Category Archives: Skeptic

The Human Stun Gun

Loving this little article i found on New Scientist http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn21783-sauropod-farts-warmed-the-planet.html.

What is says is essentially was our planet getting warmed up through the methane in Sauropods and other dinosaurs. What they reckon is that the global population of these dinosaurs released about 520 million tonnes of methane a year which contributed to warming the Earth and this is apparently estimated to be the same as the total current emissions of greenhouse gas.

Wowza. Also during this time there were no polar ice caps, could this be because of some massive farting dinosaurs…

Go check the full article.

Cheers.

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Recommendation 1 – Andrew Mayne

Just a short post, Andrew Mayne has recently started uploading a new podcast audiobook on Itunes.
And this is my recommendation… GET IT and get it now. I haven’t had time to listen yet as it will be some good bedtime listening for me.

But everything Andrew Mayne does is golden, his magic is amzing, his podcasts are exciting and books are riveting. This post might as wel just say ANDREW MAYNE. He has the brains of a science wizard and the skills of a master magician.

Here is a link straight to the podcast.
http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/chronological-man-monster/id500639018

When the citizens of Boston begin to go missing in the fog in 1890,
it’s up to the mysterious Smith, inventor and adventurer, to figure out
what’s going on with the help of his assistant, April Malone. They’ll
have to face off against a secret society, corrupt policemen and a mad
psychologist hell-bent on dissecting Smith, in order to find out what’s
going on and to save the city from a graver threat.

This 4.5 hour science adventure novella is the first story about Smith, a mixture of Tony Stark, Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Who.

I might as well just plug the rest of his stuff here too while i’m here.

His own site for his magics – http://www.andrewmayne.com/

Weird things website and podcast for weird stories and strange news from around the world or mainly eastern europe in many cases – http://weirdthings.com/

He is also one of the mayne (see what i did there) guys behind a very good magic news and review site – http://itricks.com/news/

He seems to also be a regular guest on anther podcast too – http://nsfwshow.com/

Also he works with the JREF now and then to help promote skepticism and to help administer tests – http://www.randi.org/site/

I will start doing alot of recommendations on here, due to me reading, listening, watching and playing alot.

Cheers.

Quirkology

So i got a new book for Christmas and it is awesome. Written by Richard Wiseman who is the Professor of the Public Understanding of Psychology and a Magician. He is on wordpress too. Link! The book is an assorted collection of social and psychological experiments and may be one of the most interesting books i’ve read in quite a while.

The book covers jokes, luck, fake smiles, personal ads, charisma and how our personalities are shaped when we are born among loads of other interesting bits and bobs.
Go and buy the book now its cheap on Amazon Amazon linkage!

 

 

QUIRKOLOGY
The definitive quirky psychology, including the science of charisma, how to detect lies and how our personalities are shaped by when we are born.

If you are interested in psychology or social experiments, just get this book. From reading this book i now realise why people act in certain ways. Its interesting to put into use the things found in this book at work, it helps you realise how others think in different situations too.

Maybe i’ll get time to blog more soon seeing as though i have just over a weeks holiday.

Sorry about the way this is written, this isn’t the greatest post i’ve done. It seems my brain is fried.
Cheers.

New Project?

Howdy!

I can’t seem to stick to what i set out for myself to do. Am i bored of the blogging, am i slowing down due to brain function, have i no time on my hands or is it all of the above. Hmmm.

Anyway just typing to ask what any of you reckon to me fashioning some sort of website out of the spare internets lying around.
I was thinking some kind of weird things style website, based around people beliefs of strange animals or goings on, phoney magic tricks done with cameras which may be physically impossible and cryptozoology.

If i did this new site what should i call it has anyone any ideas. I could make it into a sort of blogging community website too which would be nice and that way maybe there will be a stream of content instead of bits and bobs.

So one name i was thinking was ‘Aint no such thing’ because it sounds funny and kind of says what most of the content may be.

Oooh and if anyone could give me a hand with stuff i’d be very appreciative. Let me know…

Cheers.

