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Skeptic Summary #334
By The Staff
Posted on: 6/12/2011
Sharia, free will, podcasts, Science360 and more!
Week ending June 11, 2011 (Vol 8, #22)
Welcome to the Skeptic Summary, a quick week-in-review guide to the Skeptic Friends Network and the rest of the skeptical world.
Anti-Sharia Laws spreading across America - An hysteria of distrusting the Constitution.
Free will as a depletable resource - Not as a divine resource, but mental fatigue.
Skeptical podcasts - A list of links to some of them, at least.
Kil’s Evil Pick:
Science360 Knowledge Network — My pick this week is another collection of science videos. This collection is sponsored by The National Science Foundation as a part of their science news service.
Also featured are articles and blogs and live streaming Science360 Radio and podcast. (I’m listening to it now!) From the relaunch discription:
The National Science Foundation (NSF) has made improvements to the agency’s daily news service, Science360. These changes highlight the success of the news service over the past seven months and allows quick access to the latest information and news about scientific discoveries to news outlets and the public.The video part of the Science360 topics menu includes:And even a K-12 & Education section. All of the topics include a short description of what the category includes. For example, the Astronomy & Space topic description is:
New features include:
Web syndication service to media, universities, agencies, institutions and other outlets
Easy access to all past audio, video, breaking story and picture of the day sections
New search tool to easily look for content by subject or supporting institution
Easier subscription management feature for the daily email blast
“These improvements allow NSF to provide reliable, fresh content about the latest discoveries in science and engineering research,” said Jeff Nesbit, NSF director of legislative and public affairs. “With content from NSF, other agencies, and universities and institutions across the country, news outlets and others can disseminate the best science and engineering news through videos, podcasts, images, articles and blogs on their own sites.”
Science360 is an up-to-date view of breaking science news from around the world. Various news formats are brought to subscribers daily including breaking news, audio and video selections, latest research published in journals and much more.
Astronomy may well be the oldest science of all, seeking answers to questions such as: “Where did it all come from?” and “Are we alone?” But, today’s astronomers are focusing on phenomena our forbearers never imagined—planets orbiting other stars, for example; black holes the size of our solar system; galaxies being driven apart by invisible “dark energy”; ripples in the fabric of space and time; and of course the big bang, where time itself began.
There is also an All Series menu that links to multiple video presentations. And all of videos are great, by the way. I wouldn’t be recommending the site if they weren’t. I mean really!
From the Science360 Knowledge Network About page:
Science360 Knowledge Network immerses visitors in the latest wonders of science, engineering, technology and math. We gather the latest science videos provided by scientists, colleges and universities, science and engineering centers, the National Science Foundation and more. Each video is embeddable to put on your own personal websites, blogs and social networking pages. Science360 engages the general public, science junkies and students alike in the cutting-edge discoveries and big science stories of the day…
NSF Launches Science360 for iPad Application
So there you have it. Science, science and more science! You can thank me later if this pick is new to you. Maybe next week I’ll veer off again into the world of baloney again. I don’t know. I keep finding these great resources and it still thrills me that there are so many wonderful science sites and they are right at our fingertips!
Science is the great antidote to the poison of enthusiasm and superstition.
— Adam Smith
Wednesday: We started out discussing car engines and motorcycles. Dr. Mabuse also mentioned the funny story about how his bike’s license plate ended up on someone else’s bike. Cuneiformist also turned up talking about his good fortune, and Cuneiform work. There was the occasional bad pun, both about Cuneiform and song lyrics, then TAM and hotels got mentioned. Debates on Facebook aren’t as good as on a forum, for many reasons, but that won’t stop anti-vaxers whose emotional responses are illogical.
Come chat with us.
New Members This Week:
Mrs CJ Parker
(Not a member? Become one today!)
Elsewhere in the World:
Are human beings extinction proof?
“A Boy Named Sue” Revisited
Carla Baron Complains About Fake Psychics
The deeper the data set, the more it can tell you
How to effect change?
Kumaré: A True Film About a False Prophet
‘Psychic’ call sparks huge police hunt
Site hints at Asian roots for human genus
The Skeptic’s Dictionary Newsletter #128
Spectacular and sparkling, but what is it?
What’s New by Bob Park
You Have Been Poked By God
Got some skeptic news items? Send them to us, and we’ll think about adding them.
Book of the Week:
The Believing Brain: From Ghosts and Gods to Politics and Conspiracies — How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as Truths, by Michael Shermer.
“Bestselling author Michael Shermer’s comprehensive and provocative theory on how beliefs are born, formed, reinforced, challenged, changed, and extinguished
In this work synthesizing thirty years of research, psychologist, historian of science, and the world’s best-known skeptic Michael Shermer upends the traditional thinking about how humans form beliefs about the world. Simply put, beliefs come first and explanations for beliefs follow. The brain, Shermer argues, is a belief engine. From sensory data flowing in through the senses, the brain naturally begins to look for and find patterns, and then infuses those patterns with meaning. Our brains connect the dots of our world into meaningful patterns that explain why things happen, and these patterns become beliefs. Once beliefs are formed the brain begins to look for and find confirmatory evidence in support of those beliefs, which accelerates the process of reinforcing them, and round and round the process goes in a positive-feedback loop of belief confirmation. Shermer outlines the numerous cognitive tools our brains engage to reinforce our beliefs as truths.
Interlaced with his theory of belief, Shermer provides countless real-world examples of how this process operates, from politics, economics, and religion to conspiracy theories, the supernatural, and the paranormal. Ultimately, he demonstrates why science is the best tool ever devised to determine whether or not a belief matches reality.”
— Product Description
This Week’s Most-Viewed Pages:
- The Mythicist position
- Funny FAILS
- Free will as a depletable resource
- Dr. Jeffery Life and Cenegenics
- Moon-walker claims alien contact cover-up
- The Zeitgeist evidence
- The Supper
- Skeptical podcasts
- The Battle of Tehran
- Stan Lee’s superhumans
There were 7,693 daily visitors this week.
- Evolving a Venom or Two
- Fundamentalists Hate Noah’s Ark
- Miracle Thaw — The Bogus Miracle
- What is a Skeptic and Why Bother Being One?
- Evolution is a Lie
- The PQ Test
- The Myth of the Missing Moon Dust
- The Bible’s Bad Fruits
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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