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Skeptic Summary #197

By The Staff
Posted on: 7/19/2008

Re-hi, pokey-pokey, no can run, north-vs-south, Catholics-vs-Catholics, another SFN and more!

Week ending July 19, 2008 (Vol 5, #25)

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:
Hello, world! - Siberia returns, and there was much rejoicing.

Metal wires come from tummy - A new use for office supplies.

No atheists, taxation without representation - Which states bar you from public office?

Why Canadians are more intelligent than Americans - What’s a “Canadian?”

Editor’s Choice: A Christian (Catholic) sense of proportion… - Still no condemnation of the condemners.

From the Archives: A challenge: I’m skeptical of skeptics too - Ditto for you, buddy.

Kil’s Evil Pick:
ScienceForums.Net - Yes, there is another SFN out there and it isn’t us! The good news is that it’s a science forum with lots of interesting threads and blogs. It’s a friendly and smart place and I plan to drop by often. I was turned onto the site by mooeypoo at TAM6 who caught me wearing our colors and had to know what this other SFN was about. She posts on the ScienceForums.Net site and has her own blog called Smarter Than That. When in Doubt, Try it Out! where she uses simple scientific experiments to demonstrate how much fun science can be.

If knowledge can create problems, it is not through ignorance that we can solve them.
— Isaac Asimov

Chat Highlights:
Sunday: Our Sunday chat host is on vacation.

Wednesday (the 9th): TV, music, and iPods being stolen started things up. Also, a classic Kids In the Hall video. Food was up next with cooking lettuce, Chinese cuisine, and chili cook offs. Apparently both chefcrsh and Kil are both avid chefs. However no one else was, so the nerds in the audience started discussing different methods of mathematically quantifying information. Somehow, this lead into Kil’s back at TAM6 (he is on the right, wearing the SFN t-shirt). Tennis and cooking puns, hybrid material shortage, and future predictions on energy technology ended out the night.

Wednesday (the 16th): Chat started off with talk about web design and similar subjects. Then a controversy over whether a quote was too foul for the SkeptiQuote. Oddly enough, after this came sex, necrophilia laws by state, and other moral anarchy. Things got a bit better when a new topic was found: Kil’s back and other examples of bad “design.” Education was the main subject of the night, with one chatter in academia and another going into graduate school. Advice on all aspects of the graduate life was given, from who to sleep with, to who not to sleep with. We checked in on our good friend Mozina, and it turns out not much has changed. Everything came to an end after talking about different pain relievers, including a drink called “Liquid Schwartz.”

Come chat with us.

New Members This Week:

(Not a member? Become one today!)

Elsewhere in the World:
An evil atheist and a Catholic priest have a conversation…

Arguments for God

Dear Randy Olson — A Sizzle Review

Is the Universe Actually Made of Math?

Luskin has lost it (on Altenberg)

Skeptic’s Dictionary Newsletter 93

Skepticality 80 — Skeptic Rockstars at The Amazing Meeting 6

Still no cure for cancer hysteria

Testing the plausibility effect

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:
Distracted: The Erosion of Attention and the Coming Dark Age, by Maggie Jackson.

“In this richly detailed and passionately argued book, Jackson (What’s Happening to Home?) warns that modern society’s inability to focus heralds an impending Dark Age — an era historically characterized by the decline of a civilization amid abundance and technological advancement. Jackson posits that our near-religious allegiance to a constant state of motion and addiction to multitasking are eroding our capacity for deep, sustained, perceptive attention — the building block of intimacy, wisdom and cultural progress and stunting society’s ability to comprehend what’s relevant and permanent. The author provides a lively historical survey of attention, drawing upon philosophy, the impact of scientific innovations and her own experiences to investigate the possible genetic and psychological roots of distraction. While Jackson cites modern virtual life (the social network Facebook and online interactive game Second Life), her research is largely mired in the previous century, and she draws weak parallels between romance via telegraph and online dating, and supernatural spiritualism and a newfound desire to reconnect. Despite the detours (a cultural history of the fork?), Jackson has produced a well-rounded and well-researched account of the travails facing an ADD society and how to reinvigorate a renaissance of attention.”

— Publishers Weekly

This Week’s Most-Viewed Pages:
Forum Topics:
  1. PZ expelled from Expelled — Dawkins slips in! (2,872 views)
  2. A Christian (Catholic) sense of proportion… (993 views)
  3. Possum on the half shell (599 views)
  4. Shark facts from the Discovery Channel (488 views)
  5. Stop laughing, dammit! This is serious shit! (384 views)
  6. Caesar’s Messiah by Joseph Atwill (352 views)
  7. Global communication — beta (301 views)
  8. BlackLight Power Inc.: too good to be true? (298 views)
  9. What is photorealism? (286 views)
  10. Crop circles again...... (278 views)
  1. Fundamentalists Hate Noah’s Ark (2,193 views)
  2. Evolving a Venom or Two (1,703 views)
  3. Is the Speed of Light Slowing Down? (464 views)
  4. Preaching that Anti-Evolution Propaganda (349 views)
  5. Miracle Thaw — The Bogus Miracle (272 views)
  6. 2nd Law of Thermodynamics Argument Weak on Both Sides (268 views)
  7. Evolution, Scientology Style (219 views)
  8. Evolution is a Lie, and you Skeptics KNOW it! Part 4 (218 views)
  9. Cold Reading (211 views)
  10. The Biblical support for a Flat Earth and Geocentricism (197 views)
There were 32,758 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 2008, all rights reserved.

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