Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Skeptics Guide to the Universe #225

'ello from across the pond . . .

All Rouges were on deck this week on the Skeptics Guide to the Universe.  Rebecca was joining in through the wonder of late night trans-Atlantic Skype and it was good.

All in all it was a solid show, there was nothing terribly wrong with it all.  Therefore, it was a pretty solid effort.  During the news segment, there were two segments that got my skeptic-o-temper up.  The first was the flu vaccine dystonia flap.  Surprise, the woman who allegedly had dystonia, but more likely had a psychogenic disorder has (SURPRISE) been healed by her alternative steeped physician using kelation to rid her of her toxins and within fifteen miraculous minutes she began to be healed.  The speed of her recovery is more evidence against it being dystonia than for it.  Yet, here is another bit of poor and perhaps deadly crap based medicine that will filter out into the public and cause people to not get the flu vaccine as it becomes available.  The second story that fired me up was the amendment to the health care act as recently passed by the United States House of Representatives that reimburses for "medical" prayer services.  Without getting stuck in a political quagmire, this stupid amendment has bipartisan support from Senators Orrin Hatch (Republican, Utah) and the late Edward Kennedy and John Kerry (Democrats, Massachusetts)  Of all the questions and all problems with the current health care debate in the United States, paying for non-scientific treatment should be the last thing on the table.  I have not completely thought this through legally, but how paying for prayer by a government payor does not violate the establishment clause is perplexing.

On the other hand, the story on how newest images from Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, which show the foot trails of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin at Tranquility base were incredible.  I could give a turkey's buttocks if this does not convince the Moon Hoaxers that we actually landed on the moon.  All it really does is reinforce how much I want mankind to make new and even larger foot print on the moon. It was a heartening story.

Bart Farkus, who is in charge of JREF's fundraising, was briefly interviewed to announce a new Visa card that benefits the JREF whenever you use it.  He also announced a competition to be judged by James Randi for the design of the second credit.  The original will have Randi's image upon it.  If anyone is in the market for a new credit card, check it out on the JREF website.  (As of this writing, I could not locate the link at the JREF.)

The show played three more brief pre-recorded interviews by Rebecca at TAM London.  This was the celebrity group of Simon Singh, Jon Ronson, and Adam Savage.  This week's interviews were better than last week.  Singh was given an award for his activities, and he made a pitch for the reform of Britain's libel laws.  Rebecca brought up a good point that she is sort of afraid of them.  I never thought of it before, but it is a bit more worrisome to be outspoken when, if an unhappy party sues you, you have the burden of proof.  Rebecca should therefore only do her broadcast from a ship out in international waters under United States registry. (impractical?)  Singh also announced that he is going to be a father for the first time.  I wish him the best of luck.  Ronson was pitching the motion picture "The Men who stare at Goats."  He seems upset that Ewan McGregor plays his journalist role in the picture.  I'd kill to have McGregor play me for eight seconds.  (Russell Crowe might be cooler, but just by a hair.)  Savage was there and discussed "Mythbusters" coming season without giving away too many details.  I would like to see the British 30 minute edited version just to see what they cut out.

Finally, the who's that noisy from last week was revealed to be Madelene Duncan Brown, the alleged ex-mistress of the President Lyndon B. Johnson, who claims her alleged ex-lover was in on the murder of JFK. (who?)  It was someone I had never knew existed.  Evan's picks for WTN's can be incredibly difficult.  For some reason I do not mind not getting them when it just a noise, but when it is a person, especially someone dealing with the assassination of President Kenney, and I do not know it I feel like a hack.

All in all, it was a good show.

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