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Skeptic Summary #321

By The Staff
Posted on: 3/5/2011

Booze, aliens, morality, Dennis, Modern Mechanix and more!

Week ending March 05, 2011 (Vol 8, #9)

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:
Break out the good booze! - Calling for riot police to use live ammunition has consequences.

ETs are here, despite guesses to the contrary - Wow! Never would have guessed…

Morality — objective, subjective, or what? - I’m guessing… what.

Editor’s Choice: Clean-up on aisle four - Feel free to beat up on Mabus here.

Kil’s Evil Pick:
Modern Mechanix — Yesterday’s Tomorrow Today — This is a blog with articles culled from the old Modern Machanics magazine and other sources. The site includes many articles in their original form, including the wonderful illustrations that make the site worth the price of admission all on their own. There is a place to comment but in general, the articles are what they were as first written with little comment from the administrators of the site.

And oh what fun! The menu is long and sometimes cross-referenced. It includes:
  • Cover Gallery
  • Advertisements
  • Ahead of its time
  • Animals
  • Communications
  • Computers
  • Cool
  • Crime and Police
  • DIY
  • Entertainment
  • From the Archives
  • General
  • History
  • House and Home
  • How to
  • Impractical
  • Just Weird
  • Medical
  • Origins
  • Personal Appearance
  • Photography
  • Robots
  • Scary
  • Science
  • Sign of the Times
  • Site News
  • Space
  • Sports
  • Transportation
  • Useful
  • Useless Tech
  • War
And no. I’m not providing links. There are just too many of them, and I really couldn’t decide which ones were the standouts. The articles seem to run from the early twenties to well into the eighties. All of them are either weird, or prophetic, or informative, or cool (one of the categories) or a combination of all those things. I couldn’t find anything, by clicking onto a menu category that wasn’t surprising in some fun way.

So, in keeping with my ongoing mission to bring you the best of our geek history, I offer for your consideration Modern Mechanix — Yesterday’s Tomorrow Today as this week’s pick.

Bonus Evil Pick! Alien Abduction — From the The Skeptic’s Dictionary. This happens to be a pertinent article for this week if you follow our forums.

Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions.
— Thomas Jefferson

Chat Highlights:
Wednesday the 23rd: Chat started out with some bad news, and good news: one member lost money on a stock market trade, the other one gained. Will it even out? Who knows… Trouble in North Africa affects trade. Glenn Beck says trade in gold, Kil says pork bellies. After agreeing upon the evils of trading stocks and the banking system, discussion turned to unions and Wisconsin and the troubles there. Union in trouble! Finally, everybody in the chat decided it was time to hit the sack.

Wednesday the 2nd: We started out discussing the evils of market economy. Well, perhaps not the economy as such but the blatant greed of the production owners who leave only scraps for those actually do the producing. The discussion turned to financially stable investment coices like porn and drugs, although both those alternatives seem to be highly competitive markets. There was an argument about what hippies look like, and what sets them apart from old hipsters and musicians. We also discussed the down-side of hiring Hells Angels as concert security or repo-men.

Come chat with us.

New Members This Week:
le Penseur

(Not a member? Become one today!)

Elsewhere in the World:
An airplane con(spiracy)trail

Discovery’s Last Launch a Spectacular Sight

Drug trial secrecy leaves us dependent on blind faith

Four New Species of Zombie Ant Fungi Discovered in Brazilian Rainforest

Has Earth’s Sixth Mass Extinction Already Arrived?

How old is the earth, and how do we know?

How security can be more theatre than reality

Inside Edition Investigates Power Bracelets

Investigating Ghost Tech

Meet Diania the walking cactus, an early cousin of life’s great winners

Morgellons and Medical Skepticism: Fibers under Your Skin? You’re Crazy.

NASA Spacecraft Images New Zealand Quake Region

The Skeptic’s Dictionary Newsletter #125

Skepticality #149 — The Upside of Irrationality

What’s New by Bob Park

Woman sues energy bracelet company

World’s Most Powerful Optical Microscope: Microscope Could ‘Solve the Cause of Viruses’

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

Book of the Week:
Alien Abductions: Creating a Modern Phenomenon, by Terry Matheson.

