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Skeptic Summary

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Skeptic Summary #309

By The Staff
Posted on: 11/27/2010

A debate, a war, a vendetta, a conflict, a hope, a horrifying list and more!

Week ending November 27, 2010 (Vol 7, #44)

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:
Dembski/Hitchens debate - Hitchens was on topic. Dembski may have sold some books.

The Gay’s war on Xmas - Promises to be colourful.

Phelps is going after children now - Vandalism refocuses WBC to picketing funerals of children.

Too many atheists? - Skepticon III: too much anti-religion for a True Skeptic?

West Memphis Three granted new trial! - Totally awesome.

Will she? - Oh yes, Palin: Please!

Kil’s Evil Pick:
The 7 Most Horrifying Museums on Earth — Yes. I know. Halloween was a month ago. But hey, I just found this and I’m not going to wait a year to recommend it. If you know anything about, you won’t be surprised to learn that they are the crazies who compiled this list of horrifying museums. They are great in the list department. Really, I should probably make the whole site my pick, but if I do that than I won’t be able select future lists from the site. But don’t let that stop you from clicking everything clickable. It’s a mixed bag over there but always entertaining, even if there are things I don’t agree with (which there are).

Photo from the Catacombe dei Cappuccini in Palermo, Sicily

Cracked’s description is brief and goes like this:
Remember being bored out of your skull because your parents dragged you to some stupid museum when you were a kid? Well, it could have been worse. Much worse.

Because there are apparently museums out there capable of inflicting the kind of trauma a person never recovers from.
Well, actually, I liked going to museums when I was a kid, but you get the idea…

As an aside, if I were compiling a list of horrifying museums I would probably include Ken Ham’s Creation Museum. But then, it could be that Ham’s museum would be a better fit on a different kind of list from Cracked’s point of view.

Anyhow, Enjoy!

Thought is hard work, occasionally unpleasant, typically frowned upon or unrewarded, and definitely unfashionable. People want simple answers in nice packages so we can get on with our day. Good luck to us, nowt wrong with that sayeth I. But let’s not pretend even for one fucking second it has any bearing on reality or the attempt to discover what that reality might be as best we can.

Chat Highlights:
Wednesday: I (Kil) have two weeks worth of chat summaries to get through. I have the log for our last chat, with much thanks to Dr. Mabuse, even though I’m not going to use it because where would I start? (I have no log for the week before.) We are now dealing with no having an official chat host, which doesn’t seem to hurt chat, but is not so great in the summary department. Anyhow, both chats were great or I would remember what went wrong, and nothing did. If you happen to be around on Wednesday evenings and are inclined to waste a couple of hours (however long you like) with fellow skeptics (talking about who knows what?) come and chat with us. We are a fun bunch!

Come chat with us.

New Members This Week:
There were no new members this week.

(Not a member? Become one today!)

Elsewhere in the World:
Astronomers find first planet from another galaxy (w/ Video)

Christopher Hitchens vs. Tony Blair: the full transcript

Cool Scientists

Do 80 percent of Scientific American subscribers deny global warming? Hardly

Fear-Based Messaging May Influence Skepticism of Global Warming

Geoffrey Crawley, 83, Dies; Gently Deflated a Fairy Hoax

Have we found the universe that existed before the Big Bang?

Hidden in Plain Sight: Researchers Find Galaxy-Scale Bubbles Extending from the Milky Way

How to make people ‘love’ nuclear power

Most atheists are not white & other non-fairy tales

A new Anomalocaris mystery

Older but Not Wiser? The Psychology Behind Seniors’ Susceptibility to Scams

Our ‘cancer controversies’ pages — a one-stop myth-busting shop

Power Balance Bracelets a Bust in IIG Test

A primatologist discovers the social factors responsible for maternal infanticide.

‘Psychic Kids’, Exploiting Children for Fun and Profit!

The real education gap

Sharks gone walkabout — how Australian great whites ended up in the Mediterranean

The Skeptic’s Dictionary Newsletter #122

Skepticality #142 — Anarchy Evolution

‘Space-time cloak’ could conceal events

Stem cells injected into the brain of a stroke patient in world first

Stonewall’s ‘coming out’ data falls into statistical trap

This Is Your Brain on Metaphors

Upping the Anti: CERN Physicists Trap Antimatter Atoms for the First Time

Weekend Image: Supernova! A Cosmic Death Ray

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:
Almost Home: My Life Story Vol 1, by Damien Echols.

Almost Home is a message to you from a faraway place. It is a message from a 12-foot by 9-foot cell in a cinderblock building surrounded by coils of razor wire in the middle of a dirt field in Arkansas. It was written by a young man named Damien Echols and it chronicles his life and his experiences in a way that clearly illuminates him, not as a monster, but as a human being. For over 10 years Damien has been an inmate on death row for a crime he did not commit. He, along with Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley have become known as The West Memphis Three, and though the story of their arrest and conviction is widely known, most people don’t know the real people behind the sound bites and the TV news segment clips. Damien has spent much of his time behind bars diligently maintaining his integrity and his sanity by writing.

Almost Home is the product of that self-discipline, and in it you will meet someone who has survived an ordeal many of us would find impossible to live through. There are a few who still believe that Damien is a devil-worshipping child killer, but as time passes and more facts rise to the surface, it becomes even more clear that he is the victim of a peculiar species of hysteria. Read this book and know the truth about him. It is an urgent message from death row; the whole story of who Damien Echols really is.”

— Product Description

This Week’s Most-Viewed Pages:
Forum Topics:
  1. Moon-walker claims alien contact cover-up
  2. Too many atheists?
  3. Funny FAILS
  4. Dracorex hogwartsia
  5. The Supper
  6. The Battle of Tehran
  7. Fif50ty FreAkieSt AnIMaLS
  8. Dembski/Hitchens debate
  9. Scattershots: gargoyles & grotesques
  10. Combat Ki?
  1. Fundamentalists Hate Noah’s Ark
  2. Evolving a Venom or Two
  3. Scientific Truth
  4. Miracle Thaw — The Bogus Miracle
  5. Is the Speed of Light Slowing Down?
  6. The Bible’s Bad Fruits
  7. N. 25, June 2002: Ecology vs. ecophily — being reasonable about saving the environment
  8. Miracle Thaw Tray
  9. Newton’s Third Law
  10. TAM5
There were 6,277 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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