Blogs

Selling FlimFlam - Anthony Pratkanis at Ohlone College

Dr. Anthony Pratkanis, UC Santa Cruz psychology professor and social psychology researcher, held hundreds of students, employees, and community members in raptAnthony PratkanisAnthony Pratkanis attention last Friday at Ohlone College in Fremont, CA. Entitled “Selling FlimFlam,” Pratkanis' talk began with a loud admonition to “leave your conscience at the door.” It then delivered a powerful 1½ hour lesson that masqueraded as a guide to selling flimflam, but which was actually designed to teach us the signs that we’re being conned, duped, sold a bill of goods, and presented with empty promises.

Smithsonian Conference of Aerospace Conspiracies

Aerospace Conspiracy Theories

Apollo Moon Landings
Amelia Earhart
UFOs
Pearl Harbor Attack

http://www.smithsonianconference.org/conspiracy/

"Sybil Exposed": Memory, lies and therapy

"How three women fabricated the most famous case of Multiple Personality Disorder and damaged thousands of lives"

SybilSybil Exposed

Read the article on Salon.com:
http://tinyurl.com/SybilExposed

September SkepTalk - Don Prothero: Catastrophes!

As our family story goes, when my parents left eastern Oklahoma for California (the first in their Don ProtheroDon Protherofamilies to move that far away in generations), many of their relatives bid them farewell with a sense of foreboding, quite certain that they would someday soon perish in a terrible earthquake.

The Right Questions in Critical Thinking

 photo by Jay DiamondChris DiCarlo: photo by Jay Diamond

San Francisco-based skeptic group Reason4Reason (www.Reason4Reason.org) hosted a talk on August 13th by Dr. Christopher DiCarlo, promoted with the not-so-subtle moniker "How to Become a Really Good Pain in the Ass," the title of DiCarlo's latest book.

TRIPLE-X ASTRONOMY AT SkeptiCal

Dan WerthimerDan Werthimer

by Tucker Hiatt

UC Berkeley astronomer Dan Werthimer delivered a seductive break-out session at SkeptiCal 2011 entitled "XXX Astronomy: Exoplanets, Exobiology, and Extraterrestrials."

On that May 29th date at Berkeley's Double Tree Hotel, some 50 eager space cadets heard Werthimer talk about all aspects of SETI, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence.

William R. Corliss, Scientific Anomalist

William R. CorlissWilliam R. CorlissOne of the most interesting and scientifically-important people I ever met was the independent scientist William R. Corliss. Since the 1970s, he was by far the world's finest collector, categorizer, and ranker of scientific anomalies. He made himself the world's greatest authority on things that don't fit the paradigms of the times.

3 Stories That WERE Too Good To Be True

3 articles in 3 days have exposed hoaxes and scams.

A bizarre story claiming that users of Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser are a lot dumber than users of Firefox, Chrome, and Opera, was unmasked in a day or 2. Wired's Epicenter reveals the hoax and sparks its perpetrator to claim it was a joke.

Bay Area Skeptics and Religion

From time to time, Bay Area Skeptics board members are asked about BAS's position on religion. We have a brief mission statement that explains our policy of religious neutrality, but like all such statements, from time to time one must consider whether it is communicating fully the organization's perspective. You can read it at http://www.baskeptics.org/about/policies

In recent correspondence with a friend about the topic of skepticism and atheism, I wrote the following, which, although not an official BAS statement, reflects what most (though not all) of the BAS officers have thought over the years. For what it's worth -- here are some additional thoughts on the matter:

Dear _____,

Karen Stollznow Hits Wikipedia's Front Page

On July 24th, Wikipedia's "Did You Know" section (front page, lower left) included "... that Karen Stollznow writes for two skeptical magazines Karen Stollznow(Skeptic and Skeptical Inquirer) and hosts two skeptical podcasts (Point of Inquiry and Monster Talk)?". Stollznow has been an active member of the Bay Area Skeptics board for several years, helping the organization use online media more effectively, among other things. Wikipedia's front-page notice helped her new article jump from 20-ish hits a day to 1,100!

To read more about her, check out her Wikipedia page.

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