The violet filter on the Imaging Science System aboard Voyager 1 and 2Many years ago, I said to a colleague, “What a beautiful shirt! Royal blue is a good color on you.” She replied, “What do you mean blue? This shirt is purple!” After some experimenting, we discovered that we consistently differed on the line between blue and purple. In extending our experiments to co-workers, we found that I was the outlier—most people saw blue and purple more like my colleague. It turns out that such differences are real; the proteins that detect light in our eyes can be tuned to slightly different wavelengths, and we can each have slightly different ratios of the three proteins that allow us to distinguish colors. I really do see blue where most people see purple. (Do you? Here’s a Buzzfeed quiz.)

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My advice of the day?

Never pass up a chance to hang out with science teachers!

The occasion was the 2017 awards luncheon of the California Science Teachers Association (CSTA). The National Center for Science Education was being honored with the 2017 Distinguished Contributions Award, for our work supporting the California Science Framework review process, and our help in providing teachers with guidance about how to respond to the Heartland Institute’s mailing of misleading climate propaganda to California teachers. It was awfully nice of CSTA to recognize NCSE since in my view, it’s teachers who deserve the accolades.

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As an organization, NCSE is focused on science education—and as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, it tries to stay out of politics as much as possible. With the recent Republican National Convention making headlines though, politics was definitely on my mind this week (and no doubt your mind too!)

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David Baum, a biologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, corresponded with NCSE staff about a challenge he and his colleagues faced. He shared this account of his experience trying to publish research which, in part, attempted to put certain creationist claims to the test.

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A class action lawsuit over an ounce of pepper? Sounds crazy doesn’t it?

Screen grab from April 22, 2016: can you spot the problem?

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