs counter to the notion that learning should be unsettling, that students should challenge common sense assumptions and be willing to confront disturbing realities despite discomfort. The political scientist Wendy Brown rightly argues that the “domain of free public speech is not one of emotional safety or reassurance,” and is “ not what the public sphere and political speech promise.” A university education should, Brown writes, “ call you to think, question, doubt” and “ incite you to question everything you assume, think you know or care about.”

This is particularly acute when dealing with pedagogies of violence and oppression. While there is a need to be ethically sensitive to the subject matter, our civic responsibility requires, at times, confronting truly intolerable conditions. The desire for emotionally safe spaces can be invoked to protect one’s sense of privilege — especially in the privileged sites of university education. This is further compounded by the frequent attempts by students to deny some speakers a platform because their views are controversial. While the intentions may be understandable, this is a dangerous road to go down.

Confronting the intolerable should be challenging and upsetting. Who could read the testimonies of Primo Levi and not feel intellectually and emotionally exhausted? Or Martin Luther King Jr.’s words, not to mention those of Malcolm X? It is the conditions that produce violence that should upset us ethically and prompt us to act responsibly, rather than to capitulate to a privatized emotional response that substitutes a therapeutic language for a political and worldly one.

There is more at work here than the infantilizing notion that students should be protected rather than challenged in the classroom; there is also the danger of creating a chilling effect on the part of faculty who want to address controversial topics such as war, poverty, spectacles of violence, racism, sexism and inequality. If American society wants to invest in its young people, it has an obligation to provide them with an education in which they are challenged, can learn to take risks, think outside the boundaries of established ideologies, and expand the far reaches of their creativity and critical judgment. This demands a pedagogy that is complicated, taxing and disruptive.

B.E.: You place the university at the center of a democratic and civil society. But considering that the university is not a politically neutral setting separate from power relations, you are concerned with what you term “gated intellectuals” who become seduced by the pursuit of power. Please explain this concept.

H.G.: Public universities across the globe are under attack not because they are failing, but because they are they are considered discretionary — unlike K-12 education for which funding is largely compulsory. The withdrawal of financial support has initiated a number of unsavory responses: Universities have felt compelled to turn towards corporate management models. They have effectively hobbled academic freedom by employing more precarious part-time instead of full-time faculty, and they increasingly treat students as consumers to be seduced by various campus gimmicks while burying the majority in debt.

My critique of what I have called “gated intellectuals” responds to these troubling trends by pointing to an increasingly isolated and privileged full-time faculty who believe that higher education still occupies the rarefied, otherworldly space of disinterested intellectualism of Cardinal Newman’s 19th century, and who defend their own indifference to social issues through appeals to professionalism or by condemning as politicized those academics who grapple with larger social issues. Some academics have gone so far as to suggest that criticizing the university is tantamount to destroying it. There is a type of intellectual violence at work here that ignores and often disparages the civic function of education while forgetting Hannah Arendt’s incisive admonition that “education is the point at which we decide whether we love the world enough to assume responsibility for it.”

Supported by powerful conservative foundations and awash in grants from the defense and intelligence agencies, such gated intellectuals appear to have forgotten that in a democracy it is crucial to defend the university as a crucial democratic public sphere. This is not to suggest that they are silent. On the contrary, they provide the intellectual armory for war, the analytical supports for gun ownership, and lend legitimacy to a host of other policies that lead to everyday forms of structural violence and poverty. Not only have they succumbed to official power, they collude with it.

B.E.: I feel your recent work provides a somber updating of Arendt’s notion of “dark times,” hallmarked by political and intellectual catastrophe. How might we harness the power of education to reimagine the future in more inclusive and less violent terms?

H.G.: The current siege on higher education, whether through defunding education, eliminating tenure, tying research to military needs, or imposing business models of efficiency and accountability, poses a dire threat not only to faculty and students who carry the mantle of university self-governance, but also to democracy itself.

The solutions are complex and cannot be addressed in isolation from a range of other issues in the larger society such as the defunding of public goods, the growing gap between the rich and the poor, poverty and the reach of the prison-industrial complex into the lives of those marginalized by class and race.

We have to fight back against a campaign, as Gene R. Nichol puts it, “to end higher education’s democratizing influence on the nation.” To fight this, faculty, young people and others outside of higher education must collectively engage with larger social movements for the defense of public goods. We must address that as the welfare state is defunded and dismantled, the state turns away from enacting social provisions and becomes more concerned about security than social responsibility. Fear replaces compassion, and a survival-of-the-fittest ethic replaces any sense of shared concern for others.

Lost in the discourse of individual responsibility and self-help are issues like power, class and racism. Intellectuals need to create the public spaces in which identities, desires and values can be encouraged to act in ways conducive to the formation of citizens willing to fight for individual and social rights, along with those ideals that give genuine meaning to a representative democracy.

Any discussion of the fate of higher education must address how it is shaped by the current state of inequality in American society, and how it perpetuates it. Not only is such inequality evident in soaring tuition costs, inevitably resulting in the growing exclusion of working- and middle-class students from higher education, but also in the transformation of over two-thirds of faculty positions into a labor force of overworked and powerless adjunct faculty members. Faculty need to take back the university and reclaim modes of governance in which they have the power to teach and act with dignity, while denouncing and dismantling the increasing corporatization of the university and the seizing of power by administrators and their staff, who now outnumber faculty on most campuses.

In return, academics need to fight for the right of students to be given an education not dominated by corporate values. Higher education is a right, and not an entitlement. It should be free, as it is in many other countries, and as Robin Kelley points out, this should be true particularly for minority students. This is all the more crucial as young people have been left out of the discourse of democracy. Rather than invest in prisons and weapons of death, Americans need a society that invests in public and higher education.

There is more at stake here than making visible the vast inequities in educational and economic opportunities. Seeing education as a political form of intervention, offering a path toward racial and economic justice, is crucial in reimagining a new politics of hope. Universities should be subversive in a healthy society. They should push against the grain, and give voice to the voiceless the powerless and the whispers of truth that haunt the apostles of unchecked power and wealth. Pedagogy should be disruptive and unsettling, while pushing hard against established orthodoxies. Such demands are far from radical, and leave more to be done, but they point to a new beginning in the struggle over the role of higher education in the United States.

Antigas listas de compras viram evidência sobre quando a Bíblia foi escrita (UOL/NYT)

Isabel Kershner
Em Tel Aviv (Israel)


Anotações feitas em tinta em cerâmica

Anotações feitas em tinta em cerâmica. Michael Cordonsky/Israel Antiquities Authority via The New York Times

Eliashib, o intendente da remota fortaleza no deserto, recebia suas instruções por escrito, anotações feitas em tinta em cerâmica pedindo que provisões fossem enviadas para as forças no antigo reino de Judá.

Os pedidos por vinho, farinha e óleo parecem listas de compras mundanas, apesar de antigas. Mas uma nova análise da caligrafia sugere que a capacidade de ler e escrever era bem mais disseminada do que antes se sabia na Terra Santa por volta de 600 a.C., perto do final do período do Primeiro Templo. As conclusões, segundo pesquisadores da Universidade de Tel Aviv, pode ter alguma relevância para o debate de um século sobre quando o corpo principal dos textos bíblicos foi composto.

“Para Eliashib: agora, dê a Kittiyim 3 batos de vinho, e escreva o nome do dia”, diz um dos textos, compostos em hebraico antigo usando o alfabeto aramaico, e aparentemente referindo-se a uma unidade mercenária grega na área.

Outra dizia: “E um coro pleno de vinho, traga amanhã. Não atrase. E se tiver vinagre, dê a eles”.

O novo estudo, publicado na “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences”, combinou arqueologia, história judaica e matemática aplicada, assim como envolveu processamento de imagens por computador e o desenvolvimento de um algoritmo para distinguir entre os vários autores emitindo as ordens.

Com base na análise estatística dos resultados, e levando em consideração o conteúdo dos textos escolhidos como amostra, os pesquisadores concluíram que pelo menos seis mãos escreveram as 18 mensagens mais ou menos na mesma época. Até mesmo soldados das fileiras mais baixas do exército de Judá, ao que parece, sabiam ler e escrever.

“Há algo psicológico além das estatísticas”, disse o professor Israel Finkelstein, do Departamento de Arqueologia e Civilizações Antigas do Oriente Próximo da Universidade de Tel Aviv, um dos líderes do projeto. “Há um entendimento do poder da alfabetização. E eles escreviam bem, praticamente sem erros.”

O estudo se baseou em um conjunto de cerca de 100 cartas escritas com tinta em pedaços de cerâmica, conhecidos como óstracos, que foram descobertos perto do Mar Morto em escavações do forte Arad, décadas atrás, e datados de cerca de 600 a.C. Isso foi pouco antes da destruição de Jerusalém e do reino de Judá por Nabucodonosor, e o exílio de sua elite para a Babilônia, e antes de quando muitos acadêmicos acreditam que grande parte dos textos bíblicos, incluindo os cinco livros de Moisés também conhecidos como Pentateuco, foram escritos de forma coesa.

A cidadela de Arad era uma frente pequena, distante e ativa, próxima da fronteira com o reino rival de Edom. O forte em si tinha apenas cerca de 2.000 metros quadrados e provavelmente só acomodava cerca de 30 soldados. A riqueza dos textos encontrados ali, registrando movimentos de tropas, provisões e outras atividades diárias, foi criada em um período curto, o que os torna uma amostra valiosa para estudo de quantas mãos diferentes os escreveram.

“Para Eliashib: agora, forneça 3 batos de vinho”, ordenava outro óstraco, adicionando: “E Hananyahu ordena que envie a Beersheba 2 mulas carregadas e envie a massa de pão com elas”.

Um dos argumentos mais antigos para o corpo principal da literatura bíblica não ter sido escrito em nada parecido com sua presente forma até depois da destruição e exílio, em 586 a.C., é que antes não havia alfabetização suficiente e nem escribas suficientes para a realização de uma empreitada tão grande.

Mas se a taxa de alfabetização no forte Arad se repetir por todo o reino de Judá, que contava com cerca de 100 mil habitantes, haveria centenas de pessoas alfabetizadas, sugere a equipe de pesquisa de Tel Aviv.

Isso forneceria a infraestrutura para a composição das obras bíblicas que constituem a base da história e teologia de Judá, incluindo as primeiras versões dos livros do Deuteronômio ao Segundo Livro de Reis, segundo os pesquisadores.

Desde o século 19, os acadêmicos debatem “quando foi escrito?”, disse Finkelstein. “Na própria época ou depois”, ele acrescentou, referindo-se à destruição e exílio.

Nos séculos após a destruição e exílio, até 200 a.C., disse Finkelstein, praticamente não há evidência arqueológica de inscrições em hebraico. Ele disse que esperava que escavações revelassem selos gravados e escritos cotidianos em cerâmica, mesmo que textos mais importantes, como os bíblicos, fossem feitos em materiais perecíveis, como pergaminho e papiro.

Os textos bíblicos escritos nos séculos após 586 a.C., ele sugeriu, provavelmente foram compostos na Babilônia.

Outros acadêmicos alertaram contra extrair conclusões demais a respeito de quando a primeira grande parte da Bíblia foi escrita, com base em extrapolações a partir das taxas de alfabetização antigas.

“Não há um consenso atualmente nos estudos bíblicos”, disse o professor Edward Greenstein, da Universidade Bar-Ilan, perto de Tel Aviv. “O processo de transmissão era muito mais complicado do que os acadêmicos costumam pensar.”