Derren Brown

Derren Brown: Miracles for sale.

Already it sounds awesome, pity i’m at work late so it looks like sky + has a job to do.

Its on channel 4 Easter Monday at 9PM.

Just watch it, knowing the rest of Mr Browns work this should be a good watch indeed.

Here is the article from his blog. http://derrenbrown.co.uk/blog/2011/04/new-derren-brown-tv-special/

This is the special about faith-healing that some of you will have heard about. It has been the most intensely difficult project that I have attempted: to train an ordinary member of the public as a faith healer, then take him out to Texas, the heart of the Bible Belt, and try to pass him off as the real deal. We filmed this at the end of last year amidst concerns that we had bitten off far more than we could chew.
The film we made is driven by a desire to expose what I consider to be a foul and dangerous fraud at the expense of the sick, the needy and the faithful all over the world. It is not a comment on the church, or belief, or even, before some people get upset, the idea that God can or can’t heal. It is about a specific fraud, a greedy trick that has nothing to do with God whatsoever, beyond the fact that his name gets shouted around a lot. We made the show with the involvement of Christians and pastors who had been involved in that particular scene.
No faith healer has ever been able to provide evidence of a single miraculous healing ever having had occurred. Some when pushed have offered a few success stories, but when those ‘healed’ people have been approached, they turn out to be the same as before, worse than ever, dead, or not to have had the ailment in the first place. What does seem to happen, though, is a cleverly-engineered emotional event brings people into a state of hype that releases adrenalin, which acts as a pain killer. People in the audience with low-level ailments that can respond to such pain relief – combined with a huge amount of expectation and a desire to be healed, or ‘close to the magic’ – will commonly find themselves pain-free and step forward when asked to. There then follows, at the larger events, a filtering process where stewards send back anyone with a serious or visible ailment (such as an arm missing) and test the remaining arthritics and bad-back sufferers to see if they can display a convincing pantomime of having been healed (touching toes and so on). There are other tricks to seemingly cure the blind and deaf which I will also demonstrate on the show. These poor people are then brought up on stage in their heightened state to bounce around and think they’re healed while the truly afflicted are left to believe God hasn’t taken much of an interest. It’s very disturbing to see the rows of the seriously disabled on drip machines, in wheelchairs and even hospital beds, ignored and invisible, safely behind the TV cameras’ reach at the big-name events. Or to hear of the chronically afflicted being carried to these rallies around America by families who spend every last penny they earn in hope that the man on stage might channel a little of God in their direction. A wake of despair is left behind by these charlatans, made up of hundreds of thousands of people who receive no healing or only temporary pain relief, and are encouraged to blame themselves for not having enough faith when they find nothing’s improved.
And then there’s the money. This is the hub of the whole operation. The financial motivation seems to be closely linked to something called the Prosperity Gospel, which has to be the most perverse and self-serving piece of scripture-twisting I have ever come across. It was loudly preached by Oral Roberts and made popular in the 90s, and takes the rather lovely idea of ‘sow and ye shall reap’ and re-defines it as a financial incentive. Jesus bestows his blessings in the form of money. How do you get these blessings? You first give money. More than you can afford, otherwise it doesn’t count. Jesus will repay you hundredfold. If he doesn’t, you probably didn’t give enough, or perhaps you have secret sin or not enough faith. And to whom do you give your money? Your preacher, naturally. You might want to read that through again if this logic is something new to you. Not surprisingly, the big name preachers earn far more than any Hollywood A-lister from this system. Proof of the fact that Jesus bestows his blessings in the form of money? The stinking richness of your pastor. Perhaps his fleet of private jets might just convince you. And these donations come in not just from a mesmerised flock gathering twice on a Sunday, they flood in from millions of people on mailing lists which form the backbone of the big business of faith healing. The TV rallies, the crusade events, are all designed to encourage people to sign up and send in a sizeable chunk of their earnings every month. Cash floods in tax-free (for as long as you say it’s a church you are pretty much left alone by the IRS) and is spent on lifestyles that in some cases reach beyond imaginable luxury. People imagine perhaps that the money goes somewhere worthwhile to support God’s work. It’s disheartening watching the sick and the elderly put cash they can’t afford into the donation buckets at these vast crusades when I hear of how one big-name healer spent thousands of dollars after a rally, in said cash, on hotel room service and rent boys.
The healers perform their shows over here too: I recently went to see a couple of the current main men at venues in London and have never felt such a heady mixture of disgust and deep pity. A girl behind me screamed to her friend ‘There’s your proof God can heal!’ as we watched a man climb out of his wheelchair on stage; in her delight, she missed the moment later when he collapsed unhappily back into it once the cameras had been swiftly pointed away from him. At least it was his own chair: another common trick is to quietly stick someone with a bad back into one of the healer’s own wheelchairs to ‘make things comfortable’ for them, so that once they are brought before the crowd, the glistening man of God can command them to rise from a chair they didn’t need in the first place. Praise the Lord.
The project was hugely difficult because a big business like faith healing is almost impenetrable. We tried to speak to those who had worked alongside the current big-name healers, as we knew of a few who had been allowed in the inner circles of trust and knowing the depths of the corruption had eventually turned against it. But these are people who live in fear. They were told for years by their charismatic, ruthless leaders that they lived under a curse and that to leave the clan would result in God ending their lives. Disturbingly, that may not always be too far from the truth: we heard of a couple of witnesses who had been brought to testify against a healer and had died mysteriously of heart attacks the night before the trial. Something dark may be afoot.
There is, as one might hope, a growing scepticism in Britain amongst Christians towards these so-called healers. Although I don’t hide my own lack of religious belief, my repulsion at this scam comes as much from my days as a Christian as it does from simply being a human being observing ego- and money- driven fraud. It was a gruelling journey to penetrate the world of that fraud in the small way we could, with our own particular journey of seeing if an ordinary guy could pass as a real healer. I hope that the ranks of intelligent believers will feel the same concern at our findings as the rest of the viewers.

