Sunday, 12 April 2015
Entertainment stuff from the fortnight 30/3 - 12/4/15
Terrifying. Positively terrifying :o)
If you're interested, there's £10,000 at stake, with this engineering competition. All you have to do is think up an idea, but you have to be in before the 27th of April...
'Fully Charged | DHL Blue Sky Transport Award'
The 10th-16th of April is Homeopathy Awareness Week.
Skeptics/Rationalists are very much in support of awareness of Homeopathetic quackery, but the originators of Homeopathy Awareness Week actually invented it as a marketing tool.
Unlike the 'ingredients' that aren't in Homeopaths' preparations, Homeopathy Awareness Week can and should be used against them, to make it clear that damp sugar is damp sugar, and no amount of prevarication and illusion can change that!
All of the evidence, in all of the world, says that there is absolutely no reason to recommend damp sugar as a form of medicine, whether it's called 'Homeopathy' or not. It just doesn't work.
To believe that it's acceptable to vend patent nonsense to willing people requires the premise that it's OK to Faith things to believe them.
Faith = superstition = belief without or despite evidence.
This is why quacks are so enthusiastic about using testimonials. The evidence says they're wrong, so to suck money out of people, they have to try different tactics.
Testimonials (anecdotes) employ circular illogic however:
"Hi, i'm Dr. Madeupqualification, and i'm certified. My new wonderpills will do wonders for you. But don't just take my word for it - let's meet a satisfied customer..."
"Hi, i'm Sandra. I take wonderpills because Dr. Madeupqualification recommended them, and now i feel much better*"
*Feeling better and being better are very different - you can't fix a broken leg with aspirin!
'I'm right because she says so; and i'm right because he says so'
When someone provides their own anecdote, the circle of illogic has just one link!
Both of these are the kinds of anecdotes supplied, conveniently, by this man...
'Gandhi Was NOT Enlightened [Homeopathy Awareness Week]' (my upload)
We should remember that Homeopathic superstition/pseudoscience is not just something frivolous, to be laughed at, but also something to be got angry at, because it, like all other fake medicines of the I-SCAM industry, perpetuates by a premise of deliberately ignoring evidence.
As said by the Australian Skeptics, in 2013:
"[Don’t] expect to hear too much about the preventable death of Penelope Dingle whose homeopath directed her against obtaining conventional treatment and pain relief for colorectal cancer.
Don’t expect to hear about baby Gloria Thomas who died from malnutrition after her severe eczema was treated with homeopathy.
The death of epileptic toddler Isabella Denley, whose anti-convulsive medication was replaced with a homeopathic treatment [may not be getting] much mention either.
Of course the harrowing and real suffering of victims of homeopathy doesn’t break through the cognitive disconnect of its indefatigable cheer squad.
In this flawed and absurd system of medicine all homeopaths are dangerous because they lack the knowledge to diagnose serious illness as much as they are unable to determine their own limitations.
World Homeopathic Awareness Week is a time for us to remember these tragedies of homeopathic faith."
Here's some of the worst paleontology reporting that i've ever seen!
'Scotsman runs total garbage about fossil “Nessie”'
According to the The Scotsman newspaper, Pterichthyodes milleri is Nessie's grandmother, and finally proves that the Loch Ness Monster was real.
But according to reality, Pterichthyodes milleri lived 500 million years ago, in the Devonian era, and has no reptilian descendents, let alone any that survive to this day.
Also, Nessie is known to be an anthropogenic hoax, completely made up in the 1950s, to embarrass the Daily Mail.
The president of the Official Loch Ness Fan Club reportedly "saw the resemblance with Nessie", which is itself laughable, given that it looks like this:
And no, the offending article was not published on the 1st of April!
Unfortunately, the area around Loch Ness, in Scotland, has developed a substantial industry that depends on the lie of Nessie, to draw money out of people. It reads like this is a pure publicity piece, passing as 'journalism' in a (respected?) newspaper. Tut tut.
On the subject of prehistoric reptiles...