O processo de composição da Torá, segundo Greenstein, parece ter envolvido camadas de reescrições, suplementos e revisões. Apontando para o saber recente da literatura bíblica, ele disse que os escribas podiam registrar os textos principalmente como auxílio à memória, em um mundo onde ainda eram transmitidos oralmente.

“Os textos bíblicos não precisavam ser escritos por muitas pessoas, ou lidos por muitas pessoas, para serem redigidos”, ele disse, acrescentando que os textos não circulavam amplamente.

Para deduzir as taxas de alfabetização, a equipe de pesquisa usou um método que Barak Sober, do Departamento de Matemática Aplicada da Universidade de Tel Aviv, comparou à análise forense de caligrafia adaptada aos tempos antigos.

Os matemáticos pegaram 16 cacos de cerâmica de Arad que eram mais ricos em conteúdo (dois apresentavam inscrições em ambos os lados). Dois dos textos lembravam uma chamada, apenas listando as pessoas presentes, e foram claramente escritos no posto avançado no deserto; outros foram compostos em outro lugar.

Muitas das cartas em aramaico não eram claras, de modo que não era possível dar simplesmente entrada dos dados em um computador. Em vez disso, os pesquisadores conceberam uma forma de reconstruí-las. Então as letras de pares de textos foram misturadas e o algoritmo as separou com base na caligrafia.

Se o algoritmo dividisse as letras em dois grupos claros, os textos eram contados como tendo sido escritos por dois autores. Quando o algoritmo não distinguia entre as letras e as deixava juntas em um grupo, nenhuma posição era tomada; elas podiam ter sido escritas pela mesma mão ou, possivelmente, por duas pessoas com estilo semelhante.

Um cálculo conservador revelou pelo menos quatro autores, e seis quando o conteúdo foi levado em consideração, como quem estava escrevendo para quem.

Outro óstraco foi endereçado a um homem chamado Nahum. Ele foi instruído a ir “até a casa de Eliashib, filho de Eshiyahu” para pegar um jarro de óleo, para enviá-lo a Ziph “rapidamente, o lacrando com seu selo”.

Tradutor: George El Khouri Andolfato

Humanities research is groundbreaking, life-changing… and ignored (The Guardian)

Humanities scholars are making strides in sectors from sustainability to robotics – why are so few people aware of their work?

Philosopher Don Howard worked with computer scientists on the ethics of ‘human-robot interaction’.

Philosopher Don Howard worked with computer scientists on the ethics of ‘human-robot interaction’. Photograph: Alamy

Deep in the corridors of Stanford University’s English department, graduate student Jodie Archer developed a computer model that can predict New York Times bestsellers. Her soon-to-be published research landed her a top job with Apple iBooks and may revolutionise the publishing industry. At the University of Notre Dame, philosopher Don Howard worked with a computer scientist to develop a code of ethics for “human-robot interaction” that could change the way Silicon Valley designs robots.

Both scholars share an academic background in humanities. And they join countless others working in fields such as technology, environmental sustainability and even infectious disease control.

But humanities is experiencing a crisis. Public support has dwindled. Enrolment in humanities majors is down and courses are disappearing from university curricula. A tightening job market means more humanities PhDs than ever are looking for – and not finding – jobs outside of academia.

In theory, our society cherishes the humanities – the 50th anniversary of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) is even being celebrated with a ceremony at the White House. In its years, the NEH has awarded more than $5bn (£3.2m) in grants to promote innovative research and cultural projects, such as the development of a database to track the transatlantic slave trade and the preservation and publication of the Dead Sea scrolls.

Even so, congressional support for the humanities has plummeted along with federal, state and private funding. Adjusted for inflation, the current $146m budget for the NEH represents just half of its expenditure in 1980.

Part of the issue is an image problem around the impact of humanities research on the wider world. The public should know about Priscilla Wald, an English professor at Duke University, whose explanation of the “outbreak narrative” of contagion is changing the way scientists think about the spread of infectious diseases. They should know about environmental humanities professor Joni Adamson, who is applying the study of indigenous cultures to make desert cities into more sustainable ecosystems.

Most arguments for “saving” the humanities focus on the fact that employers prize the critical thinking and communication skills that undergraduate students develop. Although that may be true, such arguments highlight the value of classroom study, not the value of research.

But humanities research teaches us about the world beyond the classroom, and beyond a job. Humanities scholars explore ethical issues, and discover how the past informs the present and the future. Researchers delve into the discourses that construct gender, race, and class. We learn to decode the images that surround us; to understand and use the language necessary to navigate a complex and rapidly shifting world.

The academy itself is partly to blame for this image problem. The inward-focused nature of scholarship has left the public with no choice but to respond to our work with indifference and even disdain, because we have made little effort to demonstrate what purpose our work may have beyond the lecture hall or academic journal.

The traditional academic model does not reward public humanities scholarship. Rather, humanities scholars are saddled with the expectation of producing peer-reviewed articles and monographs published by university presses for tenure and promotion. This antiquated system encourages scholars to write and speak only for an audience of peers, keeping graduate students from branching away from the proto-book dissertation model and faculty from exploring popular venues for their work.

The potential applications of this type of research are endless – the examples above are the just the tip of the iceberg. And more employers need to see that such research has wide application outside of the academy. The American Council of Learned Societies Public Fellows programme is helping to facilitate this process by placing humanities PhDs in high-profile positions in government and non-profit organisations such as the US department of state, Amnesty International and the Human Rights Campaign.

Humanities scholars need to take what feels – right now – like a risk, and engage in more public scholarship. After all, we are the best qualified to talk about our own work. And we need our chairs, our deans and our provosts to afford us the support and incentives to do so.

The payoff will not only be in increased visibility and perceived value for humanities research, but the opportunity to make an impact that is much greater than that offered by the solitary scholar model.

Hardly the soft sciences (The Hindu)


June 10, 2015

The social sciences and humanities will be critical in helping us understand what the sciences will become in the future

DISMANTLING THE OLD:“There is an urgent need to initiate a generational change in India’s university leadership.” Picture shows graduation day in the University of Hyderabad.— PHOTO: MOHAMMED YOUSUF

DISMANTLING THE OLD:“There is an urgent need to initiate a generational change in India’s university leadership.” Picture shows graduation day in the University of Hyderabad.— PHOTO: MOHAMMED YOUSUF

Common sense has defeated the social sciences and humanities in India. As the rush for college seats begin, parents worry if there are any viable options outside of medicine, engineering, management or studying abroad. What good would a B.A. in history or sociology do other than a roll-of-the-dice chance at the civil services? As a historian, I have often faced blunt questions: what can a job prospect possibly be if you spend three/four years learning the causes of Mughal decline or the Permanent Settlement of 1793? This ably describes why most people see the social sciences, with the exception of economics, as a losing proposition. But has the tide begun to turn?

One of the most significant bursts of funding in the social sciences and the humanities occurred during the Cold War years. The United States, keen as it was then to establish spheres of influence, invested heavily to learn about how societies understood themselves and which ideology appealed to what individual. The money ran into hundreds of millions of dollars with the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation of New York pulling funds from deep pockets. The Social Science Research Council and the American Council of Learned Societies were other key players who helped sponsor innumerable workshops, conferences and academic seminars. These efforts resulted not only in a vast number of publications, but helped develop many enduring concepts which arguably continue to explain the world we live in. Scores of scholars, research communities and university departments, in being caught up in strategic concerns, ended up harnessing the social sciences and humanities to understand how nations and societies dealt with authority, ideologies, politics and power. Hardly the ‘soft sciences’!

With the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union, funding for the Area Studies expectedly dried up. On the other hand, academic explorations under the rubrics of nation-making, democracy, globalisation and multiculturalism could hardly wield the previous heft.

In a study published in Research Trends (2013), Gali Halevi and Judit Bar-Ilanit point out that globally the financing for humanities sharply fell between 2009 and 2012. In part, while the 2008 financial crisis could be blamed for the sudden yanking of the proverbial rug, the loss in the lustre of the social sciences had already begun by the mid-1990s following the steady commercialisation of education. Unsurprisingly, student debt and education loans fell harder on those in the social sciences, arts and humanities than they did on those pursuing vocational skills such as engineering. At heart, however, this big turn against the ‘soft sciences’ was what Bill Reading described, in his classic The University in Ruins (1996), as the sustained attempt to transform the university from previously serving as an “ideological arm of the nation-state” to instead now being redesigned as a “consumer oriented corporation”. By morphing the citizen-student into a consumer-student (weighed in by debt), the actual rout of the social sciences was announced.

Reduced funding

It is amidst the aftershocks of this change in the meaning of education that we should make sense of Ella Delany’s startling report in The New York Times (December, 2013) in which she catalogues a growing disquiet against the humanities and social sciences. In 2012, a task force convened by Governor Rick Scott of Florida recommended that students majoring in liberal arts and social science subjects be made to pay higher tuition fees as they were in “nonstrategic disciplines”. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott in 2013 “reprioritised” 103 million Australian dollars from research in the humanities into medical research. In Britain, Robin Jackson, chief executive of the British Academy for the humanities and social sciences, in 2011 announced that direct government funding for humanities had been withdrawn and was to be replaced by tuition fees “backed up by government loans”.

Is this total defeat? Ironically, just as the social sciences and the humanities are being written off in many countries, there have emerged vigorous calls for resituating its importance. Notably, climate change research and global environmental change programmes the world over are stridently advocating for what they term as the urgent need for “integrated analyses”. It is imperative, they argue, that the natural sciences be drawn into productive dialogues with the social sciences in order to explore critical themes such as global sustainability and green development.

One of the most significant international science initiatives in recent times called the Future Earth has, in fact, in their ‘Strategic Research Agenda’ (2014) urged for initiating a new generation in interdisciplinary and integrated research which can grapple with the realities of a warming planet. The initiative, however, is not entirely novel. For decades now, interdisciplinary efforts such as science studies, environmental history and full-fledged post graduate programmes under the rubric of science-technology-environment-medicine (STEM) have successfully broken down the hard divides between the natural sciences, social sciences and the humanities. These interdisciplinary initiatives have also compellingly revealed that the natural sciences are ideologically driven and are often oriented by political practice. In effect, the social sciences and humanities will be critical to help us understand what the sciences will become in the future. Significantly, given that an entirely new script for economic behaviour is being drafted in the context of climate change, these conversations have acquired pressing strategic consequences for the developing world.

The Indian scenario

The university system in India is, unfortunately, ill-prepared to take up these challenges. In part, it has put all its research and teaching eggs on the vice-chancellor system for administering higher education. The vice-chancellorship, as an organisational logic, is an ailing legacy and remains a bad marriage between the Mughal Jagirdari system and the rigidity of the British colonial bureaucracy. The higher you go up the administrative ladder, there is less transparency, accountability and intellectual oxygen.

There is an urgent need to initiate a generational change in our university leadership, with fresh blood and new ideas brought in with rigorous metrics to judge the performance and contributions at the very top of the administrative chain. If the social sciences and the humanities in India are to be cutting edge by providing knowledge for the future, then the old has to be entirely dismantled.

(Rohan D’Souza is associate professor at the Graduate School of Asian and African Area Studies, Kyoto University.)

