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Skeptic Summary #170

By The Staff
Posted on: 12/15/2007

Global denial, recognizing Xmas, prediction recap, hacked, fe-sun, holiday shopping and more!

Week ending December 15, 2007 (Vol 4, #47)

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:
An international team of MMGW deniers (scientists) - There’s a reason Bill scott put “scientists” in parentheses.

H. Res. 847: Recognizing Christmas and Christians - Riling up the Separatists!

SFN Psychic Predictions Contest discussion - Get those ad hoc excuses ready, folks!

Editor’s Choice: A little bit hacked - One of our many fans leaves us a gift.

From the Archives: Surface of the Sun - The thread that launched two thousand posts (give or take).
Kil’s Evil Pick:
Okay folks, here it is: in my holiday quest to bring you the coolest of the cool in holiday gift shopping, I offer, for your consideration,

This site doesn’t really sell the stuff, as near as I can tell. What they do is to locate and offer links to cool stuff from other vendors, which means that they have taken the work out of finding the weirdest, goofiest, coolest, geekiest, and some of the smartest gifts I have seen in one place on the web.

Click on to every menu category. Even if you don’t buy anything, you will still be entertained.

Also, for your online shopping pleasure, and because the above store is a bit short on art of the artist kind, which I am used to seeing on the walls and counters of some of my favorite cool shops in my part of the world, I suggest that you take a look at Painted Primate Artwork by Martha Knox to round things out.

Of course, this is the Skeptic Friends Network and we have a gift shop of our own, so if you are feeling the need to spread some holiday skepticism around, how about sending one of our T-shirts or mugs to that certain someone?

Now just try to tell me that I don’t know what these holidays are about…
The wise skeptic does not teach
doubt but how to look for the
permanent in the mutable and
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
Chat Highlights:
Sunday: Blood pressure meds; what is a second cousin? Golden Compass and Narnia comparison, and the atheist controversy; the movie 300 and its visuals; shooters tired of malls go to church… surely a tragedy behind the shooter. Going postal in a post office? TAM or Dragon*Con next time?

Wednesday: The night opened with music and different ways to obtain it. Then a discussion on criterion for separating mathematics from science. It was nicely summed up by Dave: “In math you get to pick-and-choose your axioms for a particular problem. In science, we only get the one universe.” Jerome dropped by and got kicked out. Then, how to propose with a Star Wars theme. This seemed to scare most away but not before a quick discussion about marf’s art, and staff talk.

Come chat with us.
New Members This Week:

(Not a member? Become one today!)

Elsewhere in the World:
Skepticality #067 — Humanistic Judaism and Lily The Pink — Interview: Michael Adelson

Top 10 Scientific Discoveries of 2007

Twisting the Pope’s words on climate change

What’s New by Bob Park

Why Pregnant Women Don’t Tip Over

Got some skeptic news items? Send them to us, and we’ll think about adding them.
Book of the Week:
Super Crunchers: Why Thinking-by-Numbers Is the New Way to Be Smart, by Ian Ayres.

“Yale Law School professor and econometrician Ayres argues in this lively and enjoyable book that the recent creation of huge data sets allows knowledgeable individuals to make previously impossible predictions. He calls the data set analysts super crunchers and discusses the changes they’re making to industries like medical diagnostics, air travel pricing, screenwriting and online dating services. Although Ayres presents both sides of this revolution, explaining how the corporate world tries to manipulate consumer behavior and telling consumers how to fight back, his real mission is to educate readers about the basics of statistics and hypothesis testing, spending most of his time in an edifying and entertaining discussion of the use of regression and randomization trials. He frequently asks whether statistical methods are more accurate than the more intuitive conclusions drawn by experts, and consistently concludes that they are. Ayres skillfully demonstrates the importance that statistical literacy can play in our lives, especially now that technology permits it to occur on a scale never before imagined.”

— Publishers Weekly

This Week’s Most-Viewed Pages:
Forum Topics:
  1. We’d invite Hitler to speak, says Columbia dean (1,687 views)
  2. LiLo (Behe) is back! (1,115 views)
  3. FYI: let’s say thanks (700 views)
  4. An international team of MMGW deniers (scientists) (647 views)
  5. Rejoice Republicans, the Savior approacheth (641 views)
  6. The Bible (376 views)
  7. Four reasons to believe in God (316 views)
  8. Nazi Christmas (309 views)
  9. Ron Paul: not your hero (301 views)
  10. Religion versus vaccines — sound familiar? (294 views)
  1. Fundamentalists Hate Noah’s Ark (1,015 views)
  2. Evolving a Venom or Two (630 views)
  3. Miracle Thaw — The Bogus Miracle (120 views)
  4. The Bible’s Bad Fruits (119 views)
  5. Miracle Thaw Tray (53 views)
  6. Skeptic Summary #169 (45 views)
  7. Cold Reading (43 views)
  8. Kent Hovind is a Big Phony! (36 views)
  9. Skeptic Summary #152 (32 views)
  10. Is the Speed of Light Slowing Down? (28 views)
There were 8,324 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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