Saturday, 23 April 2011

Weekly Roundup w/e 22nd April 2011

A weekly round-up of things we liked that we think you'd like also.

Welcome to the Birmingham Skeptics Weekly Roundup Easter special.  There’s nothing special about it, it’s just it happens to be Easter weekend and I need to find something to fill these lines up the top here.  It seems to have done the trick, that’s a fair few lines done already.  Weather’s nice as well, and it’s St George’s Day.  So, it’s the Birmingham Skeptics Weekly Roundup Easter, Nice Weather and St George’s day special.  There we go, that’s this bit done, now here’s what you came for, the best of the web:

  • Oi, scientists, listen up, yeah, Stephen Curry recommends you enter the Guardian science writing competition.
  • Derrr du-du-du-derrr, Der Der Der, Derrr du-du-du-derrr, Superbus!
  • A new quackbusting browser plugin called Fish Barrel has been released by Leicester Skeptic’s Simon Perry.  Fully automated misleading claim finder and reporter.
  • Birmingham Skeptics regular Rich Spencer of Rich Spencer photography brought his (expensive looking) camera along to our Nick Pope talk.  He got some fantastic photos, see what we look like by having a look at them on Facebook here.

That’s it for this week, on Wednesday (27/4) we have our Birmingham Skeptics social in The Square Peg, Corporation St.  There’ll be someone there from 7.00pm so feel free to turn up when you like and meet some interesting people.

Friday, 15 April 2011

Weekly Round Up w/e 15 April 2011

A weekly round-up of things we liked that we think you'd like also.

We’re getting all arty this week.  Ever since Matt Lodder visited with his excellent talk “A sceptical view of western media perceptions of tattoos”, we’ve been interested in the tension between art and science and whether any actually exists.  This is explored in a couple of articles you can see below.  Also, top UFO expert Nick Pope popped in to talk to us this week.  A lot of new faces came along to see him and entertained us with their experiences of UFOs, the atmosphere was great as believers and sceptics all had their say without any ill will.  We’ve made sure a bit of UFO related stuff is in this weeks round up:

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

The Art of Skepticism

By Patrick Redmond

It seems at times that our education system encourages a rift between the arts and the sciences. One route will lead you to aesthetic appreciation whereas the other to a more practical destination. A false dichotomy is created between the sensual and the sensible that places the scientists in their laboratory working late into the night uncovering the secrets of the universe whilst the artists drink absinthe and discuss its spiritual nature.

This is of course all a pile of tosh as I would expect most of the readers of this blog to realise. There is a long tradition of combining science and art and it’s only the blinkered view of some that would maintain that the two should never meet. Science wants to

Saturday, 9 April 2011

The Weekly Round Up - 9/4/11

Once more we bring you our weekly compilation of goodies we’ve trawled from the web. A smorgasbord of digital delights for your delectation.

We know it’s unlikely that you’ve missed this but we couldn’t be left out of celebrating the online release of Storm. Congratulations to Tracy King, D C Turner, Tim Minchin and all the others involved for a wonderful piece of work.

We’re sure that Storm would be more than a little dismayed to read the following from our friends at Mersey Side Skeptics who score a success in their campaign against homeopathy.

If you fancy giving your home that spacey makeover Steve D has the interior design tip of the week for you over at the Mad Art Lab with the Paper Planet Lantern.

In case you missed Monbiot’s  article in the Guardian here’s the fully referenced version of Evidence Meltdown as he critiques the position of Helen Caldicott and the anti-nuclear movement’s presentation of the impacts of radiation on human health.

In the run up to our visit by Nick Pope on the 13th April, Birmingham Skeptics stalwart Andy Pickering confesses to a temporary lapse in rational thought in A Flock of UFOs.

The people down at Fermilab are still bashing those proton/anti-protons and they might have found something a bit funky. If confirmed it’d be a fine result in the months before the trusty Tevatron closes down due to lack of funds. Read more over at POPSCI.

We’ll finish with a couple of commentaries on the use of scientific research by journalists. Hot off the press is Ben Goldacre taking The Fourth Estate to task over some not so prime primary research.

Following in the same theme those witty and pithy people over at xkcd give us a lesson on the misapplication of statistics.

Monday, 4 April 2011

A Flock of UFOs

By Andy Pickering

With an upcoming visit to Birmingham SITP from eminent UFOlogist, Nick Pope (Wednesday 13th April, 7.30pm), I thought I would mention my own memorable sighting of a whole squadron of UFOs from about 10 years ago.

It was around 11pm one early autumn evening and I had gone outside into our garden in the residential suburbs of Rugby when I happened to glance above me into the clear dark starry skies. I was astounded to see way up almost directly above me a group of 6 identical craft with a stunted chevron shape - somewhat like that of a jet fighter, or a space shuttle but with slightly longer wings - speeding along at a remarkable rate. I immediately realised these were no conventional aircraft: they were eerily silent and there

Friday, 1 April 2011

Birmingham Skeptics Weekly roundup - Fortnight editon 1/4/11

A weekly round-up of things we liked that we think you'd like also.

The remit of this weekly roundup is people that have nothing better to do scour the web for interesting things for people with better things to do.  Last week, I joined the ranks of people that have something better to do which meant no weekly roundup.  Don’t worry, this doesn’t happen very often.  As compensation, we bring to you a bumper edition, the best of the fortnight, we do hope you enjoy.