The natural sciences should be drawn into dialogues with the social sciences to explore critical themes such as global sustainability

Reunião Magna da ABC ressalta que o prazer de fazer ciência pela ciência está acima de qualquer premiação (Jornal da Ciência)

terça-feira, 12 de maio de 2015

    12.05 - Suzana

    Evento atraiu parcela de leigos interessados em comprovar que o desenvolvimento científico pode ser uma solução para os problemas socioeconômicos do Brasil

    Para participantes e organizadores da Reunião Magna 2015 da Academia Brasileira de Ciências, realizada de 4 a 6 de maio, no Rio de Janeiro, é, sem dúvida, difícil elencar os momentos que mais capturaram a atenção. A excelência dos temas escolhidos para as sessões, assim como o alto nível dos palestrantes, atraiu um público variado, que reuniu desde jovens talentos da Ciência no Brasil aos renomados integrantes da Academia e que há anos trabalham, dentro e fora de laboratórios, para que o Brasil ganhe destaque no cenário de produção científica internacional.

    Sob o tema “O Valor da Ciência”, na acepção de Poincaré, matemático, físico e filósofo francês que conferiu uma nova abordagem à Ciência entre os séculos XIX e XX, a Reunião Magna 2015 estimulou a discussão em torno do valor intrínseco de atividade científica _ ciência pela ciência_, ressaltando a importância da Ciência para o desenvolvimento socioeconômico brasileiro. Entre as palestras, um denominador comum ficou claro, é preciso estimular a ousadia dos jovens cientistas para que as pesquisas se transformem em inovação. Outro ponto em comum das apresentações dos cientistas foi a importância do trabalho de equipe e valorização de cada colaborador em uma pesquisa.

    Ganhadora do Prêmio Nobel de Química e primeira mulher israelense a obter a premiação, a cientista Ada Yonath mostrou que o bom humor é um traço dos pesquisadores, que têm o brilho no olhar ao comprovar o fundamento de suas pesquisas. Após sua palestra no último dia da Reunião Magna, Ada conheceu o Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas da UFRJ. Recebida pelo vice-diretor do Instituto, prof. José Garcia Abreu, e pela coordenadora do Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ciências Morfológicas da UFRJ, profa. Flávia Alcantara Gomes, Membro Afiliado da ABC, Ada afirmou, com relação às perguntas dos alunos de pós-graduação, sobre o que representou ganhar o prêmio Nobel, que “ganhar o prêmio foi bom…. mas entender a estrutura dos ribossomos foi o que me deu de fato a maior satisfação”. Ela deixou claro que o prazer da descoberta científica deve estar acima do prazer do reconhecimento.

    O prazer de concluir uma pesquisa e ver o trabalho de anos refletindo em um bem maior para sociedade também foi a mensagem do biólogo francês Jules Hoffmann, vencedor do Prêmio Nobel de Fisiologia/ Medicina de 2011, por um trabalho feito com Bruce Beutler que descobriu a ativação da imunidade inata. Ele capturou atenção máxima de todo o público do segundo dia da Reunião Magna de 2015. Atualmente à frente da direção da área de pesquisa e membro do Conselho de Administração do Centro Nacional de Pesquisa Científica da França (CNRS), ele enalteceu a contribuição de todos os demais integrantes de sua equipe, que, segundo ele, foram fundamentais para o resultado.

    Respostas às inquietudes

    Ao final do evento, o coordenador da Reunião Magna 2015, professor Vivaldo Moura Neto, disse ao Jornal da Ciência que a escolha do tema teve a intenção de destacar o prazer humano de fazer ciência, de buscar respostas às inquietudes do homem diante da natureza. Segundo ele, é preciso valorizar a Ciência no que ela pode trazer como implicações no desenvolvimento tecnológico, inovador e assim certamente contribuir para o desenvolvimento do país.

    “Nós, hoje como ontem e ainda amanhã, precisaremos estar atentos a isto. Será preciso que os governantes reconheçam a contribuição da Ciência brasileira ao desenvolvimento, uma ciência madura, produtiva, rica de possibilidades para atender ao desenvolvimento nacional. Repetimos isto durante os três dias, demonstramos esta verdade com projetos em curso e resultados testados”, disse. “Vejam exemplos do que se faz no CENPES, na COPPE, nos Institutos do Centro de Ciências da saúde da UFRJ, na USP, na Universidade de Campinas, na Bioquímica da UFRGS, no Instituto do Cérebro da PUC-do Rio Grande do Sul, ou o trabalho dos virologistas no Pará, além de tantos mais. De fato, o encontro permitiu mostrar o quanto estamos prontos para oferecer, a partir da ciência fundamental, os produtos que ela sabe gerar. Os engenheiros foram contundentes nos seus exemplos. É incrível a miopia de tantos que, lá do alto, não veem o que se passa aqui na terra brasilis”, completou o coordenador da Reunião Magna 2015.

    Atrair os jovens

    Nesta edição, a Reunião Magna atraiu, além de cientistas experientes e jovens talentos da produção científica, um grupo expressivo de “leigos”, segundo o professor Moura Neto. “Nos três dias da Reunião, houve relatos das experiências dos mais vividos, mas todos nós sabemos que não se faz um pesquisador, não se faz um cientista, de repente. É preciso atrair os jovens, entusiasmá-los, orientá-los. No entanto, não havia apenas jovens de centros universitários, ou os mais experientes da ciência, havia uma parcela de leigos, que certamente encontrou na Reunião Magna uma fonte de conhecimento, uma esperança de que se poderá melhorar o país. Seria interessante, naturalmente, que os governantes também vissem isto”, completou Moura Neto.

    Sobre a participação dos convidados estrangeiros e da sua percepção sobre o desenvolvimento da produção científica no Brasil, o coordenador da Reunião Magna 2015 disse que eles já têm colaboração com equipes brasileiras. “Se eles mantêm estas colaborações, é porque sabem da qualidade excelente do que fazemos aqui. Eles mesmo disseram isto, como por exemplo o matemático francês Etiennen Ghys, que aliás fez parte de sua formação no Rio de Janeiro, no IMPA”, comentou.

    Segundo Moura Neto, o prêmio Nobel Jules Hoffmann enalteceu, nas suas conversas de corredor na ABC, durante o evento, a satisfação de suas colaborações com esquipes paulistas. O coordenador da Reunião Magna também comentou que a cientista Ada Yonath, que, segundo ele, encantou a todos com uma conferência espetacular, manifestou possibilidades de colaborar com grupos brasileiros. “Se eles querem estas colaborações é porque nos reconhecem ombro a ombro”, finalizou.

    Suzana Liskauskas/ Jornal da Ciência

    A Brief History of the “Testocracy,” Standardized Testing and Test-Defying (Truthout)

    Wednesday, 25 March 2015 00:00

    By Jesse Hagopian, Haymarket Books | Book Excerpt 

    CHICAGO- 24 April, 2013: Demonstrator holds sign at a rally against school closings and over testing. (Photo: Sarah Jane Rhee)

    Demonstrators rally against school closings and testing in Chicago, April 24, 2013. (Photo: Sarah Jane Rhee)

    “We are experiencing the largest ongoing revolt against high-stakes standardized testing in US history,” according to Jesse Hagopian, high school history teacher, education writer and editor of More Than a Score. This remarkable book introduces the educators, students, parents and others who make up the resistance movement pushing back against the corporate “testocracy.” Click here to order More Than a Score today by making a donation to Truthout!

    In this excerpt from More Than a Score, Jesse Hagopian explains who the “testocracy” are, what they want – for everybody else’s children and for their own – and why more people than ever before are resisting tests and working collectively to reclaim public education.

    Who are these testocrats who would replace teaching with testing? The testocracy, in my view, does not only refer to the testing conglomerates—most notably the multibillion-dollar Pearson testing and textbook corporation—that directly profit from the sale of standardized exams. The testocracy is also the elite stratum of society that finances and promotes competition and privatization in public education rather than collaboration, critical thinking, and the public good. Not dissimilar to a theocracy, under our current testocracy, a deity—in this case the exalted norm-referenced bubble exam—is officially recognized as the civil ruler of education whose policy is governed by officials that regard test results as divine. The testocratic elite are committed to reducing the intellectual and emotional process of teaching and learning to a single number—a score they subsequently use to sacrifice education on the altar devoted to high-stakes testing by denying students promotion or graduation, firing teachers, converting schools into privatized charters, or closing schools altogether. You’ve heard of this program; the testocracy refers to it as “education reform.”

    Among the most prominent members of the testocracy are some of the wealthiest people the world has ever known.

    Among the most prominent members of the testocracy are some of the wealthiest people the world has ever known. Its tsars include billionaires Bill Gates, Eli Broad, and members of the Walton family (the owners of Walmart), who have used their wealth to circumvent democratic processes and impose test-and-punish policies in public education. They fund a myriad of organizations—such as Michelle Rhee’s StudentsFirst, Teach for America, and Stand for Children—that serve as shock troops to enforce the implantation of high-stakes testing and corporate education reform in states and cities across the nation. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan serves to help coordinate and funnel government money to the various initiatives of the testocracy. The plan to profit from public schools was expressed by billionaire media executive Rupert Murdoch, when he said in a November 2010 press release: “When it comes to K through 12 education, we see a $500 billion sector in the U.S. alone that is waiting desperately to be transformed by big breakthroughs that extend the reach of great teaching.”

    Testing companies got the memo and are working diligently to define great teaching as preparing students for norm-referenced exams—available to districts across the country if the price is right. The textbook and testing industry generates between $20 billion and $30 billion dollars per year. Pearson, a multi-national corporation based in Britain, brings in more than $9 billion annually, and is the world’s largest education company and book publisher. But it’s not the only big testing company poised to profit from the testocracy. Former president George W. Bush’s brother Neil and his parents founded a company called Ignite! Learning to sell test products after the passage of No Child Left Behind.

    “An Invalid Measure”: The Fundamental Flaws of Standardized Testing

    The swelling number of test-defiers is rooted in the increase of profoundly flawed standardized exams. Often, these tests don’t reflect the concepts emphasized in the students’ classes and, just as often, the results are not available until after the student has already left the teacher’s classroom, rendering the test score useless as a tool for informing instruction. Yet the problem of standardized bubble tests’ usefulness for educators extends well beyond the lag time (which can be addressed by computerized tests that immediately calculate results). A standardized bubble test does not help teachers understand how a student arrived at answer choice “C.” The student may have selected the right answer but not known why it was right, or conversely, may have chosen the wrong answer but had sophisticated reasoning that shows a deeper understanding of the concept than someone else who randomly guessed correctly. Beyond the lack of utility of standardized testing in facilitating learning there is a more fundamental flaw. A norm-referenced, standardized test compares each individual student to everyone else taking the test, and the score is then usually reported as a percentile. Alfie Kohn describes the inherent treachery of the norm-referenced test:

    No matter how many students take an NRT [norm-referenced test], no matter how well or poorly they were taught, no matter how difficult the questions are, the pattern of results is guaranteed to be the same: Exactly 10 percent of those who take the test will score in the top 10 percent. And half will always fall below the median. That’s not because our schools are failing; that’s because of what the word median means.

    And as professor of education Wayne Au explained in 2011, when he was handed a bullhorn at the Occupy Education protest outside the headquarters of Gates Foundation, “If all the students passed the test you advocate, that test would immediately be judged an invalid metric, and any measure of students which mandates the failure of students is an invalid measure.”

    Researchers have long known that what standardized tests measure above all else is a student’s access to resources.

