News From Around The Blogosphere 9.9.08

September 10, 2008

A few hours left before the end of the world – Okay, not the end of the world as some people think. Just the world’s most powerful physics experiment ever, the activation of the Large Hadron Collider in order to find the Higgs boson, poorly nicknamed the “God Particle.” It’s all very technical and I don’t really understand it all, but it very likely will greatly improve our understanding of the universe. Plus smashing particles together is awesome. After all, if it wasn’t awesome would there be a rap song about it?

Scientists receive death threats over Hadron collider – And here Phil Plait explains why the LHC can’t bring about the apocalypse.

Also from Phil Plait:

What’s the difference between Abe Vigoda and the Large Hadron Collider?

One has a website where you can see if he’s still around, and one has a website where you can see if you’re still around.

Is Kava Safe? – “Kava is a plant that grows in the western Pacific. It was traditionally prepared as a drink and used for its psychoactive properties, including sedation, relaxation, and relief of anxiety. It is intoxicating but not addictive. It has become a popular supplement in the US, used to treat anxiety, depression, insomnia, stress, and menopausal symptoms. It has also been suspected of killing quite a few people.” Also, for those the article also has some interesting things to say about other herbs and supplements likeSt. John’s wort, valerian, and omega-3 fatty acids.

Alt. Med. Leeches

Alt. Med. Leeches

Alternative health center accused of brainwashing – “An alternative healing centre based in London has been accused of “brainwashing” one of its clients into making donations totalling hundreds of thousands of pounds.” The writer of this article apparently LOVES putting quotation marks around things, though to be fair, most of these phrases should have quotation marks. So good job. A rare case of good journalism when dealing with woo.

ABC News gives platform for silly alt. med cancer cure testimonial


French court to try Church of $cientology – “The Church of Scientology and seven of its top members are to stand trial in Paris on fraud charges after an investigation into allegations by a former member that the church swindled her out of more than $28,000.” From Brian.

$cientology allegedly targeting YouTube accounts to silence critics:

PZ Myers made the cover of the Catholic League’s newsletter, The Catalyst – Crackergate: The Story That Wouldn’t Die.

“It is hard to think of anything more vile than to intentionally desecrate the Body of Christ.”

What can you even say to delusion fools like this? I’ve been meaning to go off on a blog rant about the absurdity of a bunch of grown-ups believing a cracker is their god. Unless your god’s name is Nabisco, you’re fuckin’ psycho!

Full-age ‘Imagine No Religion’ Ad in today’s NY Times:

The Quote Mine Project – TalkOrigins has begun compiling responses to common creationist quote-mining arguments.

Steven Novella continues talking about how to improve science education

Mythbuster Adam Savage explains what happens to your voice when you swallow helium:


Missing Link For Origin Of Comets – “An international team of scientists that includes University of British Columbia astronomer Brett Gladman has found an unusual object whose backward and tilted orbit around the Sun may clarify the origins of certain comets.”

‘Smart Water’ May Help Boost Oil Production – “Researchers in Norway report that injecting a special type of seawater called “smart water” into certain low-yield oil wells may help boost oil extraction by as much as 60 percent. The study could help meet rising energy demands and provide consumers with some financial relief at the gas pump in the future, the scientists suggest.”

Water Bears’ Able To Survive Exposure To Space – “New research by Ingemar Jönsson and colleagues published in the September 9 issue of Current Biology, a Cell Press journal, shows that some animals —the so-called tardigrades or ‘water-bears’— are able to do away with space suits and can survive exposure to open-space vacuum, cold and radiation.” And that’s why the number one threat of the week is…BEARS.

Childbirth Was Difficult For Neanderthals – “The only well-preserved find of a fossil newborn known to date provides new information on how, in the course of evolution, the very special kind of individual human development has crystallised. Dr. Marcia Ponce de León and Prof. Zollikofer reconstructed the skeleton on the computer from 141 individual parts. They discovered that the brain at the time of birth was of exactly the same size as a typical human newborn. It had a volume of about 400 cubic centimetres. However, the skeleton was considerably more robustly formed than that of a modern human newborn . . . The computer reconstruction [of female Neanderthal pelvis] shows that the birth canal of this woman was wider than that of a Homo sapiens mother, but the head of the Neanderthal newborn was somewhat longer than that of a human newborn because of its relatively robust face.”