Cause of death: Oprah

Over the last few years, there’s been a huge sensation in the Self Health and Actualization Movement (SHAM), and it’s name is The Secret. It essentially co-opted the long-held Self Health and Actualization Movement (SHAM) tradition of combining humanity’s notorious tendency toward insecurity with our equally notorious sedentary [...]

WikiLeaks: Free Speech and Private Speech

I have a problem with nearly anything being connected to skepticism.  I admit readily that it’s kind of a knee-jerk thing, but from values to beliefs, I don’t want to be told that really anything is required to be a part of skepticism.  That said, I do feel that the one value skeptics do need to defend is the right to free speech.  When we are saying “no” to the status quo, we need to be able to do that without being imprisoned or sued by the nation.  All that said, I’ve been having some issues with the recent WikiLeaks exposure of hundreds (so far) of private documents written by diplomats and government officials within the US. … continue reading this entry.

Supplemental Nightmares

I am generally skeptical of any claim (made by EITHER the alternative or modern medical camps) that Americans are deficient in any particular vitamin or nutrient. “Americans are not eating enough X,” the headlines cry! It just does not seem logical to me that in this day in age, where obesity has become an epidemic, that Americans are not ingesting enough of anything! But the up and down claims about vitamins are enough to send any rational consumer into a tailspin of confusion. One day we need to double our consumption of a particular nutrient, the next day we are told that too much of said nutrient is harmful then we are told that we weren’t deficient in the first place! This is the roller-coaster story of vitamin D. … continue reading this entry.

SafeMinds propaganda blocked by skeptics

This week the anti-vaccine propaganda organization SafeMinds is rolling out a commercial in some movie theaters that makes bogus claims designed to scare people away from getting their annual flu shot.

Initially, I heard about this from an article in Skepchick that reported which cineplexes would feature the commercial and urged skeptics to contact the management to voice their outrage. One of the theaters set to air the commercial was the AMC Empire 25 in New York City.

Fortunately, only a few hours after I added myself to the over a thousand who participated in the campaign by contacting AMC and writing a Letter to the Editor for my local newspaper, a representative from that company responded by saying they will not air this commercial or any other ads on the topic. … continue reading this entry.

Daily Mail Proves Psychic Powers!

I predict John Edward and his buddies will capitalize on this study.

Hey!  It’s great news!  According to a study in the Daily Mail, psychic powers exist and we can see into the future.  Wow!  Although apparently the effects must be really small because no one seems to have been able to predict that 9-11 was [...]

‘Psychic Kids’ needs a spanking

A recent article on Skepchick.org suggested a letter-writing campaign to the television network A&E to complain about their completely reprehensible and morally bankrupt show “Psychic Kids.”

I’d already written an angry letter to the network back when the show first aired but I decided to follow the Skepchick example and help this campaign by writing a second letter to the network.

Here’s what I wrote A&E:

Two years ago, when you began running the insipid program entitled “Psychic Kids,” I wrote a complaint about the abject nation of the show that promised that as long as that show remained on the air, I would never watch your network.

It’s two years later and I have kept my word. And now I’m writing you again to voice my disapproval of this program. … continue reading this entry.

Score One for the New Media, Not So Sure About Hamburgers

What me rot?

You can use your critical thinking skills to analyze a broad amount of information. You can take this critical analysis one step further and conduct simple experiments to gather your own evidence. No, really. I mean YOU!

Because that is exactly what blogger J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, at the food blog Serious Eats did. Not [...]

On Being Fat: discrimination against the obese

The blogosphere and comment threads were a buzz last week over an article on the Marie Claire website in which a dating and relationship advice columnist, Maura Kelly, writes:

“I think I’d be grossed out if I had to watch two characters with rolls and rolls of fat kissing each other … because I’d be grossed out if I had to watch them doing anything. To be brutally honest, even in real life, I find it aesthetically displeasing to watch a very, very fat person simply walk across a room — just like I’d find it distressing if I saw a very drunk person stumbling across a bar or a heroine addict slumping in a chair.”

She was writing about the CBS sitcom Mike & Molly, featuring an overweight couple who apparently met in a support group for the overweight (I’ve never watched, or heard of, the show before this article so pardon any misunderstanding I have about it’s plot). She went on to write that obesity is something people can control if they put their minds to it. Overall she was critical of any messages in the media that might normalize obesity out of concern for rising health care costs for illnesses associated with being overweight and/or inactive. … continue reading this entry.

It’s our Tube too

Go to YouTube right now and type into the search bar:  vaccines. Congratulations! You just found an endless stream of the most hyperbolic doom-saying vaccine denialist propaganda that makes Glenn Beck look reasonable by comparison.

In fact, I didn’t see a single skeptical video challenging this anti-vaccine propaganda until near the bottom of the second page of search results. That first skeptical video was this one by Rebecca Watson. The next video down was a paranoid video of David Icke warning us of the evils of vaccines. It isn’t until well down the third page before finding a second skeptical debunking of anti-vaccine claims. And other videos challenging anti-vaccine claims are few and far between. This YouTube dominance shouldn’t be very surprising as the anti-vaccine movement have dominated the web since even the early days of the internet. … continue reading this entry.

Juan Williams makes me think reporters should be biased

You won't see this guy around anymore! Wait... he was on radio... how do we make that cliche work now...

This past week saw the departure of Juan Williams from NPR.  The firing happened in the wake of an interview with Williams on “The O’Reilly Factor,” thanks to a clip circulated by Think Progress where Williams admitted a discomfort to seeing people in Muslim garb on planes.  It is doubtful that the firing was due to the O’Reilly interview, looking into the transcript slightly deeper than the Think Progress clip reveals that it’s a total quote mine and that Williams was trying to set-up a statement about how we can’t let that discomfort rule us in how we deal with the Muslim world.  Rather, Williams was fired for a history of stating his opinion over the air.  This has not stopped Think Progress from quote mining Williams into opinions that he did not actually espouse.

Here’s the clip Think Progress made sure to get out to the web:

I’m not a bigot. You know the kind of books I’ve written about the civil rights movement in this country. But when I get on the plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous. Now, I remember also that when the Times Square bomber was at court, I think this was just last week. He said the war with Muslims, America’s war is just beginning, first drop of blood. I don’t think there’s any way to get away from these facts. … continue reading this entry.

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