Maybe, 4th grader disproves much warming in Beeville, not entire planet?

June 7, 2010

Hmmm.  News from Beeville is tough to come by when limited to calls that tend to catch school officials before they get to their office or after they go home (early, by most standards — but it’s summer, so we cut ’em some slack).

But we can find more information on what would be an astounding, groundbreaking study by 4th grader Julisa Castillo, which has been advertised as disproving global warming.

Again from the Beeville Bee-Picayune, about five months ago:

Conclusion: ‘pretty creative’

by Scott Reese Willey
As world leaders meet in Copenhagen to draft legislation to rein in the release of greenhouse gases and stem climate change, an R.A. Hall Elementary School student is questioning the science supporting global warming.

High school student judging R. A. Hall Elementary science fair projects

Caption from Beeville Bee-Picayune: A.C. Jones High School student Zachary Johnson, above, looks over a science experiment entered in R.A. Hall’s annual science fair. Zachary and other members of the high school’s science club judged the exhibits. Photo from, and read more at: - Conclusion ‘pretty creative’

“There is not enough evidence to prove global warming is occurring,” fourth-grader Julisa Raquel Castillo concluded in a science project she entered in the campus’ annual science fair on Tuesday.

Julisa studied temperatures in Beeville for the past 109 years to develop her conclusion.

She researched online data basis of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, the National Weather Service, and checked out books on climate change at the Joe Barnhart Bee County Library.

Her findings:

• temperatures rose and fell from 1900 to 1950.

• temperatures in Beeville cooled down over a 20-year period beginning in 1955 and ending in 1975.

• Since 2001, temperatures in Beeville have grown cooler year after year.

Close to 200 R.A. Hall students entered projects in this year’s science fair, said organizer Denise Salvagno, who also teaches the school’s gifted and talented students.

Fourth- and fifth-graders were required to enter projects as part of class work; however, students in grades first, second and third could enter projects if they desired.

Students in Ben Barris’ science club at A.C. Jones High School judged the projects.

“Some of these projects are pretty creative,” said Zachary Johnson, a senior at A.C. Jones and one of the judges. “You can tell a lot of the students put a lot of effort into their projects. Some of them didn’t put much effort into it but a lot of them did and, overall, I’m impressed with what I am seeing.”

Fourth-grader Kaleb Maguire proved that all tap water in Beeville was the same quality.

He took samples of water at 10 different sites across town and came to the conclusion that because the water originated at the same source — the city’s fresh water plant — the samples contained the same amount of alkalinity, pH and free chlorine.

Fourth-grader Amber Martinez concluded that worms subjected to music were more alert than those not.

And fourth-grader Sam Waters’ project was no doubt much enjoyed by his pet pooch, Lucky.

Sam wanted to know which meat his dog would like more. Turns out Lucky preferred chicken over both hotdogs and sausage.

Fifth-grader Savannah Gonzales found out that ants prefer cheese over sugar, but classmate Misty Nienhouse concluded that ants preferred sugar over cheese. Tessa Giannini’s science project also seemed to prove that ants preferred sugar over cheese, bread or anything else.

However, fourth-grader Faith Hernandez conducted a similar experiment and concluded ants preferred cheese over ham.

Yet, Jose Vivesos, a fourth-grader, concluded that ants prefer sugar water over anything else.

Nathanial Martinez, also a fourth-grader, built a working seismograph and demonstrated how it detected and recorded earthquakes.

Fifth-grader Jamison Hunter decided to see if money in the hand made a difference in someone’s heart rate.

He recorded the heart rate of each volunteer without money in their hand, with one dollar bill in their hand, two one dollar bills in their hand and three one dollar bills in their hand.

His conclusion: “From this experiment, I learned that everyone’s heart rate is different by how much money they hold,” he said. “No two people had the same results even with the test being done the same way.”

Read more: – Conclusion ‘pretty creative’

Temperatures may have cooled in Beeville.  Can we extrapolate Beeville to the entire planet?

The title of the project may be a little bit ambitious.

[See earlier post on the issue here.]


