News From Around The Blogosphere 12.19.08

December 20, 2008

Larry King:  Conman’s Best Friend – Larry King is notorious for helping to perpetuate pseudoscience on his show, from psychics like Sylvia Browne to UFO nuts like Stanton Friedman to antivaccinationists like Jenny McCarthy. And on the rare occasion that he brings on skeptics like James Randi or Michael Shermer to debate the frauds or deluded, the show is slanted more against the skeptic.

Well I heard that tomorrow (12/20) Jenny McCarthy will be back along with her Generation Rescue goons, including the ever popular J.B. Hardley, whose recent libelous rant against the “clueless” New York Times was much riduculed by science bloggers everywhere for its total idiocy. I doubt that King invited a critic to debate them but even if he did, I surmise the skeptic will only be made to look foolish because Larry King is every pseudo-scientist’s best friend.

influenza-virus-vaccineOf course they’re likely to vilify flu vaccines among other vaccine-related scapegoats. For the record, 36,000 people die each year from the flu. Find out how we know this.

Obama picking one hell of a good science administration – Latest grabs are Jane Lubchenco for NOAA and Joe Holdren for Science Advisor after having already picked Steven Chu for Energy.

Of course many of us are still majorly pissed off at Obama’s inclusion of Profession Bigot Rick Warren to perform a magic spell at his inauguration. It’s one thing to be engage in open dialogue with people you disagree with and it’s something else entirely to give them a very public platform at your inauguration. The Secular Coalition for America has written this letter to Obama in response to the controversy. Here’s a highlight:

Your spokesperson has said that yours will be “the most inclusive, open, accessible inauguration in American history.” How is opening the program with one Protestant Christian and closing it with another inclusive?

Holy Debt Cancellation Stickers – Among Benny Hinn’s more despicable inventions. This is what Benny Hinn Ministries says to do with it:


Place a sticker on your mortgage, loan, and credit card bills, as you ask God to give you a financial breakthrough.

As you send in your seed-gifts and prayer requests, place a sticker on the reply form, which Pastor Benny and Dr. Oral Roberts will lay hands on, and believe that you will receive a mighty outpouring.


scientist-use-in-case-of-emergencyEarth’s Original Ancestor Was ‘LUCA’ – “An evolutionary geneticist from the Université de Montréal, together with researchers from the French cities of Lyon and Montpellier, have published a ground-breaking study that characterizes the common ancestor of all life on earth, LUCA (Last Universal Common Ancestor).”

‘Hobbit’ Fossils Represent New Species? – “University of Minnesota anthropology professor Kieran McNulty (along with colleague Karen Baab of Stony Brook University in New York) has made an important contribution toward solving one of the greatest paleoanthropological mysteries in recent history — that fossilized skeletons resembling a mythical “hobbit” creature represent an entirely new species in humanity’s evolutionary chain.”

Polygamy In Birds Linked To Dinosaur Ancestors – “Sure, they’re polygamous, but male emus and several other ground-dwelling birds also are devoted dads, serving as the sole incubators and caregivers to oversized broods from multiple mothers. It is rare behavior, but research described in the Dec. 19 Science found that it runs in this avian family, all the way back to its dinosaur ancestors.”

Life On Mars? Elusive Mineral Bolsters Chances – “Over the last several years, scientists have built a very convincing case that Mars hosted water, at least early in its history. Recent observations from the Mars Phoenix lander and other spacecraft show that the planet still holds vast deposits of water as ice at its poles and in soil-covered glaciers in the mid-latitudes.”

Water Vapor Detected At Universe’s Edge – “A research group led by graduate student Violette Impellizzeri from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy has used the 100 m Effelsberg radio telescope to detect water at the greatest distance from Earth so far. The water vapour was discovered in the quasar MG J0414+0534 at redshift 2.64, which corresponds to a light travel time of 11.1 billion years, a time when the Universe was only a fifth of the age it is today.”


The War on Christmas

If Rick Warren and Barack Obama IM’d each other: