Sunday, 20 November 2011

Weekly round-up w/e 20/11/11

Welcome one and all to this week’s round-up.  Not much to say up here except to remind you all that next month's talk by David Allen Green will be on Thursday 8th December and not on the usual 2nd Wednesday of the month like you’ve come to expect.  There’s some festival of the Church of Consumerism on later that month and as a result people like to have something called fun in the lead up to it meaning our pub is booked up.  Some people even like to start celebrating months in advance, not much else on I suppose.  Anyway, we’re back to normal in January.

I was talking to this bloke the other week, he said
he bought the Daily Express because it was anti-EU and so was he. I asked how he knew he was against the EU if he only read arguments against the EU.  I needn’t have worried, he reassured me that the Daily Express offer both sides of the argument just like they did with their story “EU SAYS WATER IS NOT HEALTHY”. Martin Robbins checks that the evidence for this is water-tight.

Another Express narrative, ‘the nanny state’ reared it’s head again this week when the British Medical Association (BMA) called for a ban on smoking in cars.  The story started looking shaky when the BMA revised their headline grabbing statistics.  But what about the rest of the evidence? Normally distributed takes a look behind the smokescreen.

Measles sweeps through Brighton and Hove.  In response to this story, the mother of a boy that wasn’t vaccinated and nearly died of mumps urges parents to get their children vaccinated.

I suppose like many atheists, you’ve had the old ‘atheism is a religion and Dawkins is the pope” from unimaginative people regurgitating an unimaginative opinion like it was some astounding original observation that they were unleashing upon the world.  Well, this opinion piece by Benjamin O’Donnell that suggests the “new atheists” aren’t anti-religion but anti-dogma is rather good.

Competition time!  Sceptics Vs Believers dowsing challenge.  Archaeological dowsers, those who claim to be able to locate archaeological features from maps, along with sceptics have been offered the chance by to find archaeological remains from their armchair in a challenge by The Megalithic Portal.

Boots the chemist got their arse kicked recently for listing medical conditions on their in-store homeopathic displays.  They’re not the only people doing it though.  If you want to help stop other shops doing the same, here’s what you can do.

“Those who want power without responsibility don’t respond well to scrutiny” says the opening line to next month’s Birmingham Skeptics speaker David Allen Green’s latest blog post.  In it, he posits a new ‘law’, Jack of Kent’s law concerning the cries of witch-hunt we usually hear from people under sustained scrutiny.  Here’s Dave the Happy Singer’s take on the ‘law’. (Remember, David’s talk in December is on Thursday the 8th. We’ll be back to our usual format of 2nd Wednesday of the month from January).

I would imagine it won’t be long until Nadine Dorries MP invokes Jack of Kent’s law if she hasn’t already after this compelling series of blog posts by Tim Ireland entitled ‘The MP who cried wolf’.  I can’t recommend this highly enough.  It has MPs, alleged fraud, alleged burglary, journalists, smearing, false allegations, Carter-Ruck, lobbyists, cover-ups.

Neutrinos are still faster than light say new results from CERN.

Jaw dropping time-lapse footage from the International Space Station (ISS) of Earth as it passes over.

Brilliant, Prince Phillip is into his UFOs and here’s me thinking he wasn’t a fan of people from other places.  I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised about the Royal Family’s interest, after-all Prince Philip’s (and the Queen’s, incest fans) great-great-grandmother was Queen Victoria, and we all know she established Torchwood.

The science of sarcasm is giving us insight into how the mind really works as research into how we separate sincerity from sarcasm takes place.  The temptation now is to make some sarcastic remark about the article, what an hilarious thing to do that would be.

According to The Telegraph, the BBC drops climate change episode of Frozen Planet to enable it to sell better abroad. However, with all stories in the right-wing press about the BBC, it's probably not as close to the truth as you'd hope, see a BBC clarification here.
Run, Jedi Squirrels are coming!

Don't know if I've mentioned it yet, but our next talk is on Thursday 8th December and not the 2nd Wednesday of the month as per usual.

This week’s round-up was put together by Paul Bryant (@thebigyeti).

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