Monday, December 5, 2011

How I failed at office skepticism.

This is a story that dates back to an earlier era. Internet 1.0 if you want to put it that way. Back in the days before Facebook where email was still the number one way to share weird links, jokes, worms, email chains and provide “status updates”. Except nobody knew they were called status updates yet. I’m just trying to use language the kids will understand. But I still think this story translates well to Facebook and other social mediums.

A popular type of email that was eagarly awaited in the office was the “Amazing” email. Amazing emails were full of incredible images or stories meant to shock, awe and warn of as-yet-unknown horrific dangers. Only about 5% of all amazing emails had any basis in fact whatsoever. If that. But people wanted to believe. Photoshopping was not so well known back then and an image spoke 1000 words. Usually rubbish words.

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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

How Stuff Works: Dancing Squid

Discovery Networks Explains the famous “Dancing Squid” video. Thanks to this rather eerie video, thousands of people were creeped into learning more about the basic chemistry of life just because they saw this squid “dance”.

And no, it did not feel even the tiniest amount of pain. You can’t if you don’t have a brain. Or a head for that matter.

Send Bruzynski to HELL (or the atheist equivalent)

A short but important note:

If you have ever encountered someone trying to raise money (often well over $100k) to get treatment at the “Burzynski clinic”, gently (and tactfully) explain to them that they will not get the cancer treatment they seek.

Radiohead recently got sucked in when they donated a guitar to help raise money for a young cancer patient to attend this clinic. There are many who falsely assume such expensive treatment cannot possibly be fraudulent. Burzynski has had good PR for far too long and its time the world was told how this man preys on the weak, promising them life while watching them die and then turning to strip their greiving families of money. The lowest of the low.

Burzynski charges exorbitant rates, applying a treatment that doesn’t work and never has, offering dangerous false hope to terminally ill cancer patients (who all end up dying anyway). Anyone who exposes his fraud is immediately met with legal threats and harrassment.

When there were one or two bloggers he could take each one on directly. But he can’t sue thousands of people! ;-) which is why I am spreading the word.

This man deserves to be in jail. Spread the word.

Read about the teenager Burzynski is currently targeting with legal threats

Last but not least. Sign the following petitions:

  1. Force the FDA to investigate Burzynski

  2. Petition asking Burzynski to release research and clinical data.


Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Comedians talk sense #4 Tim Minchin (Yep, I’m being lazy)

I don’t like the title “Comedians talk sense” but I haven’t thought of a better one that says roughly the same thing.

Tonight I am being seriously lazy because just about everyone in the skeptic community knows how awesome Tim Minchin is. He can talk (sing!) about anything he wants and it will be profound.

I love Tim.
You love Tim.

Tim is possibly the only comedian who justifies such a long video. It really captures him in a nutshell.


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Mothers make awesome fathers and vice versa.

Today in The Age newspaper I read an article about fathers that I instantly wanted to correct. Re-write in fact. This feeling is not new when it comes to The Age actually.

It annoys me when someone tries to demonstrate that a family isn’t complete without a mother and a father. More specifically, a man and a woman. Almost always this opinion is based on the false assumption that all mothers (women) have one type of personality and all fathers (men) have another complimentary personality type. Sigh.

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Monday, August 29, 2011

Misinformation Watch.

Every once in a while I encounter a factual news story that I just know is going to be used and abused by uninformed extremists. In this case I am expecting the pro-life crowd to step up.

I spotted an initial report on the (Australian) ABC news website. Read the full article here

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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Comedians talk sense #3 That Mitchell and Webb look discuss the God delusion with “Richard Dawkins”

I stumbled across this video accidentally while browsing through Mitchell and Webb’s other excellent skits. I haven’t encountered a single clanger yet. The following clip has a go at sketicism and Richard Dawkins. In a good way :-)

I do like the idea that Richard Dawkins could turn out to be so successful in his mission that he would be left arguing against free lunches and whatnot.

tee hee


Awesome Engineer. Asshat Engineer.

I have blogged about engineers and their lack of skepticism not so long ago and may have given the impression that engineers can’t help but rattle on and on about crap they don’t fully understand. So I am starting a new blog series called “Awesome Engineer. Asshat Engineer”. From now on I will present you with two engineers, one that has stuck to what they are good at and excelled, plus one that has drifted into babbling mindless bullshit. I wont be telling you which is which because it will be bloody obvious.

Today we have Nikola Tesla and Henry M. Morris.

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A brief history of chiropractic “therapy” in cartoon form.

I didn’t know the full history of chiropractic “therapy” until now. This is a great TL:DR version for all those impatient types. Impress your skeptic friends at parties…


Continue on to read the rest at Darryl Cunningham’s excellent blog

Well worth it.


Saturday, August 27, 2011

Catch em young. Four year olds show first signs of skepticism.

Four year olds show first signs of skepticism. My words, not necessarily that of the researchers who conducted this insightful study into children and their ability to judge information sources.

For their study, Einav and Robinson used puppets and a teddy bear to test children. A child would hold up a picture of an elephant, cow, or rabbit for each puppet to identify. Both puppets labeled all animals correctly but one puppet always knew the answer without any help, whereas the other puppet always relied on help from Ted. Then, Ted was removed so he couldn’t help the puppets anymore and the child was given a picture of an unfamiliar animal—a mongoose—and asked which puppet could tell them what it was.

Three-year-olds were equally likely to choose the puppet who’d known the answers on its own and the puppet that got help from Ted. But four- and five-year-olds were more discriminating: They invested more trust in the puppet whose accuracy reflected independent knowledge rather than being dependent on an external source.

Very cool.

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Feasibility is an engineering based blog designed to reach other STEM people. Non-STEM people are also welcome! I try to give good advice and well-reasoned opinions but please don’t hesitate to disagree with me. This blog exists because I realised that I live in a metaphorical bubble and that simply wont do. Nup.


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