Uh-oh Zone

February 7, 2018


The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

Last year in Pakistan, a mob attacked and killed student Mashal Khan over allegations of blasphemy. A few hours ago, a court sentenced one man charged in the attack to death and five others to life in prison. 25 other people were charged with lesser crimes. 

Cara Rosenbloom at the Post profiles a quartet of skeptics pushing back against pseudoscience in health and nutrition:

David Gorski … managing editor of Science-Based Medicine, and Yvette d’Entremont (a.k.a. SciBabe) … have played roles in quieting the bunk from Vani Hari (the Food Babe). James Fell, a blogger at Body for Wife and a syndicated fitness columnist, can take credit for adding to the bad press that ended the run of “The Biggest Loser” … Timothy Caulfield … often debunks Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop, and is the author of the 2015 book, “Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong About Everything?” 

Here’s a good roundup of all that transpired with Elon Musk’s car-in-space via Falcon Heavy Rocket, which really was quite an achievement. However, the car won’t be headed to Mars, as it overshot the orbit and is on its way to the Asteroid Belt. So, good thing you weren’t on that thing expecting to make it to the red planet.

There’s a dummy’s-eye-view from the Tesla roadster in space you can watch and zone out to. It’s pretty groovy. 

Arghya Banerjee, who runs a school in India, wonders at the contradiction in Indian culture, wherein parents want their kids to be scientists and engineers, but there is insufficient effort put toward fostering a scientific mindset in students.

Here is an abysmal puff piece for homeopathy by Sarah Trask at the Chronicle Herald in Nova Scotia, where this fake medicine is promoted as a treatment for autism spectrum disorder, culled from a book called The Impossible Cure by Amy L. Lansky, “a wonderful reference to the world of homeopathy and its use in autism, and provides parents, teachers and caregivers an introduction to homeopathy and how it is used in treatment.” As someone with autism spectrum disorder, let me just say to all those involved in this article and the treatment it touts to 1) delete your careers, and 2) perhaps consider that we’re not the ones with the disorder.

Yeah, I’m a little mad about this. 

Benjamin Radford explains the many, many things that are wrong with the attempts made by the “ghost hunters” on the Discovery Channel’s Ghost Lab to get a recording of Wild Bill Hickok’s restless spirit

“Facilitated communication” is being used to help a boy with cerebral palsy interact with those around him, but it sure looks fishy. 

Larry Alex Taunton, “friend” of Christopher Hitchens who made a lot of money accusing Hitch of contemplating conversion on his death bed, has resigned from his foundation following allegations of “inappropriate relationships with two young women on the ministry staff.”

We know a lot more about those TRAPPIST-1 planets, though mostly in the sense that scientists have been able to rule out some possibilities about what’s in their atmospheres. 

A California state court says a baker can refuse to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple on religious grounds. We’ll see if this kind of thing sticks around.

Kylie Sturgess offers up some skeptics’ book recommendations at CSICOP.org. I’m definitely eyeing that book on stoicism by Pigliucci.

A state legislator in Utah is introducing a consent-to-record bill that looks to be specifically aimed at preventing Mormon ceremonies from being recorded

In case you weren’t sure, Julia Belluz helps you understand the difference between a cold and a flu. One of them involves the sensation of being hit by a train. 

Anyway, you won’t need to get vaccinated, because according to Gloria Copeland, it’s God that will inoculate you

Hey, everybody, let’s not worry so much. At least we saved the ozone layer wait oh god WHAT NOW:

“We’ve detected unexpected decreases in the lower part of the stratospheric ozone layer, and the consequence of this result is that it’s offsetting the recovery in ozone that we had expected to see,” said William Ball, a scientist with the Physical Meteorological Observatory in Davos, Switzerland. … “The precise cause of the trend is unknown but could be related to changes to the stratospheric circulation, which has a large influence on how ozone is distributed,” said Ryan Hossaini, an ozone expert at the University of Lancaster in Britain, who was not involved in the study, in an emailed comment. Those changes, in turn, could be tied to climate change.

Quote of the Day

Elon Musk had the song “Space Oddity” playing for the Falcon Heavy launch, and someone picked up on this:

Did that blow your mind?

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