You might have heard that brontosaurus is back! Yes, that's right - the brontosaurus that you learned was really just an apatosaurus, is actually not an apatosaurus any more. Or, to put it more specifically, there's been...
'A specimen-level phylogenetic analysis and taxonomic revision of Diplodocidae (Dinosauria, Sauropoda)'
So let's explain what's really happened.
Quite famously, brontosaurus was revised to be an apatosaurus all along, many many years ago.
Well, actually, apatosaurus is not a species - it's a genus - one step up the family tree from 'species'. And brontosaurus was thought to be a different genus.
Then, as we all know, brontosaurus was declared not to be separate to apatosaurus at all, and was declared to be a species of apatosaurus: apatosaurus excelsus (instead of brontosaurus excelsus)
The reason for this restructuring is that the categorisations of long-extinct species is highly dependent on morphology - if something looks enough like something else (by bone shape, bone size, bone/tooth/claw arrangement, tendon anchor position, etc) then it gets put in the same species/genera/clade.
When apatosaurus was categorised to be a thing, decades ago, it was headless, and so the paleontologists 'finished it off' with the head of a camarasaurus. Not by mistake, but by convenience. They've later realised that apatosaurus' real head is more like a diplodocus, and so apatosaurus is more similar to diplodocus, and less like brontosaurus, than previously imagined.
It's this being-slightly-less-like brontosaurus than they thought, that warranted the reclassification, and granted brontosaurus its own genus back.
So there you go:
- Brontosaurus lost its name because it was thought to be a species of apatosaurus
- And then Tschopp et al pointed out that they were different enough for brontosaurus to get its name back, as a genus alongside apatosaurus.
'Product vs Packshot McCain's Health Choice Beef Lasagne | The Checkout'
That's right, guys - The Checkout is back for season 3 :-D
And the ABC still don't broadcast higher than 480p :-/
'The Checkout - Season 3 Episode 1'
And Dead Ringers is also back. With at least episode 1 available as the Friday Night Comedy podcast!
'Dead Ringers - Season 14: Episode 1'
In other news:
Seeing as i missed the first one, here's a story about the second dog to walk on four prosthetic limbs...
And here's a story of animals that have no legs at all being mistaken for animals with four. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has requested that well-meaning people please stop accidentally drowning tortoises that they see near waterways. They see the them trundling along, the way tortoises do, mistake them for turtles, and then 'kindly' plop them into the water. Tortoises, of course, can't swim, and can't get out of the water fast enough to survive. As nice as people might think they are, for doing this, they're actually murderers! And that's why 'niceness' is contingent on knowledge - good intentions just aren't good enough.
Trust religionists to shit on your front garden, for the sake of their superstitious beliefs about an arbitrary place! Villagers in northern Spain have been erecting placards, pleading Christian pilgrims to not defecate on their property, while travelling to Santiago de Compostela, where they think magic things have, do, or might happen. Cost-benefit analysis says: "no!".
It's official: the phases of the Moon do not effect the numbers of people reporting to hospitals with accidents. A study by a UCLA astronomer has compiled data to demonstrate what's been evidenced for years now: full moons do not cause high accident rates. People do not go crazy around them, etc etc etc. Additionally, there's no basis to the popular prejudice that Full Moons correlate with increased crime, violence, surgery success, menstrual severity, or depressive experiences either. Put this one down in your book of annoying factoids. Presuming you have one. You do have one, right? :-P
So, it turns out that the newly-discovered ancient 'terror bird' of South America (Llallawavis scagliai) actually had quite poor hearing. At least, in comparison to modern birds. The metre-tall specimen of this carnivorous species, that lived 3.5 million years ago, in a region now in Argentina, is so well preserved that it's 90% complete and reveals the anatomy of the auditory region of the skull, voice box, trachea, bones for focussing the eye, and the complete palate, giving paleontologists plenty to work with, in working out how sensorily acute they might have been. The researchers postdict that the bird's narrow low-frequency hearing would have been effective for hunting purposes, in excluding less-relevant sounds. To see pictures, follow the link:
As similarly postdicted by the BBC wildlife 'documentary' Walking With Dinosaurs, a decade ago, prehistoric sea creatures gave birth at sea, rather than coming to shore like some species do. Specimens at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History suggest that Mosasaurs - marine predators abundant ~65 million years ago - gave birth in open ocean. This is because they are of very young mosasaurs, that must have died where they were found, in rocks formerly situated on ocean floors, rather than in seashore nurseries.
