Wednesday, 20 February 2013

The Weekly Round-up w/e 17/02/2013(ish)

Welcome to the Birmingham Skeptics special Quantum Weekly Round-up. You know it’s going to be the best ever because we’ve inserted the word quantum in the middle and that’s the scientific equivalent of painting go faster stripes on your Sinclair C5.

There’s been some cracking dissection of pseudoscience this week. Steve Novella does his usual stalwart job in this piece about chiropractic neurology. Here’s another great piece as a proper science based geologist runs up against those over at the Discovery Institue.

I’m sure that the huge numbers we had for Robert Llewellyn were because there is massive interest in electric cars and not just to see the man in his non-rubberised flesh. Just for you lot, here is another example of dodgy shenanigans in the electric car evaluation process in similar vein to the Top Gear motley. For those that missed the talk you can get a feel for the night over at the blog site of fellow organiser Simon Brettel, or you can get the beautifully crafted DVD from our website

We can combine technology and evolution in one handy article now with robotic four-legged friends that can learn.

Michael Marshall off of the Merseyside Skeptics takes us through some of the swathes of PR nonsense around Valentine’s Day.

You might have noticed that the top job at the Vatican is coming up. Amongst the many applicants throwing their little round caps into the ring is our old friend Dean Burnett. Hopefully the selection process will go along these lines. As Dean isn’t actually a Catholic and since he is a nice guy he might need to have his moral compass ripped out and reoriented to survive ecclesiastical life.

Evidence of how an NHS website was pressured into weakening criticisms on homeopathy. Andy Lewis shows how you can take action to put pressure on them in a more positive direction over at the Quackometer.

Homeopathy on the NHS got a bit of a pasting up in Lothian too as our friends on the 21st Floor tell us.

James Randi is one of those iconic figures for many interested in skepticism. Excerpts of an interview with Will Storr have brought up some pronouncements of his that if as reported have provided ammunition for those that are not fans and are hard to defend by some that might be more sympathetic.

An interesting article over at ScienceBlogs on the XL Pipeline. Climate change arguments are always amongst the most polemic, glance down the comments section in this story of denialists. If you need help knowing whether you’re a skeptic, denialist or whatever then have a glance at this.

A fascinating and disturbing watch with the Dark Gospel of the Good News Club
Ask a silly question get a reasonably sensible answer.; nose candles.

I know you’ve all been waiting for an update on the Big Foot DNA, well here it is.

Kate Middleton, Ghosts and Princess Diana, it can only be the Mirror.

First off the LHC bring us the Higgs but what else might it have in store. Not all super sexy expensive experiments are underground though. We’ve had some great ISS pass overs in the UK the last couple of days and on there is Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer about to release its first results.

Fortunately the ISS is content to go round  the earth, but there was much excitement as something else from space came crashing down towards it, here’s Plait’s reaction to the event. For your added pleasure here is a handy  guide on Earth-bound rocks.

When is rape not rape? When you have a ridiculous and nonsensical definition of the term.. This is an incredible story of a brave woman’s ordeal and campaign.

I love this melding of internet technology and puerile humour. There are so many to choose from but I think my favourite so far is in Kentucky.

Our first of two encounters this post with Carl Sagan now as we think about pie.

Couple of wonders of nature next, firstly the sea slug with the amazing detachable penis, and secondly some mysterious structures appearing in the Kalahari desert.

You can find science most anywhere you look, even in a mosh pit.

Julie Burchill’s appearance on Desert Island Disks prompted Jon Ronson to pen this piece about psychopath spotting.

A bit of fun if you ever find yourself stuck in a creationist lecture.

Bit of a plug for upcoming stuff here so get your diaries out. We’ve got Jon Sweeney taking us Inside the Weird World of Scientology on the 27th of Feb. Just two weeks later Andy Lewis will be telling us What Every Parent Needs to Know about Steiner Schools on March 13th. We’ve had two great book clubs already and we’re all set for a third with Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman on March 17th. There’s plenty more already up and more to come so keep an eye on our website, Facebook, and Twitter

And finally that second encounter with Sagan. This is inspired by Neil Dennys’ recent talk for us and his interview with Ann Druyan. After reading Marsh’s post earlier it’s good to get a little proper romance.

This post was put together by Patrick Redmond with much help from and kudos to Mr Roy Beddowes

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