Does astrology disprove climate change?

February 27, 2010

Well South Dakota thinks so:


India freaks out over solar eclipse

July 21, 2009

This is yet another example of primitive superstitions that manage to survive in the present day:

Indian astrologers are predicting violence and turmoil across the world as a result of this week’s total solar eclipse, which the superstitious and religious view as a sign of potential doom.

Oh no! The moon has briefly blocked our view of the sun! This sort of thing never happens ever! We’re doomed! DOOMED!!!!

Son of a bitch! There are anti-vaccinationists that aren’t even this stupid. These guys need to stop watching Heroes as if its a documentary. Solar eclipses don’t have supernatural powers. Maybe we should change Groundhog Day to Stupid Indian Astrologer Day. If they get scared by their own shadow, it means another Dark Ages.

In Hindu mythology, the two demons Rahu and Ketu are said to “swallow” the sun during eclipses, snuffing out its life-giving light and causing food to become inedible and water undrinkable.

Pregnant women are advised to stay indoors to prevent their babies developing birth defects, while prayers, fasting and ritual bathing, particularly in holy rivers, are encouraged.

Oh no! Protect the pregnant women from shadow of the moon!!! Demons! Why’s it always got to be demons? The last thing I want to hear when I call for tech support is hearing some moron telling me my computer isn’t working because the demons that ate the sun have used their voodoo on my operating system.

Fortunately, my favorite Indian, Sanal Edamaruku, president of the Indian Rationalist Association, is on the case. You might remember Sanal as the guy who volunteered to have some voodoo guy kill him on live, national television with nothing but magic spells. Suffice it to say, he’s still very much alive.

Sanal Edamaruku, president of the Indian Rationalist Association, dismissed such doomsday predictions.

“Primarily, what we see with all these soothsayers and astrologers is that they’re looking for opportunities to enhance their business with predictions of danger and calamity,” he told AFP.

“They have been very powerful in India but over the last decade they have been in systematic decline.”

Keep fighting the crazy over there, Sanal. We’re counting on you.


The less obvious dangers of astrology

June 29, 2009

astrology - the foolA Sri Lanka astrologer was arrested for publicly predicting the death of the President Mahinda Rajapaksa. And okay, I know I should be devoting this blog to condemning this kind of censorship but that goes without saying and I do find this particular story kind of amusing.

Yes, it’s wrong for a government to arrest a citizen for saying something they don’t like. I don’t know exactly what the astrologer said, so it is possible that it was reasonably viewed as a threat on the life of the president…though I doubt it.

Police spokesman Ranjith Gunasekera confirmed Friday that Chandrasiri Bandara has been arrested so police could investigate the source of his prediction.

Yes, I would like to know the source of this prediction too. I suspect it originated from the suspect, Chandrasiri Bandara’s ass.


Another astrologer failed and didn’t see it coming

April 24, 2009

psychic-crystal-ball_1114702cThis time it’s a Bulgarian astrologer named Emil Leshtanski, who predicted 800,000 people would be killed by a massive earthquake that would hit the city of Haskovo on Easter night. And guess what happened. Yup, nothing.

But the abysmal track record of psychics and charlatans didn’t stop hundreds of people from sleeping in tents and in their cars for fear of being crushed by collapsing buildings.

But I bet Leshtanski wishes something horrible did happen to all those people because they’re majorly pissed off and want to prosecute Leshtanski for spreading false information and inciting a panic.

Amateur Scientist doesn’t think this warrents legal action:

If convicted, he could be sentenced to up to two years in jail. But while it’s always good for a fraud to be so publicly exposed, I’m not sure prosecution is in order. People, after all, should have freedom of speech. Though it could be said that telling an entire city they’re all going to die is the same as shouting “fire” in a crowded theater. Still, it’s not unreasonable to assume that the person shouting “fire” might have actually seen a fire. But believing someone who says the Earth is going to shake because of how the stars are positioned?

But I disagree. I’m a huge free speech advocate but one of the few exeptions to free speech I agree with is the proverbial “shouting fire in a crowded theater” and I think this absolutely is akin to the “shouting fire in a crowded theater” scenario.

Leshtanski incited panic and hysteria, which endangered lives. And while I love Amateur Scientist, I think he runs the risk here of seeming like he’s blaming the victims for being gullible enough to believe a reading of the stars signaled threat. But whether it’s shouting fire or a baseless Chicken Little-like cry that the sky is falling based on astrological signs, its just as real to those driven to a panic. So I’m happy that the stars are telling me a prison cell is in Leshtanski’s future.


The latest woo to ‘watch’ out for

March 26, 2009

Tired of that old watch? Wishing you could have a watch that could tell the future? Well now you can, thanks to the Swiss watchmaker Borgeaud. That’s right, if you’re easily fooled by preposterous nonsense, Borgeaud has the watch for you:

Borgeaud has released a watch that will display a daily, 90 minute period known as the Raju Kaal (Rahukaalam, Rahu Kalam) that, according to Indian astrology, is considered an inauspicious period.