Cynthia Dunbar’s sham marriage of God and politics

June 7, 2010

Tony Whitson’s Curricublog has a rather lengthy, and very troubling, post about Texas State Board of Education member Cynthia Dunbar and her wilder gyrations on the issues of religion in education.  Go read it.  It’s got quotes, it’s got video, and if you don’t find it troubling you’re not paying attention.  There is an astounding smear of  Thomas Jefferson, the Constitution, and the principle of separation of state and church.

There’s a line usually attributed to Euripides, “Whom the gods destroy, they first make mad.”  That’s mad-crazy, not mad-angry.

What’s Dunbar done to upset the gods so?

Beeville fourth grader disproves global warming?

June 7, 2010

John Mashey alerted me to this news story from the online Beeville Bee-Picayune via

R.A. Hall fourth-grader is science national champion

R. A. Hall fourth grader Julisa Castillo, national science fair winner?

Caption from mySouTex: R.A. Hall fourth-grader Julisa Castillo (center) is the 2010 national junior division champion for the National Science Fair. Her project, “Disproving Global Warming,” beat more than 50,000 other projects from students all over the nation. She is pictured with her father, J.R. Castillo (left), and R.A. Hall Principal Martina Villarreal. Read more: - R A Hall fourth grader is science national champion

R.A. Hall Elementary School fourth-grader Julisa Castillo has been named junior division champion for the 2010 National Science Fair.

Her project, “Disproving Global Warming,” beat more than 50,000 other projects submitted by students from all over the U.S.

Julisa originally entered her project in her school science fair before sending it to the National Science Foundation (NSF) to be judged at the national level.

The NSF panel of judges included former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, 14 recipients of the President’s National Medal of Science, and four former astronauts.

“Before she sent it off, she just had to add more details, citations for her research, and the amount of hours she spent working on it,” said Julisa’s father, J.R. Castillo.

In addition to a plaque, trophy and medal, Julisa has won an all-expenses-paid trip to Space Camp at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala., which she plans to attend this summer.
Read more: – R A Hall fourth grader is science national champion

The blog of the North County Times (California) has doubts.  There are signs of hoax.  While the Beeville Independent School District does have an R. A. Hall elementary, the list of winners of last December’s science fair does not include Ms. Castillo.  To go from not placing at the local school to winning the national would be quite a feat!

I suspect an error somewhere, perhaps in the title of the project, or in the understanding of what the title implies.

Most of the obvious hoax signs check out against a hoax:  Beeville exists (improbably Texan as the name may be), R. A. Hall is an elementary school in Beeville ISD.  The principal of R. A. Hall is Martina Villareal.  Beeville has a guy named J. R. Castillo (listed as Julisa’s father in the photo caption), and his photos at the site promoting his music shows photos of a guy who looks a lot like the guy in the photo here.  Most hoaxers wouldn’t go so far for accuracy on details.

Fun little mystery.  I have made inquiries with the newspaper, and hope to follow up with the school.  Stay tuned.  There may be a great little science project somewhere in here.


See update here: Quick summary, big title, project not quite filling those shoes. I’ve made inquiries at the paper and school district without answers; there’s more to the story, but not much.  A good project with a misleading title, for those who would be misled by a 4th grade science fair project.

Dan Valentine – “Call me anti-American”

June 7, 2010

By Dan Valentine

Dear Hattip:

Call me anti-American.

When I was in high school, I entered an essay contest, sponsored by the Veterans of Foreign Wars, called Voice of Democracy.  I wrote about socialism, communism, and capitalism, and how all three were good systems.  With a hundred-or-so people!  Add five or ten more folks to the mix and all three tend to get corrupted.  All three have little or nothing to do with democracy.  I was awarded a prize.

Call me anti-American.

I joined the Navy to avoid going to Vietnam.  My three good friends at the time joined the Army.  They were sent to New Jersey.  The Almighty, She’s got a sense of humor.  I was sent to ‘Nam.

