Friday, November 21, 2008

Optical Illusions

Scientific American has this awesome gallery of optical illusions. This batch focuses on illusory motion. My favorite one is to the left (click to embiggen).

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Webcomics and Down Time

NaNoWriMo has killed my blogging productivity for November but I am making great progress on my novel. It's the sixth year I've done it and it looks like it will be the fifth year that I will hit the goal of 50,000 words. Here's my profile if any of you are doing it and want to add me to your buddy list. Or if you just want to track my progress. Hey, it'll let you blow off work for thirty more seconds.

Anyway, regular content will resume soon but until then, check out Francesco Marciuliano's take on Galileo.

The Perky Skeptic and I heartily endorse the concept of Scientists-as-rock-stars.


Saturday, November 8, 2008

URGENT: Forced Electroshock

Please click here. Read the whole thing.

Here's an excerpt:
Each and every Wednesday, early in the morning, staff shows up at Ray’s sheltered living home called Victory House in Columbia Heights, Minnesota, adjacent to Minneapolis.

Staff escorts Ray the 15 miles to Mercy Hospital. There, Ray is given another of his weekly electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) treatments, also known as electroshock. All against his will. On an outpatient basis.

And it’s been going on for months.

Ray says the weekly forced electroshocks are “scary as hell.” He absolutely opposes having the procedure. He says it’s causing poor memory for names such as of friends and his favorite niece. “What am I supposed to do, run away?”

There are action items at the bottom of Liz's post. Also, spread the word about this.


More things you should read

Hey everybody! Erich von Däniken is a loon! I've been following this guy's wacky career for a while now. If you're unfamiliar with his theories on how aliens have visited the Earth, you're in for a treat. If you are familiar with them, you can check out how he's still crazy after all these years. He's a wonderful, walking paradox. He uses ancient religious texts to "prove" his theories then chides religious figures for interpreting them in their own ways. It's like watching blind people fight.

Emily always does a great job of capturing what it's like for parents of autistic kids. Here's an example.

Alan Boyle wrote an excellent article about science in the Obama era. He's got high hopes for the next president and I share them. As long as he doesn't make RFK Jr. the head of the EPA, that is.

On a related note, a bunch of scientists are all up in Obama's grill saying "Appoint a science advisor! Now!" I kinda agree.


Friday, November 7, 2008

Obama and Science

John McCain showed himself to be dangerously anti-science during his campaign. Barack Obama, on the other hand, seems to have his head on straight when it comes to these things. I say "seems" because he might be getting some bad advice and it is up to us to try to steer his administration away from quackery and towards good science policy.

For example, he might be considering Robert Kennedy Jr. as the head of the EPA. That's right, anti-vaccination RFK Jr. That would be bad. He's on Timothy Noah's list of people Obama should not choose along with those of several others.

Please get in touch with Obama's people via whatever means you have and urge him to choose someone else. He has not picked a science advisor yet. Sounds like he needs one.


Thursday, November 6, 2008

Get a flu shot

USA Today (and others) are reporting on a new study published in Pediatrics that confirms the benefits of vaccinating children against respiratory diseases.

Adults should get flu shots, too. Need more encouragement? Go here and an Infectious Disease specialist will call you a dumbass.


Tuesday, November 4, 2008


If you are in the US and have not yet done so:

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Revenge of the Son of Homologous Links new travel site is after tales of the paranormal as well as skeptics who can debunk said tales. I can't get the site to come up. Maybe a ghost got it. Or the Bermuda Triangle.

Mindhacks discusses the latest episode of Neuropod which focuses on Autism, Aspergers, especially.

Cognitive Daily talks about Dressing up as Carmen Miranda and walking across campus.

Dr. Novella says Boo, Jenny McCarthy! There's also some really good advice for skeptical activists in there.

Wikipedia's entry on Melange. I love the internet. The forms must be obeyed!