In a repeat performance of last year's sold out event, the folks from The Skeptics Guide to the Universe will be hosting an optional dinner on Friday, July 9th at 7:00PM during TAM. There is limited seating for this catered event, so register early to be sure you get a seat. Tickets are $75, and we expect it to sell out again.
For those of you who have already registered for TAM, be sure to choose the "Already Registered" option at the top of the registration page.
In other news, this week's topics on the The Skeptics Guide to the Universe are:
Interview with Dr. Dean Edell
News Items: 20 Years of Hubble, Nanodots, Boobquake, Stephen Hawking on Aliens, Noah's Ark
Who's That Noisy
Your Questions and E-mails: Intelligence and Science
You're now one of hundreds of thousands of people who've seen the "Oriental Yeti" that was discovered in early April. If you Google "Oriental Yeti," you'll come across this article from the Telegraph UK, which tells the "whole story." And an article from Times UK claims that "Scientists Are Baffled." I wonder if there's a number to call to find an anonymous baffled scientist — they seem to turn up quite frequently in these tales.
I'm guessing that like me, you don't think the animal in the video looks very much like the Yeti or Abominable Snowman we came to know and love onScooby Doo. There's a reason for that.
The article claims that the creature was sent to a lab in Shanghai for DNA identification. But a couple of skeptics posited, and a Chinese naturalists confirmed, that this creature is not actually a Yeti. It is, in fact, a coffee enhancer.
I present to you a rather old but fascinating story. Two planes clash over France, 1944. One is victorious, and a defeated German fighter smashes into the field below. 50 years later, the pilot is still listed as "Missing In Action," and the field shows no sign of the conflict above.
Or does it?
According to this article, investigator Laurent d' Hondt used dowsing rods to find the plane. The field must have been giving off waves or rays or something that made the aluminum rods twitch. How would it have ever been found without this strange force? Let's take a closer look and I suspect we'll have an answer.
D.J. Grothe’s lecture from NECSS 2010 has made the leap to the interwebz, and you may view it below.
D.J.’s subject, “Skepticism Is a Humanism,” is an affirmation of a principle that some of us think goes without saying, and which the rest of us hardly think about. It raises some interesting questions.
The talk begins with definitions. D.J. asks: Is skepticism “saying no to nonsensical beliefs”? I don’t think so. The pejorative “nonsense” almost automatically implies a degree of solipsism; an unwarranted trust in one’s ability to distinguish nonsense from truth. Everybody, Tom Cruise to Fred Phelps, thinks s/he says “no” to nonsense. It doesn’t make them skeptical. (Though it does reveal an innate, unformed inclination toward skepticism, which makes me hopeful.) A meaningful definition of skepticism would have to encapsulate the process by which we identify nonsense, rather than note the mere fact that we disparage it.