Sunday 2 October 2011

Weekly Round-up w/e 2nd October 2011

It’s that time of the week once more and we’ve had our resident link elf scour the magical land of interwebs again so you don’t have to. Here’s what he’s gathered together plus some additional interesting articles from the archives you may have missed. So sit back, tune in; insert into your ear your Psychic Sally Earpiece of Denial, close that window, and make contact with the Birmingham Skeptics Weekly Round-up.

To successfully complete this week’s round up you will need a printer, a pair of scissors, some Pritt-Stick and a full set of fingers. Oh, and also a passport type photograph of yourself as we’re going to regress your physiognomy by 3.7million years.

With the academic year in full flow, what better way to start things off than with a few light revision aids:

In Psychology: Brainstem.

In Evolutionary Biology: Lisa Simpson - Skeptic.

In Art/Neuroscience: erm, Neuroscience as art..

In a convergence of Photography, Astronomy and Stir-fry: Christopher Jonassen: an investigation of worn out frying pans.

Did your Mom ever tell you not to scratch it or you’ll make it bleed? Here’s a fascinating and disturbing article From The New Yorker/ Annals of Medicine 2008: - The Power of The Itch. Resist if you can.

A new study by researchers at the University of Oslo investigates whether there is a connection between changing our minds and feelings of regret. 

In Chemical Engineering: Of all the lab equipment available, the baldy man, is, by far, one of the finest accessories; comes in a range of handy sizes too for easy storage; the Van de Graaff generator is also pretty cool.

Yellow sea sponge maligned - maybe: SpongeBob (is ready) to, temporarily, consume your children's cognitive resources.

From the excellent TED conference series and also mentioned in Mark Stevenson’s recent Sitp talk: Richard Resnick shows how cheap and fast genome sequencing is about to turn health care (and insurance, and politics) upside down.

I’ll admit to a nostalgic fondness for the original series of Scooby Doo from way back in the 1970’s where all the mysteries had natural explanations and it was either the janitor or that creepy Old Man Cargill; however, I don’t recall this ever being an episode – The Case of the Haunted Scrotum. Here's the PubMed paper. Zoinks!

It's a cryo shame. Ginger swimmers shunned.

The Wizard of Oz is wicked: explained in the only way he knows how by Pastor David Grice.

Over at AOL Healthy Living: Individuals who overeat, over-consume and hoard may be poorly balanced spiritually. Get your Chakra’s Balanced at Bannantyne's for £46. Let me tell you where I am - I won’t be investing my grandchildren’s inheritance on some goofy spa treatment quackery – I’m out!

Detox: flushing out poison or absorbing dangerous claptrap? Edzard Ernst weighs in and asks, if this is something we can measure, where are the measurements?

A new book about evolution that couldn't get published in the United States has won a Canadian book award. Creationists demand to know why Daniel_Loxton's book doesn't give "equal time" to their point of view.

European Philosophers recreated as magical anime girls. Blimey, you can see Spinoza's pants!

Carl Sagan - Look at that dot...

This week we have a ‘Things to make and do’ section: Grab your tools and follow the link to weepaperpeople.blogspot where you can print off and assemble your very own Jon Ronson, Uncaged Monkeys and Tim Minchin from the expanding list of Skeptic types on offer. Here also are some figures for the junior skeptics in the family. Have your very own Sitp meeting, just not on the second Wednesday of the month.

In local news: Two of Birmingham's historic giants who led the 18th Century Industrial Revolution are to be featured on the new £50 note.

Facial hair is forbidden at unaccredited diploma mill - Scientology High. No bores in beards there then!

Frank Skinner - Atheists are as big a threat as climate denialists

Got a sludge dryer? – Poo flakes give you energy.

DNA is 100% foolproof and it doesn't lie. A Mother’s DNA doesn’t match her children’s even when tested in the delivery room; therefore, you are part lion, part goat, and part serpent.  

Did - weforget – to - mention - Psychic Sally  - lastweek? Go to 5:44 for the earpiece shot. (Tip o’ the hat to Jon Donnis for the video)

Rational groups are on the rise in India: Prabir Ghosh, son of late Prabhat Chandra Ghosh & late Suhasini Ghosh offers up a Randi type challenge to all supernatural and paranormal power holders.

I’m sure at some time you’ve all wondered what you would have looked like as a mouth-breathing Homo heidelbergensis. No?  Then wander over to the Open University’s Darwin pages, upload your passport type picture and click devolve to find out.

Scientists go on trial over Laquila earthquake. A lawyer for one of the scientists said it is possible his client will be convicted.

An A to Z of scare stories: The Daily Mail's list of things that give you cancer.

Finally, three film recommendations for your Skeptic movie library: The Man from Earth – a low budget sci-fi from Jerome Bixby, Agora with Rachel Weisz – revolves around the story of the philosopher  Hypatia and the Library of Alexandria, and Whatever Works  - a Woody Allen film with Larry David.

Don’t forget the next Sitp event is on October 12th with Martin Poulter: How to Create Your Own Cult the Scientology Way. Let us know if you're coming or not on Facebook.

This week's round-up was compiled by Roy Beddowes.

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