Are vaccine deniers shills for Big Cemetary?

July 29, 2010
Measles. This child shows a classic day-4 rash...
Image via Wikipedia

Today brought two deeply disturbing news stories that seem quite related to our psychotic anti-vaccine friends. First, a new report places my home state of New Jersey (also home to massive anti-vaccine campaigns) a disgraceful #45 on the list of vaccine protected states. In the U.S., only five other states and the District of Columbia are less protected by vaccines than New Jersey.

New Jersey’s immunization rate for children under 3, at 68.5 percent, is significantly lower than the national average of 76.1 percent and is woefully behind the 90 percent that public health authorities consider optimum for providing “herd immunity.”

And though I’d almost rather not distract from this horrible news, I think it is worth noting that New Jersey, despite having one of the worst vaccination rates in the country, also has among the highest rates of autism in the country, yet another inconvenient fact anti-vaxxers don’t want you to think about.

The other related news story is this report that hundreds of people in Tarrytown, New York have been exposed to measles, which has been tracked back to its source, a single unvaccinated person infected with the virus:

Exposure to the infected person may have occurred either Friday at a social event attended by 200 high school students from abroad at the EF International Language School on Marymount Avenue or between 5 p.m. Friday and noon Saturday at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse or Eva’s Hair Salon in the Westchester Marriott Hotel on White Plains Road in Greenburgh.

More than 900 people from the East Coast are believed to have been at the hotel during the time period. The infected individual stayed at the Marriott, but did not visit Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse or the hair salon. However, airborne transmissions of the measles virus could have reached the restaurant or salon due to shared ventilation systems with the hotel.

And this is only the beginning. If the anti-vaccine movement is not stopped, we’ll see more outbreaks, which will inevitably lead to deaths. And if these viruses are allowed to rise again, there is no telling what level of destruction they will bring upon an unprotected populace. The power of an atomic bomb is insignificant compared to that of a well evolved virus.

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Happy belated second birthday, Skepacabra!!

July 28, 2010

I‘ve been so busy lately that I missed last week’s momentous occasion, Skepacabra’s second birthday. It was July 19, 2008 that I began this blog on WordPress with an entry titled, “What I think about your god,” a piece that still holds up to this very day and in which I’m still very proud of.

Skepacabra was my first blog and in some ways it’s still my favorite. Sure, my writings at Examiner.com actually pay money (though not very much) and my writings over at The Gotham Skeptic tend to be more focused and better written, but here I feel the most free and uncensored. Here, I can say pretty much anything I want within reason. I can type FUCK for no reason at all and no editor is going to say they’d rather I didn’t.

Happy birthday, Skepacabra!

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Set your doomsday clocks to May 21, 2011

July 28, 2010

Nine months, 23 days. That is when the world will end. That is if you believe the claims of a batshit insane group of Christians. This is hardly the first alleged doomsday date humanity has survive unscathed…or you know, without any threat to our survival in the first place.

No, this is not from the same site I wrote about last year that inaccurately predicted The Rapture would happen on September 21, September 23October 21, Fall 2009, and November 11, December 14, and December 21.

Yup, there’s yet another website calling a date for The Rapture. Unfortunately, they didn’t learn their lesson from that other site and have now also declared The Rapture will happen on a very specific date in the very near future. That date is May 21, 2011. This time I’m screen capturing it in all its glory.

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What they died for

July 27, 2010

Over the last few days, there have been a number of news stories that have gotten my attention that seem to be connected. Now I’m not going to tell you what the connection is. I’ll let you see if you can figure it out.

1. Baby drowns in baptism – Don’t get this confused with this story from two years ago about a man believed to have drown in baptism or this story from last year about a dozen people drowning in baptism.

2. Oregon faith-healing parents trying to get their kid back while facing criminal charges for first-degree criminal mistreatment after not seeking medical treatment for their 7-month-old daughter who developed a LARGE growth over her left eye. The father was previously married to another woman but she died of breast cancer four years ago after not seeking or receiving any medical treatment for the condition. I guess fool him once, shame on him; fool him twice, even greater shame on him for not learning a god-damned thing!

3. Utah overturns Warren Jeffs convictions and orders a new trial – Allegedly the reason is that the jury instructions were erroneous. Just think, he might get to rape more kids just yet! Praise Joseph Smith!