After boot camp, I caught a flight to Guam to catch my assigned ship, the USS Tanner, a survey ship.  It was at sea at the time, steaming from Pearl Harbor.  I caught pneumonia, killing time, in a sudden downpour on Gab-Gab Beach waiting for it.  Sent to the Naval Hospital to recoup.  The wards were filled with Marines, soldiers, sailors, and the like, with major combat wounds.  Some missing an arm; others, a leg.  Pneumonia or not, I was well enough to swing a mop.  So I was given the duty to sweep, swab, and buff the corridors and rooms.  The least I could do.

Call me anti-American.

I recovered, caught my ship.  To Vietnam.  Assigned to deck force.  Hell on earth, in small quarters.  If there’s a Devil, he or she taught boatswain mates all he or she knows.  And then some.

“Just out of boot camp?”  There were a handful of us.  “Welcome to the fleet!”  Initiation time.  One seaman apprentice, while chipping, sanding, and painting the side of the ship, was repeatedly lowered by chortling boatswain mates, down and up, down and up, repeatedly, into the water below, swarming with barracudas.  From that day forward, he was called Screamin’ Wiley.  Another was stripped naked and smeared with butter all over his exposed body, private parts included.  He was forever-after called Butterball.

I was assigned to stand mid-watch in the crow’s nest.  In a wind-storm.  I’m afraid of heights.  How did they know?  Their kind always knows.  Clouds fast-approaching were grumbling, lightning streaks flashing.  I was scared to death.  When the winds got to be too much, they brought me down.  I planted my feet firmly on the deck, smiling, happy as hell.  From then on, I was known as Smiley Face.  When I was first learning to man the helm (it was part of our duties, among others), a boatswain mate would stand nearby and kick me in the butt with his boot–wham!–whenever I went off course the slightest.  “Keep it on course, Smiley Face.”  Wham!  You soon learn to keep on course.

Call me anti-American.

I served two tours in Vietnam.  I was there the night the Tet Offensive began.  Tracer rounds flying.  One night I was standing the starboard or port watch when I thought I saw a swimmer in the water getting closer and closer to the ship.  With explosives?  General quarters!  Boats were lowered and percussion bombs were tossed all night long.  They never found a body.  If there was a swimmer, I like to think he or she is escorting American tourists around, telling them war stories, just as Americans in his or her shoes would.

Call me anti-American.

Another time I was on day-watch when a Vietnamese junk approached.  The Officer of the Deck, bullhorn in hand, warned those on aboard the junk to turn away.  I was told, if need be, to shoot the fellow at the helm, dead, on command.  The junk turned around.  To this day, I don’t know if I could have carried out the order.

Call me anti-American.

In Vietnam I wrote a book of short essays in my off-hours called Military Moods.  (Moments of Truth; Ports of Call; Christmas:  The Loneliest Day of the Year; etc.  One was:  Love Letter to a Country.)

Call me anti-American.

When the Tanner was decommissioned–my book of essays my ticket “outta here!”–I got assigned to the USS Canopus, a submarine tender, which supplied nuclear attack submarines with nuclear missiles to attack with.

I met the ship in Bremerton, WA, and we sailed to GITMO for a month-long series of sea exercises, preparing for future possible attacks, both chemical and nuclear.  As the ship’s journalist, with no duties other than to put out the ship’s newspaper, cruise book, and hometown news releases, I was assigned to save the Old Glory from radiation or chemical exposure.  Officers timed us with a clock-watch.  Drill after drill, I was killed, and I told myself if there ever was an attack, I was not going to die retrieving a piece of cloth.  But, being young at the time, I probably would have.  That’s why they draft nineteen-year olds.  When there is a draft.

Call me anti-American.

In the 80s, I worked for Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), in Washington, D.C., for half a decade.  Whenever there was a speech to be written “from the heart” (Flag Day, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Veterans Day, both Washington’s and Lincoln’s birthdays, I was the one called upon to write it.

When a Senate colleague died, Republican or Democrat, I was the one called upon to write the floor statement “from the heart”.  The New York Times picked up one and reprinted parts of it, saying, “Such eloquence is seldom heard on the Chamber floor.”

