Monday 11 February 2013

The Weekly Round - up w/e 10/02/2013.

Picture of a road sweeper.
Links! We’ve got so many of them accumulating in the corner of our inbox that it’s getting rather untidy around here. Coming up then, and to free up some room, here are some of the best of the sweepings up from the last couple of weeks. But first let’s see what’s happening at Brum Skeptic’s Central – upstairs at The Vic. And just where are my manners today? Hello and welcome to The Round-up.

This week we bring to Birmingham Sitp the fabulous Neil Denny, who’s here to tell us about The Little Atoms Road Trip – A Scientific Odyssey across America. Here's Neil's kick-off article from last year's Guardian to give you a rough idea of what to expect. If you miss him on Wednesday you can pick him up during his current odyssey of Sitp venues across the country.

Daniel Kahneman’s Fast and Slow Thinking is the topic of our upcoming March book meet at York’s Bakery Café  . Click the link for a little teaser to whet your appetite. Are you coming along? Decide now or think about it later. Whichever method helps you come to your conclusion we hope the answer will be a resounding YES!

Plagiarising the idea from a popular tax avoiding web site as a lead into a book recommendation: Customers who bought the above item also bought - Dan Gardner: Risk. One for the book club list I think. Added.

Last week we reported on the barbarians, who were also Islamic, and the destruction of Timbuktu’s priceless ancient manuscripts. Meet the brave group with a plan who saved many of them from destruction. Librarians save books eh! Whatever next?

How about haunted talking pebbles?

Well everybody's heard about the bird! Bird bird bird, the bird is the word! Unless it’s a dinosaur! I’ll take a portion of PZ Myers’ explanation please. Hold the Ham!

One of the lesser known Darwin-Wallace stories, though quite appropriate as a Skeptic’s article, as the co-discoverers of natural selection took opposing sides in the trial of spiritualist “Dr.” Henry Slade. Darwin had nothing but contempt for the “clever rogues” who preyed on grieving relatives whilst Wallace was taken in by spiritualism. Happy Darwin Day/Week BTW – with a Carl Sagan video to boot.

An asteroid the size of an office building will zoom close by Earth next week, but it's not on a collision course, NASA says. The consequences of this could be very, very serious according to somebody.

Your brain has a new lobe and a dark patch where evil lurks… No prizes for guessing where this sensationalist bilge came from.

The usual suspects again! A parenting guide aimed at drawing more girls into science lacks evidence and promotes old-fashioned gender stereotypes. Click through the article for some excellent studies into gender differences, except for the first two of course.

Looks like someone’s out for a dust up with Sir Isaac Newton as the Institute of Centrifugal Research bring you the Centrifuge Brain Project; features a series of absurdly designed and bonkers roller coasters that operate under the assumption that "gravity is a mistake." A mockumentary you say? Noooooooooooooo!

Would you trust the testimony of a witness who admitted to being drunk while observing a crime? You should. presents the 6 greatest acts of trolling in the history of science.

Time to break out your super reading powers in this hefty article as researchers investigate if using superpowers in virtual reality encourages altruism and pro-social behaviour in the real world.

The brain nibbling habits of murderous zombie tits. Clicking finger…..g-g-g-GO!

Technology - damages - brain. I can’t say I disagree with the article’s claim that karaoke machines can be harmful, although you could always murder belt out your favourite song whilst having technology scan your brain as singer Sivu has done in this excellent video.

Typical! You wait for one iconic atheist bus sign to come along then nine come along all at once. From the British Humanist Association on E-Bay. As we’re talking signs…

Austin Cline has a poll over at Atheists, do you believe any paranormal or supernatural claims?

Atheists more likely to prefer video games over board games and showed a much greater preference for the WYSIWYG virtual environment compared to the table top format wherein imagination is more central. The jury’s still out. Discuss.

Some serious and important news now from Scientific American as Researchers take a closer look at the most common and powerful life events that can trigger depression.

This guy is rarely off my playlists since first seeing him at 9 Carols in 2009. Mixing science, evolution and psychology to create original and witty hip-hop raps, Baba Brinkman’s Ingenious Nature  navigates his experience of the dating world in New York. Listen to “I Have a Gene”; contribute to his Crowdfunder; get cool goodies. Stems from an idea that originated, evolved and underwent peer review right here in Birmingham.

Product placement in a Round-up? Nah, just a particularly fine example of a clever advertising campaign. Smile please.

Music and singing is described as "a sin and cause for the sickening of the heart" according to a Qatari Muslim scholar, and warned young Muslims not to be tempted by it. Therefore, Jazz is evil.

Not sure if this is going to make your drive to work any more bearable this week, so don’t shoot the messenger: Researchers at the University of Utah have developed the Multi Angle Snowflake Camera (MASC), to shoot flakes in three dimensions as they float to the ground.

Pick of the crop from a short film competition called Faith Shorts, run by The Tony Blair Faith Foundation, comes this stop-motion animation Death Bed the Musical . Nice work there Liat Har-Gil.

Uh-oh, running out of space. Time for a link cluster: Key Westboro Baptist church member leaves; late surviving pterosaur; ‘The Character of Physical Law’: Feynman’s Cornell Lectures and The Troggs’ Reg Presley's’ preoccupation with esoteric science.

No alt-med stories from me this week so here’s some BS from Penn & Teller.

That’s better, all neat and tidy now. Have a great time Wednesday night.

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

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