Tuesday, 10 July 2012

The Round-up w/e 8/07/2012

Photo Credit: NASA
There's only be one place that a round-up of science and skeptical stories can begin with this week, yes Andy Murray lost Wimbledon for the Scottish again. In other news those clever particle smashers over at Cern have only gone and found the Higgs boson (to a very high degree of certainty). Here’s how the day unfolded from the Guardian’s perspective when it was announced.

Armed with my O level physics qualification I am of course perfectly placed to understand only a small part of the intricacies of this achievement so I can sympathise with the difficulties that many such as Robert Wright have in grasping it all and commend his honesty. One of the best explanations for people like me that I came across was this one.

And finally on this magnificent subject here’s a wonderful article from Creation Ministeries that shows how the Higgs boson fits into the creationist view of the universe. (I got distracted when they started talking about Lego, I like Lego.)

Whilst it’s great to have some expectations fulfilled it’s wonderful  when scientists discover things that they didn’t expect. There’s some interesting  findings from this ‘MRI’ of the sun.

Perhaps the Daily Mail is looking to extend it's readership with this foray into the extraterrestrial.

Creationism should belong in a museum along with all the other outdated things that have been superseded. Instead it’s got its own museum. But that’s been having a few problems as the ark extension hasn’t had a flood of money. Lest you think that creationist mumbo jumbo is confined to our friends in the States here’s a reminder that it can crop up close to home some time, so beware.

Meanwhile the boffins over at NewsBiscuit have caught sight of an even more elusive article, banker’s morals.

Atheism and skepticism can be an interesting and passionate diversion for many of us, for others it’s much more and has deep repercussions.  Take Sanal Edmaruku for example who is facing imprisonment for trying to stop people drinking holy drainage water.

Picking speakers for Skeptics in the Pub is always a fun game and a conversation that comes up often is whether we should have non-skeptic speakers and if so on what terms. It’s not always cut and dry and there are a lot of different factors but Leeds’ recent plan to have Steve Moxon raised some interesting points.

Sticking  with internal skeptical debates here’s a good take on the recent wranglings amongst sections of skeptics.

A couple of posts about the brain next. Firstly we have Steve Novella of SGU fame on how the brain, as good as it is at its job, can still fool you. And then we have Richard Wiseman who in his new book, Rip it Up, shows the link between behaviour and mind control.

Not only is the science behind supplements somewhat dubious, so are the production methods of many of them. This problem isn’t limited to good old westernised outlets either, as traditional Chinese medicine may also contain a few surprises not listed on the label.

Time for a bit of light relief as the Wisdom of Deepak Chopra is only a click away.

Carl Sagan’s Demon Haunted World is probably the best known skeptical text out there. It’s not exactly new but it is a classic and I’m including this review of it by Tulpesh for a couple of other reasons. One is that he won the book in a charity auction at a Birmingham Skeptics in the Pub event just before going to Norway. Secondly, we just love Tulpesh and he’s great.

A fascinating article by the ever thorough Andy Lewis on the Cult of Rudolf Steiner, worth reading, especially  if you’re a parent looking around at schools for your children.

An interesting study here on the positive social effects of playing computer games. It’s obviously not that simple, things never are, but this has an interesting evolutionary slant on the topic. Sticking with computer games, but crossing into the religious sphere a discussion about the rights and wrongs of using religious imagery in that genre.

Like many other people I signed up for a certain voucher scheme that emails me a bizarre variety of offers every day. A regular one that pops up is the opportunity to have a hose stuck up my backside. I can’t ever say I’ve been curious enough to take the offer up and now there’s no need to as Ross Blocher takes one for the team.

The discovery of a stunning fossil adds evidence to the feathering of the theropods.

One of the stated aims of Skeptics in the Pub is to promote  interest in and knowledge of science, scientific literacy for short. But what  do we really mean by this? A thoughtful post on just that by Alice Bell here.

Homeopathy may not be scientific but perhaps it is religious.

Not actually an article this but I found it interesting. It's a review site  for people that visited shows and  it lists people's opinions of the Sally Morgan shows from her  tour. It's nothing conclusive or  ground breaking but thought provoking nonetheless.

Before I post up our next events you might like to put this one in your calendar, either to take part or to stay off the streets on 31st March 2013 as Jesus takes the Wheel.

There is still time to  join us for  Danny Strickland who will be asking and hopefully answering "What are the 12 Steps". You are also more than welcome to come along to our first Skeptics in the Pub quiz. It'll be fun and there will  be  prizes along with the bragging rights to being the Ultimate Geek. Don't worry if you're not in a team we'll sort  that on the night.

I'll leave you with this short but stunning film of views of the Earth from the International Space Station.

This round-up was compiled by Patrick Redmond (@paddyrex) with help from Roy Beddowes.

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