Call me anti-American.

In the 90s, when my dad died and, later, when my mom died, I had their sealed-ashes placed in Arlington National Cemetery.  My dad–he was wounded on Guadalcanal–would have liked that.

Call me anti-American.

I was in Salt Lake when 9/11 happened.  I had canceled my flight back to New York to see a touring musical at the Capitol Theatre, or I would have been there when it happened.  When I did return, a week later, it just so happened to be the first day the subways were running again.  I caught one into town from the airport.  Dead silence all the way.  No one spoke a word.  Everyone was stunned.

I had moved up to the Upper West Side, two blocks from Lincoln Center, a couple of blocks to Central Park.  My New York ID, though, still listed my first home address there.  On Duane Street in Tribeca, only a stone’s throw away from the Towers.

I showed an armed National Guardsman my ID and walked to where the Towers once stood.  On the way, I stopped to take a look at my former residence.  There was a National Guardsman standing close by the entrance, armed and ready.

Across the street was a firehouse.  The firefighters there were the first to be called to the scene after the first plane hit the first building.  They were lucky.  They didn’t lose a single man or woman.

Further down the street, by Ground Zero, women were having their photos taken, hugging firemen, the nation’s new heroes.

The next day, I seriously thought about going to see an eye doctor.  I could barely see.  It was due to the debris in the air.

One day, shortly after, I paused on a street corner before crossing and motioned for a cabbie, speeding to catch the light before it turned, to continue on by.  He put his foot on the brake and motioned for me to cross.  I motioned for him to drive by.  He motioned for me cross.  Etc.  He was mid-eastern.

Call me anti-American.

Such courtesy between strangers and nationalities lasted, I’d say, less than a week.

Later on, one evening, I stopped for a drink at the Russian Tea Room.  Took a seat at the bar by a couple, sitting speechless and stunned, as everyone in town was.  The two paid their tab and left.  The bartender said, “That was Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft.”  Elbow to elbow and I hadn’t even noticed.

Now paying some attention, I glanced around to see two older ladies at the end of the bar, enjoying themselves, laughing, drinking champagne.  They looked rather bedraggled.  But lots of folks did that first week or so.  That, and you never know who’s got money and who doesn’t in New York.  They could very well have been ga-zillionaires.

They weren’t.

They didn’t have a dime on ’em.  When they began to depart, without paying, a cocktail waitress blocked their path.  The bartender called the cops.  Two were there just like that!  There was a battle of wills.  Both women started kicking and scratching.  One of the cops had to physically throw one to the floor, cuffing her hands behind her.  He came over to me and asked if he could have my drink.  Sure!  He poured the contents on the scratches on his arm.

Call me anti-American.

March or April, 2010.  In Houston at an ATM drive-thru.  My dearest friend and I.  Waiting behind a souped-up pick-up with dark tinted windows.  On the back bumper, a sticker that read:  f-Obama.

I told my friend, Quick, get a pic of it, along with the license plate, on her cell camera, so we could call some city or county or state or federal agency.  But the vehicle zoomed off.  Scary stuff.  I fear for Obama’s life.

Call me anti-American.

Call me a little twerp, too.  Childish, self-hating, revolting, juvenile, and beyond shame.

I’ve been called worse.  When my son was four or so, he called me a bastard.  Out of the blue.  He’d heard it from his mother’s mum.  A truer statement has probably never been said about me.  I’ve done some terrible things in my life, looking back.  One or two beyond shame.  A good many of us, by the time we reach our 60s, have.

My dearest friend’s step-dad once called me “the stupidest person” he had “ever known” in his “entire life”, glaring at me with pure hatred from across a table at an International Pancake House one morning near NASA.  He was so mad I could see he wanted to take me by the neck and strangle me to death right then and there.  If Bin Laden had been eating pancakes in the booth next to us, her step-dead would have killed me first.  We were talking politics.  He’s a Republican.

But enough already.

Hattip, I wish you well.

Call me anti-American.

[Editor’s note:  View Hattip’s comment here.]

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