    Unsurprisingly, the Gates Foundation was not swayed by the logic of Au’s argument. That is because standardized testing serves to reinforce the mythology of a meritocracy in which those on the top have achieved their position rightfully—because of their hard work, their dedication to hitting the books, and their superior intelligence as proven by their scores. But what researchers have long known is that what standardized tests measure above all else is a student’s access to resources. The most damning truth about standardized tests is that they are a better indicator of a student’s zip code than a student’s aptitude. Wealthier, and predominantly whiter, districts score better on tests. Their scores do not reflect the intelligence of wealthier, mostly white students when compared to those of lower-income students and students of color, but do reflect the advantages that wealthier children have—books in the home, parents with more time to read with them, private tutoring, access to test-prep agencies, high-quality health care, and access to good food, to name a few. This is why attaching high stakes to these exams only serves to exacerbate racial and class inequality. As Boston University economics professors Olesya Baker and Kevin Lang’s 2013 study, “The School to Prison Pipeline Exposed,” reveals, the increases in the use of high-stakes standardized high school exit exams are linked to higher incarceration rates. Arne Duncan’s refusal to address the concerns raised by this study exposes the bankruptcy of testocratic policy.

    Hypocrisy of the Testocracy

    At first glance it would be easy to conclude that the testocracy’s strategy for public schools is the result of profound ignorance. After all, members of the testocracy have never smelled a free or reduced-price lunch yet throw a tantrum when public school advocates suggest poverty is a substantial factor in educational outcomes. The testocracy has never had to puzzle over the conundrum of having more students than available chairs in the classroom, yet they are the very same people who claim class size doesn’t matter in educational outcomes. The bubble of luxury surrounding the testocracy has convinced many that most testocrats are too far removed from the realities facing the majority of US residents to ever understand the damage caused by the high-stakes bubble tests they peddle. While it is true that the corporate reform moguls are completely out of touch with the vast majority of people, their strategy for remaking our schools on a business model is not the result of ignorance but of arrogance, not of misunderstanding but of the profit motive, not of silliness but rather of a desire for supremacy.

    In fact, you could argue that the MAP test boycott did not actually begin at Garfield High School. A keen observer might recognize that the boycott of the MAP test—and so many other standardized tests—began in earnest at schools like Seattle’s elite private Lakeside High School, alma mater of Bill Gates, where he sends his children, because, of course, Lakeside, like one-percenter schools elsewhere, would never inundate its students with standardized tests. These academies, predominantly serving the children of the financially fortunate, shield students from standardized tests because they want their children to be allowed to think outside the bubble test, to develop critical thinking skills and prioritize time to explore art, music, drama, athletics, and debate. Gates values Lakeside because of its lovely campus, where the average class size is sixteen, the library contains some twenty thousand volumes, and the new sports facility offers cryotherapy and hydrotherapy spas. Moreover, while Gates, President Obama, and Secretary of Education Duncan are all parents of school-age children, none of those children attend schools that use the CCSS or take Common Core exams. As Dao X. Tran, then PTA co-chair at Castle Bridge Elementary School, put it (in chapter 20 of More Than a Score): “These officials don’t even send their children to public schools. They are failing our children, yet they push for our children’s teachers to be accountable based on children’s test data. All while they opt for their own children to go to schools that don’t take these tests, that have small class sizes and project-based, hands-on, arts-infused learning—that’s what we want for our children!” The superrich are not failing to understand the basics of how to provide a nurturing education for the whole child. The problem is that they believe this type of education should be reserved only for their own children.

    A Brief History of Test-defying

    The United States has a long history of using standardized testing for the purposes of ranking and sorting youth into different strata of society. In fact, standardized tests originally entered the public schools with the eugenics movement, a white-supremacist ideology cloaked in the shabby garments of fraudulent science that became fashionable in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. As Rethinking Schools editorialized,

    The United States has a long history of using intelligence tests to support white supremacy and class stratification. Standardized tests first entered the public schools in the 1920s, pushed by eugenicists whose pseudoscience promoted the “natural superiority” of wealthy, white, U.S.-born males. High-stakes standardized tests have disguised class and race privilege as merit ever since. The consistent use of test scores to demonstrate first a “mental ability” gap and now an “achievement” gap exposes the intrinsic nature of these tests: They are built to maintain inequality, not to serve as an antidote to educational disparities.

    When the first “common schools” began in the late 1800s, industrialists quickly recognized an opportunity to shape the schools in the image of their factories. These early “education reformers” recognized the value of using standardized tests—first developed in the form of IQ tests used to sort military recruits for World War I—to evaluate the efficiency of the teacher workforce in producing the “student-product.” Proud eugenicist and Princeton University professor Carl Brigham left his school during World War I to implement IQ testing as an army psychologist. Upon returning to Princeton, Brigham developed the SAT exam as the admissions gatekeeper to Princeton, and the test confirmed in his mind that whites born in the United States were the most intelligent of all peoples. As Alan Stoskopf wrote, “By the early 1920s, more than 2 million American school children were being tested primarily for academic tracking purposes. At least some of the decisions to allocate resources and select students for academic or vocational courses were influenced by eugenic notions of student worth.”

    Some of the most important early voices in opposition to intelligence testing came from leading African American scholars.

    Resistance to these exams surely began the first time a student bubbled in every “A” on the page in defiance of the entire testing process. Yet, beyond these individual forms of protest, an active minority of educators, journalists, labor groups, and parents resisted these early notions of using testing to rank intelligence. Some of the most important early voices in opposition to intelligence testing—especially in service of ranking the races—came from leading African American scholars such as W. E. B. Du Bois, Horace Mann Bond, and Howard Long. Du Bois recalled in 1940, “It was not until I was long out of school and indeed after the [First] World War that there came the hurried use of the new technique of psychological tests, which were quickly adjusted so as to put black folk absolutely beyond the possibility of civilization.”

    In a statement that is quite apparently lost on today’s testocracy, Horace Mann Bond, in his work “Intelligence Tests and Propaganda,” wrote:

    But so long as any group of men attempts to use these tests as funds of information for the approximation of crude and inaccurate generalizations, so long must we continue to cry, “Hold!” To compare the crowded millions of New York’s East Side with the children of Morningside Heights [an upper-class neighborhood at the time] indeed involves a great contradiction; and to claim that the results of the tests given to such diverse groups, drawn from such varying strata of the social complex, are in any wise accurate, is to expose a fatuous sense of unfairness and lack of appreciation of the great environmental factors of modern urban life.

    This history of test-defiers was largely buried until the mass uprisings of the civil rights and Black Power movements of the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s transformed public education. In the course of these broad mass movements, parents, students, teachers, and activists fought to integrate the schools, budget for equitable funding, institute ethnic studies programs, and even to redefine the purpose of school.

    In the Jim Crow–segregated South, literacy was inherently political and employed as a barrier to prevent African Americans from exercising their right to vote. The great activist and educator Myles Horton was a founder of the Highlander Folk School in Tennessee that would go on to help organize the Citizenship Schools of the mid-1950s and 1960s. The Citizenship Schools’ mission was to create literacy programs to help disenfranchised Southern blacks achieve access to the voting booth. Hundreds of thousands of African Americans attended the Citizenship Schools, which launched one of the most important educational programs of the civil rights movement, redefining the purpose of education and the assessment of educational outcomes. Horton described one of the Citizenship Schools he helped to organize, saying, “It was not a literacy class. It was a community organization. . . . They were talking about using their citizenship to do something, and they named it a Citizenship School, not a literacy school. That helped with the motivation.” By the end of the class more than 80 percent of those students passed the final examination, which was to go down to the courthouse and register to vote!

    What the Testocracy Wants

    The great civil rights movements of the past have reimagined education as a means to creating a more just society. The testocracy, too, has a vision for reimagining the education system and it is flat-out chilling. The testocracy is relentlessly working on new methods to reduce students to data points that can be used to rank, punish, and manipulate. Like something out of a dystopian sci-fi film, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation spent $1.4 million to develop bio-metric bracelets designed to send a small current across the skin to measure changes in electrical charges as the sympathetic nervous system responds to stimuli. These “Q Sensors” would then be used to monitor a student’s “excitement, stress, fear, engagement, boredom and relaxation through the skin.” Presumably, then, VAM assessments could be extended to evaluate teachers based on this biometric data. As Diane Ravitch explained to Reuters when the story broke in the spring of 2012, “They should devote more time to improving the substance of what is being taught . . . and give up all this measurement mania.”

    But the testocracy remains relentless in its quest to give up on teaching and devote itself to data collection. In a 2011 TIME magazine feature on the future of education, readers are asked to “imagine walking into a classroom and seeing no one in the front of the classroom. Instead you’re led to a computer terminal at a desk and told this will be your teacher for the course. The only adults around are a facilitator to make sure that you stay on task and to fix any tech problems that may arise.” TIME goes on to point out, “For some Florida students, computer-led instruction is a reality. Within the Miami-Dade County Public School district alone, 7,000 students are receiving this form of education, including six middle and K–8 schools, according to the New York Times.” This approach to schooling is known as “e-learning labs,” and from the perspective of the testocracy, if education is about getting a high score, then one hardly needs nurturing, mentorship, or human contact to succeed. Computers can be used to add value—the value of rote memorization, discipline, and basic literacy skills—to otherwise relatively worthless students. Here, then, is a primary objective of an education system run by the testocracy: replace the compassionate hand of the educator with the cold, invisible, all-thumbs hand of the free market.

    On pi day, how scientists use this number (Science Daily)

    Date: March 12, 2015

    Source: NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory

    Summary: If you like numbers, you will love March 14, 2015. When written as a numerical date, it’s 3/14/15, corresponding to the first five digits of pi (3.1415) — a once-in-a-century coincidence! Pi Day, which would have been the 136th birthday of Albert Einstein, is a great excuse to eat pie, and to appreciate how important the number pi is to math and science.

    Take JPL Education’s Pi Day challenge featuring real-world questions about NASA spacecraft — then tweet your answers to @NASAJPL_Edu using the hashtag #PiDay. Answers will be revealed on March 16. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

    If you like numbers, you will love March 14, 2015. When written as a numerical date, it’s 3/14/15, corresponding to the first five digits of pi (3.1415) — a once-in-a-century coincidence! Pi Day, which would have been the 136th birthday of Albert Einstein, is a great excuse to eat pie, and to appreciate how important the number pi is to math and science.

    Pi is the ratio of circumference to diameter of a circle. Any time you want to find out the distance around a circle when you have the distance across it, you will need this formula.

    Despite its frequent appearance in math and science, you can’t write pi as a simple fraction or calculate it by dividing two integers (…3, -2, -1, 0, 1, 2, 3…). For this reason, pi is said to be “irrational.” Pi’s digits extend infinitely and without any pattern, adding to its intrigue and mystery.

    Pi is useful for all kinds of calculations involving the volume and surface area of spheres, as well as for determining the rotations of circular objects such as wheels. That’s why pi is important for scientists who work with planetary bodies and the spacecraft that visit them.

    At NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, pi makes a frequent appearance. It’s a staple for Marc Rayman, chief engineer and mission director for NASA’s Dawn spacecraft. Dawn went into orbit around dwarf planet Ceres on March 6. Rayman uses a formula involving pi to calculate the length of time it takes the spacecraft to orbit Ceres at any given altitude. You can also use pi to think about Earth’s rotation.

    “On Pi Day, I will think about the nature of a day, as Earth’s rotation on its axis carries me on a circle 21,000 miles (34,000 kilometers) in circumference, which I calculated using pi and my latitude,” Rayman said.

    Steve Vance, a planetary chemist and astrobiologist at JPL, also frequently uses pi. Lately, he has been using pi in his calculations of how much hydrogen might be available for chemical processes, and possibly biology, in the ocean beneath the surface of Jupiter’s moon Europa.

    “To calculate the hydrogen produced in a given unit area, we divide by Europa’s surface area, which is the area of a sphere with a radius of 970 miles (1,561 kilometers),” Vance said.

