Archive for the ‘MN Skeptics’ Blog’ Category

Happy Friday the 13th!

January 13, 2012

I have a new post up at Minnesota Skeptics about Friday the 13th! Here’s an excerpt:

The fear of Friday the 13th is called friggatriskaidekaphobia (Frigga being the name of the Norse goddess for whom “Friday” is named and triskaidekaphobia meaning fear of the number thirteen), or paraskevidekatriaphobia a concatenation of the Greek words Paraskeví (Παρασκευή, meaning “Friday”), and dekatreís (δεκατρείς, meaning “thirteen”) attached to phobía (φοβία, from phóbos, φόβος, meaning “fear”).

Try saying either of those 13 times in row.

To read the rest of my article, please go here to the Minnesota Skeptics blog.

Star Trek: TNG – Devil’s Due

December 30, 2011

I have a new post up at Minnesota Skeptics about a particularly skeptical episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation! Here’s an excerpt:

Upon the away team’s arrival on the surface, Ardra herself appears to the crew and the Ventaxian leader to claim “her planet”. Ardra is able to instantaneously change her appearance, to cause tremors to start and stop at her command, and she even makes the entire Enterprise starship disappear!  But Captain Picard smells a phony. He describes Ardra as being a flim flam artist to his crew, and accuses her of being a fake in front of the Ventaxians.

To read the rest of my article, please go here to the Minnesota Skeptics blog.

Oh, oh! But I also have to share a fabulous website that I found while looking for images of Ardra. It’s called Fashion It So, and it’s written by two people who are watching Star Trek: The Next Generation for the clothes. Well, I’m guessing they’re watching it because they geek on Star Trek: TNG, but the blog is all about the fashion.

They make off-hand horrifyingly blasphemous (to TNG fans) remarks such as the following in bold:

“We never see these aliens not on their ship (they had a name but I realized I don’t care and neither should you) so getting a great look at their outfits is pretty tricky, but I think we can all agree there’s nothing to see here.”

But since they were discussing the Pakleds, you have to agree with the fashion assessment. And really that’s all the writers are making claims about, so why stick it to them on nerd details? And I get the feeling that these guys do have some geek/nerd cred. I spotted one reference to X-Files, they make some horribly punny jokes, and the most recent entry (yesterday) is a repost of three TNG action figures filmed in stop-action to Beyonce Knowles’s Single Ladies.

As an aside, my favorite description of Ardra’s outfit was

“OF COURSE bitch looks amazing. She’s the devil! So she rolls up in a fucking LEATHER JUMPSUIT with some goddamn CHIFFON attached to just the back of her pant legs, like she couldn’t decide if she was racing dirtbikes or going to the ballet.”

Go. Visit their website. Enjoy.

Banachek Visits University of Minnesota

December 4, 2011

I have a new post up at Minnesota Skeptics about Banachek’s recent mentalism show at the U of MN! Here’s an excerpt:

The opening bit was a card/”body language reading” trick.  Before I tell you the audience’s perspective, I have to go back to when the Hubby and I walked into the auditorium. When Banachek greeted us, he had a deck of cards in his hands. He shuffled the deck and had the Hubby and I flip the middle of the deck up halfway so that we could see one card, but so that Banachek couldn’t. We were told to think very hard about the card, to remember it because he might call on us during the show to try and guess our card. He told us that he was going to use our body language to guess which cards we had drawn.

Banachek helps an audience member bend a spoon with “the power of her mind”!

To read the rest of my article, please go here to the Minnesota Skeptics blog.

Delta Airs Anti-Vax Advertisement

November 4, 2011

I haz a sad.

I like flying Delta. There’s a huge hub here in Minneapolis. I have the Delta SkyMiles card so I can rack up points and fly places for free (well, freeish, but that’s another post), and I’ve generally had very good experiences on Delta flights.

So, I was sad when I saw this in my Twitter stream yesterday:

It turns out that Delta and In-Flight Media are presenting a nearly three-minute ad that trivializes the flu and tells the audience that:

  1. You don’t have to worry about preventing the flu – FALSE.
  2. Most illnesses that present with flu-like symptoms are not the flu – TRUE.
  3. Washing your hands is a good way to help you stay healthy. – TRUE.
  4. Covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze is a good way to minimize spreading germs – TRUE.
  5. Drink water to keep your body hydrated – TRUE.
  6. Get the right amount of sleep and reduce stress levels to decrease your chances of getting sick – PROBABLY TRUE.
  7. Vitamin C and D – found in nutritious food  – are effective, natural preventatives – FALSE.
  8. Regular exercise helps keep your immune system strong. – TRUE.
  9. The flu shot is an option. Research the different types of flu vaccines your doctor may recommend. SURE, WHY NOT?

Who would advocate against being an informed consumer? I applaud people who are willing to research their health care options. But, when considering the source (psst – it’s one of the country’s biggest anti-vaccine organizations), and considering the place that they direct you to research flu vaccines (psst – It’s their hugely anti-vaccine propogranda-laden website filled with misinformation about all sorts of vaccines), the little alarm bells in your head should start to ring, buzz, sing, or talk – whichever you’ve got your alarm set to.

