Tuesday 15 January 2013

The Round-Up w/e 13th January 2013

Hello and welcome to the latest Round-Up.

Before we get going reminders that the very first meeting of our Book Club will be held on Sunday 20th January 2013 at 2.00pm at the lovely Yorks Bakery Cafe. It's not too late to grab yourself a copy of "Mistakes Were Made (but Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions and Hurtful Acts" by Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson and come along and join in.

On Wednesday 23rd we also have our January Social at the Square Peg, Corporation Street. Feel free to come along, we're a friendly bunch. Give us a shout by email, or any other way you like, if it will be your first time so we can look out for you and make sure we meet up.

We had a great time last Wednesday with Robert Llewellyn (see the amazing photos by Simon Brettell and keep a look out for the forthcoming DVD) and are really looking forward to Neil Denny next month.

All of this sort of thing can be found on our newsletters so why not sign up (over there --->) and I won't have to type all of that again. But I will.

Right, off we go.

Some health stuff first. Those who have read Ben Goldacre's Bad Pharma will be well aware of the scandal that is our drug trial system with pharmaceutical companies binning trials that don't show their latest wonder drug to be he best thing since sliced bread (amongst many other problems). To try and solve this, Sense about Science have launched the All Trials campaign to get them to pre-register trials to stop all of he fiddling. I hope you'll sign the All Trials petition.

Speaking of useful data, here's George Stoumboulopoulos on a nurse who requested someone to do a case study on a hospice patient. She was the patient in question and was terminally ill.

Those not in the know may not be aware that Prince Charles was allowed to write an editorial for the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine just before Christmas. Margaret McCartney casts her eye over it (free registration).

Lastly we have a piece by Deborah Hyde on the connections (if any) between religiosity, spirituality and mental health.

The big news in astronomy is that the latest estimate is that there are a hundred billion planets in the Milky Way, with 17 billion (1 in 6) of them the size of Earth. Phil Plait analyses the news and here's NASA's take on it. One peculiarity has also been spotted which is the discovery of the largest known spiral galaxy - by accident. This has caused some to wonder why it wasn't spotted before but it has been patiently explained that the one's round here are small but that one is far away.

Following on from Robert's talk last week, the news reaches us that UK tida lpower has huge potential if only they'll tap it.

Lastly there may be problems associated with the mass of the standard kilogram kept in Paris due to contaminants as Peter Cumpson explains but that problem may be a thing of the past if this atomic clock can be constructed which may have a role in redefining the kilogram, the only basic unit of measurement not yet tied to a fundamental physical phenomenon.

Onto Alt-Med and it's the usual suspects this week with the occasional “old friend”.

Stanislaw Burzynski still hogs the headlines as Eric Merola who came up with the feature length advert “Burzynski” has contacted the Chancellor of Bob Blaskiewicz's University. Funnily his English is worse than his film-making. Merola isn't stopping there as David Gorski reports on Burzynski II: Return of the Killer Tomatoes (my title), the new documentary on Seán Ó’Laighin and the sad death of 4 year old Amelia Saunders.

Booksellers are starting to have a social conscience over the selling of “Melanies Marvelous Measles” which is reviewed here by Skepticat and although it is still on sale at Amazon at the time of writing it has received 82 reviews, all 1 star. On a similar subject Simon Tedeschi asks people to not be a pri(c)k.

A bit of a blast from the past as a man has been accused of trying to poison his girlfriend at a San Rafael nursing home with Miracle Mineral Solution. Yes folks, it's poison. For the uninitiated here's some background from Martin Robbins.

News from Australia as Reasonable Hank reports on Meryl Dorey, one of the most poisonous proponents of anti-vaccination who has stepped down as head of the Australian Vaccination Network. The eagle-eyed among you will recall we reported on them being forced to change that name. She has also announced that they are closing their magazine (that they barely printed anyway) leaving a lot of people out of pocket.

A quick shout-out here for the Nightingale Collaboration as the fourth tranche of adjudications on complaints submitted have been released on the adverts in the publication “What Doctors Don't Tell You”.

Our old friend Errol Denton continues his unpleasantness against bloggers Josephine Jones and Jo Brodie as a new sock-puppet Twitter account has appeared screaming unfounded accusations of racism. I'm beginning to wonder what it will take to make this man stop.

Not too much from the realms of religion thankfully. More than 1,000 Catholic priests have signed a letter voicing fears that same-sex marriage legislation will restrict religious freedoms and in France, François Hollande has urged Catholic schools to uphold the separation of church and state and for education officials to report any anti-gay views aired in school debates due to the increased risk of suicide among homosexual youngsters. Cue an orchestrated protest through Paris.

This week has also seen the publication of John Sweeney's latest book on Scientology although he had a remarkably difficult job to get itpublished at all.

A nice bit of news to finish on in that in Section 5 of the 1986 Public Order Act, the crime of "insulting" someone through words or behaviour, is to be scrapped.

I'm reminded of Rowan Atkinson's impassioned speech at the Reform Section 5 Parliamentary Reception but I'd far rather leave you with the original sketch which, for a time, actually became reality.

This Round-Up was written by @christheneck.

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