Monday 3 September 2012

Round-Up w/e 2nd September 2012.

Raindrops on spiders and skylights that glisten
Bright uranium sculptures and Newton momentum
Dodgy prescriptions with not one active thing…
These are a few of our favourite - stories included in this week’s Skeptics in the Pub Round-up.

First off, a plug for our forthcoming event, and this is one we’re extremely proud of; our first open-mic night, now rescheduled to the more usual second Wednesday of the month slot (September 12th). There will be a few familiar faces, special guests and some songs about science. Come along. It’ll be fun.

A song about Science? What a great idea! Dig out your old cheesecloth shirt, love-beads and flares, and then go swing your pants.

How many times does one hear someone make the mistake of assuming that because something is natural it must be good and also be safe? Edzard Ernst at the British Medical Journal Science Blogs: The natural equals safe fallacy.

Steven Novella at Science Based Medicine rips into The Huffington Post  for consistently publishing anti-science and anti-vaccination blogs, then pops up again as producer of this riotous Skeptics Guide to The Universe video Passing Away. Who needs sneaky headphones when you can play spirit charades?

The Huff Po redeems itself with this piece on Homeopathy from Cara Santa Maria at Huff Post Science, with some additional input from Ben Goldacre. Leave the video running for more familiar faces and interesting articles. Ben’s new book Bad Pharma is released later this month too. Let’s hope it’s as good as BadScience, his brilliant exposé of quacks and hacks.

More homeopathy news as Andy Lewis at The Quackometer poses questions to Boots the Chemists over the FDA’s decision to put Nelsons, UK manufacturers of such products as Bach Rescue Remedies, onto their red list; Boots, initially, unconcerned.

Some fascinating Tetrapod Zoology of a fictional entity: The science of Godzilla.

For those that missed our superb talk on Darwin’s Predecessors last month, there’s another chance to see Rebecca Stott fairly locally at Erasmus Darwin’s House in Lichfield on 18th October. Free entry to the museum until the end of this week too.

Allah cries if you eat a particular fruit: Tomatoes are Christian warns Egyptian religion. It all depends on the way you cut it.

Just putting my shopping list together: That’s one E. coli; a couple of tropical diseases; a petri dish full of acne pimples and a flesh eating Streptococcus. Diseases have never been so cute: Giant Microbes – pass them on.

Mars rover update: God built man, man built Mars rover. Therefore, intelligent design, global flood - gut methane panspermia – is true. Sometimes I sigh a little.

Richard Dawkins has a four page spread in Playboy Magazine this month. Thankfully it’s not a bellybutton stapled centrefold but actually quite a good interview and some questions of substance - damn those NSFW distracting sidebars. Maybe he should now have his own porno pseudonym. How about Rawhard Dickins?

Bill Nye (The Science Guy) has created a stir with an online video at Big Think in which he says adults who deny evolution and teach a literal biblical view are hurting America’s future. Hemant Mehta at The Friendly Atheist website picks up the story and assesses The Creation Museum’s response.

Tesla coils – Sweet Ohm Alabama. Bzzzzt!

A species of ape has been observed in captivity making and using flint tools , the first time this level of technological sophistication in tool use has been observed in non-humans. Only 99 more apes to go before critical mass is achieved. Meanwhile, over at Longleat…

Creativity comes from without, not within: From the excellent Brain Pickings site, Kirby Ferguson’s recent TED talk about his Everything is a Remix project, exploring remix culture, copyright and creativity. I’m having that Henry Ford picture for my work board.

As seen in Digbeth. Nice work there mystery artist.

Another example of faith trying to trump science: A California school district is teaching 39,000 students that a good night’s sleep can help prevent them from contracting HIV and other sexually-transmitted diseases. Apart from being untrue it’s also against California state law. Bring on the Lawsuit.

Jesus plasters can heal a shotgun blast to the head, apparently, and they never run out. More excellent product reviews over at Amazon. All I need now is a packet of these, a bottle of this, and my first aid cabinet can handle any major catastrophe.

Nasa has announced that the landing site of Curiosity is now called Bradbury Landing, in honour of the science fiction author who died earlier this year. Click through for a similar story on Douglas Adams and THGTTG.

Do humans and gorillas both make the same cold stethoscope face during medical examinations? For some of you this will be just like looking in a mirror…

Under new reform legislation in Florida, services such as acupuncture and massage therapy will no longer be covered by car insurance. Chiropractors and acupuncturists fear victims of accidents will not receive adequate treatment after an accident go boo-hoo.

Egg yolks as bad as smoking? The conclusion isn’t supported by the data it presents says Skeptical Raptor.

Scientology blamed for deaths of three patients who underwent treatment at Narconon, the home of Scientology's drug treatment program.

Taking a swift break to wash and disinfect hands after handling a Daily Mail link – here’s one of my favourite places on YouTube: Qualia Soup. Take a look at Skewed views of Science to get you going.

From the exceptional Science Daily: Reliance on supernatural explanations for major life events, such as death and illness, often increases rather than declines with age, according to a new psychology study.

One of the many interesting articles at Freethinker: The view of two leading doctors from Great Ormond Street hospital is that Religious parents who believe that “divine intervention” will save their terminally ill children are subjecting them to torture by putting them through aggressive but futile treatments.

We have more fascinating talks lined up for you over the next few months as well as our usual socials. Make a note of these in your diary, we’d love to see you - Hypnosis without Hypnosis on October 10th and How Science is Redefining Sex on November 7th.

Signing off and rounding up with this magnificent and touching time-lapse video. Some great well I never moments in there.

See you on the 12th.

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

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