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Daniel Webster gets seat on Science, Space Committee

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U.S. Rep. Daniel Webster of Clermont has been appointed to a seat on the U.S. House Science, Space and Technology Committee, essentially replacing former U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson as Central Florida’s second member of that committee. Webster, whose Florida’s 11th Congressional District includes parts of Lake County plus most of west-central Florida, joins fellow Republican U.S. Rep. Bill Posey of Brevard County on the committee that reviews the NASA budget and initiatives, including programs at Kennedy Space Center. Grayson, a…

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Expert to Rio athletes: ‘Don’t put your head under water’

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Just days ahead of the Olympic Games the waterways of Rio de Janeiro are as filthy as ever, contaminated with raw human sewage teeming with dangerous viruses and bacteria, according to a 16-month-long study commissioned by The Associated Press. Not only are some 1,400 athletes at risk of getting violently ill in water competitions, but the AP’s tests indicate that tourists also face potentially serious health risks on the golden beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana. The AP’s survey of the…

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Florida project breeds ‘Finding Dory’ fish in captivity

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Researchers at the University of Florida say fish like the animated character Dory may become easier to find for home aquariums. In a statement Tuesday, researchers at the University of Florida Tropical Aquaculture Laboratory said they had successfully bred Pacific blue tangs in captivity for the first time. The blue species is the model for the forgetful fish featured in the films “Finding Nemo” and “Finding Dory.” Researchers say the breakthrough means that one day, home aquariums or marine life…

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Diane Roberts: Bad science is not good for state’s waterways

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You’d think that a state where they launch rockets into space, a state which houses the world’s most powerful superconducting magnets, a state with several perfectly good universities, would embrace science. Or at least not be so thoroughly hostile to it. But this is Rick Scott’s Florida, where there’s still legislative resistance to teaching evolution (“just a theory!”), the Agency for Healthcare Administration doesn’t understand how doctors determine pregnancy, and climate change is the impending disaster that Dares Not Speak…

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Today on Context Florida: Florida House rankings, hostile to science, Big Education, Tax Credit Scholarships and all things crafty

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Today on Context Florida: Steve Schale offers his state House rankings for May. As you will see, of the 10 races he profiles, there is only one in the Democratic column. One other caveat, however. These rankings are how Schale sees these races today, and much can (and will) change. He is pretty sure if we checked with a group of Republican and Democratic strategists, you’d find consensus that the map will be fought on the Republican Party side this year.…

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Clearwater Marine Aquarium “hauls in” big AT&T check for afterschool STEM programs

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The Clearwater Marine Aquarium “hauled in” a $25,000 contribution this week to help underserviced local students. The donation from telecommunications giant AT&T will go toward afterschool programs that give 11- to 14-year-old students hands-on experience in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). A presentation ceremony Friday included a boat ride in Clearwater Bay pulling a net containing a oversized AT&T check. Leading the event were David Yates, CEO of Clearwater Marine Aquarium, and state Rep. Ed Narain, who also serves as an…

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Study: Conservatives say they’re happy, but liberals show it

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Conservatives say they are happier, but liberals show more cheer in smiles, word choice and even emoticon use, claims a new scientific study. Other researchers found fault with the study, which looked at how Democrats and Republicans differ in positive language in speeches entered into the Congressional Record, photos in the congressional directory, tweets by followers of the two different political parties, LinkedIn photos associated with advocacy groups, and answers to psychological satisfaction-with-life surveys. The scientists found Democrats in Congress…

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