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Skeptic Summary #146

By The Staff
Posted on: 6/17/2007

Museum reflux, unethics, a joke, Chinese fakery, Philly psychics, podcasts, the gap, Null Hypothesis and more!

Weeks ending June 16, 2007 (Vol 4, #23)

Welcome to the Skeptic Summary, a quick week-in-review guide to the Skeptic Friends Network and the rest of the skeptical world. Except that this week we will be highlighting the last two weeks.

Forum Highlights:
An analysis of the Creation Museum(?) - The injured horse gets kicked again, but the damn thing just won’t die.

Can feelings be unethical? - Sure, if the money is right.

DHMO: poison or beneficial - One of the most truthful things posted by Jerome.

Fakery turns fatal: China… - Hijack: is regulation a good thing?

Philly shuts down psychics who profit! - I foresee this thread to be long lived or suffer from an untimely demise.

Editor’s Choice: Podcasts - Please help fill out this resource even more.

From the Archives: God of the Gap - markie revisits the “god of the gaps” argument.
Kil’s Evil Pick:
Null Hypothesis, the Journal of Unlikely Science - The name of the site is a pretty straightforward description of what you will find there…
Chat Highlights:
Sunday: (June 3rd) Chat started without me (Kil), which was fine. When I arrived, about an hour late, there were several people there including Derek and some of those strange people from the Skepticality forum. If I could remember any of the topics, I would list them. But alas, I can’t log chats and have a poor memory for that sort of thing. Chat went on for a long time, maybe four or five hours, so we must have been having fun, I think. And most certainly, with Jerome in attendance, subjects of some substance were probably touched upon and then abandoned by the truckload. All in all it was a great chat and I could have written this summary without even having been there…

Wednesday: (June 6th) Natural disasters started chat off as Trish’s house was being huffed, puffed, and blown away by 70mph winds. Kil also suffered from his own non-natural disaster earlier in the day. When opening a can of tomatoes he cut his left index finger to the bone and had to get 6 stitches. You can safely assume that kilbonics were more than frequent. Conversation switched from topic to topic, finally landing on attracting nuts at the bar, pickup lines, and unusual train conversations. Then presidential elections, suggesting candidates such as Schwartzenegger (not eligible) and Robertson (not sane) and comparing heights to see if we can predict who will be the next to win. The night slowly came to an end with computer problems, PoS classes (Philosophy of Science), and dumb laws.

Sunday: (June 10th) Energy-extraction ideas that fall on conservation-of-energy principles; TINSTAAFL (There Is No Such Thing As A Free Lunch).

Wednesday: (June 13th) A not-so-interesting math problem and pies kicked things off. Of course, the only next logical step in chat was gluten-free foods. Points were made, topics were argued, but in the end, everything was concluded to be delicious. Following this was a detailed discussion of several forum issues. Then birthdays as Dave celebrated the 16th anniversary of his 25th. Some jokes about adult entertainment scared most away. However those who stayed talked about programming and job interviews, which ended out the night.

Come chat with us.
New Members This Week:

(Not a member? Become one today!)

Elsewhere in the World:
Bad Science

David Brin Predicts the Future

Popular Crackpot Podcast - Interview with Zeb Haradon

Skepticality #054 - Rock Ness! Interview: Benjamin Radford co-author of Lake Monster Mysteries

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:
Leaving the Fold: Testimonies of Former Fundamentalists, by Edward T. Babinski (editor).

“…the key contribution of Zimring’s book is not to prove a single theory of crime causation, but rather to show how difficult it is to isolate a single factor as a sufficient explanation. Look at the three most popular reasons for fluctuations in the crime rate: imprisonment, demography, and the economy. Among national and local legislators, lengthy sentences are justified for reasons of justice, incapacitation, and deterrence. Like most criminologists, Zimring does not deny that imprisonment is justifiable; however, he questions its marginal effectiveness. We need prisons, but do we require as many as we now have? Do we need such lengthy sentences? Imprisonment is expensive… [and] it diverts funds from other public needs, such as education. Most of our sentencing policies, in fact, have nothing to do with policy analysis — rather, they are gut-level responses, as politicians don’t want to be susceptible to a charge of being ‘soft on crime.’ …We may never know precisely what caused the great American crime decline and why it is ending in most, though not all, cities across the nation. But Zimring’s book provides powerful evidence that traditional thinking about crime rises and declines may be outmoded, while the most conventional but least appreciated reason — good management producing good policing — may presently provide the best answer”

— Jerome Skolnick, Democracy

This Week’s Most-Viewed Pages:
Forum Topics:
  1. USA is a de facto communist state (824 views)
  2. Can feelings be unethical? (712 views)
  3. Randi and global warming (489 views)
  4. Federal Reserve Act of 1913 (460 views)
  5. Religion versus vaccines — sound familiar? (447 views)
  6. Low cost energy from water? (427 views)
  7. Debunked: ‘world wide scientific consensus’ (416 views)
  8. Defending Phelps (352 views)
  9. Fakery turns fatal: China (333 views)
  10. Taking back the default position (291 views)
  1. Evolving a Venom or Two (272 views)
  2. Miracle Thaw — The Bogus Miracle (88 views)
  3. Kent Hovind is a Big Phony! (51 views)
  4. Cold Reading (50 views)
  5. Miracle Thaw Tray (46 views)
  6. TAM4 (46 views)
  7. Evidence Cited as Hard Proof of the Existence of Satanic Cults (40 views)
  8. The Bible’s Bad Fruits (26 views)
  9. Skeptic Summary #145 (26 views)
  10. Evil Skeptic II: A visit to the Conscious Living Expo (23 views)
There were 5,813 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 2007, all rights reserved.

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