Archive for the ‘Links’ Category

A wonderful and inspirational Facebook page

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

A happy April first to all!

As I promised, I have not abandoned this blog.  After a hiatus, I will be back in the near future with many more posts.

In the mean time, I suggest this Facebook Page, where you can gain your share of daily wisdom and inspiration on things like natural health and organics!

Excellent Article On the Origin of Chemtrail Conspiracy Theories

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

Of all the conspiracy theories out there, it’s one of the strangest and dumbest.  The idea that contrails, which have been a common site since aircraft started flying at high altitudes in the 1940′s, are, in fact, chemicals designed for something evil.  Depending on who you ask, it could be mind control, depopulation, weather modification or something else.  Those who subscribe to the conspiracy theory take it very seriously and think those who don’t must be blind “sheeple.”

But where on earth did this whole concept come from?

IO9 has an excellent article on the history of the chemtrail conspiracy theory, tracking it back to the 1990′s, when a combination of sensational reporting and speculation on weather modification resulted in the first claims that aircraft were actively spraying chemicals in some kind of conspiracy by the government. There is a grain of truth in the original claims – namely, that the military did investigate cloud seeding and other forms of weather modification and even employed them during the Vietnam war.  However, the conspiracy theories quickly went far past that.

Documentaries came later, along with online communities.  There were some “investigations,” if you can call them that, which are cited as evidence of chemtrails.  Among these are analysis reports that found aluminum in rainwater.  This is not surprising, because aluminum is one of the most common elements in the earth’s crust and rain typically picks up some dust, such as soil blown into the wind.

The article is worth a read as a case study in how a wacky conspiracy theory is born and eventually becomes populare.

 

Recomended Facebook Groups and Pages

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

I have not always been a big social media fan, but I have to admit that Facebook is pretty great for keeping in touch with people and for finding groups of similar interests.

There are some great Facebook pages and groups that are anti-bad science.  Many of these are funny and all are worth checking out

Note that some of these are closed groups, where you have to apply for membership to the group before you can post to it, and, in some cases, read all the posts.

 

Anti Vax Wall of Shame The worst comments, posts and quotes from anti-vaccine activists and websites.

Australian Vaccination Network – Not to be confused with the actual Australian Vaccination Network, this is pro-vaccine. How they got to use the name, I have no idea.

Conspiracy Theorists Say the Darndest Things – Comically bad conspiracy claims from around the web.

Fundies Say the Darndest things – Comically bad quotes and posts from religious fundimentalists, mostly.

New Age Woos Say the Darndest Things -Similar comically bad quotes, these from newagers, quacks and similar.

GMOLOL – Crazy GMO claims refuted and poked fun at.  Also general advocacy for good science regarding genetically engineering technology.

GMO Skepti-Forum – A place for skeptics of outlanding GMO claims (not as funny as GMOLOL)

Anti-Alternative Medicine – A group opposing and exposing quackery.

 

Please feel free to add recommended groups and pages in the comments!

GET WELL JULIA!

Friday, September 16th, 2011

If you happen to live in the Northeastern United States and are involved in skepticism and science advocacy, you probably know the name Julia Galef.�� In fact, even if you don’t live in the Northeastern United States and are involved in skepticism and science advocacy, you may know the name.

Julia is a writer, blogger, speaker and skeptic who has managed to become an important figure in public engagement in just a couple of years of involvement.�� She’s been heavily involved in the establishment of the New York City Skeptics and contributed enormously to events like NECSS.�� She also regularly hosts their podcast and has an excellent blog which she shares with her brother Jesse.

I’ve always liked Julia’s writing and addresses a lot.� She provides excellent intellectual analysis, but her style is light and entertaining, which is very important in making it accessible and maintaining broad appeal.� She has a great sense of humor which she manages to weave into her commentary very cleverly and subtly, making it all the more entertaining to read.

Julia is also exactly the kind of person who skepticism needs the most.�� The stereotype of the skeptic is generally a rather stuck-up, old bitter white male, and Julia is none of those (well, except she is Caucasian, but none of the others.)� Rather, she’s the kind of engaging, youthful face of an ever expanding and inclusive movement.�� Julia is also not prone to limiting things to the more traditional venues for skepticism.�� Recently she wrote of her trip to Burningman, the kind of event one typically does not associate with skeptic types.

But unfortunately, this post is not simply about gushing over how great Julia is and how much everyone appreciates her seemingly limitless enthusiasm for empirical skepticism and science in popular culture.

I recently found out that Julia had been badly injured in a household accident.�� She received some very serious burns after knocking over a pot of deep-frying oil, and has second and third degree burns over most of her legs.� Julia has been in the hospital for more than a week and is expected to be there for at least another week to ten days.� She stated that she will be “regrowing my skin and relearning to walk.”

(Note: I feel okay saying this because she has posted it on her public Facebook account and the topic has been discussed on forums and boards, so I’m pretty sure she’s not keeping it a secret.)

Like everyone else who heard this news, I was shocked and saddened that such a horrific accident had happened to such an admirable person.�� In fact, I figured that my best wishes for her recovery deserved, at the very least, a blog post.

As for everyone else:

Since I know Julia is passionate about her contributions to skepticism, why don’t you go check out her blog and podcast.� Not only is the content great, but like any other author, I’m sure she loves having her stuff read.�� Also, be sure to leave her some love in the comments, because she really needs it right now.