And staying with the fishy theme, we've found out, in the last fortnight, that fish oil - the hugely-popular supplement that quacks love to throw at you, for everything, nowadays - does not work. The purported wonderfulness is that the omega-3 in fish oil is good for the brain, and the heart. Well, a detailed analysis of the sum total of evidence, by the National Institutes of Health, has found that fish oil does not work at preventing heart attack or stroke. Other research has found that omega-3 has limited usefulness. Basically, you fil up on omega-3, and beyond that stage, which is presumably during your teenage years, if you're a yuppy living in the 'West' (North), subsequent doses of omega-3 are unnecessary. So basically, don't buy into the hype -- concentrate on eating a healthy balanced diet, which means plenty more veg than meat, and plenty of fruit and toothpaste. Don't eat the toothpaste though! Use it to clean the acidic fruit juices off your teeth :-P
Solar Impulse 2 has completed the 22-hour Myanmar to China leg of its around-the-world voyage, powered only by light from the Sun. Seven out of the twelve legs of its journey still remain. The next leg, across China to Nanjing, is planned to commence on the 14th of April.
------------------------------------------------------ contemporary stuff
'ScienceCasts: Total Eclipse of the Moon'
'ALMA sees Einstein ring in stunning image of lensed galaxy'
'The Amazing Eta Carinae - Sixty Symbols'
'Valvular Conduit - Another Tesla invention'
'How Do Airplanes Fly?'
'How to beat a Land Speed Record - A Week in Science'
'TheraminTrees on patreon'
'Darwin Day 2015 Questions #5- Is every offspring a 'slightly new' species?'
Richard himself coined the term 'discontinuous thought' for the phenomenon of people presuming that there must be strict dividing lines between things. If he were permitted more time, i'm sure he would go into the complexity of distinguishing past and present species, too, where one has to imagine whether a past form would be able to reproduce with a/the modern one.
'Darwin Day 2015 Questions: #6 How does learned behavior evolve into inherited instinct?'
'How to Make Your Phone Magnetic - Static Magnetism'
'Secrets of the Cable Car'
'This Video is a Universe'
'climbing and exploring Duga-3 / Дуга-3, the Russian Woodpecker / Chernobyl-2 radar site'
'HOT CROSS EASTER GARLIC CRACK BREAD RECIPE'
'How to Draw a Perfect Face'
This is an April Fools'. The joke is that it wasn't uploaded on the 1st :-D
'“Entre vous... émoi : L'Homme qui sait tout” (Greg Romano)'
'Trevor Noah - Zambia loves escalators, just "don't be gay."'
------------------------------------------------------ of the weeks
Word Of The Week: sprezzatura -- the effort put in to maintaining an impression of casualness, to make it look like great efforts take little effort (Italian)
Joke Of The Week: A boy and a girl are sitting together on a bench after a romantic date. “can i kiss you?” the boy says. The girl nods and the boy pulls out black and white face paint and starts putting it on her face. “you’re going to be Gene Simmons” he whispers.
Quote Of The Week: “The man of science has learned to believe in justification, not by faith, but by verification.” - Thomas Henry Huxley
------------------------------------------------------ non-contemporary stuff
'Photographer’s girlfriend leads him around the world'
LOL at the last one! "I try to be progressive, but then i can still moronically adhere to cultural habit too" Tradition, gah. Embarrassing :-D
'Project Orion [nuclear propulsion] (1958)'
There's no sound on this video, so don't go twiddling your nob for it :-P