Sunday 26 February 2012

Weekly Roundup w/e 27/02/2012

It’s time for the weekly scientific and sceptical smorgasbord we like to call the roundup. So let’s grab a plate and elbow our way in before all that’s left is the pickled cucumber. I love it when predictions come true, not the Psychic Sally type (as you read this I’m getting an image of somebody called Mary… Marvin… Gavin… Kevin… John, that’s it John!) but the proper scientific type. All round genius and hero Alan Turing posited a theory over fifty years ago as to the mystery of how patterning occurred on animals. New research takes a step towards providing evidence for his idea.

We all know the mantra, if it doesn’t work properly check the cables, switch it off then switch it back on. The New Scientist brings us the latest on those faster than light neutrinos that had us so perplexed a while back. And from the same publication an exploding star casts its light over the story too. If you’ve got time pop along to the NewsBiscuit who put their own comic slant to the subject .

Creationism continues to try and work its way into the classrooms and from there the minds of the children of America. Fortunately there are still a number of people standing against superstition and irrationality. I wonder if one of those is Republican candidate Rick Santorum, he’s always had a keen eye for the real problems that stalk America?

And lest we get too smug with our skeptical selves Daniel Loxton takes a step back to look at what it means to even call yourself a skeptic in Tribal Skepticsm. Does he have a point?

Why don’t we do chiropractic next? Actually there are lots of good reasons not to do chiropractic and they’ve been in the news again.  Edzard Ernst reports as the President of the British Chiropractic Council writes about their decision to sue Simon Singh for Libel.

One from our conspiracy loving friends over at the True Activist about how Big Pharma are keeping secrets from you? When you’ve read that look around the site and you’ll find that there are all kinds of stuff that lots of people know that ironically is being kept a secret at the same time, such as the suppression of scientific advance. I think my IQ just dropped a couple of notches.

Little things please little minds they say. Before I descend into all too predictable innuendo lets divert into the world of nanotech and the promises therein.

Some say that atheists pick soft targets when they argue against religion. Soft targets or not sometimes the truth of what is done in the name of religion is despicable.

For somebody as busy as me (subtext – disorganised) sleep is something that I am often short of. I therefore found this article on the BBC website comforting as they challenge the myth of the 8 hours a night regime.

Let’s face it, Google are everywhere. They’ve probably been down your street, photographed your house, mapped out your garden and know what your favourite brand of cereal is. Love them or loathe them I spend acres of time on their sites and this is only going to increase with the announcement that the Great Barrier Reef is going to get the Streetview treatment on Google Maps. Make sure you have a look at the demo to get a flavour of the joys ahead.

So many people want to move away from that old fashioned stereotype of scientists as wild haired bespectacled professors. But sometimes you just have to embrace the fact that not all science communicators can be mop haired, smiley Mancunians and so let’s hear it for the wonderful Prof Martyn Poliakoff.

There’s a video at the end placed subtly to keep your interest in this bit where I plug things, so don’t stop reading. First off congratulations to our friends at UB:ASH who just held their fantastic Reason Week of events, a major achievement. Don’t forget that there is still just time to sign up for the wonderful QED Conference in Manchester, I was there last year and it was brilliant. We have a tab up above for the DVDs that we have begun to produce, so please click and have a look, more will be added as we do them. And don’t forget our next great event with the wonderful Deborah Hyde, Unnatural Predators: The Folklore of Fear.

We’ll end with Carry Poppy’s experiences of curing her cold with homeopathy. See you all next week.

This week's roundup was compiled by SitP co organiser Patrick Redmond (@paddyrex) aided as ever by the suggestions of the wonderful Roy Beddowes.


notjarvis said...

On the Santorum thing - did you see this mornings column in the old Telegraph where Santorum openly declares Secularism makes him want to throw up?

He's dangerous.

notjarvis said...

bleaurgh link fail

Is this the link you are looking for?