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Skeptic Summary #320

By The Staff
Posted on: 2/20/2011

Agnosticism, abortion, incest, PopSci and more!

Week ending February 19, 2011 (Vol 8, #8)

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:
Moon-walker claims alien contact cover-up - An agnostic revival of an old debate.

Bills planned to legalize abortion murders?? - Amendments with grave implications.

Editor’s Choice: I’ve just got to wonder - Whence incest?

Kil’s Evil Pick:
PopSci: The Future NowPopular Science has been a mainstay for science and tech news appealing to our inner geek since for almost one hundred and forty years now. And it’s still delivering. The online version of Popular Science, simply called PopSci, has all we have come to expect from this perennial favorite. More because it’s updated daily! Along with the latest news in science and technology, the menu includes:That’s right. A Do It Yourself section for the not-so-inner geeks out there. It just wouldn’t be Popular Science without a DIY section. All of the menu sections are broken down into sub-categories. There is no shortage of really cool news and information on the site, or things to do there.

There are also Galleries, Videos and Columns to round things out.

October, 1934, Popular Science cover

About Popular Science:
Delivering an authoritative, tantalizing, “I can’t believe what I’m seeing” glimpse at the future has been the central promise of this magazine since it was founded, and we deliver on that promise more emphatically than ever before. Here is the core belief that Popular Science and our readers share: The future is going to be better, and science and technology are the driving forces that will help make it better. Popular Science gives our readers the information and tools to improve their technology and their world. — Mark Jannot, Editor
About PopSci:
Popular Science has been a leading source of science and technology news since its inception way back in 1872. first came online in 1999, and in 2008 we launched our biggest redesign yet: a new site built in Drupal that’s easy to navigate and chock-full of exciting daily content.

The new is also highly customizable, so finding the content you’re interested in is a breeze. The whole site is organized by keywords, so for instance, if you click the “robot” tag, you’ll see only articles about robots. You can also search in the traditional way, or use our channel buttons to instantly sort content by category. And the latest stories about the topics that interest you most can be sent right to your newsreader with our custom RSS feeds.

With up-to-the-minute tech news, insightful commentary on the new innovations, and even scientific takes on the hottest Hollywood stories, we aim to be your first stop for what’s new and what’s next.
Don’t neglect your inner geek. It needs to be fed.

All generalizations are false, including this one.
— Mark Twain

Chat Highlights:
Wednesday: We started out comparing who had the best supervisor at work, then continued talking about stock trading which is not operating on common sense. Meeting skeptics at the pub is fun unless you sleep through the meeting. The ignored sent a comic strip to the wrong chat. At least I (Dr. Mabuse) enjoyed them anyway. Kil told us about his brother, and the woo fair they went to. Puns weren’t as abundant as they usually are.

Come chat with us.

New Members This Week:

(Not a member? Become one today!)

Elsewhere in the World:
Anonymous delivers ultimatum to Westboro Baptist Church

Australopithecus afarensis: a “committed terrestrial biped”

Climate change keenly felt in Alaska’s national parks

The Emperor’s Gnude Clothes

Energy Drinks May Pose Risk to Young People

FYI: What Does Space Smell Like?

The growth of student atheism

In case of overdose, consult a lifeguard

Mark Vernon on evolution: out of his depth again

A Nationwide Day for Honoring Charles Darwin, but Handled With Caution

Nonsense From Zuckerman

Religion: the ultimate tyranny

Skepticality #148 — The Secret Lives of Cells

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:
From Neurons to Self-Consciousness: How the Brain Generates the Mind, by Bernard Korzeniewski.

“What is consciousness? What does it mean to be aware of something, to be aware of our selves? To explain scientifically these questions and other aspects of mind is the ultimate goal of current brain research.

In this overview of what is now known about brain functioning, biophysicist Bernard Korzeniewski constructs a novel theory about how consciousness gradually emerged in the course of evolution from the single neuron in certain species of sea anemone to the complex neural network of the human brain.

He first explains how integrative and associative neural structures form the material substrate of the subjective conceptual network. He goes on to demonstrate how the system of instincts plus reward and punishment mechanisms makes the neural/conceptual network intentional. Finally, he argues that self-consciousness emerged when the cognitive center in the brain, which evolved to receive signals from sensory receptors, began to receive signals from itself. It thus created a representational model of itself within itself, and from this our sense of self-awareness emerged.

In the end, the author suggests that as more is learned about the working of the brain, philosophical problems that have caused centuries of speculation will simply be resolved by the facts of neurophysiology.

Rich in detail about the latest brain research yet accessible to the lay reader, this stimulating book offers much to ponder.”

— Product Description

This Week’s Most-Viewed Pages:
Forum Topics:
  1. Moon-walker claims alien contact cover-up
  2. Funny FAILS
  3. Webcam, bald eagle nest
  4. The Supper
  5. Dr. Jeffery Life and Cenegenics
  6. PZ expelled from Expelled — Dawkins slips in!
  7. ‘David Mabus’ (Dennis Markuze) vs. Nostradamus
  8. ‘Zion Oil’ getting into hot water?
  9. I’ve just got to wonder
  10. “Obamacare” unconstitutional?
  1. Fundamentalists Hate Noah’s Ark
  2. Evolving a Venom or Two
  3. Miracle Thaw — The Bogus Miracle
  4. Cold Reading
  5. Scientific Truth
  6. Skeptic Summary #319
  7. The Bible’s Bad Fruits
  8. Miracle Thaw Tray
  9. Kent Hovind is a Big Phony!
  10. N. 25, June 2002: Ecology vs. ecophily — being reasonable about saving the environment
There were 6,815 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 2011, all rights reserved.

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