Friday 15 July 2011

The Weekly Round-up w/e 17th July 2011

A very warm welcome to the second weekly round-up that has appeared in a row, a trend we hope to be continuing. Included is a load of stuff that we've unearthed from the web this week for your perusal and delectation. Some of it's fun, some of it's funny, some will make you cheer. Oh, by the way, some may make you a little bit stabby (sorry about that).

First up we have a survey or two, almost identical, but with startlingly different expected results:-

The first, posted by persons unknown poses a series of leading questions about the
efficacy of homeopathy and the perceived unfairness of homeopaths having to abide by the advertising laws that the rest of the country has to abide by. The second, differs in one vital respect. It is being overseen by Doctor Tom Williamson, the Skeptic Canary, who is a biologist and long-standing skeptic who will - and don't faint at this – actually publish his results irrespective of their content! Fill them both in at the same time and let's see what comes out at the other end. (By the way, you can only do each once – after that the surveys will not be viewable)

There seems to be another section of society who don't think the rule of law applies to them. Along with the seemingly never-ending and depressing convictions of priests around the world for offences against children the Catholic Church has been pilloried this week by the Irish Government for unwillingness to report abuse, lying about whether they are reporting all abusers and refusing to follow even the Church's own guidelines. Only one of eighteen priests identified by the Coyne Report were prosecuted and the Irish Government is being forced to bring forward new legislation specifically for the purpose.

To cheer you up here's a quick reminder from Tim Minchin of the wonderful messages that can be found in the holy books on which religions base their teachings along with a new interview with the man himself on his own skeptical views. While listening you can peruse this vital use of Austria's freedom of religion laws enabling a devout Pastafarian (and atheist) to wear a spaghetti strainer on his head in a driving licence photo.

Some good news released this week was the announcement of the second QED, a grass-roots skeptical convention organised jointly by the Greater Manchester and Merseyside Skeptics Societies which will be held on 10th-11th March 2012 in Manchester. If this year's combination of top notch speakers, workshops and accumulated skeptics was anything to go by it will be an occasion not to be missed.

Two pleasing but peculiar science innovations have been announced this week. A team at MIT have created a method of printing solar cells on paper and plastic which may make your future power needs extremely lightweight and even foldable. Also, two scientists at Cornell University have unveiled (pun intended) their latest invisibility cloak which creates a “blind-spot in time”. It also allows writers to mention Harry Potter and get more hits (who are we to argue with logic like that?) The second and third comments are also worth a look.

Finally, following the fantastic night we had on Wednesday with Jon Ronson at the Victoria, we have the original article that Jon read from at the start of the second half. It's a heart-warming story of the relationship between a father, a son and the worst swearwords in the English Language. Unsurprisingly it's both hilarious and NSFW.

See you next week!

This week's round-up was put together by Chris Richardson (@christheneck).


Mark said...

Nice job Chris.

RobN said...

Good roundup!

Andy said...

Great work, folks!