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Skeptic Summary #299

By The Staff
Posted on: 9/12/2010

Burning the Koran, extending your life, telling off the Pope, terminal homeopathy, weird science and more!

Week ending September 11, 2010 (Vol 7, #34)

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:
Burning the Koran: how stupid is this? - How much pollution are we talking about?

Dr. Jeffery Life and Cenegenics - Switching aging for growing pains?

If you could have an audience with the pope… - How verbally abusive would you get?

Editor’s Choice: YEEEEEEEEEEEEE HAAAAAAA! - Does dilution of homeopathic hospitals make them work better?

Kil’s Evil Pick:
Weird Science — Welp, in my endless search to keep you up-to-date on the wonderful world of whack I found the Weird Science section of a larger site called Intelligent life on the Web. (Buzzle itself is interesting. The topics are endless and varied and apparently written by fans of the site.) Here is their introduction to the Weird Science section:
Weird science facts news and resources on websites featuring interesting, amazing and unusual facts and news. If you want to learn more about weird and unusual science phenomena, the World Wide Web will more than satisfy your search for knowledge in this particular area. Among the topics covered at these pseudoscience Web sites are UFOs, the occult, time travel, ouija boards, ancient civilizations, dream interpretation, near-death experiences, the Bermuda Triangle, the Loch Ness monster, and folklore involving ghosts, vampires, and werewolves. Other online resources on science phenomena include discussion forums, online gift shops, and data on pseudoscience organizations and their publications and sponsored events. This section features various online resources on weird and unusual science phenomena.
And indeed it does. For example, it was here I found out that Erich von Daniken, author of Chariot of the Gods planned to open a theme park in Switzerland dedicated to highlighting our alien heritage. He actually did open the park!

Yes, the articles are mostly on the oldish side. But there is a lot of neat stuff at Weird Science and Buzzle for your quick reading pleasure, and you might even find that some of the stories are worth learning more about as I did with the story about Daniken’s theme park. Oh, and there is baloney there as well…

The most interesting thing is a human who wonders, suffers & questions, knowing he’ll never get answers.
— Will Durant

Chat Highlights:
Wednesday: Chat started with coffee and the ethics of chatting while at work. When Mab’s coffee break ended, we switch over to education, mathematics, and weird professors. Then talk became about the World Fair and what the heck ever happened to it. This ended the night for me, and since I seemed to have lost the chat log, so the rest is lost to history.

Come chat with us.

New Members This Week:
Dr. Schibly

(Not a member? Become one today!)

Elsewhere in the World:
9/11 2010 — A Day I Will Not Have

Bravo, Harriet Hall!

Calif. votes to reject Texas textbook changes

Construction Complete On 9/11 Truther Memorial

The Culture of Blasphemy Among Nonbelievers

Fidel Castro’s Conspiracy Theories: Worth Considering?

Forget What You Know About Good Study Habits

Further Thoughts on the Ethics of Skepticism

Human-Like Brain Found in Worm

Inside a Great Mind

Jet Propulsion Laboratories

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

Please Vaccinate

Pope’s anti-condom message is sabotage in fight against AIDS

Settlement reached in autism-vaccine case

The Simple Truth

What’s New by Bob Park

Write for Oprah? Wrong for Me

Your letter to your child’s biology teacher

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

Book of the Week:
The Grand Design, by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow.

“The three central questions of philosophy and science: Why is there something rather than nothing? Why do we exist? Why this particular set of laws and not some other? No one can make a discussion of such matters as compulsively readable as the celebrated University of Cambridge cosmologist Hawking (A Brief History of Time). Along with Caltech physicist Mlodinow (The Drunkard’s Walk), Hawking deftly mixes cutting-edge physics to answer those key questions. For instance, why do we exist? Earth occupies a ‘Goldilocks Zone’ in space: just the perfect distance from a not-too-hot star, with just the right elements to allow life to evolve. On a larger scale, in order to explain the universe, the authors write, ‘we need to know not only how the universe behaves, but why.’ While no single theory exists yet, scientists are approaching that goal with what is called ‘M-theory,’ a collection of overlapping theories (including string theory) that fill in many (but not all) the blank spots in quantum physics; this collection is known as the ‘Grand Unified Field Theories.’ This may all finally explain the mystery of the universe’s creation without recourse to a divine creator. This is an amazingly concise, clear, and intriguing overview of where we stand when it comes to divining the secrets of the universe.”

— Publishers Weekly

This Week’s Most-Viewed Pages:
Forum Topics:
  1. Moon-walker claims alien contact cover-up
  2. Burning the Koran: how stupid is this?
  3. Funny FAILS
  4. The Supper
  5. The Battle of Tehran
  6. PZ expelled from Expelled — Dawkins slips in!
  7. Fif50ty FreAkieSt AnIMaLS
  8. Scattershots: gargoyles & grotesques
  9. The B**BQUAKE — 911 — the end of atheism
  10. I… WTF…?
  1. Fundamentalists Hate Noah’s Ark
  2. Evolving a Venom or Two
  3. Miracle Thaw Tray
  4. Cold Reading
  5. Scientific Truth
  6. Miracle Thaw — The Bogus Miracle
  7. The Bible’s Bad Fruits
  8. Evil Skeptic and a Visit to Awareness 2000
  9. B17
  10. TAM5
There were 7,148 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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