Interesting Science and Skepticism Links and News Roundup!

Interesting Science and Skepticism Links and News Roundup!

Hi everyone,

I just thought I might give you a quick post this week with a review of several interesting links and stories I’ve found dealing with a range of different science and skepticism-​​related fields. Please enjoy, and feel free to leave us your discussion and comments!

This is an excellent, sensible and interesting article. Green Bank, West Virginia, where the “electrosensitive” can escape the modern world. I’m not going to say that it’s pseudoscience in the sense that we’re suggesting that it’s fake, and these people don’t feel sick, or that they’re making up the claimed symptoms, but is the problem mass hysteria, or something of a similar psychosomatic or psychological nature?

How NASA bought the monstrous F1 rocket engine back to life: A new life for some of the most impressive engineering marvels ever designed — some 50 years ago.

CHOICE finds that supermarket loyalty cards offer little value — but are used for datamining enormous amounts of your personal data.

Swisse sidesteps ban with relabelling — who would’ve thunk it? And this is coming just a couple of weeks after ABC’s excellent new “The Checkout” exposed exactly this practice, and the TGA weakness that allows it.

“The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) last week cancelled the registration of Swisse’s Ultiboost Appetite Suppressant because there was “insufficient evidence to support the indications for the product and the presentation of the product was unacceptable”.

However, the company has registered a new product with exactly the same ingredient, an extract of an Indian cactus, under the name Ultiboost Hunger Control.

“We’ve changed the name but the ingredients remain the same,” Swisse head of media Mitch Catlin said.”

Nessie apparently still makes news headlines. “A sizeable number [of claims] came from cafe and hotel proprietors”. Isn’t that interesting?

CERN’s AMS-​​02 particle detector experiment mounted in space on the International Space Station has not “found dark matter”, despite what some media reports say. But it is producing large amounts of very interesting, very useful high-​​quality data about naturally occurring energetic particle-​​physics processes in space. And, of course, there is still a wealth of indirect astrophysical evidence that dark matter — made up of massive but weakly interacting particles — exists.

Indian witch doctor who beheaded an 11-​​year-​​old boy “for good luck” sentenced to death. “His head was offered to the local goddess to obtain better luck.” What sort of savagery even makes this a thing that even exists?

Apparently Little Red Riding Hood is often controversial and in some cases censored in US schools. In Clay County, Florida in 1990, parents of fifth– and sixth-​​graders challenged the fairy tale because of the mention of wine, instead of asking why their sixth-​​graders were still reading picture books. (And if Grandma had a gun on her kitchen counter instead of a bottle of wine, that would probably be ok.)

I think this is an amusing example of why MSDS sheets are usually completely stupid, not helpful in practice, they make even the most common, benign chemicals sound scary and intimidating to non-​​chemistry-​​literate people, and are only good for cover-​​your-​​ass lawyers.

The conspiracy theory flowchart “They” don’t want you to see!

And, finally, our featured image: The only living thing ever known to have ever existed anywhere that is not in the frame of this photograph is the person who took the photo, Apollo 11 Command Module Pilot Michael Collins. I’ll leave you to think about that for a minute The full-​​resolution photo is here. (The image is, of course, thanks to NASA, and is in the public domain.)