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Superman to the rescue

July 24, 2010

Action Comics #1 is without a doubt the single most important comic book ever produced. It not only introduced the world to Superman but invented the superhero. It’s arguably the common ancestor of every costumed crime-fighter comic book ever since.

And now Superman, or rather the comic book that introduced Superman, has saved a family from foreclosure. The family accidentally stumbled upon a copy of this seminal piece of American history sitting in their basement.

The fortuitous find occurred when the anonymous family began the painful process of packing up their home due to a bank’s foreclosure proceedings. The house had been in the family’s possession since the 1950s, which is probably when the wife’s father stashed the issue in a box with some other, mere mortal titles.

“They said they came across a box that had magazines in it and some old comic books,” Fishler told Asylum. “And that they came across what appears to be an Action #1.” Fishler points out that “99.9 percent” of similar calls he receives turn out to be about reprints, so at first he was dubious. “They took a cell phone picture of the book and texted it to me, and I realized it was an Action #1,” he says.

Fishler is no stranger to this title, having brokered the record-breaking sale of an Action #1 in February (for $1 million), only to break that record a month later by selling another copy for $1.5 million.

This gave them the collateral they needed to save their home. And once again, the world is safe…thanks to Superman!

Superman, as depicted in a 1941 Fleischer Stud...

Image via Wikipedia

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News From Around The Blogosphere 7.23.10

July 24, 2010

Don't hate me because I'm beautiful.

1. Another study allegedly suggests beautiful women make men stupid

Just five minutes alone with an attractive female raise the levels of cortisol, the body’s stress hormone, according to a study from the University of Valencia.

The effects are heightened in men who believe that the woman in question is “out of their league”.

Researchers tested 84 male students by asking each one to sit in a room and solve a Sudoku puzzle. Two strangers, one male and one female, were also in the room.

When the female stranger left the room and the two men remained sitting together, the volunteer’s stress levels did not rise. However, when the volunteer was left alone with the female stranger, his cortisol levels rose.

The researchers concluded: “In this study we considered that for most men the presence of an attractive woman may induce the perception that there is an opportunity for courtship.

I don’t know how this became a hot topic in scientific research. Maybe a few too many lonely male scientists are out to prove women are evil or will be the downfall of civilization.

2. How to create lesbian mice – That’s not what I’m personally into but apparently if one were so inclined to turn female mice into lesbians, all it takes is deleting a single gene. Of course the rodent religious right will still continue to insist that it’s just the choice to live a sinful lifestyle and reject the teachings of the mouse messiah. Why else would they call the aforementioned gene “FucM”? Mickey wants you to repent! He died for your sins.

Begin operation kill all humans.

3. Robot Ranger sets untethered walking record

A Cornell University robot named Ranger walked 14.3 miles in about 11 hours, setting an unofficial world record at Cornell’s Barton Hall early on July 6. A human — armed with nothing more than a standard remote control for toys — steered the untethered robot.

The 14.3-mile record beats the former world record set by Boston Dynamics’ BigDog, which had claimed the record at 12.8 miles.

Sure, it can walk on a track but how’d it do in the rocky terrain of Tatoine?

4. Ben Stein tells the unemployed to get a job -Here’s what Stein had to tell America’s unemployed:

The people who have been laid off and cannot find work are generally people with poor work habits and poor personalities. I say “generally” because there are exceptions. But in general, as I survey the ranks of those who are unemployed, I see people who have overbearing and unpleasant personalities and/or who do not know how to do a day’s work. They are people who create either little utility or negative utility on the job.

And this was Nixon’s speech writer! I didn’t think it was possible but Stein seems to understand less about the job market than he does about biology and history.

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Phil Plait’s Bad Universe comes to Discovery Channel

July 23, 2010
Phil Plait speaking at TAM London October 2009
Image via Wikipedia

Last year, Phil Plait left his position as president of the James Randi Education Foundation after one year in office because of a television project he’d been offered but could not yet talk about. Well, now the cat’s out of the bag. Phil Plait is getting a three-part science show on Discovery Channel called “Phil Plait’s Bad Universe,” where he debunks astronomy myths and shows us how the world will end.

There was a trailer for it but the video is no longer working. It’ll probably be back up soon.

But in any event, congratulations Phil!

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