News From Around The Blogosphere 7.9.09

Since I’m coming on the first birthday of Skepacabra in about 10 days (has it been a year already?), I thought maybe it’d be nice to go old-school Skepacabra and do a “News From Around The Blogosphere” entry like I used too. Also, it saves me a lot of time.

Why does anyone take health advice from Gwyneth Paltrow? Though Paltrow’s “lifestyle” site GOOP.com has been around for awhile, Amateur Scientist did a great little blog about it and her promotion of special the “detox” diet from “detox specialist” Dr. Alejandro Junger:

Why am I putting “detox” in scare quotes? Because it doesn’t really mean anything. Anything you shove down your throat (or up your ass, for that matter) to cleanse toxins from your system does nothing for your health since your body isn’t full of toxins. Like the word “energy”, people with no critical thinking skills use the word “toxin” to mean whatever they want without providing anything like evidence to show what it even is. Regardless, Paltrow just knows she’s full of toxins, so she recently tried out Dr. Junger’s suggested diet of one solid meal a day sandwiched by two liquid ones. Now she says she lost some weight and feels “pure”. I know it seems miraculous that a diet of very little actual food might lead to weight loss, but this is really just science.

Looking for a cheap fuel source? Urine luck

Researchers at Ohio University may have found a cheap and abundant source of hydrogen to potentially fuel future hydrogen-powered cars. Yeah, it’s pee pee. Turns out the primary component of urine, urea, has four hydrogen atoms per molecule, as opposed to water’s two. Using a nickel-based electrode, the urea atoms can be easily broken apart with less voltage than it takes to split water. Which means that urine could be a less expensive and more abundant source of hydrogen.

In another classic case of absurd pareidolia, now believers in Ireland have found the Virgin Mary in a tree stump – The local church’s response is great:

Local parish priest Fr Willie Russell said on radio station Limerick Live 95FM yesterday that people should not worship the tree. “There’s nothing there . . . it’s just a tree . . . you can’t worship a tree.”

. . .

A spokesman for the Limerick diocesan office said the “church’s response to phenomena of this type is one of great scepticism”.

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