    Luisa Rebull, a research scientist at NASA’s Spitzer Science Center at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, also considers pi to be important in astronomy. When calculating the distance between stars in a projection of the sky, scientists use a special kind of geometry called spherical trigonometry. That’s an extension of the geometry you probably learned in middle school, but it takes place on a sphere rather than a flat plane.

    “In order to do these calculations, we need to use formulae, the derivation of which uses pi,” she said. “So, this is pi in the sky!”

    Make sure to note when the date and time spell out the first 10 digits of pi: 3.141592653. On 3/14/15 at 9:26:53 a.m., it is literally the most perfectly “pi” time of the century — so grab a slice of your favorite pie, and celebrate math!

    For more fun with pi, check out JPL Education’s second annual Pi Day challenge, featuring real-world NASA math problems. NASA/JPL education specialists, with input from scientists and engineers, have crafted questions involving pi aimed at students in grades 4 through 11, but open to everyone. Take a crack at them at:

    Share your answers on Twitter by tweeting to @NASAJPL_Edu with the hashtag #PiDay. Answers will be revealed on March 16 (aka Pi + 2 Day!).

    Resources for educators, including printable Pi Day challenge classroom handouts, are available at:

    Caltech manages JPL for NASA.

    Matemática evolutiva (Folha de S.Paulo)

    Hélio Schwartsman

    26 de janeiro de 2015

    SÃO PAULO – Para quem gosta de matemática, uma boa leitura é “Mathematics and the Real World” (matemática e o mundo real), de Zvi Artstein, professor do Instituto Weizmann, de Israel.

    O autor começa dividindo a matemática em duas, uma mais natural, que a evolução nos preparou (e também a outros bichos) para compreender, e outra totalmente abstrata, cuja intelecção exige refrear todas as nossas intuições. No primeiro grupo estão a aritmética e parte da geometria. No segundo, destacam-se lógica formal, estatística, teoria dos conjuntos e o grosso do material sobre o qual se debruçam hoje os matemáticos.

    Egípicios, babilônios, indianos e outros povos da Antiguidade desenvolveram razoavelmente bem a matemática natural. Fizeram-no por razões práticas, como facilitar o comércio e o cálculo astrológico. Foram os gregos, contudo, que, tentando escapar ao que consideravam ilusões de ótica do mundo sensível, resolveram fiar-se na matemática para descobrir o “real”. É aqui que a matemática ganha autonomia para florescer para além das intuições.

    Na sequência, Artstein traça uma interessantíssima história da ciência, destacando quais transformações foram necessárias na matemática para que pudessem firmar-se teorias e modelos como heliocentrismo, gravitação universal, relatividade, mecânica quântica, cordas etc. Não foge, embora nem sempre desenvolva muito, das implicações filosóficas.

    O autor discute também assuntos mais classicamente matemáticos, como incerteza, caos, infinito, os teoremas da incompletude de Gödel. Numa concessão ao mundo prático, aborda quase apressadamente algumas questões da sociologia e da computação. Finaliza advogando por reformas no ensino da matemática.

    O bacana do livro é que Artstein consegue transformar um assunto potencialmente árido num texto que se lê com a fluidez de um romance. Não é para qualquer um.

    Education is key to climate adaptation (Science Daily)

    Date: November 27, 2014

    Source: International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis

    Summary: According to new research, education makes people less vulnerable to natural disasters such as floods, landslides, and storms that are expected to intensify with climate change.

    Given that some climate change is already unavoidable–as just confirmed by the new IPCC report–investing in empowerment through universal education should be an essential element in climate change adaptation efforts, which so far focus mostly in engineering projects, according to a new study from the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) published in the journal Science.

    The article draws upon extensive analysis of natural disaster data for 167 countries over the past four decades as well as a number of studies carried out in individual countries and regions, published last year in a special issue of the journal Ecology and Society.

    The research shows that in many cases–particularly where the exact consequences of climate change are still unclear–educational expansion could be a better investment in protecting people from the impacts than conventional investments such as building sea walls, dams, irrigation systems, and other infrastructure.

    “Education is key in reducing disaster fatalities and enhancing adaptive capacity,” says Wolfgang Lutz, Director of IIASA’s World Population Program and Founding Director of the Wittgenstein Centre for Demography and Global Human Capital, a collaboration of IIASA, the Austrian Academy of Sciences, and the Vienna University of Economics, who wrote the article together with IIASA researchers Raya Muttarak and Erich Striessnig, who have dual affiliations with the Vienna Institute of Demography and the Vienna University of Economics and Business, respectively.

    “Our research shows that education is more important than GDP in reducing mortality from natural disasters. We also demonstrated that under rapid development and educational expansion across the globe, disaster fatalities will be reduced substantially,” says Muttarak.

    Climate models project that extreme weather events such as hurricanes are likely to increase with climate change. And with rising sea levels, floods will become a greater danger in low-lying coastal areas. So researchers from IIASA’s World Population Program launched a major research project to explore the connections between fatality rates in such disasters, education levels, and other potential factors that could contribute to resilience such as wealth and health.

    Previous research had shown that education plays a major role in development, including poverty alleviation and economic growth. In regard to climate change adaption, “Education directly improves knowledge, the ability to understand and process information, and risk perception. It also indirectly enhances socioeconomic status and social capital. These are qualities and skills useful for surviving and coping with disasters,” says Muttarak.

    The new study shows that education is the key factor in enhancing adaptive capacity to already unavoidable climate change. This insight is also reflected in the new generation of IPCC-related scenarios, the Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs) which were developed by IIASA researchers in collaboration with other leading global change research institutes to jointly capture different future socioeconomic challenges for climate change mitigation and adaptation. Using these SSPs, the new study illustrates how alternative future trajectories in education lead to greatly differing numbers of expected deaths due to climate change. Therefore, says Striessnig, “Investment in human capital not only empowers people to achieve desirable socioeconomic outcomes, but it also has a protective function against diverse impacts climate change may have over the coming decades.”

    With 100 billion dollars currently pledged per year for climate funding through the Green Climate Fund, the researchers say it is vital to examine where the money would have the greatest impact.

    Striessnig says, “We need to think about how to best allocate the funds raised for the adaptation to future climate change. Currently many of these funds are destined to support less flexible engineering projects or agricultural strategies. Such efforts are also vitally important, but in light of the major uncertainties about climate change impacts, it makes sense to invest some of the funds in mechanisms that will empower people to flexibly adapt to whatever changes might occur.”

    Journal Reference:

    1. Lutz W, Muttarak R, Striessnig E. Universal education is key to enhanced climate adaptationScience, 28 November 2014 %u2022 Vol. 346 no. 6213 DOI: 10.1126/science.1257975

    Feliciano apresenta PL que torna obrigatório o ensino do criacionismo nas escolas (Portal Aprendiz)

    TER, 18/11/2014 – 06:45

    ATUALIZADO EM 18/11/2014 – 06:45

    Por Pedro Ribeiro Nogueira e Raiana Ribeiro, do Portal Aprendiz

    O deputado federal e pastor Marco Feliciano (PSC-SP) apresentou à Câmara dos Deputados nesta quinta-feira (13/11) um Projeto de Lei que torna obrigatório o ensino do criacionismo – doutrina religiosa que se opõe à teoria da Evolução de Darwin – nas escolas públicas e privadas do Brasil. Antes de ser discutido e votado, o PL será encaminhado para a Comissão de Constituição e Justiça (CCJ).

    Clique aqui para acessar o PL

    A proposta de lei afirma que as grades curriculares brasileiras deverão incluir “noções de que a vida tem sua origem em Deus, como criador supremo de todo universo e de todas as coisas que o compõe”. Segundo o texto, ele deverá ser ensinado “analogamente ao evolucionismo, alternância de conhecimento de fonte diversa a fim de que o estudante avalie cognitivamente ambas as disciplinas” (sic).

    Os argumentos que sustentam o PL apontam que é necessário inserir o “conceito de origem divina”, pois “ensinar apenas a teoria do evolucionismo nas escolas é violar a liberdade de crença, uma vez que a maioria das religiões brasileiras acredita no criacionismo”.

    Helena Nader, presidenta da Sociedade Brasileira para o Progresso da Ciência (SBPC), associação que congrega mais de 130 sociedades científicas, afirmou que “negar Darwin é voltar ao obscurantismo”.

    “A ciência nunca quis discutir a fé. Mas parece que algumas religiões estão interessadas em discutir a ciência”, alertou.

    A pesquisadora lembrou que não é a primeira vez que esse tipo de proposta tramita no legislativo brasileiro e que a SBPC manterá seu posicionamento contrário.

    “É preciso esclarecer que nada na ciência elimina, para quem acredita, a presença de um ser superior. Por isso, confundir criacionismo com ciência é inadmissível”, defendeu.


    O texto descreve as crianças que frequentam as escolas públicas como “confusas”, pois estariam aprendendo noções de evolucionismo na escola e criacionismo na igreja. Para o deputado, “o ensino darwinista limita a visão cosmológica de mundo existencialista levando os estudantes a desacreditarem da existência de um criador que está acima das frágeis conjecturas humanas forjadas em tubos de ensaio laboratorial”.

    Mas o próprio PL também apresenta suas confusões, ao misturar a teoria do Big Bang – que explica o surgimento do universo – com a teoria da Evolução. “Como é sabido, hoje vigora nos currículos escolares o ensino do Evolucionismo, propagando que a vida originou-se de uma  “célula primitiva que se pôs em movimento pelo ‘Big Bang’”, diz o texto.

    Até o fechamento desta reportagem, o Portal Aprendiz não conseguiu contato com o deputado Marco Feliciano.


    Lei de Diretrizes e Bases da Educação Nacional (LDB)  dispõe que o ensino religioso é parte integrante da formação básica do cidadão e é uma disciplina facultativa das escolas públicas de ensino fundamental, “assegurando o respeito à diversidade cultural religiosa do Brasil, vedadas quaisquer formas de proselitismo”. Em outras palavras, é possível que comunidades escolares se organizem para ensinar história e filosofia das religiões, mas sem qualquer forma de doutrinação.

    Como falar sobre a crise hídrica na sala de aula (Porvir)

    24/10/2014 – 12h57

    por Marina Lopes, do Porvir

    A falta de água pode servir de gancho para discutir sobre gestão de recursos hídricos e consumo consciente

    Nos últimos meses, as discussões sobre a água e o consumo consciente ganharam espaço em razão do período de seca nas regiões sudeste e nordeste e com a crise no abastecimento que atinge o estado de São Paulo, maior metrópole do país. Atualmente, o Sistema Cantareira, principal responsável por abastecer a região, opera com apenas 3% do volume dos seus reservatórios. Diante desse cenário, como o professor pode discutir o tema em sala de aula? O Porvir conversou com alguns especialistas e reuniu uma lista com dicas de recursos digitais que podem auxiliar os educadores.

    Segundo o geógrafo Wagner Costa Ribeiro, da Universidade de São Paulo, a escola precisa mudar a forma como trata sobre os recursos hídricos nacionais. “A criança e o adolescente não podem ter o mito da abundância da água reforçado.” Para ele, o Brasil tem um nível bastante elevado, mas essa água está distribuída de maneira desigual. “Ela é abundante na escala nacional, mas é muito escassa em locais como a região metropolitana de São Paulo”, apontou Wagner.

    Educacaocrisehidrica Como falar sobre a crise hídrica na sala de aula

    O especialista acredita que a crise vivida na cidade representa um problema de gestão, já que nos últimos anos não foram adotadas medidas voltadas para a ampliar os sistemas de captação, diminuir perdas durante o armazenamento e estimular reuso da água. “Infelizmente, nada disso foi realizado. Em um período mais seco, não temos ações de contingência”, afirmou.