Keep on getting better, Julia, and if your moral starts to wane, remember how many of us appreciate what you do and are enthusiastically waiting to see you again, once you are fully recovered!

Best Sources for Information On The Fukushima Nuclear Reactors

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

As it is too difficult for me to personally provide updates on the situation in Japan, the following links can provide good up to date, information without sensationalize or uninformed speculation.

TEPCO Press Room – Frequently updated English language press releases from the plant’s operators on the latest state of the reactors.

MIT Nuclear Information Service – Blog-style posts providing expert analysis and information written in layperson’s terminology with good explanations.�� Highly recommended.�� Rational and direct.

International Atomic Energy Agency – Contains regular press releases on confirmed information relating to the Fukushima reactors. Also provides information on confirmed injuries relating to the nuclear plant. At this time there are no confirmed cases of acute radiation poisoning, though workers have been injured in the explosions at the plant.

Japan Atomic Industrial Forum (English Language Site) – Frequent updates on status of reactors. This site provides some of the best primary information as soon as it is avaliable on both the reactor conditions and efforts underway to address problems. This is the primary source of information used to provide the concise “Status Updates” updates, which are hosted by HPS.
(note that this is not a “forum” in the sense of an internet discussion board)


Health Physics Society
– In addition to having updates on the Fukushima, HPS is by far the best site to go to for reference information on the health effects of ionizing radiation, the measurement of radiation, safety issues and other important background info. HPS provides exceptionally well-written and understandable references for media and laypersons.

Fukushima Status Updates – Provided by the Health Physics Society and the Japan Atomic Information Forum, this PDF document is updated whenever new information on the status of the reactors become available. As of this writing, three reactors are severely damaged but stable. All reactors at the nearby Fukushima-2 plant are safe and relatively undamaged. This document offers the best concise rundown of status.

Due to the exceptionally poor reporting and sensationalize in the mainstream press, readers are warned to take press reports, even those from otherwise reputable newspapers with a grain of salt. Likewise, statements by politicians and commentators should not be viewed as necessarily being reliable.

Exactly what happens to depleted uranium particles

Sunday, August 1st, 2010

In the past I’ve made a number of posts and videos mentioning the fact that uranium is a rather common mineral and that it’s been used in a number of consumer products.�� Indeed, thousands of kitchen cabinets contain uranium-glazed dinnerware, some of which was mass produced as recently as the 1980′s.

This has been met with a curious response on numerous occasions.�� Many concede that uranium is not all that harmful when touched or even ingested but then say “but what about the nano-particles.”�� The dust, or “nanoparticles” resulting from uranium combustion are one thing that seems to come up again and again.� They are often credited with nearly magical properties, like the ability to stay suspended in the air indefinitely or to cause horrible health problems even in those far from the location where the uranium projectile was fired.

Indeed uranium tends to be more hazardous when inhaled than when exposure is by other routes, but that’s the extent of the truth to these statements.� Uranium is hardly unique in this respect.� Exposure to dust in general can cause respiratory problems, and certain metallic particles, such as beryllium, are well known to be especially hazardous if inhaled.�� By comparison, uranium less dangerous, though it can be a hazard in high concentrations.

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TAM 8 Links from GESS

Saturday, July 17th, 2010

Back from The Amazing Meeting 8, which was indeed Amazing, I’ve found a pile of work to get to even as I get over the modest jetlag that traveling across three time zones will cause.�� Luckilly, I don’t have to describe the event all by myself because others have.�� Better still, my friends at the Greater Edmonton Skeptics Society (GESS) have put together a roundup of links from other blogs and news sites describing the amazing events of the Amazing Meeting!

Check it out here

Check out Yottawatts From Thorium

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

Starting a blog can be pretty frustrating. For the first few weeks (or more) there are few visitors and even fewer comments, which really makes it feel like you’re posting to a vacuum. So when someone starts a blog that advocates things like nuclear energy, better enviornmental policy, human health and those kind of things, it’s always a good idea to support it and help it get going.

So why not do that for our friend Robert Steinhaus who has a brand-spankin-new blog called “Yottawatts From Thorium.” It’s worth a read anyway and although it only has a few posts up thus far, I’m sure we’ll be seeing more insightful and top-notch posts in the near future.

Happy Birthday Rod Adams

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

A very important announcement:

A fellow nuclear energy promoter and very knowledgeable about the subject, Rod Adams has one hell of an engine design, one hell of a mustache and is one hell of a guy.� Rod knows how reliable and safe nuclear reactors are because he used to live next to one, while under hundreds of feet of ice cold sea water, no less!� He’s a very smart and knowledgeable nuker and runs an excellent site that is informative and occasionally shows his excellent sense of humor.��� Above all else, he’s always very insightful.

Why am I mentioning this?�� Because it’s his birthday!

A BIG HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ROD ADAMS

6 Common Myths About Animals

Friday, September 4th, 2009

A very interesting read from cracked.com “The 6 Most Frequently Quoted Bullshit Animal Facts.”�� It outlines the classics like the myth that lemmings commit suicide or that ostriches bury their heads in the sand when scared.�� It� also has some fascinating information on just where these myths come from and why they’re not true.�� One thing I’ve always been taken by is just how easy it can be to start a myth that is nearly impossible to kill.�� In some cases, these bogus facts can be traced back to a single individual or publication that got the whole idea started.

Definately worth a look!