Recent Entries in Skeptic

These are pretty interesting. And by interesting, I mean scary.

In 2002, an Israeli businessman was sent to a resort called Eilat for four days where presumably his company expected him to relax a bit, learn a few new tricks to apply back at the office and not try to pork his own daughter. Very likely that was in some manner of memo regarding what was acceptable behavior during his time away, wedged between "no gambling" and "no filling your ass with firecrackers."

Unable to control his insatiable need to bone, the man ordered a call girl on his first night there. Sure enough, the woman that was sent to his room just happened to be his little girl.

6 Ridiculous Sex Myths (That Are Actually True) |

I always felt a little more belonging up here. Now, if it were only a little warmer.

Almost a quarter of Canadians don't believe in any god, new poll says

Fewer than three-quarters of Canadians believe in a god, suggests a new Canadian Press Harris-Decima survey.

"Religion in Canada today is not a particularly divisive subject and tolerance levels for different beliefs are high," said Harris-Decima president Bruce Anderson. "This is evident in the fact that one in four people feel comfortable saying they do not believe in a god."

The poll found 72 per cent of respondents said they believed in a god, while 23 per cent said they did not believe in any god. Six per cent did not offer an opinion.

Polls have told a different story in the United States.

"Canada's secularism stands in clearer distinction, when compared to the cultural and political influences of religion in the United States," said Anderson. "In one Harris Interactive study in the United States, conducted in 2007, the number who said they were non-believers was only eight per cent."

So, in a nutshell, 'crisis' does not equal 'opportunity'. This was a myth that's been propagated over the years due to a misinterpretation of the Chinese characters.

danger opportunity â.  crisis

The third, and fatal, misapprehension is the author's definition of jÄ« as "opportunity." While it is true that wÄ.ijÄ« does indeed mean "crisis" and that the wÄ.i syllable of wÄ.ijÄ« does convey the notion of "danger," the jÄ« syllable of wÄ.ijÄ« most definitely does not signify "opportunity." Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary defines "opportunity" as:

a favorable juncture of circumstances;
a good chance for advancement or progress.

While that may be what our Pollyanaish advocates of "crisis" as "danger" plus "opportunity" desire jī to signify, it means something altogether different.

The jÄ« of wÄ.ijÄ«, in fact, means something like "incipient moment; crucial point (when something begins or changes)." Thus, a wÄ.ijÄ« is indeed a genuine crisis, a dangerous moment, a time when things start to go awry.

  Santa Vs. God

I'm wondering now if Santa is God...


Santa vs God - Unreasonable Faith

  Religion Speed Dating

Further proof that all atheists are hot.

YouTube - "...You Believe WHAT?" (A Speed-Date)

Ooooooooooooooh. And he's down. First Uri Geller, now this guy.

To repeat: Ooooooooooooooh.

YouTube - Venomfangx Apologizes to the Internets

From Pharyngula and Skepchick.

Many of you will think Dan Aykroyd's lost his mind with the new viral video about "Crystal Head" vodka. Some are probably even thinking that it's a really clever Ghostbusters 3 teaser.

Canadians know full well that Aykroyd: a) lost his mind a while ago; and b) sells a lot of booze in Canada.

His weird "PSI Factor: Chronicles of the Paranormal" television show was so over the top that CSICOP awarded him a "Snuffed Candle" award, for "contributing to the public's lack of understanding of the methods of scientific inquiry."

I'm really torn. I like Dan Aykroyd; I find his deadpan humour really funny. And I like booze -- a lot. And I really, really like the idea of a skull-shaped bottle with booze in it. But I can't justify spending a bunch of money on some questionable vodka made with Newfoundland water and "filtered" through diamonds. And it's not the Newfoundland water I object to.

YouTube - Dan Aykroyd has lost his mind

  Land Shark found

Yeah, not even a little surprised by this. Notice how I haven't even mentioned this? Because it's not news.

Why am I mentioning it now? Because there's an awesome video of a frozen Bigfoot costume encased in a block of ice. And it's sticking its tongue out at all the Bigfoot researchers.

Now that's news. When even a costume is mocking you, maybe you should get out of the business.

BBC NEWS | Americas | American 'Bigfoot' is monkey suit

Steve Kulls - of - observed the thawing and said that as the ice melted, the exposed head was found to be "unusually hollow in one small section".

As the process continued the feet were exposed - and were found to be made of rubber.

He actually bought the block of ice from the two hoaxers. I wonder if he got his money back.

You may remember Brian Sapient, who uploaded an excerpt from a documentary that critiqued Geller's performances and abilities (it was a clip from the Tonight Show, with Johnny Carson). In an attempt to stifle criticism, Geller claimed copyright infringement, and had the video removed.

EFF joined in the fray, and a little lawsuit took place.

