Suit seeks to halt class

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGift Box shows no rust in San Antonio Stakes win at Santa Anita Similar battles are being fought in Georgia and Kansas over the controversial subject. Officials of El Tejon Unified School District, which is a defendant in the suit, could not immediately be reached for comment. Superintendent John Wight said last week that the class, “Philosophy of Design,” was not being taught as science and was an opportunity for students to debate the controversial issue. Fifteen students were enrolled in the class in Lebec, a town of 1,285 in the Tehachapi Mountains between the agricultural Central Valley and Los Angeles, about 75 miles south. The five-member school board was divided when it learned about the class last month and discovered that three guest lecturers were scheduled to speak in support of intelligent design, but none in favor of evolution. One pro-evolution speaker listed on the syllabus declined to participate because he disagreed with the class topic, and another – Nobel laureate Francis Crick, who co-discovered the structure of DNA – had died more than a year earlier. The class is taught by social studies teacher Sharon Lemburg, who is married to an Assembly of God pastor. FRESNO – A rural high school teaching a religion-based alternative to evolution was sued Tuesday by a group of parents who said the class should be stopped because it violates the U.S. Constitution. Frazier Mountain High School in Lebec violated the separation of church and state while attempting to legitimize the theory of “intelligent design” by introducing it as philosophy taught by a minister’s wife, according to the U.S. District Court suit filed by the parents of 13 students. “The course was designed to advance religious theories on the origins of life, including creationism and its offshoot, ‘intelligent design,”‘ the suit said. “Because the teacher has no scientific training, students are not provided with any critical analysis of this presentation.” The suit was filed by Americans United for Separation of Church and State, which successfully blocked Dover, Pa., schools last month from using science courses to advance the theory that living things are so complex they must have been designed by a higher being. An initial course description sent to parents in December said it would examine “evolution as a theory and will discuss the scientific, biological, and Biblical aspects that suggest why Darwin’s philosophy is not rock solid.” The El Tejon district’s Board of Trustees approved the course 3-2 with a revised syllabus in a Jan. 1 special session, during which board members had to vote up or down on the entire winter session curriculum. Classes started two days later, with a less scientific and more philosophical class plan that relied solely on videos, not guest speakers. Still, the Washington, D.C.-based group said that with only one exception, the course “relies exclusively on videos that advocate religious perspectives and present religious theories as scientific ones.” “This is clearly intended to introduce religion into a public school,” said Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. The lawsuit against the district and its trustees on behalf of 11 parents seeks a temporary restraining order to halt the four-week class in its second week. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Reagan Library’s efficient energy system cashes in

first_imgSIMI VALLEY – The Southern California Gas Co. will present an incentive check for more than $800,000 to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum today for using a $3.5 million high-efficiency energy system, which uses gas to produce electricity and usable heat. The new energy system was completed along with the new Air Force One Pavilion that opened last fall and now provides power to most of the library and museum complex. “We’re very excited because we feel it’s great not only for the library, the pavilion and the museum, but also for the community,” said R. Duke Blackwood, the library’s executive director. “It’s more efficient, less expensive and better for the environment.” It was initially hoped the energy savings from the generating system would pay off the costs in about five years, but exactly when now depends on the changing costs of natural gas, officials said. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECasino Insider: Here’s a look at San Manuel’s new high limit rooms, Asian restaurant The library qualified for the cash award through the Self Generation Incentive Program, a state-sponsored energy-efficiency program that provides financial incentives to businesses for generating their own electricity on-site. The California Public Utilities Commission launched the program in 2001 in response to California’s electricity crisis. It provides qualifying businesses with incentives of up to 50 percent of the costs of buying and installing electric generation systems. The library project provides approximately 95 percent of the electricity consumed there. The electricity generated is enough to power 400 homes. The system also captures waste heat for hot and cold water, which is used for an air-conditioning system. For more information on the Self Generation Incentive Program, visit The Gas Co.’s Web site at last_img read more

Seen This? The Great Gatsby Special Effects Breakdown

first_imgGo behind the scenes of Baz Luhrmann’s “The Great Gatsby” and see how the special effects were shot on set and created in post.Director Baz Luhrmann is known for his over the top cinematic style, with lavish sets, costumes and effects (see: Romeo & Juliet, Australia and Moulin Rouge). It’s no surprise then when he took on the F. Scott Fitzgerald classic “The Great Gatsby” for his latest film, that the visual effects were done on an equally impressive scale. Despite the film garnering ho-hum reviews by many critics, one thing most can agree on is that the film’s visual effects are world class.In the following video Chris Godfrey, the visual effects supervisor on the film, pulls back the curtain on the film’s special effects.  The film was shot in 3D on RED camera rigs with extensive chroma key and matte painting work done in post (using Nuke for VFX and 3D work using Maya). In total over 1500 special effects shots were created for the film.This Great Gatsby VFX breakdown is creative inspiration for anyone interested in the detailed and painstaking work that goes into creating realistic special effects!  Thanks for sharing, Chris!last_img read more

Hacking scandal: Intruder tries to attack Murdoch during hearing

first_imgThere was high drama inside British parliament as Rupert Murdoch and his son James were being questioned on the hacking scandal. An intruder tried to attack the Murdochs inside the committee room while the hearing was on.The intruder in a check shirt lunged towards the 80-year-old Murdoch from behind and hit him on his shoulder with the plate with shaving foam.He was fought off by a group of people including Rupert Murdoch’s Chinese origin wife Wendi Deng, who appeared to be slapping him. He was caught by a couple of policemen and bundled out.While senior Murdoch remained calm, his son James appeared rattled as he got off to protect his father during the commotion.When the proceedings resumed, Murdoch had removed his jacket and continued his deposition. The committee even apologised to the Murdochs for the incident.Murdoch, his son James, who is the chairman of News Corp’s British arm News International, and former News International CEO Rebekah Brooks were being questioned by the British parliamentary committee.”We are sorry,” James told the panel earlier, adding, “We will make sure our actions are not repeated.” He also said the company has apologized and has accepted its liability.Eighty-year-old Murdoch said, “This is the most humble day of my life.” They faced tough questions from politicians about suspicions that Britain’s parliament was misled over allegations of phone hacking by one of Murdoch’s newspapers.The 10-member panel of politicians on the Culture, Media and Sport committee was to focus on James Murdoch’s admission that parliament was misled over the hacking allegations.advertisementThe Murdochs had initially declined to appear at the British parliamentary hearing, but later changed their minds amid escalating political and public condemnation of suspected media abuses at the News of the World tabloid.News International had previously pinned the blame for phone-hacking crimes on a single rogue reporter, who was convicted in 2007.last_img read more