Sunday, August 30, 2009
The Skeptic Detective will host the next carnival on September 28th...
Friday, August 28, 2009
- 01 and the universe
- Acinonyx Scepticus
- Ambient Normality
- Bullshit Fatigue
- Botswana Skeptic
- Effortless Incitement
- Ewan’s Corner
- Ionian Enchantment
- Limbic Nutrition
- Orion Spur
- Other Things Amanzi
- Pickled Bushman
- Prometheus Unbound
- Reason Check
- Shadows Hide
- Stop Danie Krügel
- Subtle Shift in Emphasis
- The Science Of Sport
- The Skeptic Black Sheep
- The Skeptic Detective
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Publishing in scientific journals is the most common and powerful means to disseminate new research findings. Visibility and credibility in the scientific world require publishing in journals that are included in global indexing databases such as those of the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI). Most scientists in developing countries remain at the periphery of this critical communication process, exacerbating the low international recognition and impact of their accomplishments. For science to become maximally influential and productive across the globe, this needs to change.
How can the global reach and potential impact of scientific research in Africa and other developing countries be optimized? Of primary importance is boosting the quality and quantity of work that is locally published, through measures including review of submissions by peers from within and outside the country, skilled editing, and exploitation of local niches and special research opportunities. A proliferation of journals, short-lived publications, print-only journals, and poor distribution constitutes a picture that must change. A nationally organized project can probably make the biggest difference, with investment by government and research-support agencies, as well as wide participation by local and regional scientific communities.
An atheist, basically, is someone who lacks a belief in (any) God. So the very definition of an atheist is someone who does not believe. A theistic atheist, in other words, is a necessarily non-existent being; such a thing simply cannot exist in any possible universe. The same is true of, for example, a married bachelor. The definition of bachelor is "unmarried man", so a person cannot possibly be both a bachelor and married. The same goes for two-horned unicorns, three-sided squares, non-black black ravens and absolutely certain agnostics.
A person who self-identifies as atheist but also claims to believe in God, then, is either dumb, deeply confused or doesn't know what 'atheist' means. What certainly isn't true is that this person is actually both an atheist and a theist. (Well, at least not at the same time).
Friday, August 21, 2009
- neil degrasse tyson nude pictures (Ewww... I love deGrasse Tyson, but nude?? Please no.)
- theocratic pick-up lines (They're breeding!!)
- vicks vaporub paleolithic (That's right, Vicks Vaporub is over 10,000 years old!)
- wealth and dishonesty is good in richness (My gran always used to say exactly that...)
- when hallucinating i see only cats (Oh noes!)
- when studying in school at night i would sleep on my sisters belly (Holy crap that's creepy).
- three-toed sloth witchcraft (Right).
- yo ghosts, stop raping me while i sleep (Wow. I don't know what's more disturbing: that this person dreams of being raped by ghosts, or that he or she tries to communicate with these ghosts through Google).
- hume lake blog unicorn (David Hume. Lakes. Blogs. Unicorns. I see the connections...).
- satan's egg faberge (I had to look up Egg Faberge, and I'm pretty sure Satan doesn't have one...).
- so scientists say homo sapiens are descended from the three toed sloth? (Ummm... No. No, they don't.)
- alien vs bigfoot (Not any more ridiculous that Alien vs. Predator I suppose. I feel a movie franchise is on the way...)
- follow my master, evolution (So, is evolution being told to follow someone's master? Or is evolution the master being followed? The young people of today and their ambiguous sentences!)
- "what to do with a ph.d." (Um...)
- sloth medicine in homeopathy (Great. Homeopathic sloth veterinarians. Just what the world needs).
- righteous african stands tall alone (Oh yeah!).
- is ionian an animal (No. Glad I could help).
- the best men enchantment with no bad side effect (They're called "boobs")
- embed evince bonobo (Umm. Okay...)
- no heaven no hell just porno
- hell porn
- african family porn
- penis enchantment video
- mini twenty porno family
- atheist family porn
- family african porn
- fun porn for whole family video
- mouseman porn video
- orrery porn
- philosopher porn pictures
- porn brainey video nerd
- porn meadon (ARRRRRRRGGgggggggggghhhhhhhh)
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
There is a lot one can say about this theory, and the above sketch certainly does not do it justice or acknowledge the complexities and uncertainties of the empirical data. But a story I saw in a newspaper recently made me think of one of its features, namely, that a man could always be doing better. From the perspective of a man’s genes, women are an extremely valuable and limiting resource. This may seem a bit weird, so let me explain. There are (of course) a finite number of fertile women alive at any given time, and, since a man has such a low minimum parental investment, he could, in principle, impregnate tens of thousands of them. Women, on the other hand, have to carry and give birth to all their offspring, so the total number of children each woman could have in a lifetime is severely limited by comparison. Men have the potential to sire several orders of magnitude more offspring than women, and as a result there is an oversupply of willing males. (One interesting consequence is that there is a much greater variance in male reproductive success, which produces much greater variance in males in a whole range of traits. The variance in male mathematics grades, for example, is substantially higher than that of women).
