Saturday, August 7, 2010

Lazy Linking (the return)

I haven't done a Lazy Linking post for quite a while. I figure it's time to reinstate it...

"Topic of Cancer"
  • A wonderful, poignant, piece by Christopher Hitchens on his recent cancer diagnosis. Must read.
  • "To the dumb question “Why me?” the cosmos barely bothers to return the reply: Why not?"
"The CSI Effect: An infographic"
  • TV shows on forensic science (the various CSI's, NCIS, etc.) grossly distort reality. Hardly breaking news, but especially disturbing in light of recent reports about the shaky science behind forensics
  • The most excellent Ed Yong on 'citizen science' at its best: a computer game that lets anyone help work out how protein folding works. Cool and important. 
  • Also: the paper Ed reports on apparently holds the record for the most authors ever: ~57,000. 
"Chiropractic" (1924)
  • Great little piece by H.L. Mencken. Ignore the odious Social Darwinism. 
  • "That pathology is grounded upon the doctrine that all human ills are caused by pressure of misplaced vertebrae upon the nerves which come out of the spinal cord -- in other words, that every disease is the result of a pinch. This, plainly enough, is buncombe. The chiropractic therapeutics rest upon the doctrine that the way to get rid of such pinches is to climb upon a table and submit to a heroic pummeling by a retired piano-mover. This, obviously, is buncombe doubly damne"
"Dinosaur-alien link unearthed"
  • Heh - maybe even lol. 
"Faith and Foolishness: When Religious Beliefs Become Dangerous"
  • The indefatigable Laurence Krauss on how evil in religious clothing should be called evil. Obvious, but many deny it and wish to exempt religious claims and institutions from criticism. 
  • "I don’t know which is more dangerous, that religious beliefs force some people to choose between knowledge and myth or that pointing out how religion can purvey ignorance is taboo."
  • "Keeping religion immune from criticism is both unwarranted and dangerous. Unless we are willing to expose religious irrationality whenever it arises, we will encourage irrational public policy and promote ignorance over education for our children."
"Complacency has blinded the Vatican to the gravity of the abuse crisis"
  • The Economist on the Vatican's inability to respond appropriately to the continuing abuse crisis. It turns out a bunch of old men cloistered away from society is out of touch with it. Gasps of surprise. 
"Harvard and the Making of the Unabomber"
  • This is an old story, but not one I've heard before. It turns out Ted Kaczyinski participated in brutal (and deeply unethical) psychology experiments during his undergraduate years at Harvard. Cue speculation about whether it was causally related to his terrorist campaign. 
"Visually depicting the disconnect between climate scientists, media and the public"
"New study clinches it: the Earth is warming up"
  • Well, it was clinched before... so call it re-clinched. Phil "the Bad Astronomer" Plait reports. 
  • The Economist on the weird and wonderful 'novelty bets' bookies are now offering. I just love this. The LHC finding evidence of God before the end of this year is at 100/1. The discovery of alien life before 2013 is at 33/1. That Mt. Vesuvius will be the next major volcanic eruption is at 12/1. The WWF declaring the world's polar bear population to be less than 10,000 individuals is at 20/1. 
  • Not quite as cool as a bet a bookie once offered that Michael Gorbachev is the Antichrist: if I recall, at something like a trillion to one.  

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