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Skeptic Summary #150

By The Staff
Posted on: 7/22/2007

Booklists, beating a theoretical dead horse, bad metaphysics, bad psychics and more!

Week ending July 21, 2007 (Vol 4, #27)

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:
20 books to die for - Death be not Proud, To Kill a Mockingbird, Death of a Salesman… - I thought this issue was settled decades ago.

Editor’s Choice: Shirley Maclaine & Kevin Ryerson - Oh, yeah? Well, wrap your noodle around this one!
Kil’s Evil Pick:
‘Psychics’ Fail to Foresee Their Own Fortunes,” by Joe Nickell.

This is a fun little article appearing this month on The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry site, that you formally knew as CSICOP.

Follow the link to Joe Nickell’s site and check out all the things he has done before becoming the first ever paid psychic investigator.
Chat Highlights:
Sunday: The Sunday chat is on vacation along with its host.

Wednesday: Bareback riding and things other than horses started off chat. No animals were hurt, so long as you don’t consider Ricky an animal. Then we got word that all of New York City blew up. Ok, it wasn’t all of New York, rather only 100 feet of it, but Jerome had trouble differentiating the two. Then on to Rock-and-Roll, drugs, and drummers. No one in chat has done all three, but some came close. An enthralling and scholarly debate came next on which is better: puppies or kittens? After much discussion we came to the startling conclusion that those who like dogs prefer puppies, those who like cats prefer kittens, neither one is better than the other, and that the universe is meaningless. The last conclusion may be under the influence of drugs. Out of nowhere, Deborah, an old friend of the SFN, logged on. While some of the older members got reacquainted, chat moved on with Kids in the Hall videos. At this point many were too stoned, or felt like stoning others, and went to bed.

Special chat note from Valiant Dancer: The steam line that burst in New York, spraying water on an electrical transformer which then promptly exploded killing one and injuring 30 was put in place in 1924. It was 83 friggin’ years old. Terrorism? HAH!!!!

Come chat with us.
New Members This Week:
Gary 7

(Not a member? Become one today!)

Elsewhere in the World:
Bad Science

Evaluating Personal Experience

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:
A Briefer History of Time, by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow.

“In the 17 years since the publication of A Brief History of Time, Dr. Hawking’s bestselling exposition of physics, new data from particle physics and observational astronomy have shed light on efforts to find a Grand Unified Theory of Everything that Hawking and Mlodinow use to enhance and update their answers to basic questions about the universe: where it’s going and how it began. Discussed at length are the mysterious dark matter and dark energy — both of which can only be observed by their gravitational effects and are believed to make up 90 percent of the universe. Another area of research that has exploded in the past 20 years is string theory. Hawking and Mlodinow provide one of the most lucid discussions of this complex topic ever written for a general audience. Readers will come away with an excellent understanding of the apparent contradictions and conundrums at the forefront of contemporary physics. Recognizing that much of their audience will also be science fiction buffs, they include a chapter on the possibility of time travel. ‘Don’t bet on it,’ the authors advise. Throughout these discussions, the authors maintain the same wry, lively tone that made the original Brief History such a delight. They close with a discussion of where physics ends and philosophy begins, ‘Why does the universe exist at all?’ They cannot provide the answer, but they do provide an immense amount of food for thought.”

— Publishers Weekly

This Week’s Most-Viewed Pages:
Forum Topics:
  1. Evolution caught in the act! (1,639 views)
  2. Stranded polar bears due to man’s warming? (687 views)
  3. Does plasma, not gravity, structure the universe? (556 views)
  4. Life on Mars/Europa (elsewhere in solar system) (474 views)
  5. Existence (396 views)
  6. Olympic myth? (338 views)
  7. 20 to die for… (315 views)
  8. Taking back the default position (304 views)
  9. FBI spying from your cell phone (278 views)
  10. Sicko (267 views)
  1. Evolving a Venom or Two (286 views)
  2. Miracle Thaw — The Bogus Miracle (71 views)
  3. Cold Reading (51 views)
  4. Evidence Cited as Hard Proof of the Existence of Satanic Cults (42 views)
  5. The Bible Answer Man (41 views)
  6. Kent Hovind is a Big Phony! (39 views)
  7. Miracle Thaw Tray (36 views)
  8. TAM4 (30 views)
  9. Skeptic Summary #149 (29 views)
  10. The Bible’s Bad Fruits (28 views)
There were 5,069 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 2007, all rights reserved.

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