    O momento de crise, onde parte da população fica sem água nas torneiras durante horas ou até dias, pode servir para despertar a discussão sobre o uso da água. “A ideia é que o consumo consciente seja um hábito trabalhado desde a infância”, defendeu Denise Conselheiro, coordenadora do Edukatu, rede de aprendizagem sobre consumo consciente. Segundo ela, isso garante que as próximas gerações tenham essas práticas muito mais incorporadas ao seu dia a dia.

    De acordo com a representante do Edukatu, para falar sobre esse tema na escola, o professor deve recorrer ao uso de atividades lúdicas e a uma linguagem divertida. “A abordagem precisa ser diferente”. Além disso, é preciso trazer as questões sobre o uso da água para o cotidiano do aluno, como o risco de desperdício dentro da própria escola.

    Uma sugestão de atividade, apresentada por Wagner Costa Ribeiro, da USP, é de pedir para os alunos levarem a conta de água para escola. Na sala de aula, o professor pode comparar o consumo de cada família com a média geral da turma. A partir daí, ele consegue discutir maneiras de promover o uso racional dos recursos hídricos. No ensino médio, ele também pode acrescentar o debate sobre o modelo de gestão hídrica adotado na cidade.

    A partir de buscas em sites como a Escola Digital, o Portal do Professor (MEC) e o Edukatu, o Porvir reuniu algumas dicas de recursos digitais que podem auxiliar os professores a falarem sobre o tema. Confira a lista:

    Água em números

    Com a linguagem de um infográfico animado, o vídeo apresenta dados da distribuição de água no planeta, consumo e desperdício em situações do dia a dia. A animação mostra que um buraco de três milímetros no encanamento, por exemplo, pode desperdiçar 3.200 litros de água por dia.

    Etapa: ensino fundamental e médio
    Disponível on-line
    Fonte: Escola Digital

    Como prevenir a seca

    Produzido pela equipe do site Planeta Sustentável, o infográfico apresenta alternativas para o uso racional da água. A arte também divide o consumo de acordo com o segmento – agricultura, indústrias ou uso doméstico. Segundo os dados apresentados no infográfico, o setor agrícola é responsável por 70% do consumo global.

    Etapa: ensino fundamental e médio
    Disponível on-line
    Fonte: Escola Digital

    Quadrinhos sobre a água

    A história em quadrinhos fala sobre a importância da água e como ela está distribuída no planeta. A partir dos diálogos entre os personagens, o aluno pode perceber que a água existe em abundancia no globo, mas apenas uma pequena parte dela é própria para o consumo.

    Etapa: ensino fundamental
    Disponível on-line
    Fonte: Escola Digital

    Atividades sobre o uso da água

    Disponíveis para download, o conjunto de atividades reúne jogos e testes sobre o tema água. O material tenta conscientizar o aluno sobre a importância de promover o uso racional dos recursos hídricos.

    Etapa: ensino fundamental
    Disponível offline
    Fonte: Portal do Professor

    Atividades sobre a importância da água

    O recurso digital reúne materiais que falam sobre a importância da água no meio ambiente. Além disso, as atividades também tratam sobre a constituição hídrica do planeta e como ela é disponibilizada para o consumo humano.

    Etapa: ensino fundamental
    Disponível offline
    Fonte: Portal do Professor

    Como a água chega até as nossas torneiras?

    A imagem ilustra o caminho que a água percorre, desde quando é retirada da natureza, até o momento em que chega às torneiras de uma casa. Também é possível ver alguns processos de armazenamento de água nas estações de tratamento.

    Etapa: ensino fundamental
    Disponível offline
    Fonte: Portal do Professor

    Percurso da Água no Edukatu

    No Edukatu o professor conta um percurso de aprendizado inteiro dedicado ao tema água. O material está disponível em duas fases: na primeira, ele apresenta recursos digitais que ampliam o conhecimento sobre a temática de forma lúdica; na segunda parta, é apresentado para o educador a proposta de desenvolver um projeto de intervenção no ambiente escolar, podendo incluir ações de conscientização sobre o uso racional da água.

    (obs: para ter acesso ao material, o professor deve realizar um cadastro no site)

    Etapa: ensino fundamental e médio
    Disponível on-line
    Fonte: Edukatu

    * Publicado originalmente no site Porvir.


    Teachable moments about climate change (Science Daily)

    Date: October 14, 2014

    Source: Springer Science+Business Media

    Summary: Mapping first-hand experience of extreme weather conditions helps to target climate education efforts. First-hand experience of extreme weather often makes people change their minds about the realities of climate change. That’s because people are simply more aware of an extreme weather event the closer they are to its core, and the more intense the incidence is.

    First-hand experience of extreme weather often makes people change their minds about the realities of climate change. That’s because people are simply more aware of an extreme weather event the closer they are to its core, and the more intense the incidence is. So says Peter Howe of Utah State University in the US, who led a study in Springer’s journal Climatic Change Letters about people’s ability to accurately recall living through extreme weather events. It also focused on how people’s proximity to such events — the so-called “shadow of experience” — aids their awareness of climatic episodes.

    Howe’s team mapped data on people’s extreme weather perceptions from a national survey of 1,008 US adults conducted by the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication and George Mason Center for Climate Change Communication. The data were then overlaid on other maps of actual recorded events such as droughts, hurricanes and tornadoes.

    They found that the public tends to accurately recall and report on extreme weather conditions. This is particularly true for hurricanes and tornadoes that cause large-scale destruction and personal suffering as well as events that attract media coverage. Drought, on the other hand, is much more difficult to perceive because it happens slowly over a longer period of time. It also generally affects a larger area of land. Actually, most people only believe that they have experienced a drought after 25 weeks of persistently dry conditions.

    The closer people were to a weather event, the more intense and destructive it was and the longer it lasted, the better are the chances that people will note it. Howe says the proximity effect may be explained by an increased likelihood of personally suffering harm or property damage as one approaches the site of the event, as well as environmental cues (such as dark clouds or high winds) and social cues (such as tornado sirens or warnings).

    “The shadow of experience — or the area within which people are more likely to report that they have experienced extreme events — increases as the magnitude of an event increases,” explains Howe. “Indirect damage through disruption of services, utilities, businesses, social networks, and local economies are one likely cause for the tendency of people to report personally experiencing events even if they live many kilometers away and did not suffer direct personal damage.”

    Howe and his team believe that maps showing the shadows of experience of extreme weather could be used to focus disaster preparedness and climate education efforts after an event. They advise weathercasters to provide more climate change context when extreme weather events happen, and to educate their viewers about the climatic reasons behind them. In the case of droughts, the public should be helped to recognize the phenomenon as it is happening and to take specific steps to deal with it.

    Journal Reference:

    1. Peter D. Howe, Hilary Boudet, Anthony Leiserowitz, Edward W. Maibach. Mapping the shadow of experience of extreme weather events. Climatic Change, 2014; DOI: 10.1007/s10584-014-1253-6

    Doing math with your body (Science Daily)

    Date: October 2, 2014

    Source: Radboud University

    Summary: You do math in your head most of the time, but you can also teach your body how to do it. Researchers investigated how our brain processes and understands numbers and number size. They show that movements and sensory perception help us understand numbers.

    In this example the physically largest number (2) is the smallest in terms of meaning. It was harder for test subjects to identify a 2 as the physically largest number then it was for them to identify a 9 as the largest number. Credit: Image courtesy of Radboud University

    You do math in your head most of the time, but you can also teach your body how to do it. Florian Krause investigated how our brain processes and understands numbers and number size. He shows that movements and sensory perception help us understand numbers. Krause defends his thesis on October 10 at Radboud University.

    When learning to do math, it helps to see that two marbles take up less space than twenty. Or to feel that a bag with ten apples weighs more than a bag with just one. During his PhD at Radboud University’s Donders Institute, Krause investigated which brain areas represent size and how these areas work together. He concludes that number size is associated with sizes experienced by our body.

    Physically perceived size

    Krause asked tests subjects to find the physically largest number in an image with eighteen numbers. Sometimes this number was also the largest in terms of meaning, but sometimes it wasn’t. Subjects found the largest number faster when it was also the largest in terms of meaning. ‘This shows how sensory information about small and large is associated with our understanding of numbers’, Krause says. ‘Combining this knowledge about size makes our processing of numbers more effective.’

    More fruit, more force

    Even very young children have a sensory understanding of size. In a computer game, Krause asked them to lift up a platform carrying a few or many pieces of fruit by pressing a button. Although the amount of force applied to the button did not matter — simply pressing it was adequate — children pushed harder when there was a lot of fruit on the platform and less hard when there was little fruit on the platform.

    Applications in education

    Krause believes his results can provide applications in math education. ‘If numerical size and other body-related size information are indeed represented together in the brain, strengthening this link during education might be beneficial. For instance by using a ‘rekenstok’ which makes you experience how long a meter or ten centimeter is when holding it with both hands. This general idea can be extended to other experiencable magnitudes besides spatial length, by developing tools which make you see an amount of light or hear an amount of sound that correlates with the number size in a calculation.’

    Chimp social network shows how new ideas catch on (New Scientist)

    19:00 30 September 2014 by Catherine Brahic

    Three years ago, an adult chimpanzee called Nick dipped a piece of moss into a watering hole in Uganda’s Budongo Forest. Watched by a female, Nambi, he lifted the moss to his mouth and squeezed the water out. Nambi copied him and, over the next six days, moss sponging began to spread through the community. A chimp trend was born.

    Until that day in November 2011, chimps had only been seen to copy actions in controlled experimentsMovie Camera, and social learning had never been directly observed in the wild.

    To prove that Nambi and the seven other chimps who started using moss sponges didn’t just come up with the idea independently, Catherine Hobaiter of the University of St Andrews, UK, and her colleagues used their own innovation: a statistical analysis of the community’s social network. They were able to track how moss-sponging spread and calculated that once a chimp had seen another use a moss sponge, it was 15 times more likely to do so itself.

    A decade ago it was believed that only humans have the capacity to imitate, says Frans de Waal of Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. “The present study is the first on apes to show by means of networking analysis that habits travel along paths of close relationships,” he says, adding that a similar idea was shown not long ago for humpback whale hunting techniques.

    Caught in the act

    Copying may seem like the easiest thing to us, but not all animals are able. Chimps at the Gombe Stream reserve in Tanzania can copy each other using twigs to fish out termites, but the baboons that watch them haven’t picked up the trick. “They don’t get it,” says Andrew Whiten of the University of St Andrews.

    Whiten previously listed 39 behaviours that were found only in some communities of chimps, suggesting these were picked up from other group members rather than being innate behaviours. Since then, more have been added, but they still number in the dozens, not the thousands.

    Given how rarely chimps pick up trends, it’s exciting that someone was on hand to watch it happen in this latest study, says Whiten.

    Ultimately, he says, our ability to both invent and copy meant our ancestors could exploit a cognitive niche. “They began hunting large game by doing it the brainy way.” Imitation, it turns out, is not just the sincerest form of flattery, it’s also a smart thing to do.

    Journal reference: PLoS Biology, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1001960

    Lectures Aren’t Just Boring, They’re Ineffective, Too, Study Finds (Science)

    12 May 2014 3:00 pm

    Blah? Traditional lecture classes have higher undergraduate failure rates than those using active learning techniques, new research finds.

    Wikimedia. Blah? Traditional lecture classes have higher undergraduate failure rates than those using active learning techniques, new research finds.

