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Skeptic Summary #106

By The Staff
Posted on: 8/26/2006

Storm, Pluto, Coulter, Illusions and more!

Week ending August 26, 2006 (Vol 3, #33)

Welcome to the Skeptic Summary, a quick week-in-review guide to the Skeptic Friends Network and the rest of the skeptical world.

Forum Highlights:
How the hell is everybody? - Storm posts, but then suddenly the conversation turns to the relative coolness of Southern-hemisphere countries and those picky Swiss Swedes.

Pluto Demoted - And don’t let the door hit you on the way out!

Editor’s Choice: Ann Coulter’s book: Godless - “Powerful” in the same way that ipecac is powerful.
Kil’s Evil Pick: - This site “features the world’s most mind-boggling optical illusions including games, puzzles, and artwork!” Some evil fun!
Chat Highlights:
Sunday: Storm returns to forum; some threads take longer to read; the few Sunday chatters; Skepticality show, what is bi-weekly? Aslo: Skeptic Friends Summary; Martin Luther King vs Malcom X; kittens on psych-meds; American sub-cultures; America versus Europe in education and general enlightment; nine visitors in chat; creative writing; marketing books is necessary for publishing; St Johns Wort and birth control is a bad combination; FTC, DSHEA, and FDA.

Wednesday: Starting things off was an intellectual discussion on the history and evolution of muppets and muppetry. No real conclusions were reached, but we ate a lot of cookies and were able to count them, too. Then, William Shatner and others who have destroyed a piece of Elton John’s music. Then movies and music. Ages were discussed, as well as bladder control. ESP and Randi’s challenge, I wonder if guessing which SFN member will be the next to join chat qualifies to win the prize. Maybe we’ll try again next week.

Come chat with us.
New Members This Week:
Cookie Parker
GK Paul

(Not a member? Become one today!)
New Forum Feature:
Check out our new Permalinks!

Elsewhere in the World:
Bad Science

China-Russia plan joint mission to Mars

NASA dubs space shuttle replacement ‘Orion’

Pluto gets the boot: Pluto no longer a planet, say astronomers

The Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism and Intelligent Design Review: Introduction, Chapter One and Chapter Three

Telescope set to reveal ‘Big Bang’

What’s New by Bob Park

Got some skeptic news items? Send them to us, and we’ll think about adding them.
Book of the Week:
Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid: the Book of Scary Urban Legends, by Jan Harold Brunvand.

“Rum flavored by a dead man in the cask; black widow spiders nesting in beehive hairdos; women’s intestines broiled by tanning booths; teenage couples menaced by men with hooks for hands: if these are the sorts of tales that thrill and chill you, this an anthology worth picking up. Folklorist Brunvand (The Vanishing Hitchhiker) assembles a creepy cornucopia of urban legends, organizing them by theme (‘Chills Up Your Spine,’ ‘Accidents’) and considering them in a surprisingly sedate manner. The result is a blend of ‘primary text’ urban legends (transcribed from field interviews, collected from e-mails or reprinted from local newspapers) and more reflective introductions that consider the motifs and variations of each urban legend. Some tales are old chestnuts, familiar to anyone who’s been to a camp or a slumber party in the past 50 years, but others indicate more contemporary fears: stories of vacationers waking in unfamiliar hotel rooms, groggy and minus a kidney, or rumors of sexual predators who purposefully spread HIV to their unsuspecting partners. Brunvand traces most of these legends to their roots and debunks some of the more widespread ones, but he never lets his skepticism dampen his enthusiasm for the stories themselves.”

— Publishers Weekly

This Week’s Most-Viewed Pages:
Forum Topics:
  1. Surface of the Sun (part 10) (1,410 views)
  2. Caesar’s Messiah (678 views)
  3. Coulter, Darwin & Hitler (429 views)
  4. New Virgin sighting! (418 views)
  5. How the hell is everybody? (285 views)
  6. All great truths begin as blasphemies (248 views)
  7. The water cooler (234 views)
  8. JonBenet killer found? (172 views)
  9. Warning: extreme irony (151 views)
  10. Impeach that vile, little blackguard now! (144 views)
  1. Kent Hovind is a Big Phony! (79 views)
  2. Miracle Thaw — The Bogus Miracle (71 views)
  3. Miracle Thaw Tray (48 views)
  4. Skeptic Summary #105 (47 views)
  5. Cold Reading (43 views)
  6. Dr. Dino doesn’t like our Jack Chick spoof! (40 views)
  7. Why Do Creationists Fear Evolution? (38 views)
  8. Skeptic Summary #39 (36 views)
  9. You’re an Idiot (32 views)
  10. The Laundry Solution (30 views)
There were 3,877 daily visitors this week.

More issues of the Skeptic Summary can be found in our archive.

The Skeptic Summary is produced by the staff of the Skeptic Friends Network, copyright 2006, all rights reserved.

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