News From Around The Blogosphere 8.28.08

August 29, 2008

The broadcast of Stephen Colbert’s “Better Know A Lobbyist” segment featuring Lori Lipman Brown of the Secular Coalition for America was unfortunately postponed until tomorrow in a first-ever Friday broadcast.

The Stroop Effect – New website where you can take the color test. From a skeptical point of view, I find this test interesting because it’s an effective way of illustrating how easily the brain can be deceived. I’m reminded of the cheap trick creationist Ray Comfort frequently takes advantage of this basic psychological effect when facing a scientifically educated opponent when out “witnessing” or preaching on the street. Comfort will ask you to spell the word, “Shop.” Then after you do it, he’ll ask you what you do when you come to a green light.” After being primed with the word, “Shop” a moment earlier, most people automatically say “stop.” Comfort then uses this to knock down his straw man that you claimed some sort of infallibility. It usually impresses a crowd and makes Comfort seem as though he’s beaten you in a battle of wits even though he’s just as susceptible to the phenomenon and it has nothing to do with the debate. So if ever you want to look intellectually superior to someone before a crowd, here’s how. And here’s Ray Comfort’s Book of Tricks for your enjoyment.

Where’s Jesus Now! – If you guessed on a moth, YOU’RE ABSOLUTELY CORRECT!!

My favorite Christian, Fred Phelps of The Westboro Baptist Church, on the DNC:

This guy makes my job SOOO much easier.

List of the most influential science blogs – Of those that made the list that I check on a daily basis: Pharyngula (#3), Respectful Insolence (#7), and denialism blog (#15). Congrats guys!

CATHOLIC NEWS

This is why we don’t take pope Ratzinger seriously – These are his white whales::

Galileo gets a statue at Vatican – I guess this is a just a small token to show there are no hard feelings over that whole having kept him under house arrest for the remaining years of his life under false pretenses. One conservative Catholic writer, Atila Sinke Guimarães dismisses the church’s mistreatment of Galileo as a “black legend” and says the scientist got what he deserved for having the audacity of being right, adding:

“The Inquisition was very moderate with him. He wasn’t tortured.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GAY NEWS

Lesbian rights pioneer Del Martin dies at 87

 

Lesbians – A threat to national security? – Oops. Correction, only lesbian t-shirts are a threat to national security. Oooohhh! That makes MUCH MORE SENSE! Wow. They didn’t even wait until the body was cold, did they?

Anti-vaxxers dirty tactic – Orac discusses their habit of “outing” the identities of their anonymous blogger critics presumably to shut them up through intimidation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HEALTH NEWS:

Attitudes and Public Health

http://www.eso-garden.com/images/uploads_bilder/complementary_medicine_for_dummies.jpg

Largest “randomized” acupuncture study ever done: why do they even bother?

And here’s another skeptic’s take on the study.

 

 

 

 


 

A NOW FOR A MOMENT OF SCIENCE:

http://skepacabra.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/scientist-use-in-case-of-emergency.jpg?w=244&h=135

Subliminal Learning Demonstrated In Human Brain – “Although the idea that instrumental learning can occur subconsciously has been around for nearly a century, it had not been unequivocally demonstrated. Now, a new study published by Cell Press in the August 28 issue of the journal Neuron used sophisticated perceptual masking, computational modeling, and neuroimaging to show that instrumental learning can occur in the human brain without conscious processing of contextual cues.”

Jamaican Lizard Does Push-Ups To Stay Strong – “What does Jack LaLanne have in common with a Jamaican lizard? Like the ageless fitness guru, the lizards greet each new day with vigorous push-ups. That’s according to a new study showing that male Anolis lizards engage in impressive displays of reptilian strength — push-ups, head bobs, and threatening extension of a colorful neck flap called a dewlap — to defend their territory at dawn and dusk.”

One Form Of Adult Cell Transformed Into Another – “In a feat of biological prestidigitation likely to turn the field of regenerative medicine on its head, Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) co-director Doug Melton and post doctoral fellow Qiao “Joe” Zhou report having achieved what has long been a dream and ultimate goal of developmental biologists – directly turning one type of fully formed adult cell into another type of adult cell.”


News From Around The Blogosphere 8.27.08

August 28, 2008

Stem cell technology may make blood donations a thing of the past

Proof that prayer works? – Not quite. Remember when Focus on the Family asked people to pray for rain during the DNC and it didn’t happen but by then everyone forgot all about it? Well, apparently god missed and instead a sprinkler went off, flooding a skybox booth belonging to Fox News. I guess even god hates Fox News.

The standing of science in America – Interesting column from Science Progress. Here’s it’s conclusion:

“Americans might tune in to some science news, visit science museums, and even adjust their diets and prescriptions based upon the latest studies. But it’s not enough. Without anything beyond a surface-level appreciation of science, they stand far too blind when staring down something of paramount importance: The future.”

Where do you get your mercury? – Today’s issue of JAMA has an interesting study of Ayurvedic (traditional Indian) medicines. It turns out that many of them contain a significant amount of toxic heavy metals…including mercury, and much higher levels than the minute traces found in a flu vaccine. Here, we’re dealing with actual dangerous levels of the stuff.

Christians continue their long-honored tradition of crappy knock-offs of other people’s video games

SECULAR VALUE VOTERS! – The Secular Coalition for America is taking back the word “values” from the Religious Right.

Stephen Colbert better know an atheist tomorrow – My favorite secular lobbyist Lori Lipman Brown is to appear on The Colbert Report tomorrow night (Thursday) during the “Better Know A Lobbyist” segment.


A Christian Critique of $cientology - This is a funny piece in the way it compares the 2 remarkably similar belief systems, though to be clear, while Christianity has some cult-like behaviors, Scientology is a cult in the strictest sense of the word. And it’s important to clarify that as insanely dopey as their beliefs are, my principle criticism is of their cult behavior because otherwise they’ll just try to get away with claiming we’re just bigoted towards their “religion.”

IT’S TIME FOR ANOTHER EPIC FAIL!

Yet another Creationist EPIC FAIL! – This time they’re taken down by the publication Chemical and Engineering News.

AND NOW FOR A MOMENT OF SCIENCE:

First Prehistoric Pregnant Turtle Discovered – “A 75-million-year-old fossil of a pregnant turtle and a nest of fossilized eggs that were discovered in the badlands of southeastern Alberta by scientists and staff from the University of Calgary and the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology are yielding new ideas on the evolution of egg-laying and reproduction in turtles and tortoises.”

Hobbit-like Dwarfs: Bone Parts Don’t Add Up – “Misinterpreted fragments of leg bones, teeth and brow ridges found in Palau appear to be an archaeologist’s undoing, according to researchers at three institutions. They say that the so-called dwarfs of these Micronesian islands actually were modern, normal-sized hunters and gatherers.” Ugh, you just know the creationists are going to misrepresent this story and play it up as “proof” that evolution is wrong. Though kinda odd that the “evolutionists” discovered the error while The Discovery Institute still hasn’t spent one cent on actual research. Science is self-correcting.

Is Extinction Or Diversity On The Rise? – “It’s no secret that humans are having a huge impact on the life cycles of plants and animals. UC Santa Barbara’s Steven D. Gaines and fellow researcher Dov Sax decided to test that theory by studying the world’s far-flung islands.”


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