News From Around The Blogosphere 11.5.11

November 5, 2011

1. Anti-vax parents engaging in bioterrorism – If so-called “pox parties” weren’t enough, some parents have begun literally mailing chicken pox infected items for the purpose of infecting other people’s kids. And even worse, some have started mailing items infected with the far more dangerous measles. This would have made a perfect setup for the virus at the end of the recent Planet of the Apes film or for a zombie apocalypse story.

2. More anti-vaxxer propaganda – Just when I thought it was bad enough that the anti-vax propaganda film “The Greater Good” was coming to NYC’s IFC Center for a week beginning November 18, now I learn Barbara Loe Fisher and her band of cranks at the misnamed “National Vaccine Information Center” has a month-long “PSA” spot playing on Delta Airlines flights that suggests washing hands alone is an adequate substitute for a flu vaccine…cause that’s who you most want to go unvaccinated…people traveling from country to country. Argh! Fortunately, the wonderful Elyse Anders over at Skepchick is on the case and has begun a massive petition campaign to persuade Delta to cease this plot to kill us all. Also, she’s provided a handy-dandy list of contacts at Delta Airlines and its video provider.

3. Zombie worms found in fossil -

Traces of bizarre, bone-eating ‘zombie’ worms have been found on a 3-million-year-old fossil whale bone from Tuscany in Italy. It is the first time the genus Osedax has been found in the Mediterranean, and suggests Osedax were widespread throughout the world’s oceans 6 million years ago.

BUSTED!

4. Simon Singh vs. fraudulent psychic Sally Morgan’s lawyers:  part 1 and part 2 – You might remember Singh as the UK science journalist who was sued by the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) for libel over his calling their chiropractic “bogus” and his subsequent victory in the appeals process. I also recently wrote about Sally Morgan’s being caught wearing an earpiece during her performance. Well, Singh’s suggested she prove her powers are real, so now she’s trying to intimidate the man who beat the BCA in court with lawyers. Boy, did she fuck with the wrong journalist.

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News From Around The Blogosphere 10.27.11

October 27, 2011

1. Skeptical zombies ignored by James Van Praagh – In possibly the best PR stunt the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF) has ever come up with, their president, DJ Grothe led an army of zombies on a mission to get self-proclaimed “psychic” James Van Praagh to finally take the JREF’s Million Dollar Psychic Challenge. Not surprisingly, Praagh’s goons kept the zombies from meeting with him but of course that doesn’t matter as this story is getting a lot of press.

2. Church’s bogus AIDS cure causes 3 deaths – Though this is an isolated incident, this is precisely the kind of tragedy that can be expected in a culture that demands unquestioned belief and condemns skepticism.

3. 60 Minutes pisses off anti-vaxxers - As part of their Steve Jobs-centered episode this week, 60 Minutes ran a segment on the remarkable benefits that iPads and other tablet devices have demonstrated for people with autism. And somehow by simply highlighting an important, practical tool in helping autistic people communicate, they’ve pissed off Age of Autism. And bravo to Age of Autism’s commenters for declaring war on Temple Grandin of all people. That takes serious balls. Maybe their next target will be blind nuns, adorable puppies, and AIDS-infected orphans. I’m just shocked Age of Autism didn’t rant about the fact that Pfizer is a major sponsor of the show.

4. ‘Sybil’ admits she never really had multiple personalities – The most famous alleged case of multiple personality syndrome, or what’s now known as Dissociative Identity Disorder was based on lies and manipulations.

5. Atheists doing volunteer work - This is something I want to see more of in atheist groups. This is one of the ways we’ll change people’s negative stereotypes about atheists.

 

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News From Around The Blogosphere 11.12.10

November 12, 2010

1. Modeling autism in a lab dish -

A collaborative effort between researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and the University of California, San Diego, successfully used human induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells derived from patients with Rett syndrome to replicate autism in the lab and study the molecular pathogenesis of the disease.

Their findings, published in the Nov. 12, 2010, issue of Cell, revealed disease-specific cellular defects, such as fewer functional connections between Rett neurons, and demonstrated that these symptoms are reversible, raising the hope that, one day, autism maybe turn into a treatable condition.

2. Louisiana at war with textbooks over evolution – High school biology textbooks are being accused of putting “too much credibility in the theory of evolution.” And in related news, math text books are being accused of putting too much credibility in subtraction.

3. All life on Earth could originate from alien zombies -An interesting twist on the speculation of panspermia is that life on Earth could have emerged from alien viruses that were already dead but still carried enough information to spawn new life.

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Matthew, Mark, Luke, and Zombies

December 19, 2009

Adding zombies to old classics isn’t new. Someone’s already done “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.” Now someone’s adding zombies to the Bible:

Though the Bible is an ancient book, full of beautiful prose, timeless stories, and great truths, there has long been a barely spoken of dissatisfaction over the one element it sorely lacks: zombies. At Zombible, we hope to remedy the situation by carefully inserting lovingly crafted zombie-oriented text into the Bible, for the enjoyment and enlightenment of all.In our first work — Matthew, Mark, Luke, and Zombies — we ask the question, “How might the Gospels have been different if Jesus had come to Earth not to save mankind from sin, but from zombies?” (Be forwarned — it’s sort of a “work in progress” at the moment, so there are some nasty typos and bugs that we’re still working out.)

Isn’t Jesus already a zombie in the unaltered version?


News From Around The Blogosphere 10.26.09

October 26, 2009

1. Walt Disney refunds parents for not making their kids geniuses – Disney is refunding parents for all those “Baby Einstein” videos. Come to think of it, my niece watched them. I wasn’t aware that these videos promised to make kids smart anymore than I was aware Baby Van Gogh promised to turn kids into great artists.

2. The zombie apocalypse has been prevented. . .for now – An Iowa man accused another man of being a zombie, and then punched him…twice. I can only imagine this was because he was following Rule #4, which calls for a “double tap”:

3. Felicia Day does a NASA PSAFelicia Day, best known for her role in Joss Whedon’s hit internet musical Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog and less known for her starring role in the never-aired episode of Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse (and possibly the show’s best episode), has now she’s managed to somehow up her geek cred even more:

4. Inland Empire Atheists take their ads into the coffee shops -


News From Around The Blogosphere 10.6.09

October 6, 2009

1. Scientists out-miracle Jesus – Scientists in Mexico have figured out how to turn tequilla into diamonds. Suck on that, Jesus!

2. University of Florida removes response plans for zombie apocalypse from their website – Now how are we going to know what to do in case of zombie apocalypse?!

Spokesman Steve Orlando said late last week that the university removed a link to a disaster recovery exercise, which detailed how the school could respond to an outbreak of the undead.

Orlando said officials felt the joke “didn’t really belong” on the site, which also included plans for dealing with hurricanes and pandemics.

Am I the only one who thinks this is some sort of government coverup to leave the public vulnerable to zombie attack in an elaborate plot to reduce the population of the Earth? Wake up, people! The zombie apocalypse is an inside job!!!!

Sure, you may laugh, but mathematicians have done a study on the mathematics of a hypothetical zombie attack, and published it in a book on infectious disease. The study is discussed in Episode 214 of the Skeptics Guide to the Universe podcast about 6 minutes into the show.

3. How nonsense sharpens the intellect – This is an interesting article in the NY Times that defies summarization.


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