Tuesday, 31 July 2012

The Round-Up w/e 29th July 2012

Ooh, look at me pretending to know things that I don’t know…more on this later. Welcome to the latest Round-up my dear Skeptics. Let’s hope there’s something in this collection of naturally selected links that takes your fancy.

First off, Rebecca Stott will be with us very soon with the story of her ten year search into the history of the idea of transmutation before Darwin. Having recently read the book this promises to be a really interesting talk; Rebecca has done a wonderful job of putting this together. Make sure you get your name down to reserve a copy on the night by sending us a tweet or e-mail us at the usual address.

As we’re in a transmutational kind of mood let’s begin with a few evolutionary themed links:

Did Darwin delay publishing his theories of evolution as usually told? The historical evidence, according to John Van Wyhe at Darwin Online, says no.

Something I know nothing about but thought appropriate for this weekend: Leaner, meaner, faster - the 60 year evolution of F1 design.

Pastor Rick Warren tweets Aurora shooting the fault of evolution then deletes it and pretends it never happened. He does that…

Want to learn more about genetics and evolution? How about a free online course as recommended by Jerry Coyne.

Completing our batch of evolutionary links, those really lovely people at the US based Howard Hughes Medical Institute are giving away free evolution DVD’s, of which I already have three. You have to ask them nicely though, in writing (e-mail). One of the DVD’s is presented by Ken Miller, the plaintiff's lead expert witness in the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District trial. Our previous speaker, Professor Steve Fuller, was a witness for the defense.

With expressions like esoteric breast massage cures cancer, chakra puncture, the ovary whisperer and many, many more, you’d think this was a link to a quackery phrase generator not an article on a spiritual healing centre funded by Medicare.

Palaeontology: Know the signs.

Oo-er Vicar. Worcester was "exceedingly gritty and salty" and Durham was "disappointingly bland", but none came close to the horror of the "foul, sickly sweet" Wakefield. Fortunately Lichfield was tasty and incredibly attractive: Licking 42 Anglican churches. Hurrah! – Slideshow.

Academics say no truth to lying eyes theory . No updates yet on the smile/thin disguise hypothesis.

There’s going to be trouble in the Common Room. Today’s topic for discussion: Philosophy grads smarter than other graduates (incl. sciences)?

Here’s a straightforward TED presentation from Joe Schwartz on chemicals and the importance of skepticism, includes some bad science from Jamie Oliver and this surprising fact: An apple a day delivers 300 compounds to your digestive system including acetone and formaldehyde. Worried? You shouldn’t be. It’s the amounts that count.

From The British Psychological Society's award-winning Research Digest blog: Does being drunk affect how we judge our own appeal?

How about a local story on Batmanism: A cowled street preacher takes the tenets of the bat to the people of the second city. Choice moment “Do not believe in Clooney for he is a false prophet”.

Following hot on the heels of the bat preacher is this study reported at Science Daily- What would Batman eat? How the use of admirable role models could help children make healthy choices.

Bringing this Bat-section to a conclusion with a question: Is Batman a Skeptic too?

More from the excellent resource Science Daily with this piece that challenges the conventional wisdom of the five second contamination rule for food that’s dropped on the floor.

Crop circles are so yesterday. Have a look at these unbelievable works of art. Wow! They are so complex; they must have been made by aliens, ahem, local farmers.

Here’s a song from The Phenomenauts to flush out that annoying Eagles track that’s been milling around your brain from earlier: I’m with Neil.

Irony corner: Following up on the fifty shades of grey replaces bibles story from last week, a vicar condemns the hotel for replacing the bible with an erotic horror novel. At the suggestion that the Bible contained as many sexual references as Fifty Shades, the vicar responds with "You can choose bits out of the Bible and take it out of context I suppose,” Hmmm.

Dr. Peter Boghossian's May 6th public lecture, "Faith: Pretending to know things you don't know". Is it possible to have a meaningful and purposeful life without faith pretending to know things that you don't know"? Worth watching.

The toxic Westboro Baptist Church threatened to picket the vigil for the Aurora shootings but failed to show up after trolling victims with Photoshopped taunts and tweets on twitter.

Is there anything that can't be explained with LEGO? (pdf): Particle Physics anyone?

MRI scans – fascinating. Just been for one followed by a trip to my local cycle shop where they tried to sell me one of these things for £20 – “which really work”, according to the grinning chorus behind the counter. Grrr. Feel my skeptical wrath shop assistants. Actually my response was more along the lines of this, but to no avail. Probably best to get my Shimano spares online in future.

A Camera That Sees Your True Colours? Oh good grief. Have a look if you must. I’m not wasting any more words on it.

Here’s this week’s collection of space articles: take a tour of the moon courtesy of NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter; Space smells of raspberries, rum, metal and meat – yummy!, and from National Geographic: Best Satellite Pictures: Winning "Earth as Art" Shots From NASA. Lovely.

A fascinating story now from the New York Times: Are you responsible for your behaviour if your brain “made you do it”? How attributions of blame can be altered simply by giving psychological or neurological explanations for the same behaviour.

Kamikaze termites: Sudden, toxic self-rupture is a mutually destructive move in fights with enemies of the South American termites.

Let’s finish this Round-up how we started with a final article on evolution: Using a process called paleo-experimental evolution, Georgia Tech researchers have resurrected a 500-million-year-old gene from bacteria and inserted it into modern-day Escherichia coli bacteria (E. coli). Jurassic Petri Dish-The Movie doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.

Don’t forget we have our open-mic night on September 26th, details to be announced very soon.

See you on the 8th.

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

4 comments:

notjarvis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
notjarvis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
notjarvis said...

Nice round up, with lots of fun/interesting links, thanks.

Minor point, - why do all the links appear in black rather than blue? Makes them a little hard to find.

Thanks again!
nj

Patrick Redmond said...

Hi Nj, It was due to some problems with blogger and transporting the blog in. We'll make sure they are more clear in the future.

Cheers

@paddyrex