1. Russian space agency to the rescue – The Russian space agency may be sending out a spacecraft to intercept an asteroid and knock it off course to reduce its likelihood of impacting Earth. Though it’s unlikely to hit Earth anyway, there’s little risk in this precautionary measure (unless they accidentally set it on course for Earth) and it may make a good test to see how much we can alter an asteroid’s course so we can better prepare for future space debris heading towards us.
2. California Science Center being sued for backing out on screening of creationist propaganda film – They never should have agreed to show the film in the first place but after they did, they received a lot of criticism that led to them ultimately violating their agreement to show it. I’d argue that because the film is about promoting a manufactured controversy and not a real one, that the California Science Center okayed it under false pretenses. Also, the filmmakers seem to be deliberately choosing locations to create the illusion that these films are endorsed by legitimate scientific institutions when really they’re just agreeing to provide space for an event. But the center had a clause in their agreement requiring promotional materials to be screened before release to to prevent these kinds of deceptions.
3. Eighth grade science teacher fired for promoting Christianity – John Freshwater, an eighth grade science teacher from Mount Vernon, Ohio reportedly committed numerous abuses by promoting his faith including preaching Christianity in class, denouncing evolution, not teaching the proper scientific curriculum, burning crosses onto the arms of some students, “causing swelling and blistering”, calling gays sinners, keeping the Bible and Ten Commandments on display in class, and encouraged students to see “Expelled” for extra credit. Fortunately, this guy has been officially canned.
4. This decade in Skepticism – And finally as the Naughties come to a close, Steven Novella takes a look at how well skeptics have done in bringing down woo this decade. There were some things I feel he left out though.
Another win you can add to the list is Scientology, which has suffered so much damage in the last few years that it may be on the verge of collapsing completely in the next few years.
Also, atheist/agnosticism/whatever you want to call it has reached America’s living rooms and has perhaps never been this popular. Numerous so-called “New Atheist” have been major bestsellers and like-minded individuals have used the internet to come together like never before.
And similarly, the skeptical movement has grown and become more organized like never before. There was no TAM, no NECSS, no skeptical DragonCon track, no SkeptiCamp, no skeptical podcasts, or even really skeptical blogs until the Naughties. And now younger people are getting involved like never before. That in itself is a major win for us.