Russian president asked to investigate alien abduction

May 6, 2010

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, the leader of the southern region of Kalmykia, claims to have met space aliens on board the mother ship (that’s just me who’s assuming the ship he was on was the mother ship–isn’t it always?). And now he’s asking President Medvedev to investigate his alleged alien abduction. But the scariest part?

MP Andre Lebedev is not just asking whether Mr Ilyumzhinov is fit to govern.

He is also concerned that, if he was abducted, he may have revealed details about his job and state secrets.

Really Lebedev? That’s your concern? Really? Cause the space aliens came all this way to conquer us all and make us all work in their underground sugar caves but the one thing standing in their way is your state secrets? Really? [face palm]

I’d like to say, only in Russia. But sadly  this sort of lack of incompetence can be found anywhere.

But I for one welcome our new alien overlords and would like to remind them that as an internet blogger, I can be useful in rounding up others to work in their underground sugar caves.


News From Around The Blogosphere 4.21.10

April 22, 2010

1. Russia bans $cientology material – Perhaps taking a cue from the Germans, Russia is cracking down on beliefs it considers detrimental to society and have now banned books and recordings by L. Ron Hubbard a court determined to be extremist. Russia has already banned some texts by Jehovah’s Witnesses.

2. 60 Minutes applies hardcore skepticism to bring down bogus stem cell quack – Lawrence Stowe is a con man with no real medical credentials who has scammed ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease patients out of money with promises of bogus stem cell cures. I am very proud of 60 Minutes for setting up and airing this sting operation in all its uncomfortable glory.What’s really shameful is that every news organization isn’t doing this sort of thing all the time.

3. Oklahoma proposes new insane abortion bill – The bill would allow doctors to withhold test results showing fetal defects and require women to answer intrusive questions.


News From Around The Blogosphere 1.28.10

January 29, 2010

1. Scientists determine color of dinosaur’s tail feathers – because of course dinosaurs weren’t in any way related to birds. Right creationists? It’s orange.

2. Russian rabbis hospitalized from holy water – Silly rabbis. Trix are for kids. (Thanks to my friend Michelle for that joke!)

3. Doctors Without Borders vaccinates 2,100 kids against Measles in Pakistan – This is great news but I fear that the first Pakistani kid who gets sick from anything at all will become a target for anti-vaccinationists to point to, insisting that it was the vaccine. . .even if that particular kid wasn’t vaccinated. Or maybe they’re just emphasize that these kids only got vaccinated against measles instead of getting MMR vaccines, and insist that that’s how we should all get them. Either way, I doubt this news story will escape their rationalizations.

4. Atheist billboard goes up in Tampa Bay

5. The Pope’s a masochist – Remember when the Pope condemned “The Da Vinci Code” for its inaccuracy? Well it wasn’t all inaccurate. The self-flagellation part was true:


News From Around The Blogosphere 12.31.09

January 1, 2010

1. Russian space agency to the rescue – The Russian space agency may be sending out a spacecraft to intercept an asteroid and knock it off course to reduce its likelihood of impacting Earth. Though it’s unlikely to hit Earth anyway, there’s little risk in this precautionary measure (unless they accidentally set it on course for Earth) and it may make a good test to see how much we can alter an asteroid’s course so we can better prepare for future space debris heading towards us.

2. California Science Center being sued for backing out on screening of creationist propaganda film – They never should have agreed to show the film in the first place but after they did, they received a lot of criticism that led to them ultimately violating their agreement to show it. I’d argue that because the film is about promoting a manufactured controversy and not a real one, that the California Science Center okayed it under false pretenses. Also, the filmmakers seem to be deliberately choosing locations to create the illusion that these films are endorsed by legitimate scientific institutions when really they’re just agreeing to provide space for an event. But the center had a clause in their agreement requiring promotional materials to be screened before release to to prevent these kinds of deceptions.

