Archive for the 'Enlightning Bolts' Category

Enlightning Bolts – 10.31.2010

Happy Halloween everyone! Here are some links to things I’ve been wanting to blog about but haven’t found the time.

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The local skeptics group had their first SkeptiCamp. I didn’t make it out but they’re posting videos of their talks on the Winnipeg Skeptics Blog. There are three so far and I believe more to come.

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This Church has a built-in dinosaur – and I don’t mean the Ken Hamm sadle-wearing kind.

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Here‘s the blog of the 15-year-old Rhys Morgan, who is suffering from Crohn’s disease, and it bravely (and effectively) fighting against quacks who are selling bleach (BLEACH!!!) to Crohn’s sufferers and claiming that it’s a miracle cure.

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This guy saved another man’s life using physics. Science!

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Old Weather is a cool citizen science project that allows you help transcribe WWI-era ships’ weather observations to help build climate models.

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And, just because, here are some pictures of the recent snowfall here and the pumpkins I carved:

Enlightning Bolts – 07.05.2010 – Female Bloggers Edition

I recently posted a list of skeptical female bloggers (and websites, podcasts, etc.) and have been slowly making my way through them reading what they have to say. So I thought I would make a special Enlightning Bolts to highlight some of the posts I’ve been enjoying…

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Rachael posted a positive story about how kids’ perceptions of scientists changed after they met some scientists.

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Angie the Anti-Theist has an interesting multi-part piece on her experience with Alcoholics Anonymous. Here’s Part 1.

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Doubtful Daughter has written about how much more she questions things now that she’s not a “believer”…it might as well have been written by me!

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Apparently it’s Relocate Religious Books Month! I’ve never moved a book from its spot in the bookstore if it’s in the wrong section, I tend to think that’s just making the employees’ jobs harder, but I have mentioned to staff that certain books shouldn’t be in the Science section and gotten results. I also sometimes move Skeptic Magazine over so that it’s covering the woo-ish UFO and Biblical Archeology magazines – they’re in the same section so I don’t feel bad about doing that!

Enlightning Bolts – 07.02.2010

Hi all, aside from responding to as many comments as I’ve been able to manage lately, I’ve been absent from the blog ever since I declared my will to stick with it. I have a good excuse though, and it’s not to do with frustrations this time. I bought a house! As anyone who has bought a house knows, it’s time consuming and stressful so I’ve opted for spending my internet time on things that hurt my brain less like xkcd and SMBC (if you haven’t yet discovered these wonderful web comics, you’re welcome).

So I thought I would share some Enlightning Bolts today, and I’ll post as frequently as possible during my move over the next couple of months.

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I was sad to learn that outspoken atheist, and my favourite Vanity Fair columnist, Christopher Hitchens, has cancer. The press release is light on details, hopefully they caught it early enough and he is able to recover quickly.

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Will Phillips is the ten-year-old activist who refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance in his classroom because there isn’t “liberty and justice for all” if gay couples don’t have the right to marry. He deserves a treat, don’t you think? Well, his birthday is coming up in September, why not donate a few dollars to help send this wonderful and deserving kid to DragonCon?

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Should we or shouldn’t we be de-oiling birds in the Gulf?

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Jesus likes grilled cheese, but Buddha prefers termites (pictured).

Enlightning Bolts – 03.08.2010

There’s a new podcast and it’s for skeptical parents! I’m not a skeptical parent (yet) but it’s still an interesting podcast: The Podcast Beyond Belief.

One of many sad examples of where failure to immunize kills. On the positive side of things, 85 million African kids will be getting the polio vaccine.

Ouch! The psychic Oscar predictions I posted the other night only guessed 2 correct out of 10 picks. This non-psychic did much better.

This New York Times article highlights some of the abuses of the Church of Scientology, as described by people who escaped the cult.

One of my favourite shows, Community, and one of the few shows that I can think of featuring a positive atheist character (and a female one to boot!) has been picked up for a second season. Watch their reaction to the news here.