In any case, the story that got me thinking about this again concerns one Desmond Hatchett (pictured above). Hatchett, an American man from Tennessee, is only 29 years old but, amazingly, has fathered 20 children. Not quite Ismial the Bloodthirsty (who reportedly sired at least 888 children) or Genghis Khan (who is the likely ancestor [pdf] of ~8% of Central Asian men, and ~0.5% of all men worldwide), but evolutionary speaking, not bad at all.
Trivers, R. (1972) "Parental investment and sexual selection" in Campbell, B. (ed.), Sexual Selection and the Descent of Man.
Monday, August 17, 2009
Beate Eriksen (Norwegian actress).
- The 3 millionth Wikipedia article! Wikipedia, by the way, is by far the largest encyclopedia in history.
- Cracked.com at its best. A snippet:
"Really, there are only a few criticisms I have: The sections where the author obviously forces their own political agenda into the story are rather distracting (at one point the whole story grinds to a halt so the Jesus character can give some sort of “sermon” on this “mount”-like thing that is little more than liberal propaganda extolling the benefits of a welfare state) and at times it seems like it could’ve used an editor with a heavier hand (1100 pages long?! Who do you think you are, David Foster Wallace?). I must say that overall, the Holy Bible is a story everybody should read at least once. Just keep in mind that though this may seem like your run of the mill fantasy adventure, there are a myriad of vicious maulings, explicit torture scenes, rape and prostitution, so it’s definitely not for children!"
- The Bible translated into... lolspeak. Awesome.
- A bit from Genesis ("Boreded Ceiling Cat makinkgz Urf n stuffs"):
"Oh hai. In teh beginnin Ceiling Cat maded teh skiez An da Urfs, but he did not eated dem. Da Urfs no had shapez An haded dark face, An Ceiling Cat rode invisible bike over teh waterz.
At start, no has lyte. An Ceiling Cat sayz, i can haz lite? An lite wuz. An Ceiling Cat sawed teh lite, to seez stuffs, An splitted teh lite from dark but taht wuz ok cuz kittehs can see in teh dark An not tripz over nethin. An Ceiling Cat sayed light Day An dark no Day. It were FURST!!!1
An Ceiling Cat sayed, im in ur waterz makin a ceiling. But he no yet make a ur. An he maded a hole in teh Ceiling.An Ceiling Cat doed teh skiez with waterz down An waterz up. It happen. An Ceiling Cat sayed, i can has teh firmmint wich iz funny bibel naim 4 ceiling, so wuz teh twoth day."
- Leonie Joubert on how journalists should handle climate change deniers. Good stuff: token skepticism and false balance are serious problems, and both mislead the public.
- Cosma Shalizi's review of James Flynn's new book. The research is certainly well worth knowing about, and Shalizi does a great job of introducing it. Highly recommended.
- A journal for rejected (mathematical) papers. This is a great idea and there is definitely room for journals like these in scientific publishing. Peer-review and editors' judgments of significance are imperfect, and the threat of the prominent publication of rejected papers could serve as a check to keep the journals honest. Hopefully the idea will catch on for other disciplines.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
The experiential elements of sleep paralysis have been reported from many countries and cultures around the world but it is known by many different names and interpreted in many different ways. For example, in Newfoundland sleep paralysis is called the ‘Old Hag’. This is described as suddenly being awake but paralysed, usually just after having fallen asleep, and often feeling a weight on the chest and sometimes seeing a grotesque human or animal astride the chest (Ness, 1978). Newfoundlanders think it might be caused by either working too hard, the blood stagnating when they lie on their back, or hostile feelings from another person.(Via: Mind Hacks).
In Hong Kong a condition that seems identical to sleep paralysis is termed ‘ghost oppression’ (Wing et al., 1994). Chinese people have often thought that ‘the soul of a person is vulnerable to the influence of spirits during sleep’ (Wing et al., 1994, p.609) and, in a dream classification book written around 403–221bc, there are six types of dreams described. Wing and colleagues suggest that e-meng, dreams of surprise, are actually sleep paralysis and are distinct from ju-meng, fearful dreams.
Sunday, August 9, 2009