Elyse Anders – the president of the  Women Thinking Free Foundation and driver behind the Hug Me I’m Vaccinated Campaign brought this story to my attention via her article on Skepchick.org. Elyse has a list of things that you can do to help protest to Delta and the associated organizations that are allowing this ad to run.

  1. Sign the CHANGE.ORG petition. Add your name to those of us who would like Delta to remove the advertisement. Change.org works, and it’s an easy way to make your voice heard.
  2. Tweet: “#fludelta @DeltaAssist @Delta If you’re so concerned about safety, stop running potentially deadly anti-vaccine ads http://wp.me/pbblq-6qu
  3. Facebook/YouTube: Add your comments about the video here. The content has been removed from Facebook, but you can still see it on YouTube. The owner, In-Flight Media, has disabled commenting, but you can still downrate it.
  4. Share Elyse’s post on Facebook and Twitter.
  5. Tell your friends and family about the campaign and get them involved!

The last time Elyse was involved in a campaign against vaccine misinformation advertisements by this group placed in Times Square, the ads were pulled. With all of our help, hopefully we can make it happen again!

Inner Dimensional Sound Chamber

October 10, 2011

I have a new blog post up at the MN Skeptics Blog!

I’d never heard of an inner dimensional sound chamber. To the interwebs!

I found a website called soundheal.com and these are a few of the things that they have to say about the principles of the magic music box:

Inner Dimensional Sound Chamber is a blending of science and metaphysics in vibrational technology. It provides a low level oscillating energy field which assists with the restoration of cellular integrity.

The sound chamber honors the body’s natural geometric ability to heal itself at the cellular level. It sends specialized music or sound through the structure creating interference patterns.

I do not think these words “geometric” and “interference patterns” mean what you think they mean.

To read the rest of my article, please go here to the Minnesota Skeptics blog.

A Sasquatch in Minnesota

August 29, 2011

I have a new blog post up at the MN Skeptics Blog!

A Bigfoot sighting in our own backyard? Cool!

Thank goodness for all of the verbal interpretation of the blurry video, otherwise I never would have know that I was looking at a Sasquatch!

Caution: Blurry video and huge leaps in deductive reasoning may cause nausea and/or uncontrollable laughter in some viewers.

To watch the video head on over to the MN Skeptics blog.

Metaphysical “Causes” of Illness

July 12, 2011

I have a new post up over at MN Skeptics! It’s all about one website that wants you to think yourself better:

…this website wants you to understand why YOU are causing yourself to develop such emotion-triggered illnesses such as migraines, nail-biting (Crud – is this an illness? Apparently I have an illness.), anxiety and depression. Oh, and AIDS, mononucleosis, ankle problems, gray hair (again – illness???) and finger problems (hint: you have different emotional problems based on which finger hurts). And did you know that every time you get bit by a mosquito, it’s because you feel guilty about something? I’ll bet you didn’t know you had such command over the animal kingdom!

To read the full article, please go visit me at the Minnesota Skeptics WordPress blog.

Drinking Skeptically…For Night People!

July 8, 2011

I have a new post up over at the Minnesota Skeptics blog! It’s about my experiences at a local Drinking Skeptically…For Night People! event.

Tonight I ended up meeting a lot of new (to me) people. Hello new skeptical friends! I met a nurse, three engineers, a past member of the Secular Student Alliance, some Tim Minchin fans, some people who are pretty excited about going to The Amazing Meeting next week, and a whole mess of atheists (deconverted Catholic over there, former Hindu over there, raised Fundamentalist Christian in that corner, past altar boy in that one – the list went on and on!).

To read the article in it’s entirety, please go here to the Minnesota Skeptics wordpress blog.

The Challenges of Being a Skeptic

June 2, 2011

I have a new blog post up over at the Minnesota Skeptics blog!

The Challenges of Being a Skeptic

In 2009 I discovered The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe. Shortly thereafter I started reading skeptical blogs and books and listening to other skeptical podcasts. In 2010 I found local meetups and attended my first skeptics’ conferences. Along the way there have been ah-ha! moments, but there have also been challenges.  More on the challenges in a minute.

Skepticism provides for me a way of looking at the world, at evaluating the massive amounts of information that come to us every day. Skeptics have a wide range of interests – politics, medicine, economy, science, the gamut of human rights and social issues, paranormal investigation, and religion, to name a few. But what we all share is…

To read the rest of my article, please go here to the Minnesota Skeptics blog.

A Lake Monster In Minnesota!

May 26, 2011

I have a new article up over at the Minnesota Skeptics’ blog!

A Lake Monster In Minnesota!

We love our lake monsters, don’t we? Everyone is familiar with Nessie, but here are a few you might not know:

Brosno Dragon – Lake Brosno, West Russia. Said to resemble a dragon or dinosaur, with potential sightings going back to the 13th century.

Lagarfljóts Worm – Lagarfljót, Iceland. Otherwise known as the Iceland Worm Monster. Walks on land and swims in the water, spits poison. Mean beastie, but that may be because it was thrown in a cold lake when it was just a baby monster.

Morag – Loch Morar, Scotland. Nessie may be Scotland’s best known monster, but it certainly isn’t…

To read the rest of this piece, which includes my own real-life lake monster sighting in Richfield, MN – and a picture of the beast! – please visit my full article at Minnesota Skeptics’ blog.


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