3. Eighth grade science teacher fired for promoting Christianity – John Freshwater, an eighth grade science teacher from Mount Vernon, Ohio reportedly committed numerous abuses by promoting his faith including preaching Christianity in class, denouncing evolution, not teaching the proper scientific curriculum, burning crosses onto the arms of some students, “causing swelling and blistering”,  calling gays sinners, keeping the Bible and Ten Commandments on display in class, and encouraged students to see “Expelled” for extra credit. Fortunately, this guy has been officially canned.

4. This decade in Skepticism – And finally as the Naughties come to a close, Steven Novella takes a look at how well skeptics have done in bringing down woo this decade. There were some things I feel he left out though.

Another win you can add to the list is Scientology, which has suffered so much damage in the last few years that it may be on the verge of collapsing completely in the next few years.

Also, atheist/agnosticism/whatever you want to call it has reached America’s living rooms and has perhaps never been this popular. Numerous so-called “New Atheist” have been major bestsellers and like-minded individuals have used the internet to come together like never before.

And similarly, the skeptical movement has grown and become more organized like never before. There was no TAM, no NECSS, no skeptical DragonCon track, no SkeptiCamp, no skeptical podcasts, or even really skeptical blogs until the Naughties. And now younger people are getting involved like never before. That in itself is a major win for us.


Mysteries, Magic, and Miricles 11.3.09

November 3, 2009

MYSTERIES

Is Keanu Reeves immortal?

I don’t know about you but I’m convinced.

MAGIC

MIRACLES

1. Koran verses “appear” on baby in Russia – I have to agree with Phil Plait on this one. It’s not simply pareidolia but seems like a clear case of someone simply writing on the child.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

2. Faith healing and other medical quackery in health care reform bill – Senate Bill 1679 currently contains language that would require support for faith healing practices:

The essential benefits provided for in subparagraph (A) shall include a requirement that there be non-discrimination in health care in a manner that, with respect to an individual who is eligible for medical or surgical care under a qualified health plan offered through a Gateway, prohibits the Administrator of the Gateway, or a qualified health plan offered through the Gateway, from denying such individual benefits for religious or spiritual health care, except that such religious or spiritual health care shall be an expense eligible for deduction as a medical care expense as determined by Internal Revenue Service Rulings interpreting section 213(d) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 as of January 1, 2009.

Here’s another article on it.

3. ‘Miracle’ communion wafer transubstantiates into heart tissue? – In Poland, the Catholic Church is investigating an alleged miracle involving a Eucharist turning into heart tissue. It turns out the secret is to just add water. We’re told this has “dumbfounded sceptics” but I say the heart tissue was there in the water all along, waiting to be picked up after the glorified Ritz cracker was dropped into the water. Case closed.


Russia licenses faith healers

December 22, 2008

Russia licenses faith healers

Every year, thousands of Russians claim to have been defrauded by people calling themselves clairvoyants, occultists, and self-styled witches, who advertise their services in Russian media.

In July a Moscow court handed an 11-year prison sentence to Grigory Grabovoi, a cult leader who allegedly promised to resurrect children killed in the Beslan school siege in 2004. He reportedly charged grieving relatives some 40,000 rubles ($1,700).

In response to cases like Grabovoi’s, legislators in the Duma, or lower house of parliament, have proposed a law banning traditional healers from advertising.

But Lyudmila Stebenkova, a deputy in the Moscow city legislature, said the answer is to weed out the false healers from the true ones. She wants to expand Moscow’s testing and licensing system to the rest of the country and make it mandatory, creating a licensing system similar to the one for physicians.

“The measures we’re proposing will protect Russia’s population from fraudsters,” Stebenkova said.

The problem with trying to distinguish the true healers from the false once is that THERE ARE NO TRUE ONES and you put the best scammers in a better position by removing their competition. That’s why making laws like this, while they sound very tempting, ultimately DON’T do what they set out to do, which is protecting Russia’s population from fraudsters.