    Are your lectures droning on? Change it up every 10 minutes with more active teaching techniques and more students will succeed, researchers say. A new study finds that undergraduate students in classes with traditional stand-and-deliver lectures are 1.5 times more likely to fail than students in classes that use more stimulating, so-called active learning methods.

    “Universities were founded in Western Europe in 1050 and lecturing has been the predominant form of teaching ever since,” says biologist Scott Freeman of the University of Washington, Seattle. But many scholars have challenged the “sage on a stage” approach to teaching science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) courses, arguing that engaging students with questions or group activities is more effective.

    To weigh the evidence, Freeman and a group of colleagues analyzed 225 studies of undergraduate STEM teaching methods. The meta-analysis, published online today in theProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, concluded that teaching approaches that turned students into active participants rather than passive listeners reduced failure rates and boosted scores on exams by almost one-half a standard deviation. “The change in the failure rates is whopping,” Freeman says. And the exam improvement—about 6%—could, for example, “bump [a student’s] grades from a B– to a B.”

    “This is a really important article—the impression I get is that it’s almost unethical to be lecturing if you have this data,” says Eric Mazur, a physicist at Harvard University who has campaigned against stale lecturing techniques for 27 years and was not involved in the work. “It’s good to see such a cohesive picture emerge from their meta-analysis—an abundance of proof that lecturing is outmoded, outdated, and inefficient.”

    Although there is no single definition of active learning approaches, they include asking students to answer questions by using handheld clickers, calling on individuals or groups randomly, or having students clarify concepts to each other and reach a consensus on an issue.

    Freeman says he’s started using such techniques even in large classes. “My introductory biology course has gotten up to 700 students,” he says. “For the ultimate class session—I don’t say lecture—I’m showing PowerPoint slides, but everything is a question and I use clickers and random calling. Somebody droning on for 15 minutes at a time and then doing cookbook labs isn’t interesting.” Freeman estimates that scaling up such active learning approaches could enable success for tens of thousands of students who might otherwise drop or fail STEM courses.

    Despite its advantages, active learning isn’t likely to completely kill the lecture, says Noah Finkelstein, a physics professor who directs the Center for STEM Learning at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and was not involved in the study. The new study “is consistent with what the benefits of active learning are showing us,” he says. “But I don’t think there should be a monolithic stance about lecture or no lecture. There are still times when lectures will be needed, but the traditional mode of stand-and-deliver is being demonstrated as less effective at promoting student learning and preparing future teachers.”

    The current study didn’t directly address the effectiveness of one new twist in the traditional lecturing format: massive open online courses that can beam talks to thousands or even millions of students. But Freeman says the U.S. Department of Education has conducted its own meta-analysis of distance learning, and it found there was no difference in being lectured at in a classroom versus through a computer screen at home. So, Freeman says: “If you’re going to get lectured at, you might as well be at home in bunny slippers.”

    From Amazon to Garden State (CBS)

    MAY 11, 2014, 9:53 AM|David Good’s mother grew up in a remote village in the Amazon jungle. After meeting an American anthropologist, she moved to New Jersey and started a family. After she decided to return to her village, her son made an extraordinary trip to reconnect with her. Steve Hartman reports.

    Wyoming is 1st state to reject science standards (AP)


    May 8, 2014 6:24 PM

    CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming, the nation’s top coal-producing state, is the first to reject new K-12 science standards proposed by national education groups mainly because of global warming components.

    The Wyoming Board of Education decided recently that the Next Generation Science Standards need more review after questions were raised about the treatment of man-made global warming.

    Board President Ron Micheli said the review will look into whether “we can’t get some standards that are Wyoming standards and standards we all can be proud of.”

    Others see the decision as a blow to science education in Wyoming.

    “The science standards are acknowledged to be the best to prepare our kids for the future, and they are evidence based, peer reviewed, etc. Why would we want anything less for Wyoming?” Marguerite Herman, a proponent of the standards, said.

    Twelve states have adopted the standards since they were released in April 2013 with the goal of improving science education, and Wyoming is the first to reject them, Chad Colby, spokesman for Achieve, one of the organizations that helped write the standards.

    “The standards are what students should be expected to know at the end of each grade, but how a teacher teaches them is still up to the local districts and the states, and even the teachers in most cases,” Colby said.

    But the global warming and evolution components have created pushback around the country.

    Amy Edmonds, of the Wyoming Liberty Group, said teaching “one view of what is not settled science about global warming” is just one of a number of problems with the standards.

    “I think Wyoming can do far better,” Edmonds said.

    Wyoming produces almost 40 percent of the nation’s coal, with much of it used by power plants to provide electricity around the nation. Minerals taxes on coal provided $1 billion to the state and local governments in 2012 and coal mining supports some 6,900 jobs in the state.

    Burning coal to generate electricity produces large amounts of CO2, which is considered a heat-trapping gas in the atmosphere. Most scientists recognize that man-made CO2 emissions contribute to global warming. However, the degree to which it can be blamed for global warming is in dispute among some scientists.

    Gov. Matt Mead has called federal efforts to curtail greenhouse emissions a “war on coal” and has said that he’s skeptical about man-made climate change.

    This past winter, state lawmakers approved budget wording that sought to stop adoption of the standards.

    “Wyoming is certainly unique in having legislators and the governor making comments about perceived impacts on the fossil fuel industry of kids learning climate science, and unique in acting on that one objection to prohibit consideration of the package of standards, of which climate science is a small component,” said John Friedrich, a member of the national organization Climate Parents, which supports the standards.

    Friedrich and Colby noted that oil and gas industry giants Exxon Mobile and Chevron support the standards.

    Opponents argue the standards incorrectly assert that man-made emissions are the main cause of global warming and shouldn’t be taught in a state that derives much of its school funding from the energy industry.

    “I think those concepts should be taught in science; I just think they should be taught as theory and not as scientific fact,” state Rep. Matt Teeters, R-Lingle, said.

    Paul Bruno, an eighth-grade California science teacher who reviewed the standards for the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, said the climate-change components can cause confusion because they are difficult to navigate.

    The Fordham Institute, a conservative think tank, gave the standards a “C” grade.

    While the standards overall are “mediocre,” Bruno said they are being “a little bit unfairly impugned on more controversial topics like climate change or evolution.”

    The standards for high school assert that models predict human activity is contributing to climate change, but leave an “appropriate amount of uncertainty” and note that it’s important to factor in costs, reliability and other issues when considering global warming solutions, he said.

    “And so I think it’s fair to say that the Next Generation Standards at least make gestures in the direction of wanting to accommodate those potentially skeptical viewpoints, particularly when it comes to things like energy production,” Bruno said.

    CONCLIMA 2013 – acesse vídeos de todas as palestras (Rede Clima)

    CONCLIMA 2013 – acesse vídeos de todas as palestras

    imagem video conclimaEstão disponíveis na Internet os vídeos de todas as apresentações realizadas durante a 1ª CONCLIMA – Conferência Nacional da Rede CLIMA, INCT para Mudanças Climáticas (INCT-MC) e Programa Fapesp de Pesquisas sobre Mudanças Climáticas Globais (PFPMCG), realizada de 9 a 13 de setembro em São Paulo. A Rede CLIMA também produziu uma síntese de toda a conferência, com duração de 30 minutos.

    O objetivo da CONCLIMA foi apresentar os resultados das pesquisas e o conhecimento gerado por esses importantes programas e projetos – um ambicioso empreendimento científico criado pelos governos federal e do Estado de São Paulo para prover informações de alta qualidade em estudos de clima, detecção de variabilidade climática e mudança climática, e seus impactos em setores chaves do Brasil.

    Acesse os vídeos:

    Vídeo da CONCLIMA – 1a Conferência Nacional de Mudanças Climáticas Globais:

    Apresentações – arquivos PDF

    Íntegra das apresentações – VÍDEOS

    Mesa de Abertura


    Paulo Nobre – INPE

    Iracema Cavalcanti – INPE

    Léo Siqueira – INPE

    Marcos Heil Costa – UFV

    Sérgio Correa – UERJ


    Tércio Ambrizzi – USP 

    Eduardo Assad – Embrapa

    Mercedes Bustamante – UnB


    Agricultura – Hilton Silveira Pinto – Embrapa

    Recursos Hídricos – Alfredo Ribeiro Neto – UFPE

    Energias Renováveis – Marcos Freitas – COPPE/UFRJ

    Biodiversidade e Ecossistemas – Alexandre Aleixo – MPEG

    Desastres Naturais – Regina Rodrigues – UFSC 

    Zonas Costeiras – Carlos Garcia – FURG

    Urbanização e Cidades – Roberto do Carmo – Unicamp

    Economia – Eduardo Haddad – USP

    Saúde – Sandra Hacon – Fiocruz

    Desenvolvimento Regional – Saulo Rodrigues Filho – UnB


    O INCT para Mudanças Climáticas – José Marengo – INPE

    Detecção e atribuição e variabilidade natural do clima – Simone Ferraz – UFSM

    Mudanças no uso da terra – Ana Paula Aguiar – INPE

    Ciclos Biogeoquímicos Globais e Biodiversidade – Mercedes Bustamante – UnB

    Oceanos – Regina Rodrigues – UFSC

    REDD – Osvaldo Stella – IPAM

    Cenários Climáticos Futuros e Redução de Incertezas – José Marengo – INPE

    Gases de Efeito Estufa – Plínio Alvalá – INPE

    Estudos de ciência, tecnologia e políticas públicas – Myanna Lahsen – INPE

    Interações biosfera-atmosfera – Gilvan Sampaio – INPE

    Amazônia – Gilberto Fisch – IAE/DCTA


    Sistema de Alerta Precoce para Doenças Infecciosas Emergentes na Amazônia Ocidental – Manuel Cesario – Unifran

    Clima e população em uma região de tensão entre alta taxa de urbanização e alta biodiversidade: Dimensões sociais e ecológicas das mudanças climáticas – Lucia da Costa Ferreira – Unicamp

    Cenários de impactos das mudanças climáticas na produção de álcool visando a definição de políticas públicas – Jurandir Zullo – Unicamp

    Fluxos hidrológicos e fluxos de carbono – casos da Bacia Amazônica e reflorestamento de microbacias – Humberto Rocha – USP

    O papel dos rios no balanço regional do carbono – Maria Victoria Ballester – USP

    Aerossóis atmosféricos, balanço de radiação, nuvens e gases traços associados com mudanças de uso de solo na Amazônia – Paulo Artaxo – USP

    Socio-economic impacts of climate change in Brazil: quantitative inputs for the design of public policies – Joaquim José Martins Guilhoto e Rafael Feltran Barbieri- USP

    Emissão de dióxido de carbono em solos de áreas de cana-de-açúcar sob diferentes estratégias de manejo – Newton La Scala Jr – Unesp

    Impacto do Oceano Atlantico Sudoeste no Clima da America do Sul ao longo dos séculos 20 e 21 – Tércio Ambrizzi – USP


    Apresentação Sergio Margulis – SAE – Presidência da República

    Apresentação Gustavo Luedemann (MCTI)

    Apresentação Carlos Klink (SMCQ/MMA)

    Apresentação Couto Silva (MMA): Ambiente sobre o status da Elaboração do Plano Nacional de Adaptação. Funcionamento do GT Adaptação e suas redes temáticas. Proposta de Calendário. Proposta de Estrutura do Plano. 

    Apresentação Alexandre Gross (FGV): Recortes temáticos do Plano Nacional de Adaptação: apresentação do Relatório sobre dimensões temporal, espacial e temática na adaptação às mudanças climáticas (Produto 4), processo e resultados do GT Adaptação, coleta de contribuições e discussão.