“In the growing collection of pseudoscientific works on alien abductions, Matheson provides a refreshingly rational breath of fresh air. He takes an unusual approach by using a literary rather than strictly scientific analysis of the stories. Working with narratives from various abduction accounts, Matheson shows how those accounts have been used, reinterpreted, and sometimes deliberately altered by different authors. He uses such books as Whitley Strieber’s Communion (1987) and Raymond Fowler’s The Allagash Abductions (1993) to demonstrate how the stories have evolved over time, building on one another and evolving their own internal logic. The stories reflect society, and many blatantly ‘borrow’ from images in the popular media. Although the examination of inconsistencies in the accounts is illuminating, the more fascinating aspect of the work is Matheson’s interpretation of the stories as an arising new mythos that describes and interprets our modern culture. He believes that as society has become increasingly depersonalizing and coldly technological, so have the reports of the abductions.”

— Booklist

This Week’s Most-Viewed Pages:
Forum Topics:
  1. ETs are here, despite guesses to the contrary
  2. Moon-walker claims alien contact cover-up
  3. The Supper
  4. Webcam, bald eagle nest
  5. Dr. Jeffery Life and Cenegenics
  6. Funny FAILS
  7. Crabby Appleton
  8. PZ expelled from Expelled — Dawkins slips in!
  9. ‘Zion Oil’ getting into hot water?
  10. Fif50ty FreAkieSt AnIMaLS
  1. Fundamentalists Hate Noah’s Ark
  2. Evolving a Venom or Two
  3. Miracle Thaw — The Bogus Miracle
  4. The PQ Test
  5. The Bible’s Bad Fruits
  6. Scientific Truth
  7. Is the Speed of Light Slowing Down?
  8. Kent Hovind is a Big Phony!
  9. Miracle Thaw Tray
  10. Cold Reading
There were 7,424 daily visitors this week.
Last Month’s Most-Viewed Pages:
Forum Topics:
  1. Moon-walker claims alien contact cover-up
  2. The Supper
  3. Funny FAILS
  4. Webcam, bald eagle nest
  5. Dr. Jeffery Life and Cenegenics
  6. ETs are here, despite guesses to the contrary
  7. PZ expelled from Expelled — Dawkins slips in!
  8. Wow!
  9. “Obamacare” unconstitutional?
  10. ‘Zion Oil’ getting into hot water?
  11. Alan Grayson to Chris Matthews on the swine Cheney
  12. ‘David Mabus’ (Dennis Markuze) vs. Nostradamus
  13. Scattershots: gargoyles & grotesques
  14. Stan Lee’s superhumans
  15. Crabby Appleton
  16. Beelzebufo ampinga
  17. Wrong images of Saturn
  18. Judgment Day — The End of Atheism
  19. Bathynomus giganteus, a really cool isopod!
  20. DMV Senior Motorcyclist Handbook
  1. Fundamentalists Hate Noah’s Ark
  2. Evolving a Venom or Two
  3. Miracle Thaw — The Bogus Miracle
  4. Scientific Truth
  5. The Bible’s Bad Fruits
  6. Cold Reading
  7. Is the Speed of Light Slowing Down?
  8. Miracle Thaw Tray
  9. Kent Hovind is a Big Phony!
  10. TAM5
  11. More on the Polonium 218 Controversy
  12. N. 25, June 2002: Ecology vs. ecophily — being reasonable about saving the environment
  13. The Laundry Solution
  14. The Myth of the Missing Moon Dust
  15. Questioning the Validity of False Memory Syndrome
  16. Newton’s Third Law
  17. Skeptic Summary #318
  18. Evolution is a Lie
  19. Preaching that Anti-Evolution Propaganda
  20. Quantum Age Water
There were 28,539 daily visitors in February, 2011.

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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