Neil deGrasse Tyson talks about how lame hollywood aliens are. Except for the Blob. That one is A-O-K.

Enlightning Bolts *Video Edition* – 02.11.2010

This post is going to be short and sweet, but it will link you to lots of awesome videos that I’ve been loving. Enjoy!

College Humour takes on the end of the world.

The history of the universe…flipbook style.

Dragon’s Den berates a snake-oil salesman.

Jimmy Kimmel responds to the Tim Tebow ad.

Have a nice weekend!

Enlightning Bolts – 02.02.2010

Here is an amazing video of life in the water in the Antarctic. Carnivorous seastars. So. Freaking. Cool.

The new hosts of the Point of Inquiry podcast have been announced. Karen Stollznow I don’t know too much about, Robert Price I love (I’m currently reading one of his books), but the person who is going to be the main host is Chris Mooney. Mooney is a pretty controversial choice, as he is critical of many of the anti-accommodationist views that many regular Point of Inquiry guests hold, so I’m worried that he won’t be as impartial as DJ Grothe. Here are Russell Blackford’s concerns. I’m going to try to keep an open mind and judge for myself once the new episodes are released.

The 10:23 Campaign to protest the sale of homeopathy in pharmacies “forced the New Zealand Council of Homeopaths to admit openly that their products do not contain any ‘material substances’. Council spokeswoman Mary Glaisyer admitted publicly that ‘there´s not one molecule of the original substance remaining’ in the diluted remedies that form the basis of this multi-million-dollar industry.” Win!

Mark Twain wrote a hilarious response to a snake-oil salesman who tried to sell him something called “The Elixer of Life”: “The person who wrote the advertisements is without doubt the most ignorant person now alive on the planet; also without doubt he is an idiot, an idiot of the 33rd degree, and scion of an ancestral procession of idiots stretching back to the Missing Link.”

Enlightning Bolts – 01.28.2010

Dr. Rachael Dunlop of the Skeptic Zone podcast is up for a Shorty Award (a Twitter contest), in the category of health. She’s up against some alternative medicine pushers, so if you have a Twitter account vote!

If you’re in favour of English Libel Law reform (keeping libel laws out of science), check out this website and sign the petition if you agree:

Freedom to criticise and question, in strong terms and without malice, is the cornerstone of argument and debate, whether in scholarly journals, on websites, in newspapers or elsewhere. Our current libel laws inhibit debate and stifle free expression. They discourage writers from tackling important subjects and thereby deny us the right to read about them.

Here‘s an account of PZ’s recent visit to Winnipeg by another local blogger who took notes. Smart!

Canada AM once again provides a platform to a kook: Robert F. Kennedy Jr. spouts nonsense, including the ridiculous idea that “even a molecule of mercury could destroy brain cells and cause deformities in children.” What the what? Fail! It’s a morning show, so I don’t expect any hard-hitting journalism, but he was saying some horrible and blatantly wrong things, and there was almost no voice of skepticism. This piece even seemed to be propping him up as some kind of hero. Awful.

Steve over at Skeptic North has kindly responded to this, check it out here. Thanks Steve!

And last, but definitely not least, Andrew Wakefield, the researcher who started the whole vaccines cause autism myth, was investigated by the General Medical Council. They found that he “acted ‘dishonestly and irresponsibly’ in his research and with ‘callous disregard’ for the children that were the subject of his research.”

I predicted on Twitter that the anti-vax response to this would be something like: “Wakefield being found guilty will prove that the courts are IN TEH POCKET of Big Pharma!!!111″ It turns out I wasn’t even that far off.

Enlightning Bolts – 01.21.2010

Dang, I thought we had until 2012:

Apocalypse Pen

I haven’t listened yet, but this debate should be good: between Stephen Meyer and Peter Atkins.

