Wednesday, 24 April 2013

The Round-Up – Wks 15 &16

Time to resuscitate the Round-up; stand back nurse!

Welcome back to our weekly collection of link based interestingness. Whilst we’re administering green glowing serum and CPR let us point you towards our forthcoming talks that we lovingly put together to challenge and entertain you.

We produce awesome skeptical DVDs too if you can’t make it to us on the night.

On May 8th, Julia Hyland will be with us Bringing Disease to Life in an interactive talk on medical make up effects. Hopefully, the participants on the night won’t have too awkward a train/bus ride home; and Will Storr will be with us in September to tell us about his Adventures with the Enemies of Science. Those helpful people at The Rationalist Association have been kind enough to turn out a short review of Will's book here. Speakers for June, July, August and September are primed and ready to go so keep checking back here for updates. Oh, and don’t forget our usual monthly book club meet in May too. Here’s a bit more information on the continuing story of Henrietta Lacks as it’s our book club pick.

Just digging around the RA site I’ve come across this excellent collection of graphic-novels-every-humanist-should-read, fortunately your friendly neighbourhood Birmingham skeptic doesn’t have far to go to for a local comic book store. And this I just have to have a copy of – checkout complete – gimme!

What with the death of Margaret Thatcher, the Boston bombings and QED, let’s see what we can pull out of the big news stories from the past week or so:-

This is still languishing on my to-read pile. An excerpt from Hitch 22: That Time Margaret Thatcher Spanked Christopher Hitchens.

Having had my interest piqued by a recent lecture, and with some whisperings of a future talk at Sitp,  here’s a piece on the Boston bombings and the fallibility of memory when gathering eyewitness accounts, accompanied by this article from the Beeb on the unreliability of crowd-sourced material and how internet detectives got it wrong. Here’s another on the Saudi Marathon Man.

The effects of James McCormick's morally bankrupt behaviour.

Properish science now with white coat and glasses and everything: Proof that water has memory; featuring Paul the glass of water.

From the firmament to the earth: When you poop in space, everyone screams & Archaeologists Find a Classic Entrance to Hell.

The number of humanist wedding ceremonies in Scotland will soon overtake the number of Church of Scotland weddings, it has been claimed.

As mentioned by Robin Ince during the recent convention - did anyone complete QED bingo?  Eyes down. Dressed like Who, 42; Elevatorgate, No.8. For your prize of a mini picnic table condiment holder please contact Tulpesh in Sweden.

Creation Mathematicians Demand Equal Time for Biblical Pi in the Classroom.

Icelanders love genealogy, so much so that Engineers at Iceland University have developed an Icelandic app that warns you if your date is a relative; complete with 'Incest Prevention Alarm' feature.

Award winning anti-racism poster becomes national campaign tool.

The DOH tell Andrew Wakefield to go do one, I mean, issued a statement dismissing claims from the discredited doctor. Dean Burnett breaks out the law of misinformation similars.

And the award for the “Most obscene title of a peer-reviewed scientific article” goes to… Professor Jean-Marc Dewaele. (Warning - features some bloody excellent swears)

Two disturbing stories from India: Auctioning virginity off to the highest bidder & Is this what Indian men really believe? Skipping across the Persian Gulf for this outrageous example of the law of retribution.

Distance to Mars in pixels. The return trip is quicker by sidebar.

Want to go to Mars? Dutch organisation Mars One says it will open applications imminently.

Sounds like Scientpoetryology rap: The asteroid belt provides a convenient low-gravity platform for travel to other parts of the “gah-LAX-ee.” And we learn that to outsiders, our solar system is known as “Space Station 33.” It can only be… Hubbard.

Round- up quickies: Dawkins plus Stephen Law = xkcd; Wringing out Water on the ISS - for Science! ; Saudi cycling - now for women and SMOGGM.

The Museum of Mental Health in Salem was Once a ‘Cuckoo’s Nest.' Ah, Juicy Fruit...

Cartoon corner: The corn god.

This is encouraging. China says aims to banish superstition, promote knowledge. This not so much - eyeball scraping. No video? What a relief! As we’re in the bonkers treatment section: Anarchic Teapot’s jaw is floored after viewing the quite charming sounding Massage aux batons, or Chiropractic stick massage. (More swears – and gasps) Hey, why stop at three links - Animal chiropractors say their drugless, non-surgical adjustments are cheaper than vet care.

We’re not out of the crazy woods yet: Deepak Chopra takes offence at the new TED guidelines regarding invites for people who use bad science or pseudoscience in their talks and Taslima Nasreen’s take on ‘Stupid Celebrities’.

Broken dreamcatcher floods Swindon with unresolved anxieties.

Despite remarkable growth, solar and wind power aren’t making a dent in carbon emissions, says a new report from the International Energy Agency.

Since 9/11, voice scientists have been searching for a way to find a person's unique 'voiceprint': The race to fingerprint the human voice.

Adam Rutherford and Steve Jones discuss the origins and future of life, Spidergoat and bible science in this excellent episode of Start the Week. Steve Jones’ book The Serpent’s Promise is out soon, Adam Rutherford’s Creation: The Origin of Life is on the shelves right now. Go get ‘em.

Ben Goldacre gets down and dirty in the link packed What Doctors Don't Know About the Drugs They Prescribe.

Many of the ideas of conspiracy theorists are based on a misunderstanding of science—or a stubborn refusal to acknowledge it. National Geographic runs through the polls, Crispian Jago charts The Truth.

Finally, finishing as we started, in a now classic account of cocking around with hypodermics, ‘How (not) to communicate new scientific information: a memoir of the famous Brindley lecture.

You’ll be requiring a video then, Apollo 11 in 100 seconds. (Any visual metaphors connected to the above link were completely unintended)

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

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