    Mesa redonda: Mudanças climáticas, extremos e desastres naturais 

    Apresentação Rafael Schadeck – CENAD 

    Apresentação Marcos Airton de Sousa Freitas – ANA 

    Mesa redonda: Relação ciência – planos setoriais; políticas públicas

    Apresentação Carlos Nobre – SEPED/MCTI

    Apresentação Luiz Pinguelli Rosa (COPPE UFRJ, FBMC)

    Apresentação Eduardo Viola – UnB

    Mesa redonda: Inventários e monitoramento das emissões e remoções de GEE 

    Apresentação Gustavo Luedemann – MCTI 


    Apresentação Patrícia Pinho – IGBP/INPE

    Apresentação Paulo Artaxo – USP

    John Oliver Does Science Communication Right (I Fucking Love Science)

    May 15, 2014 | by Stephen Luntz

    photo credit: Last Week Tonight With John Oliver (HBO). Satirist John Oliver shows how scientific pseudo-debates should be covered

    One of the most frustrating experiences scientists, science communicators and anyone who cares about science have is the sight of media outlets giving equal time to positions held by a tiny minority of researchers.

    This sort of behavior turns up for all sorts of concocted “controversies”, satirized as “Opinions differ on the Shape of the Earth”. However, the most egregious examples occur in reporting climate change. Thousands of carefully researched peer reviewed papers are weighed in the balance and judged equal to a handful of shoddily writtennumerically flaky publications whose flaws take less than a day  to come to light.

    That is, of course, if you ignore the places where the anti-science side pretty much gets free range.

    So it is a delight to see John Oliver show how it should be done.
    We have only one problem with Oliver’s work. He repeats the claim that 97% of climate scientists agree that humans are warming the planet. In fact the study he referred to has 97.1% of peer reviewed papers on climate change endorsing this position. However, these papers were usually produced by large research teams, while the opposing minority were often cooked up by a couple of kooks in their garage. When you look at the numbers of scientists involved the numbers are actually 98.4% to 1.2%, with the rest undecided. Which might not sound like a big difference, but would make Oliver’s tame “skeptic” look even more lonely.
    HT Vox, with a nice summary of the evidence


    Ficção climática, um gênero literário que vai além da ficção científica (IPS) 

    16/4/2014 – 11h40

    por Dan Bloom*

    mudancasclimaticas1 300x230 Ficção climática, um gênero literário que vai além da ficção científica

    Taipé, Taiwan, abril/2014 – Quando lemos romances ou ficções curtas em qualquer idioma o fazemos para entender a história, para aprender algo novo ou, com sorte, para conseguir algum tipo de elevação emocional graças às palavras impressas nas páginas e às habilidades do narrador.

    Então, como contar a “história” da mudança climática e do aquecimento global?

    Um novo gênero literário chamado “ficção climática”, abreviado em inglês como cli-fi, vem evoluindo nos últimos anos e, embora ainda empreste seu nome da ficção científica, se centra em relatos sobre a mudança climática e seus impactos atuais e futuros sobre a vida humana.

    Alguns insistem em que é apenas um subgênero da ficção científica, e isso tem sentido em certo aspecto. Mas, em outros, trata-se de um gênero em si mesmo que está ganhando impulso em todo o mundo, não como mero escapismo ou entretenimento – embora frequentemente inclua esses elementos –, mas como um modo sério de abordar os assuntos complexos e universais existentes em torno da mudança climática.

    Sei algo sobre ficção climática porque nos últimos anos trabalhei para popularizá-la, não só no mundo de idioma inglês, mas também entre milhões de pessoas que leem em espanhol, chinês, alemão ou francês, para citar alguns. Em minha opinião, é um gênero internacional, com leitores internacionais, que deveria ser abordado por escritores de qualquer nação e em qualquer idioma.

    Cada vez mais novelas de ficção climática se dirigem a uma audiência jovem – “adultos jovens”, no jargão editorial –, como Not a Drop to Drink (Nem Uma Gota Para Beber), de Mindy McGinnis, The Carbon Diaries 2015 (Os Diários do Carbono 2015), de Saci Lloyd, e Floodland (Terra Inundável), de Marcus Sedgwick. Na verdade, são as crianças e os adolescentes que sofrerão as consequências dos estilos de vida escolhidos pelas gerações anteriores.

    Em um mundo que enfrenta os impactos potencialmente catastróficos da mudança climática, esse novo gênero literário se incorpora à nossa cultura em narrativa comum, divulgando ideias e pontos de vista sobre o futuro que a humanidade pode enfrentar em dez, cem ou 500 anos.

    É aí que entra em cena a ficção climática, que pode desempenhar um papel importante para plasmar as emoções e os sentimentos das personagens, em um relato ou romance bem escrito para conscientizar leitores em todo o mundo.

    Imaginem um romance de ficção climática, que não só chegue a milhares de leitores, mas que também os emocione e, talvez, os motive a se converterem em uma voz mais forte no debate político internacional sobre as emissões de carbono.

    Esse é o potencial da ficção climática.

    Uma universidade dos Estados Unidos oferece um curso sobre romances e filmes de ficção climática para estudantes de ciências ambientais e literatura.

    Para Stephanie LeMenager, que este ano dá aulas na Universidade de Oregon, o curso constitui uma oportunidade, para ela e seus alunos, de explorar o poder da literatura e do cinema, em um momento em que escritores e cineastas tentam abordar alguns dos assuntos mais difíceis que a humanidade enfrenta no século 21.

    O curso de LeMenager se chama As Culturas da Mudança Climática. É o primeiro na América do Norte, e inclusive no mundo, que se dedica dessa maneira às artes e à mudança climática. Estou seguro de que outras universidades seguirão esse esforço pioneiro, agregando novos cursos sobre ficção climática para seus estudantes.

    Nathaniel Rich é um escritor de 34 anos, autor do aclamado romance Odds Against Tomorrow (Prognósticos Contra o Amanhã), uma história ambientada em um futuro próximo em Manhattan, que mergulha na “matemática da catástrofe”. Residente em Nova Orleans, Rich acredita que serão publicados mais livros como o seu, não só em inglês e não só do ponto de vista das nações ricas do Ocidente.

    Escritores de todo o mundo devem se animar a incursionar no gênero da ficção climática e a usar a literatura de suas próprias culturas para tentar despertar a população sobre o futuro que pode esperar a todos em um planeta que esquenta sem um fim à vista.

    As tramas podem ser aterradoras, mas as novelas de ficção climática dão a oportunidade de explorar esses assuntos com emoção e prosa. Os livros têm importância. A literatura tem um papel a desempenhar em nossos debates sobre os impactos do aquecimento global em todo o mundo.

    Se poderá dizer que o cânon do gênero remonta ao romance O Mundo Submerso, escrito em 1962 pelo britânico J. G. Ballard. Outro dos primeiros livros sobre esse fenômeno foi escrito em 1987 pelo australiano George Turner: As Torres do Esquecimento.

    A norte-americana Barbara Kingsolver publicou há alguns anos um romance muito poderoso de ficção climática intitulada Flight Behavior (Comportamento de Voo). Me impressionou muito quando o li no verão passado, e o recomendo.

    A canadense Mary Woodbury criou o site Cli-Fi Books, que lista romances atuais e passados de ficção climática.

    Como vejo o futuro? Prevejo um mundo onde os seres humanos se aferrem à esperança e ao otimismo. E sou otimista. E creio que quanto mais nos apegarmos à ciência da mudança climática no plano cultural mais efetivamente poderemos nos unir para evitar o pior. Envolverde/IPS

    Dan Bloom é jornalista independente de Boston que vive em Taiwan. Em 1971, se formou na Tufts University, onde se especializou em literatura francesa. É ativista climático e literário desde 2006. Para segui-lo no Twitter o endereço é @polarcityman.

    Professor da USP defende golpe de 64, e alunos invadem a aula (O Globo)

    JC e-mail 4925, de 02 de abril de 2014

    Coletivo Canto Geral protestou contra discurso do docente Eduardo Gualazzi em homenagem à ‘revolução’. Professor de Direito Administrativo diz que universitários pediram aula sobre a ditadura

    No dia em que o golpe militar de 64 completou 50 anos, nesta segunda-feira, o professor Eduardo Lobo Botelho Gualazzi, de Direito Administrativo da USP, resolveu homenagear o que ele denominou de “revolução”. Após iniciar a leitura de um discurso em que afirmou que apoiou “humildemente, em silêncio firme, a revolução de 31 de março de 1964” , um grupo de alunos começou a fazer barulho do lado de fora da sala, simulando cenas de tortura comuns na época da ditadura. Veja, acima, o vídeo postado no YouTube.

    Em seguida, os estudantes entraram em sala encapuzados cantando “Opinião”, um hino contra o regime militar, de Zé Ketti. O professor retirou o capuz de uma universitária e tentou segurar outro aluno. Preso e torturado na ditadura, o ex-militante Antonio Carlos Fon, que havia sido convidado para o protesto, dirigiu-se a Gualazzi dizendo que não concordavam com o que ele dizia, “mas ninguém trouxe máquina de choque nem vai botar pau de arara”. Na sequência, o professor saiu de sala, enquanto o ato do Coletivo Canto Geral continuou.

    Segundo a aluna Camila Sátolo, uma das organizadoras do ato, o professor, já há alguns anos, faz referências e apologias ao que ele chama de “revolução de 64”. De acordo com a estudante, que faz parte do Canto Geral, Gualazzi já havia programado uma aula especial para a data, e há algumas semanas começara a espalhar isso para sua turma, dizendo que iria falar sobre suas memórias da “revolução”.

    – Muitos estudantes incomodados procuraram se articular para questionar a aula planejada pelo professor no mesmo dia em que o país tenta re-significar sua memória, relembrando a resistência ao regime militar e lutando por verdade e justiça. Minutos antes da aula ficamos sabendo que o professor havia preparado um documento oficial no qual confirmou seu apoio dentre outras barbaridades. O professor, entretanto, nem se dispôs a escutar a fala do Fon e se retirou da sala – contou Camila, aluna do 5º período de Direito.

    Professor diz achar estranho repercussão sobre ‘assunto banal’
    Professor de direito administrativo há 40 anos, Eduardo Gualazzi disse ao GLOBO “achar estranho dar tanta repercussão a um assunto tão banal”.

    – Foi uma aula comum, a respeito de fatos que presenciei quando eu tinha 17 anos de idade. São recordações vagas, de um passado remoto. Qualquer ser humano nascido no Brasil tem recordações daquela época. Não sei por que ficam dando à minha aula uma importância que ela não tem – disse Gualazzi, para quem a qualquer momento se encontrará no pátio da universidade “uma série de alunos manifestando-se contra ou a favor de qualquer coisa”.

    – Eles estão exercendo o direito de manifestação, são jovens, estão começando a vida. Estão começando a desenvolver capacidades de argumentação lógica, jurídica, administrativa. Isso tudo é absolutamente normal – completou.

    Perguntado sobre a relação entre o texto lido em sala e a disciplina ministrada na universidade, o professor alegou ter atendido a um pedido dos próprios alunos:

    – Preparei um texto histórico. Os alunos me pediram uma aula a respeito disso, porque sabem que tenho idade. São jovenzinhos, curiosos, querem saber o que aconteceu naquela época. Como sabem que tenho 67 anos, me pediram. Alguns até elogiaram e consideram uma ofensa o que outros fizeram contra mim.

    A Faculdade de Direito da USP informou no fim da tarde desta terça-feira que ainda não decidiu se vai se pronunciar sobre o assunto.

    (Lauro Neto E Thiago Herdy / O Globo)