“We are just a basic off the rack mammal…we’ve got the same basic building blocks and plumbing…but we use it in ways that are unprecedented.” – Robert Sapolsky talks about what’s unique about humans. It’s almost 40 minutes, but really interesting, entertaining, inspiring, and worth taking the time to watch.

The devil responds to Pat Robertson via letter to the editor.

This one’s for my husband:

Canadian scientists studying ancient rocks in Quebec and New Brunswick appear to have solved a central mystery about the Earth’s history: why rivers began curving back and forth on their way to the sea about 400 million years ago. [Read on here]

And here’s a picture of the meandering river he and I took a walk on the other day:

assiniboine river

You can watch Christopher Hitchens’ critical documentary about Mother Teresa online: Hell’s Angel.

Enlightning Bolts – January 17, 2010

Church sign logic fail.

NASA solves the mystery of the giant ribbon at the edge of the solar system: “We believe the ribbon is a reflection,” says Jacob Heerikhuisen, a NASA Heliophysics Guest Investigator from the University of Alabama in Huntsville. “It is where solar wind particles heading out into interstellar space are reflected back into the solar system by a galactic magnetic field.” Wicked!

College Humour is brilliant: The Tetris God (YouTube).

Meryl Dorey, Australian anti-vaxxer, doesn’t want any part of her donation going to immunizing Haitians, in spite of this:

Diarrhoeal diseases would flourish as survivors struggled to find clean water and safe food, Dr Kirsch said. Measles outbreaks, which sometimes follow natural disasters, may spread in neighbourhoods of tightly packed courtyards where thousands of homeless residents are gathering.

Half of the children in Haiti are unvaccinated and just 40 per cent of the population had access to basic health care before the crisis, according to the WHO.

They need vaccines.

I gave a list of options for your Haiti donation the other day, now here’s one more (set up by the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science): Non-believers Giving Aid is an attempt to quell the myth that atheists aren’t charitable as believers, but it also makes sure that 100% of your donation is given to the secular charities they are supporting (Int’l Red Cross & Doctors Without Borders). Richard Dawkins will personally cover any fees associated with making a donation, so you know that your full contribution will go straight to the people who need it.

Enlightning Bolts – January 14, 2010

I always end up with a bunch of items that I want to blog about but run out of time, so rather than just letting them fall to the wayside I’m going to start posting them all with my brief comments on a semi-regular basis.

I’m dubbing them Enlightning Bolts…Cheese-tastic!

Pat Robertson blames the Haitians for the tragic earthquake on TV, but the weird part is that the woman standing next to him doesn’t slap him for his despicable remarks. The Haitian ambassador responds perfectly. Why he should have to handle such thoughtless and hurtful remarks during such a hard time disgusts me. Shame on you, Pat Robertson.

The newest Bigfoot “evidence”: a dark figure appears in an IMAX film, nobody knows what it is, therefore Bigfoot.

Wyatt Cenac totally pwns some anti-gay marriage protesters in New Jersey: “It was just as our forefathers had envisioned. That one day, people who had been descriminated against for their religion or the colour of their skin, could come together to discriminate against people for their sexual orientation, without the slightest sense of irony.” (Canadians can watch here, sorry if you’re in the US, you’ll have to go to Comedy Central and look for the January 12th episode).

If you’re on Twitter, you should be following @lowflyingrocks, it’s fun with a tiny bit of terrifying! Yesterday, Astroid AL30 missed us by 135,000kms…that’s closer to us than the moon!

Phil Plait posted some jaw-dropping pictures of Mars (above right).

This website talks about why God is Imaginary. I like proofs 17 (Think About Leprechauns) and 48 (Compare prayer to a lucky horseshoe) best. (Thanks to misunderstoodranter for the link!) If you like that, you’ll love this. I like 50, 123, 376, bah they’re all good!

[If you have any items you'd like me to put in the next Enlightning Bolts, send them to me through the contact form or via Twitter @EnlightningLinZ]


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