Monday 1 April 2013

The Round-up - Wk13.

Hey kiddies, do you know what time it is? IT'S CLOBBERIN' TIME! (Well, sorta!)

Welcome to the latest woo thumpin’, science lovin’, Round-up. There’s nothing like using a disgruntled and incredulous super-hero to assist in a take-down of irrational nonsense.

First up for a good biffing - one of a series of amusing videos on Homeopathy; lays out the familiar history coupled with an undiluted dose of snark and unfettered use of the word bollocks. This is one creep who just won’t stay down. Let’s tag Steven Novella and bring him into the debate: Debating Homeopathy Part One.

Following T.E.D’s removal of the Sheldrake and Hancock talks from their YouTube channel, news of more unusual presentations announced under the TED banner in California have surfaced - Jerry Coyne picks up the story.

Debating Homeopathy: Seconds out, Part 2.

Still doing your research into Steiner Waldorf Schools after the Andy Lewis talk? Here’s a 3 part series of articles from DC’s improbable science for you to get your teeth into.

Nope! In Australia a preponderance of anecdotes just won’t cut it: Federal Government to crack down on dodgy 'miracle' cures, snake-oil merchants and unproven treatments.

Clerical pants on fire! Church of England commits sins against statistics.

A custom, prevalent in the southern tip of Malawi, is widow cleansing, a traditional practice in which a widow is expected to have unprotected sexual relations (increasing the chance of HIV infection), in order to cleanse herself of a curse. A similar example of superstition and a cultural mind-set trumping common sense can be seen over in Kenya, where a condom advert has been pulled after religious complaints.

With a nod to Rupert Sheldrake’s morphic resonance, dowsing and sticky foil, along with some musings on human temporal asymmetry energy patterns being captured in photographs (yup!); welcome to the mystical world of hi-fi tweakery. Okay – goddammit! I admit it. I did do that thing with crocodile clips and a reef-knot way back in the 1980’s.

Christian Easter egg fails to crack supermarkets despite some backing of the Bishops.

Not much of a welcome in the hillside: Swansea measles epidemic - MMR vaccine take-up disappointment. Of course none of this is helped by untrained and influential celebrities spewing antivaccination propaganda.

The real Easter story according to News Thump.

Influencing nineteenth century discussions about the mind, brain and the effects of damage on the personality: The incredible case of Phineas Gage.

Have you ever wondered what goes on inside a cancer Research Lab? Wonder no more as an article posted earlier this month takes us behind the scenes at Birmingham University’s Cancer Research Centre. Make a note of those people’s names; I want to know why we haven’t seen them at Sitp.

Some people with vested interests prefer to ignore or distort evidence, whilst others find ingeniousnew ways to collect it.

Inspired by Crispian Jago’s original Periodic Table of Irrational Nonsense comes the  B3ta image challenge. Not sure why Ben Goldacre’s pictured laying waste to a city, but I quite like it.

What alternative health practitioners might not tell you: Craniosacral Therapy = medical fiction mainly helpful for anything with a subjective end-point; additionally, the therapeutic value of Chiropractic for athletes remains uncertain.

Banning 'gay cure' posters on London buses was not unlawful, a High Court judge ruled on Friday, but suggested two prominent campaigns, one by Stonewall and one by atheist campaigners, should also not have been allowed because of their offensive nature.

Web cartoon time - The Atheist Pig: Miracle Babies.

Combining planetarium production technology with high resolution brain imaging techniques - welcome to Neurodome. Get some serious neuroscience related perks if you contribute to their Kickstarter campaign.

Crowdfunder is an innovative funding platform helping project owners' ideas become realities. However, despite the online interest, this one’s obviously struggling to draw in the funders.

Shoes packed with Atheist tape go walkies in the US. More comments over at Big Think and a reference to Stanley Milgram’s lost letter experiment, to boot!

In this new study (pdf), the correlation between societal success & lack of belief in the supernatural does NOT mean lack of belief leads to success. It does show that societal success does NOT DEPEND on belief in the supernatural.

Zombie nation: Recent research shows how pesky parasites may be affecting the behaviour of up to a reported 40% of the population. More on this subject from our blog archive of 2011, and from friend of Brum Sitp, Peter Harrison, with Can brain-parasites influence human culture on a global level? (2022 blog views to date). Bit late there with the ‘news’ MSN!

Three of my favourite things - Hip-hop, Science and Bruce Lee: Greydon Square: Final Kata. Let your head bob!

Fantastic four: Magic handshake penis stealer shot dead; sex education teacher investigated for saying vagina ; Punxsutawney Phil Groundhog 'indicted' and 21 Weirdly Angry Mail Online Commenters.

We’ve not had a link from Michael Shermer for a while. Let’s rectify that with a piece from Scientific American on the principle of pluralistic Ignorance: How skeptics can break the cycle of false beliefs.

Well I wouldn't have heard it if I hadn't believed it! EVP – capturing thoughts whilst in the air or just natural phenomena such as apophenia or auditory pareidolia?

A bittersweet and profoundly sad article now as an artist documents the decline of his motor and perceptual skills: Self-portraits show artist's descent into Alzheimer’s. Click through for more of the story at NYT.

A Very Powerful Quote Gets The Beautifully Illustrated Treatment It Deserves.

Time to wrap things up, so I’m going to plug a local talk (local to me)first, as Curator of Down House, Annie Kemkaran-Smith, will be in Lichfield at Erasmus Darwin’s House on 2nd May with ‘Charles Darwin at Down House: An Ordinary Life or an Extraordinary Man’. Get your tickets early though as it’s quite a small venue.

Dr Rupert Sheldrake will be with us at Sitp in a matter of days and Hitchens’ The Missionary Position is up for discussion on the 21st at the usual venue. We’re very much looking forward to Bringing Disease to Life in May and some of you may have noticed that we’ve posted up Will Storr for September. Need to know more? Drop by our events page, make a note in your diary and keep an eye on our news feeds.

Right, go grab a handful of triangular chocolate and settle down to a video triple bill: Slightly off topic but still fascinating - book editor turned artist Lee Hongbo: Out of Paper; The mystery of Prince Rupert's Drop and the shocking Tesla Drone.

Enjoy & share (the Round-up, that is, not your chocolate) and have a great week.

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

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