SITP today

So todays SITP was at the Fellows Morton and Clayton in Nottingham and featured a talk by Iszi Lawrence and it was awesome.

The talk consisted mainly of comedic interpretation of what being skeptical is and a bit about atheism and other religion which was cool, Iszi really seemed to work the audience well and had everyone laughing in no time which made the atmosphere enjoyable even though the space in the room was severely limited, due to Andy not knowing how many people would show up and so we filled the little upstairs roomy balcony-ish thing and some people had to sit below and listen.

The talk was funny and lined with laughter from the audience due to some of Iszi’s anecdotes and opinions, it made for a real fun night and yeah she seemed really nice and we had a quick chat during the interval and she seemed genuinely nice and chatty. She does also seem to have a bit of a crush on either Alan Rickman or just his mouth/voice. Fun. Would enjoy watching her comedic stylings once again especially in the setting of an actual comedy gig. Also go check out her podcast called the ‘Sunday Supplement’.

All in all it was great and i can’t wait till the next talk next month by Rebecca Watson which is something about ‘etiquette for skeptics’. Ooooh.

Pow!

Cheers for the people who read this. I was super tired when typing this so it probably just repeats itself. Ah well.

Weird Funny Awesome

I just found a site which is hilarious it has news from what i assume is international and its just crazy.
For example the top article today on this site is about a couple of teens in America who vandalised a hotel swimming pool using their own feces. Nice…. and then some things about a man who stole hot dogs by hiding them in his pants. Tasty…

So yeah it seems like a fun new site i shall pop a link here POP!

And from the Metro there is a woman who apparently has Bananaphobia. Hahahaha. Linkage!

For those who have played any fallout games check out the Brahmin Mooo

Oooh is there any people who are interested in going to see Rebecca Watson and Richard Wiseman at SITP in Sheffield. They will be there October 11th and January 17th.
Let me know, don’t leave me on my lonesome please. I would go to the one in Notts but i have work tuesdays although i am currently trying to get out of working tuesdays .

And for those who are interested in the QED if you are local let me know otherwise i will end up more than likely going alone.