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Skeptic Summary #373

By The Staff
Posted on: 9/30/2012

Found mass, forced giving, riotous movie, George Carlin, the Daily Currant and more!

Week ending September 30, 2012 (Vol 9, #22)

Welcome to the Skeptic Summary, a quick, bi-weekly review of the Skeptic Friends Network and the rest of the skeptical world.

Forum Highlights:
Even more missing mass… again! - Well, it’s found mass, really.

German Catholic 8% mandatory tithe - Give money or go to Hell.

Innocence of Muslims - The film that launched a thousand protests.

Editor’s Choice: George Carlin on aliens in our past and future - Comedy ensues…

Kil’s Evil Pick:
The Daily Currant — It’s happened more than once. In fact, it has become a pretty regular thing. Heck. I was burned the first time I took a Daily Currant story that I “shared” on Facebook as factual. It was a political story, and pretty shocking, but somehow believable. The comments rolled in. Many of my “friends” shared my sense of indignation over the story and were as duly outraged by it as I was. Then it happened: one of my more-informed friends clued us in about the story and The Daily Currant.

“Really? I was had? Me?” But then, I’m open to correction and the embarrassment of being had didn’t linger for long. In fact, I became delighted by the news.

Just yesterday, a story from the Currant hit my news feed: Bachmann: ‘We Must Ban Falafel’ in School Lunches

It took off! It was zipping all over the place, with many of my friends sharing it. And they might still be. I haven’t checked today. But here’s the thing: those sharing it were just as had as I was after my first encounter with The Daily Currant. And here’s the other thing: when I pointed the mistake out to the people posting in one thread on Facebook, I was told that I was the one who was mistaken, by at least a couple of the people commenting in the thread. Confirmation bias can turn even the most-practiced skeptical brain into jelly. It’s happened to me, it’s happened to you, and it will happen again!

But I’m not here to talk about confirmation bias, though given The Daily Currant’s style of satire, and our varying degrees of willingness to run with our biases, it’s something to think about. In fact, we might also consider Poe’s Law while we’re at it.

In fact, before I get into plugging The Daily Currant, I have to ask a question: do you know what a currant is? One important thing it isn’t is a synonym for “now.” And unless the Daily Currant were about wine news, or something about raisins or cooking, it’s pretty unlikely that a serious news site would call itself The Daily Currant. (I’m going excuse myself from making that mistake because as everyone knows, I am seriously spelling challenged. In fact my spelling is so bad, in some circles it’s referred to as Kilbonics.)

So, yes. The Daily Currant is a satirical news site. I think we have that pretty well established by now. It’s not a flashy site like the The Onion, and often has a look-and-feel close enough to something you might believe if you aren’t paying enough attention to the tip-offs, as I have already explained. In fact, one fun thing to do is to read the comments under the stories. Very often, they are from readers who were fooled.

One of these is a currant.

So what do the editors have to say about their site?
The Daily Currant is an English language online satirical newspaper that covers global politics, business, technology, entertainment, science, health and media. It is accessible from over 190 countries worldwide — now including South Sudan.

Our mission is to ridicule the timid ignorance which obstructs our progress, and promote intelligence — which presses forward.

Q. Are your newstories real?

A. No. Our stories are purely fictional. However they are meant to address real-world issues through satire and often refer and link to real events happening in the world.

Q. What distinguishes TDC from other satirical newsources?

A. There are three primary differences between TDC and its competitors:
  1. TDC is an international publication written from a global perspective.
  2. As an online-only title we seek to extensively cover the technology sector, internet culture, and social media.
  3. We attempt as often as possible to satirize issues of social relevance in order to influence the global discourse.
Q. What is the purpose of the “Take Action” links at the end of the articles?

A. The Daily Currant believes that satire can be an important tool for raising awareness of important political, social, and economic issues. On selected articles we include links to NGOs who are trying to solve the problem at the heart of the article and we encourage our readers to become involved. In some instances we may directly connect our readers with the Twitter accounts of organizations or people mentioned in our articles…

The motto of The Daily Currant is “cauta est et ab illis incipit uxor.” You will find an explanation of what that means on their about page.

