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Skeptic Summary #290

By The Staff
Posted on: 6/26/2010

The last century, brutality, freakiness, magnetics, balance of power, lies and more lies, Darwin's debt, space-face and more!

Week ending June 26, 2010 (Vol 7, #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:
100 years left for humanity? - The clock is ticking…

The brutal death of a girl - A tragedy in so many ways. And still not unique.

Fif50ty FreAkieSt AnIMaLS - The Muppet drummer not included.

Magnetic Therapy - It affects your compass.

Power Balance - When put up to the test, it fell flat on its face.

Editor’s Choice: Fourthgradergate - O, the tangled web we weave…

From the Archives: Darwin’s debt to Christianity - The title says it all…

Kil’s Evil Pick:
Face in Space — This is fun. Because you will probably not be going to space anytime soon, and if you do it certainly won’t be on one of the last two shuttle missions, NASA has offered us a compromise. We can send a photo of ourselves to space and back aboard the Space Shuttle. Plus, if you sign up, you will get a certificate that says your face made it into orbit and back. Now perhaps this is on the geeky side, but I signed up and uploaded a photo of myself to NASA. My face is going to space!!!
Fly Your Face in Space

NASA wants to put a picture of you on one of the two remaining space shuttle missions and launch it into orbit. To launch your face into space and become a part of history, just follow these steps:

First… Select the Participate button at the bottom of this page and upload your image/name, which will be flown aboard the space shuttle. Don’t have a picture to upload? No problem, just skip the image upload and we will fly your name only on your selected mission!

Next… Print and save the confirmation page with your flight information.

Later… Return to this site after the landing to print your Flight Certificate — a commemorative certificate signed by the Mission Commander. You can also check on mission status, view mission photographs, link to various NASA educational resources and follow the commander and crew on Twitter or Facebook.
How can any self-respecting geek pass up on an opportunity like this one? I’m there!!!

If I am fool, it is, at least, a doubting one; and I envy no one the certainty of his self-approved wisdom.
— Lord Byron

Chat Highlights:
Wednesday the 16th: Most of the first half of the night was spent talking about food. Much of this was brought on by Kil’s pork loin, as well as a small quarrel over how long it takes onions to caramelize. We discussed everything from quick and easy recipes for those who can’t cook, to the species of popcorn, and even some 30 Rock songs. In any case, if you’re on a diet, just be glad you weren’t there. Later in the evening, we made a dramatic change to an old subject. Long ago a debate in chat broke out over this announcement and specifically this JREF thread. Once again this debate started up over whether or not Randi’s statement accidentally marginalizes atheists. By this time it was well past all of our bedtimes, and so chat came to an end.

Wednesday the 23rd: The majority of chat this week was spent talking about a subject that I am not allowed to discuss here. I’d tell you why I can’t discuss it, but I can’t discuss that either. If you were in chat, you’d know what I’m talking about. After this, part of chat was focused on PZ Myers and whether or not posting the name and hometown from an email correspondence in this post was responsible. While Myers didn’t post any more information than you would find in a “Dear Abby” column, one must also consider the ruthlessness of some of Myers’ fans. At the end of the night pop culture was the main focus, especially relating to music.

Come chat with us.

New Members This Week:

(Not a member? Become one today!)

Elsewhere in the World:
Acupuncture: A Science-Based Assessment

Alberta scientists discover largest bed of dinosaur bones


Boldly going nowhere: Nasa ends plan to put man back on Moon

A brief guide to skeptical vandalism

Charles, Prince of Piffle; A very silly man gives a very sinister speech.

Court strikes down Montgomery County fortunetelling ban

Do You Care Whether the Religious Ideas You Believe in Are True or Not?

The end of the world as we know it

Evolution Of The Eye — Intelligent Design Is Dead

Finding money for biomedical research by getting rid of woo

Football Gazing: Sports and Superstitions in South Africa

For Zeus’s sake, get behind the CFI

The Haunted: The debate about whether ghosts exist will never be settled, but for paranormal investigator John Warfield, it’s all about the search for proof

It’s time people know I’m human, psychic says

Measles outbreak kills more than 700 in Africa

Newspapers Retract ‘Climategate’ Claims, but Damage Still Done

Predictions are fine, but there are better ways to protect a population

Psychic Carla Baron Called Out on Claim of Solving Natalee Holloway Case

‘Psychic’ octopus predicts Germany victory over England

Saving Lives with Skepticism

A schism between the nice people and the demons

Secularist Schism Widens, Threatening a Movement’s Finances — and Future

The Secret Life of Chaos Part (1 - 6)

Should skeptic organizations be atheist organizations?

Skepticality #131 — The Science of the UnScientific

This Is Your Brain. Aging.

What’s New by Bob Park

When I Became a Zombie

The Wiki Religion

X-rayted pinup

Got some skeptic news items? Send them to us, and we’ll think about adding them.

Book of the Week:
Here Be Dragons: An Introduction to Critical Thinking, by Brian Dunning.

Here Be Dragons is a 40 minute video introduction to critical thinking. It is suitable for general audiences and is licensed for free distribution and public display. Most people fully accept paranormal and pseudoscientific claims without critique as they are promoted by the mass media. Here Be Dragons offers a toolbox for recognizing and understanding the dangers of pseudoscience, and appreciation for the reality-based benefits offered by real science. Here Be Dragons is written and presented by Brian Dunning, host and producer of the Skeptoid podcast, author of Skeptoid: Critical Analysis of Pop Phenomena, and Executive Producer of The Skeptologists.”

— Product Description

This Week’s Most-Viewed Pages:
Forum Topics:
  1. PZ expelled from Expelled — Dawkins slips in!
  2. The Supper
  3. Moon-walker claims alien contact cover-up
  4. Filipino Catholic bishop fears sex
  5. Funny FAILS
  6. Scattershots: gargoyles & grotesques
  7. Wrong images of Saturn
  8. Gulf oil spill
  9. Documentary: 1983 ‘Moonwalk’ was staged
  10. Quote Mine warning propaganda poster
  1. Fundamentalists Hate Noah’s Ark
  2. Evolving a Venom or Two
  3. Miracle Thaw Tray
  4. Miracle Thaw — The Bogus Miracle
  5. The PQ Test
  6. The Bible’s Bad Fruits
  7. Come & Receive your Miracle: A Sunday Afternoon at a Robert Tilton Crusade
  8. Cold Reading
  9. Is the Speed of Light Slowing Down?
  10. Kent Hovind is a Big Phony!
There were 11,443 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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The mission of the Skeptic Friends Network is to promote skepticism, critical thinking, science and logic as the best methods for evaluating all claims of fact, and we invite active participation by our members to create a skeptical community with a wide variety of viewpoints and expertise.

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