Tuesday, 19 June 2012

The Round-up w/e 17/06/2012

Welcome to the Round-up.

Without pausing for breath, let’s dispense with the preamble and dive straight into this week’s steaming pile of links.

Behavioural tracking and the erosion of personal privacy has increased to a point that worries many people. If you want to see a clear extirpation of the problem, then take a look at this TED talk by Gary Kovacs called Tracking the Trackers." Give it a try yourself. Here’s the link to the Firefox extension Collusion mentioned in the video.

The penguins are revolting: Accounts of unusual sexual activities among penguins, observed a century ago by a member of Captain Scott's polar team, are finally being made public. If the freaky, racy, and sometimes explosive sexual behaviour of species is your bag, then may I recommend a consultation with Dr.Tatiana for the definitive guide to the evolutionary biology of sex.

Come join the slowest-growing religion in the world – Dudeism. The Church of the Latter-Day Dude is a religion inspired by The Big Lebowski, Taoism and more. Free ordination as a minister!  If only I could get my ass off this sofa maaan…

Snakes on a transcendental plane: For Chinese Buddhists, releasing evil animals (hedgehogs!) is supposed to pay karmic dividends. How the resultant plague, death and chaos are deducted from their divi top-up isn’t clear and just where is the magic bronze serpent on a pole kept when you really need it?

In this entertaining and enthusiastic TED video Hans Rosling had a question: Do some religions have a higher birth rate than others -- and how does this affect global population growth? Make sure you stick around for the answer.

Speakers Corner:-

Hmmm…Has it really been nearly two years now since my first Brum Sitp with the fabulous Chris French? More from Chris here where he asks how true to life are the psychics and psychologists in the new movie Red Lights?

Some links now to The British Heart Foundation site where they’ve been talking to BHF council member, and our Alice Roberts, on the importance of science, Darwin and organ donation.

Deborah Hyde (aka Jourdemayne) came to visit us in March with a fascinating talk on The Folklore of Fear. Let’s catch up with the latest accounts of belief in the undead with this new article High Stakes. The content is fairly close to Deborah’s Sitp talk if you missed it.

On the subject of Ridley Scott’s latest cinematic offering, here’s a collection of concerned criticisms regarding the accuracy of the science behind the movie; Ridley Scott’s Prometheus and anti-sciencePrometheus: an archaeological perspective (sort of) and Why ‘Prometheus’ gets it all wrong, and why it matters.

Italy, Greece and Egypt may well disagree with these recent findings: Scientists find new evidence supporting John the Baptist bones theory "The result from the metacarpal hand bone is clearly consistent with someone who lived in the early first century AD.” Well that narrows it down then.

Fossil dating row: Interpreting, dating and naming fossils can be a difficult task even for scientists. Caution – unnecessarily dramatic headline follows.

An article on the convergence of science communication and music is something I’ve been meaning to put together for a while now. Fortunately, some of this has recently been covered  by the helpful and strangely familiar Scicommbobulate blogspot
. Mind if I add a few artists with an atheist twist to that roster Tulpesh? How about Greydon Square and K.I.N.E.T.I.K plus an interesting song from Anthony David? Pick them up at Bandcamp for not many pennies here and here. Stop the vinyl press – this just came in.

Reminiscent of a Viz cartoon strip - Mormons and their sacred underpants: What happens when they whip them off? It’s worth clicking through to the original article for a serious story about a loss of faith.

Described as a provocative blending of the sacred and the comic book profane; Saintly statues get super heroic makeovers, followed by this question: What super hero powers would you ask Jesus to give you?

Posted in the Guardian this week; Edzard Ernst reports on the reluctance of chiropractors to change, in the face of a lost court case, and their continued treatment of children despite a lack of evidence.

Love your smartphone but miss the feel of a real keyboard? Now you can have both thanks to a new tactile touchscreen that morphs to create physical buttons. Looks like a parallel arrangement of sunburn blisters from where I’m sitting.

Fearing that the
ghosts of the departed  would come to torment them, residents of a suburb of Lagos where the Dana airliner crashed in June, have reacted negatively to proposals for the mass burial of unidentified victims in the area.

Here’s some sand back in your face beach bully: New research from scientists at McMaster University reveals exercise-related testosterone and growth hormone do not play an influential role in building muscle after weightlifting, despite conventional wisdom suggesting otherwise.

Scientists are embarking on a mission to capture a 3D image of every ant species known to science. Some additional ants in the scans can be found here – a strange mix of Micro CT with twangy C & W accompaniment.

From the Daily Galaxy - Image of the Day: Evidence of a past universe? Circular patterns in the cosmic microwave background.

As one of those tester type people by day I’m so glad experiments like this fall outside of my remit: Scientists confirm existence of old person smell.

Cataloguing the genetic identity of bacteria, viruses and other organisms that live in intimate contact with us, The Human Microbiome Project reveals largest microbial map.

It’s normally Patrick that has first dibs on the Cephalopod articles; however, I managed to sneak this one  past him. Write your own description for this, I’m not going to go there.

Here’s what we’re up to over the coming months: What's On at Brum Sitp. Come along, we’d love to see you. There is also our social on 26th June at the Old Contemptibles so pop that in your diary too.

Finally, neither science nor skepticism but may cause some neurological problems if watched more than once; here’s William Shatner’s unique version of Bohemian Rhapsody from his new album Seeking Major Tom. It comes with the skeptical health warning due to it being pure, erm, Shat…

This week’s Round-up was compiled by SitP regular Roy Beddowes.

1 comment:

notjarvis said...

William Shatner's Common people was a bit ummm special too :-)