Skip to content

Monthly Archives: December 2010

French village said to ‘survive 2012′ plagued by visitors

The mayor of Bugarach, Jean-Pierre Delord stands on the outskirts of the village

The mayor of Bugarach, Jean-Pierre Delord stands on the outskirts of the village

Bugarach, population 189, is a peaceful farming village in the Aude region, southwestern France and sits at the foot of the Pic de Bugarach, the highest mountain in the Corbières wine-growing area.

But in the past few months, the quiet village has been inundated by groups of esoteric outsiders who believe the peak is an “alien garage”.

According to them, extraterrestrials are quietly waiting in a massive cavity beneath the rock for the world to end, at which point they will leave, taking, it is hoped, a lucky few humans with them.

Most believe Armageddon will take place on December 21, 2012, the end date of the ancient Maya calendar, at which point they predict human civilisation will come to an end. Another favourite date mentioned is 12, December, 2012. They see Bugarach as one of perhaps several “sacred mountains” sheltered from the cataclysm.

“This is no laughing matter,” Jean-Pierre Delord, the mayor, told The Daily Telegraph.

Continue reading

Pope Benedict XVI Declares Pedophilia is/was “Normal”

Victims of clerical sex abuse have reacted furiously to Pope Benedict’s claim yesterday that paedophilia wasn’t considered an “absolute evil” as recently as the 1970s.

In his traditional Christmas address yesterday to cardinals and officials working in Rome, Pope Benedict XVI also claimed that child pornography was increasingly considered “normal” by society.

“In the 1970s, pedophilia was theorized as something fully in conformity with man and even with children,” the Pope said.

“It was maintained — even within the realm of Catholic theology — that there is no such thing as evil in itself or good in itself. There is only a ‘better than’ and a ‘worse than’. Nothing is good or bad in itself.”

The Pope said abuse revelations in 2010 reached “an unimaginable dimension” which brought “humiliation” on the Church.

Asking how abuse exploded within the Church, the Pontiff called on senior clerics “to repair as much as possible the injustices that occurred” and to help victims heal through a better presentation of the Christian message.

“We cannot remain silent about the context of these times in which these events have come to light,” he said, citing the growth of child pornography “that seems in some way to be considered more and more normal by society” he said.

But outraged Dublin victim Andrew Madden last night insisted that child abuse was not considered normal in the company he kept.

Mr Madden accused the Pope of not knowing that child pornography was the viewing of images of children being sexually abused, and should be named as such.

He said: “That is not normal. I don’t know what company the Pope has been keeping for the past 50 years.”

Pope Benedict also said sex tourism in the Third World was “threatening an entire generation”.

Angry abuse victims in America last night said that while some Church officials have blamed the liberalism of the 1960s for the Church’s sex abuse scandals and cover-up catastrophes, Pope Benedict had come up with a new theory of blaming the 1970s.

“Catholics should be embarrassed to hear their Pope talk again and again about abuse while doing little or nothing to stop it and to mischaracterise this heinous crisis,” said Barbara Blaine, the head of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests,

“It is fundamentally disturbing to watch a brilliant man so conveniently misdiagnose a horrific scandal,” she added.

“The Pope insists on talking about a vague ‘broader context’ he can’t control, while ignoring the clear ‘broader context’ he can influence — the long-standing and unhealthy culture of a rigid, secretive, all-male Church hierarchy fixated on self-preservation at all costs. This is the ‘context’ that matters.”

The latest controversy comes as the German magazine Der Spiegel continues to investigate the Pope’s role in allowing a known paedophile priest to work with children in the early 1980s.

Pentagon uses False Study to Deny Healthcare to Vets with Head Trauma

Via NPR and ProPublica

During the past few decades, scientists have become increasingly persuaded that people who suffer brain injuries benefit from what is called cognitive rehabilitation therapy — a lengthy, painstaking process in which patients relearn basic life tasks such as counting, cooking or remembering directions to get home.

Many neurologists, several major insurance companies and even some medical facilities run by the Pentagon agree that the therapy can help people whose functioning has been diminished by blows to the head.

But despite pressure from Congress and the recommendations of military and civilian experts, the Pentagon’s health plan for troops and many veterans refuses to cover the treatment — a decision that could affect the tens of thousands of service members who have suffered brain damage while fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Tricare, an insurance-style program covering nearly 4 million active-duty military and retirees, says the scientific evidence does not justify providing comprehensive cognitive rehabilitation. Tricare officials say an assessment of the available research that they commissioned last year shows that the therapy is not well proven.

Continue reading

Brian Dunning Responds to the Skeptoid DDT Issues

DDT

It's actually called Kybosh...

Back in episode 4 of the Drunken Skeptics we had the honor of talking with Brian Dunning (Twitter) where he touched on a little of the heat that was coming down on his DDT episode.

Since then, there has been a buzz going around the skeptic community about it.

On our 5th episode, Bug Girl (Twitter) and David Gorski (Twitter) were our guests and the talk again veered toward the DDT episode.

Well Brian has an article over at Skepticblog where he talks about it. It’s an excellent read. Definitely check it out.

Adam’s Song: Episode 5 of the Drunken Skeptics Podcast

Bug Girl

Bug Girl (not to scale)

The next episode of The Drunken Skeptics is here!

In this episode, we talk with Bug Girl about fighting mosquitoes with DDT, and also bed bugs.
The great and powerful Oz

The great and powerful Oz

We also talk with David Gorski about the distinction between Science-Based Medicine and Evidence-Based Medicine. (39:24)

And as always, we also have our Whiskey & Shenanigans where we bring attention to the good things that happened (the Whiskey) and call out the bad things (the Shenanigans).

You can find our show notes here.

Production Notes: We’ve received some feedback on episodes that were downloaded that had technical issues (repeating segments, abrupt endings, etc.).  If this happens to your download, try re-downloading.  That seems to fix the issue.

The December MISkeptics Get Together

Our next Get Together will be on Saturday, December 11 at 4:00 PM. Our special guest will be Peter Sinclair of Climate Denial Crock of the Week. He will be speaking and giving a video presentation.

Be sure to check out his YouTube channel as well!

We will be in the back room of Ginger Restaurant, located at:

8465 N. Lilley Rd

Canton, MI 48187
Tel: 734-414-1818

Come and join us for lively discussion, drinks, dinner and debate! This is a good event for Skeptics of Michigan to come together and discuss local, national, worldwide items affecting skeptics. All are welcome to listen and participate.

Please be sure to RSVP so I know how many are coming. We seem to be outgrowing the venue rather quickly.

We also set up a Meetup group to help organize the events. Please register and RSVP!

I hope to see you all there!

NASA Finds New Life

Hours before their special news conference today, the cat is out of the bag: NASA has discovered a completely new life form that doesn’t share the biological building blocks ofanything currently living in planet Earth. This changes everything.

At their conference today, NASA scientist Felisa Wolfe Simon will announce that they have found a bacteria whose DNA is completely alien to what we know today. Instead of using phosphorus, the bacteria uses arsenic. All life on Earth is made of six components: carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and sulfur. Every being, from the smallest amoeba to the largest whale, share the same life stream. Our DNA blocks are all the same.

But not this one. This one is completely different. Discovered in the poisonous Mono Lake, California, this bacteria is made of arsenic, something that was thought to be completely impossible. The implications of this discovery are enormous to our understanding of life itself and the possibility of finding beings in other planets that don’t have to be like planet Earth.

We will know more today at 2pm EST but, while this life hasn’t been found in another planet, this discovery does indeed change everything we know about biology

Via Gizmodo

%d bloggers like this: