The Skeptic's News Fart Digest #1

Welcome to the first News Fart Digest collecting all the interesting skeptical nonsense I stumbled upon in the last 7 days.

It's just an idea I'm trying on for the next 4 weeks to see how it goes. Let me know what you think.

Oh and one last thing, don't assume that just because something has been linked here that it is true, or it's opinions supported. The volume of links means that I've not had time or inclination to properly vet them. So treat them skeptically and pipe up in the comments if you find anything interesting.

Anyhow, link dump ahoy.

  • A 'Martian Skull' has been found on Mars by 'UFO spotters' or so claims the Telegraph. It seems some people were pissing about in a forum somewhere and they've been turned into an Silly Story for the Telegraph. Sans references to obscure anything of worth.

  • Daily Mail Commentors freak the hell out when a pop-sci article informs them that their ancestors were once black.

  • I get countless emails asking to see masked Mexican wrestlers like Renegado and Mr. Tempest looking at an image of the Virgin Mary emblazoned onto a griddle. Well your prayers have been answered.

  • Harvesting the power of prayer. By putting dynamos in prayer wheels.

  • The Catholic churches works hard to promote Dan 'The famous man looked at the red cup' Brown's Demons and Angels Movie by getting in a huff about it.

  • Jonathan Myerson trots out the 'If you have nothing to hide you've nothing to fear' idiocy like it even looks like a valid argument. And that's before you realise he's talking about DNA, a database of which would produce massive amounts of false positives. On the flip side here is AC Grayling being a bit more sensible.

  • Chris Matthews interviews Republican Mike Pence on Evolution and Science. "Do you believe in Evolution?" leads to 5 minutes of squirming. How do you pretend to be pro-science when you try to appease religious fundamentalists?

  • Nine month old girl dies when parent only treat her eczema with homeopathy. Tragic. Important to note that the Dad was a homeopath. It is too easy to get the impression that homeopaths are quacks and con artists. But it is more complicated than that - he truly believed in what he preached. And we must bare that in mind when we interact with CAM.

  • The View (basically an American version of 'Loose Women') once again makes you fear for humanity. The 'pretend there is a debate' argument from IDers is really working.

  • Jokes about atheists. Oooh you been served dude.

  • Pilots sit inside the heads of giant iron birds and fly them through the sky.
    Which is awesome.
    Pilots wear cool uniforms whilst sleeping with attractive people all around the world.
    Which is awesome.
    Pilots tell the 'voluntary' ID card scheme to bugger off. Which is awesome.
    Ergo - Pilots are awesome.

The pilots' union has protested to ministers that the £18m scheme cannot be regarded as voluntary when they are being told they will not qualify for an "airside pass" without them: "ID cards will have absolutely no value as far as security is concerned. This is nothing other than coercion and promises that ID cards would be voluntary have been broken," Jim McAuslan, Balpa general secretary, has told ministers. "We will resist."'

  • Teenager successfully sues teacher for criticising creationism.

  • America's young are giving up on organised religion.

  • Pope Benedict XVI, who you may remember for being at the heart of the global cover up of child abuse before he levelled up to pope, has talked in the middle east warning them about the misuse of religion.
    I mean I pretty much agree with what he said but the words Pot, Kettle and Black keep popping in my head...

"Some assert that religion is necessarily a cause of division in our world and so they argue that the lesser attention given to religion in the public sphere the better," he said.
"Certainly, the contradiction of tensions and divisions between the followers of different religious traditions, sadly, cannot be denied.
"However, is it not also the case that often it is the ideological manipulation of religion, sometimes for political ends, that is the real catalyst for tension and division, and at times even violence in society


How you read ties into how you use your body. The SNARC effect is
fascinating stuff.

A damn great article: "Diet and health. What can you believe: or does
bacon kill you?"

A student edits wikipedia to show that the mainstream media use it as a
primary source of info.
But I can talk, I'm posting this here without fact checking it.


Simon SIngh's libel case with the British ASSociation of Chiropractors (BAC) hasn't been going very well and he has been found guilty. Basically because he used the word 'Bogus.' Bill & Ted would be livid. This Bad Science Forum thread is probably the easiest way to link to all that is going on.


This weeks links were borrowed, stolen, repatriated, consumed, perpetuated
and regurgitated from:
General Surfing/Twitterers/Twatters/Ben Goldacre/Reddit/Bad Science Blogs/
High Weirdness Newswire...


HJ said...

I like this idea of a summary, I already knew of about 60% of your links, but it's always interesting to read more.

Lave said...

Cheers, I expect most people coming here will have seen a lot of the links but a round up (even an rather incomplete one) seems like a nice way to keep on top of the nonsense.

Also, thanks to the people who've emailed me links for next weeks newsletter already. THAT IS AWESOME. AS the less work I have to do for it the more likely I am to keep doing it. As I'm lazy.

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