Monday 23 July 2012

The Round-up w/e 22nd July 2012

I was going to write “Welcome to the Olympics Round-up” in celebration of the upcoming start of that great event. However as I read through the concise version of the rules regarding the use of those words I will correct that to; “Welcome to the not officially endorsed or connected to the Olympics or Paralympics events in any way Round-up”.

Well-known sports pundits Goldman Sachs have predicted that Team GB will come away with thirty gold medals. Less optimistic is alternative commentator Nostradamus who foresees a bloody massacre. You could probably get odds on that if you asked.

Yep, the sporting event that shall not be named has totally hyped up the conspiracy theorists and they see Zionist illuminati roaming the streets and eating our babies, or something along those lines. Here’s a little example of their way of thinking. Watch then go and have a lie down.

More thought provoking than mind-numbing this time as Nature considers the future of sports with the possibility of enhanced athletes.

Once you know the signs of a good conspiracy you can see them everywhere. Tragic enough is the Aurora shootings without this kind of madness being attached to them. A better stance on that unhappy event is the one over at Shiznit.

The advice  at the end of that previous article is to go and see The Dark Knight Rises and if I wasn’t stuck in here writing this then I would be doing just that. To temporarily sate my heroic needs we have some critical analysis on the efficacy of Batman’s cape. Don’t you just love science?

Well it seems as though summer has tentatively arrived and so your thoughts might be turning to holidays and travel. If you’re going to Canada, famous for grizzly bears and mosquitoes you can buy a government approved repellent that is just as effective on both of these in the case of an attack.

Perhaps that spray would have some kind of ironic effect on the irritants attacking Edzard Ernst as he once again becomes the target of some unscrupulous magical medicine mongers.

A popular pastime for travelling atheists is to play “Hide the Gideon’s Bible” or to sign the front page “With lots of love…  God”.  These wholesome activities could come under threat if other hotel proprietors were to follow the lead of this one in Cumbria.

If one of the places you’ve always wanted to visit is the Pyramids of Egypt, it might be worth booking your holiday soon!

An update from Bruce Hood here on the continuing case of ATSC, the company that brought you dowsing for bombs.

Proof next that the universe is in total harmony and our yins are nicely counterbalanced by our yangs. Kylie Sturgess brings us The Pocket Guide to Critical Thinking –Suitable for Secondary Teaching Whilst the Republican,s aka God’s Own Party, in Texas are trying to outlaw higher order thinking skills in the schools.

Intersting questions posed by Simon Singh about science engagement and education here. Skeptics in the Pub feature in the discussion and in the subsequent update which I can't get a direct link to at the moment but you'll find right after the one that is linked to.

What did you have for dinner on Sunday, was it pie?

I love it when scientists are baffled, it often means there’s something new or interesting to learn as with this ancient spiral galaxy that defies predictions. If you enjoy looking at galaxies don’t forget you can put that to good use over at Galaxy Zoo.

Still in space but much closer to home scientists are trying to hit Mars with a rover but there’s already some technical worries. Let’s hope it doesn’t go the way of Beagle 2.

What constitutes morality and why we act in such a way is a question that theologians and philosophers have debated for years. Perhaps Paul Zak has something to contribute on a molecular level. Hug anyone?

Worried about wifi signals penetrating your very being? Or maybe you don’t want other people leaching your signal? Either way a bit of home decorating could bethe solution for you.

Mike Aus  explains how religious people don’t have the monopoly on mystery and wonder.

Global warming skepticism is always a troublesome area, not least of all because I have difficulty in figuring which side are the skeptics. Dramatic glacial calving is the inspiration for this post by Phil Plait.

 Who would’ve thought that Tim Minchin might have said something offensive about religion? Just about anybody who knows his work. If you saw the Richard Herring mini-storm about his rohypnol joke on Twitter but missed his blog piece about it, that’s linked to in the piece and also here, worth a read and a think.

Shhhh! Be very very quiet and you just might hear the smallest sound ever as noise goes quantum.

It is agreed that America could be facing its worst outbreak of whooping cough in a long time. Is it because of a problem in the vaccine or due to the work of anti-vaccination propaganda?

Did the universe come in with a bang and will it go out with a rip?

What can a Twitter feed say about you? Maybe a bit more than you think as psychologiststurn their analytical eyes in that direction.

A common theme in these pages is on the abuse and misuse of statistics. Those figures that could be so useful are often set in ways that lead mislead or misdirect. Could that too be the case for cycle casualties?

Thank you to all that came to the quiz and had a good time despite some overly complicated rounds and my random final score generation. It was our first attempt and there were a lot of positives to take away and the next one will be even better with the things that we’ve learned.

October 8th sees us hosting the excellent Rebecca Stott author of Darwin’s Ghosts and other books. This is a Skeptics in the Pub premiere and it would be great to see you there.  Please sign up on the Facebook page if you’re on that particular social media and promote it around your friends. If you’re not on Facebook no worries, just turn up on the night and chuck a couple of quid in the collection jar. I guarantee you’ll be hard pressed to get this level of entertainment for less than a pint of beer anywhere else.

This round-up was compiled by Patrick Redmond (@paddyrex) with contributions from others.

No comments: