National Science Week

Posted August 8, 2008 by ambrielle
Categories: Cool science

Tags: , , , , , ,

A big event in the Australian science calendar is National Science Week, supported by Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research (that’s its name this week anyway) and the CSIRO among others. This year, it’s held from the 16th to the 24th of August and features a multitude of events in each state.

Many scientists and educators give a lot of their time for this great event. I remember participating in one while I was working in a lab. I got to show possum sperm under the microscope to bunches of children and parents! It’s such a worthwhile event, really bringing science to the public and hopefully inspiring the next generation of research scientists.

Included in this years events are: lectures on astronomy, films of the underwater world, structured debates on the future of science, and a bit of CAM fun.

In addition there is a National Tour of a couple of speakers. One I would be especially interested in seeing is Dr. Michael Shermer, founding publisher of Skeptic Magazine (  Bizarrely and annoyingly, this part of the NATIONAL tour does not visit South Australia.

Anyway, check out some of the events.

Expelled: can anyone spell hypocrisy?

Posted March 21, 2008 by ambrielle
Categories: Atheism, Creationism/ID, Evolution, Religion

Tags: , , , , , ,

thumbnailcafcpvqo.jpgJust a quick post for one of the funniest things I’ve seen for ages.

Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed is a creationist movie, written by Ben Stein. The official site makes for rather bizarre reading, with ‘No Intelligence Allowed’ plastered all over the site, apparently with no ironic intent. The movie is apparently about those brave put-upon martyrs who are frozen out by teh ebil evolutionist science overlords for expressing their creationist views.

Anyway, the great PZ Myers, creator of the Pharyngula blog and evolutionary biologist was to go to this movie since he appears in it, along with Richard Dawkins (their cooperation was gained under false pretenses, but that’s another story). He is also a well known atheist. Perhaps too well known, since PZ Myers was expelled from the theatre by security prior to to screening. I would have been incredulous and indignant, but PZ took his banishment with good grace. Probably because his guest for the screening and his family, who were all allowed in to the screening, was none other than Richard Dawkins himself!

Read all about it here:

ETA, a conversation between PZ Myers and Richard Dawkins about the incident:

Quote for the Day

Posted February 28, 2008 by ambrielle
Categories: Uncategorized

Something quick but timely, considering my current interest in woo.

I maintain there is much more wonder in science than in pseudoscience. And in addition, to whatever measure this term has any meaning, science has the additional virtue, and it is not an inconsiderable one, of being true.

Carl Sagan

Fun things

Posted February 22, 2008 by ambrielle
Categories: Uncategorized

I’ve used this pic quite a few times now in forums. I thought I would put it here so I know where to find it, but others may find it amusing too. Enjoy.

Quote for the day – with a LOLcat response

Posted February 22, 2008 by ambrielle
Categories: Creationism/ID, Quotes, Religion


“Ockhams Razor provides God as the simplest and thus the best explanation for the state of humanity.”

David Tredinnick: Wow. I mean, woo.

Posted February 22, 2008 by ambrielle
Categories: Badscience, Uncategorized, Woo

You have to love British politics. At a quarter to two on the morning of the 20th of Feb, one David Tredinnick, MP, started a debate on complementary and alternative medicine, specifically homeopathy. Perhaps there was some convoluted procedural reason for starting a debate at that time of the morning, I don’t know, but to me it smacks of either embarassment or sneaky underhand goings-on. Anyway, his opening speech is available here, or more amusingly, in a post by Ben Goldacre on Badscience blog.

Tredinnick seems to be rather a champion for CAM; many of this parliamentary comments have been about alternative medicine in its various forms. One of his recent House of Commons debates is actually rather amusing, especially the response by Rob Marris.

However, Gimpy has to win an internet for this post on the subject! See also JQH here.

My next project is to find out whether Australian parliament has some equally deluded members. I often find parliamentary debates more like a bunch of kindergarteners yelling childish taunts at each other, no matter what the country. Britain has this lovely pompousness and formality with the ‘honourable Gentlemen and Ladies’. In Australian politics, it’s more likely to be ‘you mongrel’, ‘arselicker‘ or ‘mangy maggot‘. Still, as long as the political process works, right? So let’s hope David Tredinnick gets stomped on quick.

ETA: Well, well. David Tredinnick has struck again. Have a look at his idiotic support for a Dr. suspended by the GMC. The woman was clearly not acting in ‘her patients best interests’. Sounds like she’s a friend of his.

Mr Joseph Chikelue Obi vs. the Quackometer

Posted January 23, 2008 by ambrielle
Categories: Uncategorized

Tags: , , ,

Once again, the quacks are at it with the legal threats. This person in particular seems highly sensitive to criticism, despite the fact he draws a lot of it.

Magnificently blogged by No Nonsense! because the Quackometer‘s hosting company, Netcetera, is being rather spineless, and Le Canard Noir has been forced to take down the ‘offending’ pages, despite the fact no-one has explained what exactly is defamatory.

For other reading material on this character:

I would encourage all bloggers with one iota of commonsense, a dislike of extortion and a liking for free speech to blog this issue.

Edit: other blogs with posts on this issue:

On the lighter side:


Quote for the week

Posted October 31, 2007 by ambrielle
Categories: Creationism/ID, Quotes, Religion

Tags: , ,

images-1.jpgAgain from FSTDT (it’s like a supermarket of stupid), but this time I recommend you going to the original Several commenters at fstdt have called Poe on this (See here for Poe’s Law if you haven’t spent any time at all on creationism/evolution sites and/or had your head buried in the interweb sand.). I’m not so sure though. It seems like a lot of effort to go to, and once he/she descends into rants about Kabbalistic vs. Biblical Universes, let alone Satan’s Empire of Babylon….

“From Copernicanism Through Big Bangism
Modern Cosmology’s Model Of The Universe
Is Built Solely On ASSUMPTIONS
1) It must be assumed that the Sun is stationary in the “solar” system relevant to the Earth (and to the Moon) and that it has never traveled East to West daily across the sky as observed by everyone on Earth throughout all history.
2) Likewise, it must be assumed that the Earth rotates West to East ccw (counterclockwise) on an “axis” every 24 hours at an equatorial speed of c. 1040 MPH in spite of there being nothing but mathematical evidence for this motion whatsoever.
3) It must be assumed that the Earth is also orbiting the Sun annually (ccw) at an average speed of c. 67,000 MPH.
4) It must be assumed that the Earth’s axial alleged tilt of 23.5 degrees–in combination with its assumed annual orbit around the sun–is the only available scientific explanation for the seasons.
5) The Earth’s atmosphere must be assumed to be just an airy, fixed extension of the alleged rotating Earth. It is assumed and must be assumed that this atmosphere must have the remarkable ability to synchronize speeds of objects in it at all altitudes–birds, clouds, jets, low orbit satellites, alleged geo-synchronous satellites over 22,000 miles out–and to be unaffected by alleged Earth movements of speeds ranging from 1000 MPH to 67,000 MPH to 500,000 MPH to 660,000,000 MPH. This assumption is mandatory once the rotating Earth assumption is made and can not be ignored in the helio model of the eclipse phenomena.
6) A particularly fantastic assumption necessary to accommodating the precise Solar Eclipse Phenomena in the Helio Model involves the bold reversal of the Moon’s observed direction of travel. Acceptance of this occult slight of hand from the Arcane Math Department of Mystic U. has no basis in reality, of course. Rather, it must be coupled with prior acceptance of the other assumptions of a rotating Earth orbiting a stationary Sun. No moon reversal means no accurate eclipse forecasts and no accurate eclipse forecasts means no heliocentricity model.
7) It must be assumed that the Stars do not move around the Earth diurnally as observed by everyone who has ever lived.”

Marshall Hall, 2007-Oct-30

The Society of Homeopaths vs. The Quackometer

Posted October 30, 2007 by ambrielle
Categories: Badscience, Woo

Tags: , ,

anne-petitclaire_ducks_med.jpgMy education in quackery has undergone a steep learning curve over the last year or so reading Ben Goldacre’s columns in The Guardian and his blog Badscience, and hanging around in the Badscience Forums. Consequently, homeopathy has become one of my bugbears. For the uninitiated, in this incredible ‘parallel universe’ the laws of physics, chemistry and biology do not seem to hold, and serious diseases such as Malaria and HIV/AIDS are treated by water or sugar pills. Let’s also be clear that homeopathy is NOT herbalism. In fact one of the principle tenets in homeopathy is that the more an ingredient gets diluted, the more potent it is. Homeopathic remedies DO NOT HAVE ANY MOLECULES OF ACTIVE INGREDIENT. Sorry, but this can’t be emphasised enough, especially to people who confuse homeopathy with herbal remedies, which although not highly purified, should contain some sort of ‘active’ ingredient.

Over the past few weeks, this part of the blogosphere has become a little more exciting, with the news that the Society of Homeopaths, which has pretensions to regulating homeopaths in the UK, used legal threats to suppress the post of another blogger, Dr. Andy Lewis who runs The Quackometer blog. What was so extraordinary about this incident was the fact that the SoH did not write to Dr. Lewis and ask him to change the parts of his post they had issues with but they sicced their lawyers onto his web hosting company. Dr. Lewis removed his post while he tried to sort out what the problem was. Meanwhile, the whole thing has been replicated dozens of times on skeptical and science blogs (see here for some links).
Andy then sent a polite letter to the SoH, asking just what they objected to. No reply as yet, of course. However, in response to this matter being written about by Ben Goldacre in The Guardian, the SoH has posted a rather bizarre letter to the editor, which thus far, only seems to appear as a press release on their website.

Anyway, the next installment in this little saga is on offer at The Quackometer. I recommend reading the whole article. It demonstrates the kind of double-think (or cognitive dissonance) that most homeopaths must excel at.

Finally, I just had to include this pic from LOLquacks:

by Dr. Danny Chrastina,

Quote for the Week

Posted October 21, 2007 by ambrielle
Categories: Quotes

Tags: , ,

Heh. This just popped up on

mk016.jpg“The Church has a proven history of using faith to triumph over science. When Christians switched to battling with the weapon of science, they began suffering one defeat after another. Evolutionists have good reason to crow about their victories in public schools and in institutes of higher learning. Over the years, they have mopped the floor up with creationists, having won virtually every major contest. With creation science having such a dismal record, I think it’s time to look for a better strategy”

Todd Strandberg, Rapture Ready 2007-Oct-21

It pains me that people like this need to take just one more little step of logic to join reality, yet refuse to do so.