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Cold data on warming

The local conservative Citizens Journal blog trumpets that “17,200 scientists throw the B.S. flag on global warming, including a huge selection of scientists from Arkansas.”

The link? To a petition widely circulated in 1998 by the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine, a tiny research institute in Cave Junction, Ore., calling for the rejection of the Kyoto Protocol environmental pact. Among the 70 or so Arkansans on the list are Ed Hiserodt of Maumelle, a “newsfeed correspondent” for the John Birch Society; John E. Pauly, retired University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences vice chancellor for administration and fiscal affairs, and David Luneau, associate professor of electronics at UALR and the man who shot the video of the ivory-billed woodpecker in 2004 in the Bayou de View.

Luneau, noting the date of petition and the accompanying Oregon Institute article circulating with it, called it “disingenuous” for the website to post them now. “I just think that’s wrong. That’s based on information from 10 years ago.”

His view on global warming? “It changes from day to day,” he said. “We’ve learned an incredible amount since then.” Luneau stressed that he is an environmentalist, but not an atmospheric scientist. “The more I read about it, I realize, the less I know.”

Cafe society goes scientific

Linda Williams is, she’s been told, a matchmaker. As the dean’s research liaison at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, she links scientists across the state via a website online detailing research being conducted in Arkansas and other information. Now Williams is pulling the public into the science arena with Science Cafe, a forum in on various subjects to be held monthly at Sufficient Grounds in Hillcrest. Inspired by the Science Cafe at Rice University, where she worked until coming to UAMS last July, Williams is getting help from various people, including the Little Rock Zoo, which she’s put in touch with the UAMS Center on Aging to discuss possible research on elderly animals. She’s working on a website — www.sciencecafelr.com — and has also created a logo for the club, a big cup of coffee whose steam spells out E=MC2. Computer nerds talking about Java would be a good fit, but isn’t on the schedule. What is: The cafe debuts with experts Joe Nix of Ouachita Baptist University, Gary Hum of Central Arkansas Water and Forrest Payne of UALR talking about water quality issues from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 20. On April 24, panelists will tackle the relationship between mathematics and music. Future meetings will be the fourth Tuesday of every month.

Sufficient Grounds is at 722 N. Palm St. UAMS, UALR, Southwestern Energy, the Little Rock Zoo and the Arkansas Biosciences Institute are co-sponsors.

Blood scandal film

The Ozark Foothills Film Festival, which will show movies in Batesville and Little Rock, will screen “Factor 8: The Arkansas Prison Blood Scandal,” Kelly Duda’s 2005 movie on how blood plasma drawn from prisoners infected with hepatitis and HIV got into international blood banks. Mara Leveritt, who detailed the scandal in a 1991 story in the Arkansas Times, will join Duda for a panel discussion after the March 31 showing of the film at the Market Street Cinema. Arkansas Democrat-Gazette writer Phil Martin will moderate.

U.S. blood processors quit taking plasma from prisoners after a 1982 FDA warning that prisoners were more likely to be infected with the AIDS virus. The dealer in Arkansas blood then sold to a Canadian blood broker, which supplied Canada, Japan and Europe. More than 20,000 Canadians, many of them hemophiliacs, were infected by the tainted blood. To read more about the blood scandal, go to the law section of the online Encyclopedia of Arkansas History.

Former inmate and blood donor John Schock will also be on the panel. The film screens at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $5 ($4 for seniors, $3 for Film Society members).

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