Bob Carroll announced that he’s completed his latest project, a Skeptic’s Dictionary for Kids, in his weekly newsletter dated 7 August 2011. In the newsletter he explained why he took on this new complement to his massive and long-standing Skeptic’s Dictionary:
I wrote the SD for Kids to promote science and scientific skepticism among young people. I haven’t seen anything else like it on the Web or in print. I was encouraged to do an SD for kids by one big person who thinks kids deserve an SD of their own and by some little people who are already questioning some of their teacher’s beliefs. My 12-year-old consultant took down from her parents’ bookshelf a copy of The Skeptic’s Dictionary to look up “astrology” after her teacher told her class that she believed the stars and planets affect who we are and what happens to us. My consultant thought my writing was a bit obtuse. OK. She said “hard” and “too long.” My 10-year-old consultant wanted more pictures. He especially wanted to see a picture of Area 51, which was mentioned in some movie he saw. He wanted to know more about aliens and UFOs, too.
Mr. Carroll recommends SD for Kids for children ages nine and older and suggest that they start with the about pages and the introduction to scientific reasoning. It’s all at http://sd4kids.skepdic.com/
Amid the concern about diminishing sea ice extent in the Arctic Ocean, and there’s plenty of concern to go around, came a report adding to that unease: An announcement from the US National Snow and Ice Data Center indicates that the sea ice extent averaged only a little over 3.06 million square miles during the July 2011, down more than 80,000 square miles below the low that was recorded in 2007. Apparently, weather patterns have changed in the last couple of weeks, but the overall effect is still dramatic.
In “The 5 Worst Promoters of Nonsense,” the James Randi Education Foundation (JREF) announced this year’s awards to folks who promote misleading, dubious and sometimes downright disingenuous ideas and products—essentially, pitching poop.
The foundation calls these awards “Pigasus Awards” and refers to them as “a Dubious Honor for Dubious Claims.” Its Web site continues, “The Pigasus Awards have been bestowed on the most deserving charlatans, swindlers, psychics, pseudo-scientists, and faith healers—and on their credulous enablers, too. The awards are named for both the mythical flying horse Pegasus of Greek mythology and the highly improbable flying pig of popular cliche.”
Here is a list of the awardees for this year:
Oh, no! James Randi wants us to think seriously, skeptically, sensibly?
Oh, yes! He’s challenging us and—horror of horrors!—the manufacturers and the sellers of homeopathic remedies to prove that those ‘remedies’ actually work. Here’s his pitch.
Check out http://1023.org.uk/ and http://www.randi.org/. Keep your eyes open!
They say, “Homeopathy – There’s Nothing In It.”
Check this: Bill McKibben, who’s written books about environmental matters and is a founder of 350.org, is throwing down the gauntlet. Here’s his pitch:
We’re holding a Global Work Party on 10-10-10. All over the world, people will be putting up solar panels, digging community gardens, and laying out bike paths, all in an effort to show some actual leadership in fighting climate change. It’s an effort, in part, to shame our political leaders—to show them what actual work looks like.
And a week in advance, I’m willing to make two predictions about the event: one that I’m pretty sure will come true, and one that I hope proves wrong.
That’s the lead (“lede?”). To read his predictions, go to his post, “Bill McKibben: ‘I Dare the Media to Cover This’.” Please promote 350.org.
Filed under Eco-stuff, Equity, Humanism, Neighborhood, News, Non-violence, Notes and comments, Peace, Politics, Science, Skepticism, Thanks for reading
Wooohooo! I’ll just run the 1st three paragraphs of the press release here:
Ottawa, Ontario — (SBWIRE) — 09/30/2010 — Atheist Alliance International (AAI) in collaboration with Humanist Canada (HC) announce their joint convention, to be held October 1st, 2nd and 3rd, 2010, uniting atheists and humanists in an international movement transcending political and cultural borders.This will be the first ever explicitly atheist convention in Montreal, as well as the first North-American AAI convention held outside the U.S.A. The event, organized with local support from Atheist Freethinkers and CFI Montreal, will welcome hundreds of participants and be held at the Delta Centre-ville Hotel on 777 University St. in the heart of the city.
This bilingual event will feature a plethora of both anglophone and francophone convention speakers. A partial list of those confirmed so far includes: anthropologist Daniel Baril speaking on the evolutionary origins of religion; Philippe Besson, French freethought leader; Daniel Dennett, celebrated philosopher and author of Breaking The Spell; Belgian historian of atheism Serge Deruette; Belgian philosopher and secularism advocate Nadia Geerts; Louise Mailloux, founder of Citizens’ Collective for Equality and Secularism; famous evolutionary biologist and Pharyngula blogger P.Z. Myers; Jeremy Patrick, legal expert on blasphemy legislation; screenwriter and comedian J.D. Shapiro; Skeptical investigator Karen Stollznow, a.k.a. SkepChick; Rodrigue Tremblay, economist and author of The Code for Global Ethics.
The 2010 Richard Dawkins Prize will be awarded to Susan Jacoby, author of Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism. Several other activities will take place in conjunction with the convention: for example the September 30th party to mark International Blasphemy Rights Day and underline the importance of freedom of expression; and an evening of stand-up comedy on Comedy Night.
Over on Hyperbole and a Half, Allie Brosh has some marvelous stuff. She tickles my fancy with irreverent commentaries spiced with quick cartoons. Here’s a brief list of some of my recent faves:
She’s so ‘ffin’ good she has a store! And, she’s very productive. She’s so ‘ffin’ good she has a store! Bookmark this: http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/.
Probably many others have seen the accompanying piece of spam. I hope no one’s clicked on the attachment taht came with it, though. I didn’t open the attachment so I don’t know for sure, but I bet that it contains a trojan or other nefarious program.
Thank you for using our new service “Buy airplane ticket Online” on our website.
Your account has been created:
Your login: email@example.com
Your password: G6vFjbdp
Simon Singh does a fine job of debunking the argument that homeopathy is harmless. And, yes, it is that Simon Singh, the same one who wrote Trick or Treatment and deserves a :-) for having exposed excessive, unproven claims of benefits from chiropracty and other alternative medicine practices.
XKCD makes me grin.