Sunday 23 June 2013

The Round-up Weeks 24-25

Hello and welcome to the Birmingham Skeptics Round-up. First of all I’d like to ask if anybody out there has a connection with a person with a name beginning with S? I’m getting a woman with glasses and a large bank balance, something like Scally.... or Silly? Anyway, the overwhelming feeling that I’m getting is that she is very pleased with herself, although there are many around her that are feeling confused even some that are far away.

If you have ever felt cheated by the services of a psychic this is perhaps
not the way to try and get recompense .

It seems totally unjust that as I sit here typing this on a dull and damp Sunday that my eyes should be itching and my nose streaming due to that supposedly summery malady of hay fever.
Perhaps acupuncture can provide a solution!

Let’s have a little section on some evolutionary wonderment. First up for you paleontological twitchers some illustrations from
a field guide to winged dinosaurs. Hopping along next are some exquisitely colourful amphibians.

Still on natural history and the evolution of feathered things Kate Yandal takes on an interesting question in the (perhaps unfortunately titled article if you come from the UK and never left the 70s) “
Why Many Birds Don’t Have Penises

From real life evolutionary processes to the beautiful and hypnotic world of the artificial with

An interesting piece from Dave Logan on the need for
inclusivity of those oft misunderstood geniuses in the workplace.

You know that unpleasant but essentially self-limiting illness
norovirus? Well here is a free sample of a preventative and cure from those lovely people over at Healing Downloads.

Pointing and laughing at plainly ridiculous beliefs is easy, but not always appropriate. How do you react to somebody who adopts
a ridiculous suicidal diet in the belief that it will help them live longer and better?

This seems like the logical place to put a list of i
llogical things that people believe in.
Of all the pictures it was no.3 that evoked the biggest response from me, p
robably due to some evolutionary psychology factor or other. And we’ll smoothly segway here into a promotion for our next excellent talk from evolutionary psychologist Kat Ford on just how good we really are or aren’t at discerning character from faces.

Mind you, perhaps that old debate on the significance of
nature vs nurture is not so dichotomous after all.

First of a recurring lego theme here as word gets out that they are launching their own
Mars Rover. Not to be outdone by the Lego Boffins, Europe is well underway for their next planned Rover to the red planet. It may well have to be that we satisfy ourselves with mechanical exploration unless they can find a good solution to the radiation problem.

You might have noticed in the article about the Lego Rover a link to
Lego Cuusoo where fans can submit models for consideration. One cool person is using this to try and get Lego to redress its gender bias and promote women in STEM and other fields.

Head for the hills, as
New Age terrorist unleash their ultimate weapon!

Girl Guides no longer have to declare allegiance to God. In the interest of balance I should point out that other non-religious organisations for the occupation of your children exist. We should however remember that religious persecution is a real problem and consider the human rights of such groups as the Pastafarians.

How to destroy your opponents using
math when playing monopoly. A fascinating story of maths warriors and an interesting discussion on recognising success from David McRaney. If maths is a subject that floats your boat then put down the 27th of November in your diary. We have Simon Singh coming to Birmingham Skeptics to reveal The Simpsons and their Mathematical Secrets. I don’t need to be psychic to know that this will be a popular and brilliant talk.

The final Lego connected story here as we look at the
effects of angry Lego figures on our children.

Emil Karlsson takes on Mike Adams’ climate change denialism.

The longest day has come and gone and we’re in that countdown to winter so old friend Dean Burnett takes us through the
supposedly happiest day of the year.

The anti-vaccination community of Australia
thankfully continue to struggle in what has been a very bad couple of years for them.

A review here of a book on the
child abuse scandal within the Catholic Church. If you like books, discussions and interesting company then make sure you come along to this month’s Book Group to discuss Guns, Germs and Steel. The month after that will be Ben Goldacre’s Bad Pharma.. And if you can’t wait that long to meet up with some lovely sceptical type people then we have our social this week at the Square Peg, hope to see you there.

Dope testing in Formula 1, but for cars and not people.

Francis Crick Institute takes a step closer to reality and contributing to the fight against devastating diseases. Actor Brian Cox also promotes the potential benefits of genome sequencing in the understanding of the human condition.

If you ever need a dose of true Bible based insanity then look no further than
Prophecy News Watch.

Most of these links have been provided by the excellent Roy Beddowes. If you get a bit impatient waiting for these round-ups you should
like our Facebook page where he keeps it populated with a regularly updated stream of the rational and not so rational wonders of the internet.

Here’s a short run through of some of his latest posts for us:

Carl Sagan’s universal order of creation, illustrated., Astronaut gives lecture from space. Gay priests forum uncovered in the Vatican. Transit of the ISS across the Moon. Inside Alpha, an atheist’s foray into Christianity. And finally the Daily Mail admits fracking for vitriol.

If you fancy having a go at doing one of these round-ups for us then let us know via any of the usual methods and we’d be more than happy for you to do so. We’d even send you over a list of links that you could use or ignore.

Remember to come along to our events and to look further into the future keep checking
on this webpage. Please note our upcoming open mic night. We’ve had a couple of applications but we’re looking for more so don’t be shy.

Finally we’ll leave you with this sceptical warning for the guilty parent:

This round-up was put together by Patrick Redmond with the welcome assistance of Roy Beddowes.

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