Today in Science!

We’ll be having a meeting soon, doncha worry there, trusty local readers. I HAD planned on screening Here Be Dragons by Brian Dunning of Skeptoid at the local library, and was working out a weekend timetable. Then I realized I didn’t really like the movie that much. It seems like something perfect for a junior high or high school class, not really the cup of tea that our wicked group of deviants would enjoy. Does anyone have a copy of Cosmos they’d lend to the cause? Maybe we’ll get together for the National Day of Reason.

Anyway, since I’ve been gone so long, I figure that a double post today won’t hurt, eh?

First up: You can watch people sneeze and have an immune response.

So, you’ll thank me later for this pic. When you’re not sick. Because of me.

You're Welcome

And I don’t know if you know it yet, but Cracked dot com is one of the most hilarious websites out there. And they, like many truly hilarious people, are often quite skeptically-minded. And they do dick jokes. Comedy is one of those brilliant mediums where you can make people question without preaching, so it’s no surprise that those things which get the least amount of questioning (and need it the most), those things that have the least amount of answers – get skewered by comedians. Just ask George Carlin. Well, don’t, because he’s dead. You can ask him, he just won’t speak back.

Anyway, cracked has a few good articles up at the moment: ridiculous history myths, which includes this very helpful bit:

Of course, the story stuck after that because it gives us the chance to do the thing we love doing most: look down on people. They fell for it, we didn’t, therefore we’re smarter than our grandparents. We’re the enlightened generation, and don’t believe in stupid bullshit. 

Then, it links to a page claiming that Lady GaGa is an illuminati mind-control puppet. Because we modern, enlightened people would… oh, wait – see what he did there!

Then there’s an article that’s just balls-out skepticism, including the Loch Ness monster, the curse of the mummy, the Fox Sisters and Crop Circles. There’s also a great quote here, too:

This sort of thing has the same attraction as any good conspiracy theory: the “I am special because I have secret knowledge the common sheeple never will!” principle.

How better to impress your dull traditional friends than revealing to them the suppressed truth that will totally blow their closed suburban minds? And you only had to spend six bucks in an airport bookstore to get it!

Amen, brother.

Finally, a community-created effort describing, mainly, pyramid bullshit, but also a bit of 2012 hokum as well. Yes, there’s a good quote in there, too – figured I’d make the trifecta.

Conspiracy theorists claim that if they serve no purpose to humans, pyramids must have been built by aliens. Of course assuming that anything that serves no purpose to humanity must be created by aliens would mean that conspiracy theorists themselves were created by aliens.

Ah well. Are any real news organizations out there doing as much for reason as a fount of dick jokes and scatological humor?

NPR is going to give it ”a shot” with a bit about vaccine paranoia and the problems it causes (mainly, vaccine-preventable disease).

Some of my mailing lists have been throwing this nugget of science news my way lately; biologists have found an anaerobic metazoan in the deep sea. Like the deep-sea giant tube worm these creatures have unorthodox biologies. And as any quack’ll tell ya, scientists don’t accept anything new. Especially chemists, and those pesky physicists who are always shooting down perpetual motion/free energy scams. Of course, this should stop things like the acceptance of new forms of life and the creation of a new element.

The deep sea creature could well prove to be a bit of inspiration for those intrepid exobiologists out there. I’ll keep listening to the SETI podcast Are We Alone? (which I just found out about today) and see if they mention it. They have a fun monthly “skeptic check” series which covers the usual topics.


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