Saturday 13 August 2011

The Weekly Round-Up (w/e 14th August 2011)

Welcome to the increasingly accurately named weekly round-up.

It's been a strange week as we had to cancel our regular meeting, which this month was to feature Mark Stevenson (@OptimistOnTour). We are hoping to reschedule this talk in the near future, replacing one of our socials. There will be 2 SitPs in that month and hopefully as few people as possible will miss out.

We would like to thank you all for your support in this decision which was made predominantly on the basis of safety and for a variety of reasons. On previous nights there had been serious problems at the Mailbox - a mere spit away from the Victoria and public transport in the City Centre had been non-existant, so we thought it inappropriate to entice people into what could potentially be a looting zone if we didn't have to. It is rather concerning to note that, as most of our information from people on the ground regarding the safety of the area was received using social media, these are the channels of communication which the Prime Minister is investigating to close during times of trouble. Hmmm. (Petition here, should you feel the need)

The looting has had an effect elsewhere, with the Birmingham branch of the Church of Scientology allegedly calling for action as they “are the ONLY people who have the actual technology to handle the source of (the looting)”. So that's alright then.

Also on the subject of the antisocial, here's a piece by Ed Yong relating to Broken Window Theory which suggests that one type of disorder breeds another. There has been little hard evidence so far until this series of inventive experiments from the University of Groningen.

In other news, a paper by Von Schuckmann and Le Traon (2011) has severely dented the claims of the proponents of Ocean Cooling (at least until next time). The trend of ocean temperatures is unfortunately still upward.

The world of Astronomy has uncovered an interesting quandary this week with an exoplanet being found which reflects next to no light at all. It's nice to see that even Dr David Kipping pronounce that “It's weird”. Answers on a postcard to his Astrophysics department at Harvard University.

Dr Tom Williamson (@SkepticCanary) has released a preview of results of his homeopathic survey which we covered several weeks ago. We'll be sure to let you know when the full results are published.

This week we published a guest blog from Ronald Green on the meaning and importance of “nothing”. It's an interesting piece. Let us know what you think.

Finally, we've come across an interesting and accessible video on the problems associated with our current libel laws and libel tourism recorded when Ian Hislop (Editor of Private Eye & “him off of the telly”) gave evidence to the Joint Committee on the Draft Defamation Bill covering aspects across the board ranging from Trafigura to Simon Singh's case with the British Chiropractic Association. It certainly makes interesting viewing both for those well versed in the problems in the current libel system and laymen alike.

This week's round-up was compiled by @christheneck.

No comments: