Friday, 24 May 2013

The Round-up Week 19-20

A picture of bowling ball earth.
Welcome one and all to the weekly round-up of bits and bobs that have fallen off the web and into sceptical clutches. If you missed our latest talk by Julia Hyland then shame on you, it was a very different experience to the usual SitP as these ace photos by resident photographer Simon Brettell show. But then again, every month brings you something different at Birmingham Skeptics as a glance down this web page will illustrate.

Let’s start with a great link that will stay current for a long time,
here’s where you are today and for many todays to come.

Angelina Jolie made the news lately with her brave and informed decision. Our old friend Dean Burnett takes some of the more ridiculous commentators on this to task.

From star of the nerd community to dependent on the herd community
Mayim Bialik disappoints this blogger. Just in case you need a reminder of why anti-vaccination is a bad thing.

Have you been loving the antics of the tweeting, singing space oddity that is Astro Chris Hadfield? Well it seems not everybody has, and this blogger has a bit of an axe to grind.

I love gadgets and gizmos and shiny flashing things in general, but it’s as good to cast a sceptical eye over the claims of some of these as it is the offerings of your local apothecary. Here are a couple of good examples with insect repellents and audio cables don’t throw away those coat hangers!

Another must buy has to be non-GM salt.

Witches are brought down towards earth in Swaziland and a look at the kind of curses we all use.

Next up is a thoughtful piece by Mike Hanlon on the persistence of unreason and the continued survival of quackery in a scientific age.  Mind you, it’s perhaps not slo surprising that quackery thrives and survives when respected corporations such as the BBC gives tacit approval to some of its more dangerous and harmful outlets.

It’s frustrating when the BBC get things so wrong as they can be so good. I’m always entertained by their constantly updating science stories on such wonderful topics as our fantastic fungal feet and evolving and elusive cockroaches. Not from the BBC but in a similar vein is this tiny but beautiful new species of spider discovered in China.

Remember Harold Camping and his message that the end was nigh? Well it seems this time that it just might be.

The government approves 25 new religious schools. And if bringing religion into matters of education wasn’t bad enough how about its influencing the administration of healthcare?

Here are some questions that Greta Christina thinks might offend atheists. Here’s an atheist that wasn’t offended but gave a great answer to a pretty dumb question.

Read this story of film maker Vikram Gandhi and his experiences a fake yet successful Yogi, then listen to him tell the story in his Tedx talk.

The discovery of some smashed up skulls makes this writer wonder if Stone Age people were worried about zombies. Seems like a lot of speculation to me but to be sure they should send Tony Robinson and the boys in to dig a few trenches and drink some real ale, that’d provide a definitive answer. Here’s a better use for a load of bones, a beautiful and macabre ossuary in Czechoslovakia.

Just why are barns red?

The current news is that Matthew Inman of The Oatmeal has brought the Tesla museum a good step further into existence. (Did you see what I did there, hey, hey… I’ll get my coat)

Apparently forcing your employers to do Scientology exercise will not lead to a harmonious workplace. Who would’ve thought? If you want more information about the Scientology organisation just wait a bit and they’ll have a shiny new centre in the heart of our very own city.

Russian style flying saucer patents.

Daniel Loxton says that Skeptics are not Everythingologists. But then how would he know?

Do you shop at Abercrombie and Fitch? I don’t think I fit their target demographic if this is anything to go by.

What if a bowling ball was blown up to the size of the Earth?

For an ongoing miscellany of stories such as these make sure you follow us on Twitter and “Like” our lively Facebook feed. Our next talk is on Wednesday 12th of June with Jonny Scaramanga, “Inside Britain’s Creationist Schools”. One last date for your diary, Rogue Reporter and friend of Birmingham SitP is back in Brum for one night only. I'll be there and can't wait to see how his talk has developed since from his first visit here all that time ago, it was brilliant then.

That about wraps it up, just time to leave you with the aforementioned Chris Hadfield to play us out:

This round-up was eventually put together by Patrick Redmond with much help from the ever reliable and much appreciated Roy Beddowes

Friday, 10 May 2013

Round-Up Shorts – Wk17 to 18.

Picture of Muppet Scientist
Hello and welcome to the latest bare-bones Round-Up.

Let’s kick this week’s edition off by pointing you towards our Future Events page, and what a glorious shiny events page it is with all 2nd Wednesday of the month slots filled right up to November, you lucky people. There’s so much good stuff to be had there without me banging on about it here wasting precious Round-Up space. Tootle on over and have a look-see.

Right up to date with the first of our links: Six years on from this Jon Ronson cruise experience, blundering predatory ghoul, Sylvia Brown, is still getting it wrong.

Fancy having a go yourself? No, not like Sylvia Brown pulling vague answers out of her nether regions, How to Cold Read. Now there’s an Open Mic Night challenge.
Anyone up for it?

Just the weather for them – Skeptic

Going back to our skeptic roots:The unseen force that drives Ouija boards and bomb detectors.

Meaningless labels applied to your existence – we have a test for that: Astrology, a Practical Test: Objects that affect you at birth.

Lifted straight from our Facebook page, BBC interviews Barnum Statement generator - gives oxygen to bullshit:  Graphology - discriminating against people on the basis of pseudoscientific non-sense for over 100 years.

Today’s weather is brought to you by….Christian Cloudbusters, and there's a new climate change theory in town.

Bruise on the noggin caused by non-contact mystical wavy hand energy.

A CAMPAIGN has begun to safeguard the future of Scotland's only homeopathic hospital.

The scientific process through stock photography. Will somebody please turn that microscope round!

Genesis 9:20-25 And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard: And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent. And Shem and Japheth did facepalmeth. It’s in the Bible. Must be true then!

This week’s candidates for Tool of the Week:-

Local election 2013: 'Put disabled down' councillor re-elected in Cornwall.

BNP calls on members to breed more after elections disaster.
How about ‘breed’ off.

Physical exercise prevents you becoming gay, claims UK councillor candidate

Destined to be as ubiquitous as microwave ovens, 3D printing is about to take off, however, I’m quite taken by the simplicity of this design: Darwin's Cladogram Tree with Finches.

Co-discoverer of Evolution by Natural Selection soon to have a statue at The Natural History Museum.

Round-Up Property section: Wallace house up for sale.

Have vampires and wizards replaced aliens in our imaginations? James Gray at the RA: They didn't come from outer space.

In a merger of past and present cultural tracking,
FEMA Planning 'Zombie UFO Crash' Disaster Exercise.

DNA Collected from Found Objects Used to Create 3D Portraits.

Fossil Cookies.

Brain science with a difference: Prosopagnosia - The woman who can't recognise her face.

Use of placebos by athletes should be regulated. It’s cheating, claims expert.

One full year of solar motion captured in a figure of '8' loop with a weird name.

Free your mind and your ass will follow: Why Does Music Feel So Good?

Fox News guest: Scientific ‘enlightenment and reason’ led to the Holocaust.

Traditional psychological diagnoses are going out of style.
A powerful organization of mental health researchers has said it will not be using the new DSM-V. Correction.

As life has evolved, it's complexity has increase exponentially, just like Moore's law.

What I would say to creationists if I was more of a dick. Rant and swears alerts – don’t say  you weren't warned.

A Boy And His Atom: The World’s Smallest Movie.

Let’s end with some implosions.

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