So what more needs to be said? Along with The Onion, we have the The Daily Currant’s version of satirical news to make us laugh and to perhaps cause us to… who knows? It was the fool who told the king the truth, and lived to tell it to him again, another day.

When religion rather than reason dictates legislation, do not expect logic with your law.
— Hugh Hefner

Chat Highlights:
Wednesday, September 19th: This chat started out with the couple who got five years probation for praying while their son died rather than rush him to hospital for an emergency appendectomy. Then, upgrading the Internet connection, and the reasons for having Internet in the first place (note: may not be work-safe). Voting demographics were discussed for a while, age preferences, religious preferences, and combinations thereof. Also some news, like Space Shuttle Endeavor is being moved to Los Angeles. We laughed together at the Aron Ra vs. Ray Comfort debate.

Come chat with us.

New Members This Week:

(Not a member? Become one today!)

Elsewhere in the World:
Ancient Buddhist Statue Made of Meteorite, New Study Reveals

Brilliant lesson about hot reading and your online information

Can we finally just say that acupuncture is nothing more than an elaborate placebo?

Dangerous ‘cinnamon challenge’ worries poison control

Doubtful News

Facial rejuvenation by unlicensed person goes terribly wrong

Faith healer parents avoid jail after son, 16, dies in horrible pain after they tried to ‘pray away’ his burst appendix

Feathered Dinosaurs Drive Creationists Crazy

In 1994, four women were accused of sex assault. Now, a witness has recanted.

Looks like Christmas will have to be cancelled…

‘Lost’ City of Atlantis: Fact & Fable

Portland Approves Fluoridation by ’14

The Skeptic’s Dictionary Newsletter, September, 2012

A Tale of Alphaghetti Credentials: “Registered Holistic Allergists” and “BioEnergetic Intolerance Elimination”

What’s New by Bob Park

Why Is Romney Campaigning on Medical Quackery?

Why Your Brain Is Irrational about Obama and Romney

Woman Murdered by Family Exorcising Genie

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

Book of the Week:
Life After Death, by Damien Echols.

“In 1993, teenagers Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelley, Jr. — who have come to be known as the West Memphis Three — were arrested for the murders of three eight-year-old boys in Arkansas. The ensuing trial was marked by tampered evidence, false testimony, and public hysteria. Baldwin and Misskelley were sentenced to life in prison; while eighteen-year-old Echols, deemed the ‘ringleader,’ was sentenced to death. Over the next two decades, the WM3 became known worldwide as a symbol of wrongful conviction and imprisonment, with thousands of supporters and many notable celebrities who called for a new trial. In a shocking turn of events, all three men were released in August 2011.

Now Echols shares his story in full — from abuse by prison guards and wardens, to portraits of fellow inmates and deplorable living conditions, to the incredible reserves of patience, spirituality, and perseverance that kept him alive and sane while incarcerated for nearly two decades.

In these pages, Echols reveals himself a brilliant writer, infusing his narrative with tragedy and irony in equal measure: he describes the terrors he experienced every day and his outrage toward the American justice system, and offers a firsthand account of living on Death Row in heartbreaking, agonizing detail. Life After Death is destined to be a riveting, explosive classic of prison literature.”

— Book Description

This Week’s Most-Viewed Pages:
Forum Topics:
  1. Little-a versus big-A atheism
  2. Dr. Jeffery Life and Cenegenics
  3. Chupacabra sold to creationist museum
  4. German Catholic 8% mandatory tithe
  5. Funny FAILS
  6. Bedini motor
  7. The Battle of Tehran
  8. Fif50ty FreAkieSt AnIMaLS
  9. Latest on the "Antikythera Mechanism"
  10. Scattershots: gargoyles & grotesques
  1. Evolving a Venom or Two
  2. Fundamentalists Hate Noah’s Ark
  3. Miracle Thaw — The Bogus Miracle
  4. Is the Speed of Light Slowing Down?
  5. Evil Skeptic II: A visit to the Conscious Living Expo
  6. Cold Reading
  7. What is a Skeptic and Why Bother Being One?
  8. Skeptic Summary #372
  9. The Bible’s Bad Fruits
  10. The Legend of the Shrinking Sun
There were 8,208 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 2012, all rights reserved.

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