Sapient and Explorologist Settle Lawsuit | Electronic Frontier Foundation

As part of the legal settlement, Explorologist has agreed to license the disputed footage under a non-commercial Creative Commons license, preempting future legal battles over the fair use of the material. A monetary settlement was also reached.

I'm including the video here for reference, and also because it's cool.

  Atheists and their toast

What, they didn't find anything? Not even butter?

Last week I found nooks and crannies in my English muffin.


Cynical-C Blog - Atheist Finds Nothing in His Toast

  Guide to Cold Reading

Excellent set of instructions to get you started on your new charlatan career track.

Guide to "Cold Reading"

4. Gain the subject's cooperation in advance.

Emphasise that the success of the reading depends as much on the subject's cooperation as on your efforts. (After all, you imply, you already have a successful career at character reading - You are not on trial, your subject is!) State that due to difficulties of language and communication, you may not always convey the meaning you intend. In these cases, the subject must strive to fit the reading to his/her own life. You accomplish two valuable ends with this dodge - Firstly, you have an alibi in case the reading doesn't click; it's the subject's fault, not yours! Secondly, your subject will strive to fit your generalities to his/her specific life circumstances. Later, when the subject recalls the reading, you will be credited with much more detail than you actually provided! This is crucial. Your reading will only succeed to the degree that the subject is made an active participant in the reading. The good reader is the one who , deliberately or unwittingly, forces the subject to search his/her mind to make sense of your statements.

False.... Good article on the history of the Canadian flag. Canada's Maple Leaf Flag

Many of these flags bore Union Jacks and fleur-de-lys. Quite a few featured a beaver, including one wearing a Mountie hat; another one showed an adult beaver encircled by ten smaller ones (Canada and its provinces). Other wild creatures included Canada geese, grizzly bears, moose, salmon, bison, caribou. The North Star was a popular emblem, as was the cross. Several designs included aboriginal symbols. And one, submitted by the self-proclaimed "Society for the Suppression of Blue Lines" of Toronto, consisted of "crossed red hockey sticks rampant" and a single hockey puck.

  Ken Ham is a ...

birdbrain, a blockhead, a bonehead, a boob, a bozo, a charlatan, a cheat, a chowderhead, a chump, a clod, a con artist, a crackpot, a crank, a crazy, a cretin, a dimwit, a dingbat, a dingleberry, a dipstick, a ditz, a dolt, a doofus, a dork, a dum-dum, a dumb-ass, a dumbo, a dummy, a dunce, a dunderhead, a fake, a fathead, a fraud, a fruitcake, a gonif, a halfwit, an idiot, an ignoramus, an imbecile, a jackass, a jerk, a jughead, a knucklehead, a kook, a lamebrain, a loon, a loony, a lummox, a meatball, a meathead, a moron, a mountebank, a nincompoop, a ninny, a nitwit, a numbnuts, a numbskull, a nut, a nutcase, a peabrain, a pinhead, a racketeer, a sap, a scam artist, a screwball, a sham, a simpleton, a snake oil salesman, a thickhead, a turkey, a twerp, a twit, a wacko, a woodenhead, and much, much worse.

(from Pharyngula)

This is the damndest thing I've heard, and it happened in Canada, no less. A parent of an autistic child is told by a teacher that a psychic said someone with a "V" for a name was molested. Ergo, her child was molested. This teacher needs to be fired. This psychic should also be fired ... out of a canon ... at the sun.

CityNews: CityNews Exclusive: The Mother, The Child, The School Board And The Psychic

The frightened mother rushed back to the campus and was stunned by what she heard - the principal, vice-principal and her daughter's teacher were all waiting for her in the office, telling her they'd received allegations that Victoria had been the victim of sexual abuse - and that the CAS had been notified.

How did they come by such startling knowledge? Leduc was incredulous as they poured out their story.

"The teacher looked and me and said: 'We have to tell you something. The educational assistant who works with Victoria went to see a psychic last night, and the psychic asked the educational assistant at that particular time if she works with a little girl by the name of "V." And she said 'yes, I do.' And she said, 'well, you need to know that that child is being sexually abused by a man between the ages of 23 and 26.'"

  Teaching the controversy

Skeptical because this article, like so many of these "health food" articles, goes on and on and on about how great coffee is. Look, it even absolves you of your sins! Whether or not the data supports this, it's a bad idea to put it into an article where the authors say "though the scientists give the customary "more research is needed ..."

Health Benefits of Coffee - WebMD

Coffee even offsets some of the damage caused by other vices, some research indicates. "People who smoke and are heavy drinkers have less heart disease and liver damage when they regularly consume large amounts of coffee compared to those who don't," says DePaulis.

There's also some evidence that coffee may help manage asthma and even control attacks when medication is unavailable, stop a headache, boost mood, and even prevent cavities.

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