April 11, 2012 SkepTalk

Mark McCaffreyMark McCaffreyOur April 2012 SkepTalk at Cafe Valparaiso was presented by Mark McCaffrey, climate science specialist at the National Center for Science Education.

A Review of SkeptiCal 2012 by LaRae Meadows...

As many of you know, this year's SkeptiCal 2012 conference was a rousing photo by Heather Appleburyphoto by Heather Appleburysuccess!

Harold Camping Admits He Was Wrong

Harold Camping image by Marcio Jose Sanchez / APPhoto by Marcio Jose Sanchez / APThe 90-year-old Alameda preacher who convinced hundreds of followers that the world was going to end last May now acknowledges he was wrong.

November SkepTalk - End of the World Predictions - Dr. Patrick O'Reilly, UCSF

On Wednesday, November 9th, 2011, we were treated to an excellent talk entitled “End of the World Predictions” by Dr. Patrick O’Reilly, psychology professor from U.C. San Francisco.Patrick O'ReillyPatrick O'Reilly

Dr. O'Reilly delivered a detailed and interesting one-hour talk about the phenomenon of predicting the end of the world, some religiously motivated, some not. This talk was particularly timely, you'll note, since the popular media has become so interested lately in feeding us stories about such predictions.

Dowsing for Coffins, or, Why Ground-Penetrating Radar Beats Pseudoscience

OK, the title of this article isn't completely accurate (and it isn't a Grave DowsingGrave DowsingBay Area story, but I couldn't help posting it). At this point in the story, it's not demonstrated that ground-penetrating radar is superior to dowsing for locating a cemetery, but I think it's a safe statement. The state of Mississippi wants to build a highway, but properly needs to see if an abandoned cemetery is in the proposed path. The landowner has hired a dowser who claims to be able to find bodies. CLICK HERE for the whole story.

In this ADDITIONAL STORY on the grave dowser, we learn that he can distinguish between male and female bodies by the direction the wires go when he passes over their graves.

October SkepTalk - A Unicorn in Your Tank: Magic Tablets That Won't Improve Gas Mileage - Yau-Man Chan

Yau-Man ChanYau-Man ChanMost of us have seen ads for questionable pills, liquids, and powders that promise to give our bodies an extra advantage. Whether it be weight loss, immune system boost, fuller, thicker hair, or younger looking skin, there’s a quick fix being sold for it. In today’s economy, youthfulness and good health are joined at the top of our panic list with a new concern: better gas mileage. But don’t worry! There’s a quick fix for that, too! Or is there?

SF Chronicle Taken To Task on Smartmeters Article

Chabot Space and Science Center director Alex Zwissler posted a good blog taking to task the San Francisco Chronicle for misapplication of "balance" in their coverage of the public controversy over the safety of smartmeters. Good reading: Alex ZwisslerAlex ZwisslerSMARTMETERS ARTICLE

DNA Fingers Human, Not Yeti, Source of Finger

Yeti FingerYeti FingerPhysical evidence, scientifically analyzed, reveals reality far better than anecdotes, story-telling, and wishful thinking.

Proponents of the "Yeti" (Himalayan "abominable snowman") touted a finger taken from a "Yeti" hand displayed at the Pangboche Temple's monastery in Nepal in 1958. If the Yeti is a real species, that wouldn't contradict Science, but it would add a fascinating complication to the complex story of humanity's heritage.

The finger's DNA has now been analyzed.

More False Memories Implanted

Castlewood Treatment CenterCastlewood Treatment Center

A psychologist accused of hypnotizing a woman into believing she possessed multiple personalities and participated in satanic rituals may be sued by several others who say they were also told they had been a part of a satanic cult, according to a Missouri attorney.

Lisa Nasseff, 41, of Saint Paul, Minn., is suing her former therapist, Mark Schwartz, and the Castlewood Treatment Center in St. Louis, Mo., where she received 15 months of treatment for anorexia, according to the complaint.

Bigotry by Astrology


Agence France Presse reports that an employer in Wuhan, China, tells Scorpios and Virgos not to apply, but welcomes Capricorns, Pisces, and Libras. Those aren't terms from traditional Chinese astrology, those are cultural imports from Western trash media.

Bigot, bigot, bigot.

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