Saturday 19 May 2012

The Round-up w/e 20/05/12

It’s time for your dose of weekend wonderousness that is the Sitp Weekly Round-up. A healthy tonic of web trawling guaranteed to make you feel better all over. Come closer to the screen; let the skepti-chi-10C- ions flow through. Wasn’t it Marvin Gaye who sang “and when I get that feeling I want skeptical healing” - maybe? Here’s this week’s prescription to “ease your mind”.

Suffer from arachnophobia? Then don’t open this link. In fact, don’t go out alone either; well, not unless you’re armed with a rolled up newspaper or a big slipper, because, apparently, some spiders hunt in packs.

Atheism, according to a new study, is very much alive and well in the eastern part of Germany.

With Colin Wright coming to visit us next month, I thought I’d whet your appetite with a spot of joggling (juggling whilst jogging). However, that activity pales slightly when compared to this story, where Joe Salter takes his ball tossing obsession beyond the running track.

I don’t know, last week we paid a visit to the land of Jurassic parps with dinosaur gas, this week it’s human caused lunarmethane and a sweary John Young aboard Apollo 16. Well, at least I’ve expanded my vocabulary along the way. Odiferous and dutch-ovening  - brilliant!

Our October speaker, Alice Roberts, has been to Buck House to look at the notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci and finds plenty to be impressed with. Alice is the new Professor of Public Engagement in Science  at Birmingham University, which is just a stone’s throw from our Victoria venue; so, whilst not strictly living next door to, we’re within a reasonable walking distance – to Alice.

Some outstanding local news came our way this week: Scientists at Aston University have identified a new mechanism responsible for regulating the flow of water into and out of cells which will improve our understanding of how the body deals with different conditions. The research has been selected for the Faculty of 1000 Library as a ‘must read’ which recognises work considered to be in the top two per cent of published articles in biology and medicine.

Water here, water there, water ruddy everywhere lately: Dr Brian Hughes at The Science Bit examines the widespread claims that taking water into exams improves cognitive acuity , whilst over at the Science or Not Blog there’s a report onanti-vaxxer Meryl Dorey where she describes Homeopathy as ‘energy medicine’ like ‘quantum medicine, whatever that is. Check out this song dedicated to Meryl's expertise ; there’s no beginning to her talents.

Here’s a couple of awesome Space Shuttle videos to challenge your sensory receptors, one for your ears (exercise caution with that sub-woofer), and one for your eyes (click on the HD option for a thrill ride up to 3000mph, and down again).

Star Wars creature designer Terry Whitlach (Jar-Jar Binks...blergh!) wondered what superheroes would look like as dinosaurs. No. Wait. Don’t go. It’s all good.

A brief pause here for a musical interlude: Richard Feynman on bongos.

Horrible Histories, the BBC television series for children, has come up with this catchy spoof on a popular 1970’s David Bowie song  as a way of communicating Darwin’s Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection to a younger audience.

Following on from Patrick’s excellent article on autism, New Scientist reports on an automated system  based around Microsoft’s Kinect camera that keeps watch over children which could potentially spot the tell-tale signs of autism and lead to earlier diagnoses.

We’ve not had a video from the excellent Qualia Soup for a while.  Let’s rectify this terrible oversight immediately: The Burden of Proof.

The draft version of the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM 5, the psychiatric ‘bible’ that defines the revised criteria for diagnosing mental illness, has finally been published: The folks over at Mind Hacks review the changes.

These have to be my two favourite stories this week. Is there an echo in here?

·         Skechers will pay $40 million to settle FTC charges that it deceived consumers with ads for "Toning Shoes".

·         Reebok to pay $25 Million in customer refunds to settle FTC charges of deceptive advertising of EasyTone and RunTone Shoes.

Well this link is cool for a couple of reasons. The first is that it’s a throw with a moon-surface print, and who wouldn’t want one of those? (IWOOT) The second is that it comes via Jerry Ryan, Star Trek Voyager’s resident Borg, Seven of Nine. Nice. There’s also a big moon cushion too if you want to go for the full lunar landscape effect. Yes, okay, Phil Plait’s pretty cool too (The Bad Astronomer)   - so three reasons then!

Courtesy of Reuben Bolling at Tom the Dancing Bug web comics: Charley the Australopithecine.

Looking for an interesting read with the word skeptic in the title? Try this: Massimo Pigliucci at the Rationally Speaking Blog - In defense of criticism (and skepticism).

How do we consume our news? : Using data from URL shortener Bitly, this (interesting/depressing/disturbing) news map shows above-average clicks for each of the major UK news websites and where those clicks happened.

Highly recommended viewing and reading: Jerry Coyne has written a piece on the correlation between religiosity and well-being among US states. It’s very good, and choc full with maps and charts and things. Additionally, if you enjoy watching a good lecture, click through for Jerry’s entertaining talk “Why Evolution is True” given at Harvard Museum of Natural History.

Relive, once again, that magical moment in Jurassic Park when they first see the herding dinosaurs. I’m filling up here.

More wind I’m afraid, and, unfortunately, the final link for this week’s Round-up: Visitors to the Tadeo Cern studio were invited to participate in an unprecedented photo session where a strong current of air was blasted into their faces creating some funny facial expressions.

Let’s not forget to mention our forthcoming events, podcasts, dvds  and quiz. You can also sign up for our new newsletter. Come along, download, buy; participate.

Have a great week.

This week’s Round-up was compiled by SitP regular Roy Beddowes (pictured above).

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