. . .

“The study of Panchangas involves understanding Rasi phala, the impact of the signs of the zodiac on the individual. Astrologers consult the Panchangam to set auspicious dates for weddings, corporate mergers, and other worldly activities as per religion.”

And that’s not all! The watch comes in 2 colors:  Gravitas Black and Gravitas Silver.

Now you might expect to pay up to a buck to $2.50 for a piece of crap this idiotic. But act now and you can buy this limited edition and numbered garbage for the low, low price of $2000.

Wow! Thanks Borgeaud!!


Astrological Dancing

March 11, 2009

I’m sure this will become the latest dance craze any day now.

Where’s the Zodiac Killer when you need him?


A job that wasn’t written in the stars

February 5, 2009

An Austrian insurance company sparked controversy recently because it tried to only hire workers born under the specific star signs Capricorn, Taurus, Aquarius, Aries, and Leo. Well that means I won’t be working for them. Tragic.

Now if you want to get a good laugh, here is the company’s ACTUAL defense:

A statistical study indicated that almost all of our best employees across Austria have one of the five star signs.

And here’s how Austrians responded to this nonsense:

It was followed by a wave of protests from equality groups and led to an investigation by the country’s anti-discrimination authorities.

Reminds me of what we face in the U.S. for equally absurd prejudices.  So in case anyone demands to know what’s the harm in people believing a little astrology, tell them about this.


News From Around The Blogosphere 12.8.08

December 9, 2008

Gattaca dubbed in Japanese - If you’ve never seen the Science Fiction film Gattaca, it’s about a near-future society where social, economic, and professional class is determined by ones genes. Well Japan’s moving in that direction except that their conclusions have no actual scientific merit. 4 bestsellers in Japan promote the new myth that blood type determines personality and offers guidance on what decisions one should make. Essentially this is another classic example of dressing up astrology-like voodoo in the clothes of science. They’re appropriately referred to as “blood horoscopes.”

Superstition is on the rise – I have some issues with this article. For instance, he cites the recent Baylor study, suggesting that it showed superstition was higher among the non or less religious, which is the common misconception. Religion itself IS a superstition, and the primary reason the more religious don’t believe in or participate in other superstitions is because religions tend to form monopolies on the supernatural. Those claiming access to other forms of supernatural tend to be viewed as either evil witches, devil worshipers, or mislead by trickery.

Though to be fair, I know plenty of atheists who believe all sorts of nonsense.

Kangaroo Cousins – Scientists in Australia have discovered that the kangaroo genome is remarkably similar to humans’.

Vampires take over Romania - Okay, not real vampires but close, creationists. These vampires have their own crosses. Romania is no longer teaching evolution in schools. Romania, you’re as dead to me.

A brief history of creationism

Atheist sign comes to Illinois

ATHEIST DISCRIMINATION:

thestupiditburnsDramatic irony at its finest - Here’s what came out of the mouth of one person who was protesting the atheist sign in the Washington state capital:

“The No. 1 thing is, we want the state of Washington and the governor to represent everyone in the state,” said the Rev. Kenneth Hutcherson, the pastor of Antioch Bible Church in Redmond. “But just because you must represent everyone in the state doesn’t mean that you put up with intolerance from the people that you represent.”

Chasing out the Jews – Washington State Senator Jim Dunn (R) — a Christian — made this appalling comment yesterday:

“It is time to chase out all the Jews and evildoers,” Dunn said.

There has been no backlash. Actually he didn’t say that. What he said was:

“It is time to chase out of the house of God all the unbelievers and evildoers,” Dunn said.

I’m told this is supposed to be much better.

The Flying Car–on sale next year – What would you do for one?

Is body language junk science?

AND NOW FOR A MOMENT OF SCIENCE:

scientist-use-in-case-of-emergencyAmazon Butterflies: Evolution Favors Mutualism - “Many studies of evolution focus on the benefits to the individual of competing successfully – those who survive produce the most offspring, in Darwin’s classic ‘survival of the fittest’. But how does this translate to the evolution of species?

A new article considers an aspect of the natural world that, like survival of the fittest individual, is explained by natural selection: namely, mutualism — an interaction between species that has benefits for both. The work shows that some species of butterfly that live alongside one another have evolved in ways that, surprisingly, benefit both species.”

Spider Love: Little Guys Get Lots More – “Big males outperform smaller ones in head-to-head mating contests but diminutive males make ten times better lovers because they’re quicker to mature and faster on their feet, a new study of redback spiders reveals.” With a title like that, I had to post this one.

Flying Spaghetti Monster Nativity Scene:

We miss ya, John:


News From Around The Blogosphere 11.30.08

December 1, 2008

vaccine1Reduced MMR Equals More Measles – A Measles epidemic has hit the UK, thanks to fewer people getting MMR vaccines largely due to antivaccination propaganda. Here are some inconvenient statistics for them.

10 Incredibly Dangerous Doctors – Dr. Doom and Dr. Octopus didn’t make the list.

creationistsExciting creationist breakthrough in the Answers Research Journal - If there was a gold medal for irony, Shalini over at Teen Skepchick deserves it.

An awesome creation scientist has discovered that:

From a creation view, it appears, then, that the origin of microbial based disease has at least two primary causes, (1) post-Fall genetic alteration of the original good microbe and/or (2) post-Fall displacement or movement of the microbe from the site where it performed its beneficial function.

This makes so much sense, is good science, has been proven by our brilliant research methods of reading Genesis, reading Genesis again and praying. . .

shredding-constitutionCreationism: The Latest In Military Suicide Prevention – Air Force Chaplain Christian Biscotti thinks the best way to convince people not to commit suicide is to teach them nonsense.

How do you protest The Pope’s visit to World Youth Day in Australia? Build your own Pope-mobile:

Actress Catherine Dent talks about Religious Discrimination in support of FirstFreedomFirst.org’s campaign to safeguard separation of church and state.

Last year The Astrological Magazine ceased production – In their words, it was “due to unforeseen circumstances beyond our control.” Oh, the irony!

Pareidolia in Halifax -

Some believe this window shows the silhouette of a priest who lost his head in an explosion. And allegedly, no matter how many times the church has tried to clean the window, or change the glass, the image remains. Of course, I agree with Some Canadian Skeptic in suspecting that they’ve never actually tried to change the window.

AND NOW FOR A MOMENT OF SCIENCE:

scientist-use-in-case-of-emergencyCommon Cold Virus Came From Birds? – “A virus that causes cold-like symptoms in humans originated in birds and may have crossed the species barrier around 200 years ago, according to a new article published in the Journal of General Virology. Scientists hope their findings will help us understand how potentially deadly viruses emerge in humans.”

Route To Obesity Passes Through Tongue – “Obesity gradually numbs the taste sensation of rats to sweet foods and drives them to consume larger and ever-sweeter meals, according to neuroscientists. Findings from the Penn State study could uncover a critical link between taste and body weight, and reveal how flab hooks the brain on sugary food.”

Virtual Ears And The Cocktail Party Effect – “Oxford University research has helped understanding of the so-called ‘cocktail party effect’ – how our brains develop the ability to pinpoint and focus on particular sounds among a background of noise.

The study, published in the Journal of Neuroscience, has implications for the emergence of hearing abilities in children and for restoring hearing after fitting hearing aids and cochlear implants.”


News From Around The Blogosphere 11.8.08

November 9, 2008

Conservatives corrupted by “popularist chic” – An excellent article about the downfall of intellectualism in American conservatism. You got to love Chris Hoofnagle’s comment here:

I am enjoying the news post election, because what was once news media “liberal bias” about Sarah Palin is now simply common sense.

And yet, you’ll still find Republican cheerleaders who despite the obvious facts will go to their grave defending the absurd:

Elizabeth Dole can still go fuck herself! – After running a ad campaign built on bigotry, she’s got some gall making the following statement:

“People from faraway places poured tens of millions of dollars into North Carolina, funding tough, unfair negative ads against me. I responded forcefully. I’m not happy with the tone this race acquired, but I must say I will never regret fighting as hard as I could for the privilege of continuing to serve the people of my state.”

Notes from Thames Valley University’s homeopathic degree program:

At the root of most holistic therapies lies the belief that all life is animated by a subtle force. We call this the Life Force. You either believe it or you do not. It cannot exactly be proved at the moment and the belief is not in accord with the yardsticks that we call ’scientific.’

AND NOW FOR A MOMENT OF SCIENCE:

scientist-use-in-case-of-emergencyPaleontologists Doubt ‘Dinosaur Dance Floor’ - “A group of paleontologists visited the northern Arizona wilderness site nicknamed a “dinosaur dance floor” and concluded there were no dinosaur tracks there, only a dense collection of unusual potholes eroded in the sandstone.

So the scientist who leads the University of Utah’s geology department says she will team up with the skeptics for a follow-up study.

“Science is an evolving process where we seek the truth,” says Marjorie Chan, professor and chair of geology and geophysics, and co-author of a recent study that concluded the pockmarked, three-quarter-acre site in Vermilion Cliffs National Monument was a 190-million-year-old dinosaur “trample surface”.

Scientists use tequila to make drunken diamonds -

A bottle of cheap tequila is good for making margaritas or forgetting a night out. But a team of Mexican scientists have discovered a new use for the potent liquor: forming diamonds. It just so happens that the popular Mexican alcohol is the ideal compound for creating one of the hardest substances on Earth.

THE FUNNIES:

Skeptical pick-up line:

Obameidolia:


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