Tuesday, December 29, 2009

2009



Reflections . . .

It seems you can’t swing a dead ferret around and throw it in a particular direction without hitting a year and/or decade wrap up on a podcast or blog, so who am I not to jump on the bandwagon?  Here are some random observations and thoughts looking back over the past six months and beyond.

Rebecca Watson was married live on the internet at TAM 7.  Yes, I was one of  the folks tuning into the streaming live video of TAM 7 expecting to see a live Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe only behold Sid and Rebecca get hitched.  Now, the skeptical queen of Boston is now part of the skeptical nobility of London.  Luckily, Watson has kept up her activities on the SGU, and so far I have been wrong in predicting that SGU would soon be down one Skepchick. 

Simon Singh for my money is the skeptic of the year for continuing the fight against the British chiropractors who tried to use archaic British libel law to their advantage to shut up Singh for having the audacity to question the efficacy of chiropractic treatment.  Singh’s plight has started the ball rolling for possible reform to Britain’s libel laws.  Hopefully, the chiropractors will have inadvertently caused it to be easier to question woo in the mother country. 

So much woo in the world, but for me the biggest threat from Woo-ville is the anti-vaccination crowd.  Anecdotally speaking, it seems to me that a lot of folks who never question the value of receiving or having their children vaccinated are pretty much dooming their kids.  Making the world safer for polio and the mumps to propagate cannot be taken too lightly.  I for one am glad that my parents never had to worry about me swimming in a public pool for fear of contracting polio.  I hope my godson and friends' children never have to be kept out of pools for similar reasons.

The return of Mysterious Universe to me was a happy event.  Yes, Ben Grundy and new sidekick are the purveyors of mass quantities of slickly produced woo, but I admire their ability to make it interesting.  I can easily stay abreast of what UFO-ologist and demonologist are thinking these days and take it all in while being entertained and not tortured. 

The biggest “oh no” moment this year was learning that James Randi is suffering from cancer for which I wish him the best of luck and hopeful speedy full recovery. 

The most disappointing moment this year was James Randi's strong questioning of the climate change science.  As I have noted in various posts, I have a knee jerk sympathy for Randi’s position.  However, if it comes to my gut reaction to climate change versus the scientific consensus, I’ll go with the scientific consensus. 

The most fun I had all year was appearing on The Conspiracy Skeptic after kindly being invited on the show by host Karl Mamer to discuss President John F. Kennedy assassination conspiracy theories. 

The most anticipated event for me in the coming year is TAM Australia and to see if the Rogues on SGU take the land down under by storm.  I hope I am not hyping it too much in my mind, but the SGU and Skeptic Zone podcasts that come out of TAM down under really could be incredibly fun to hear. 

Most intriguing thing I plan to observe is 1) see what this mystery  television project Phil Plait is endeavoring to bring to a tv set near you, which caused him to leave the JREF Presidency, 2) see what new spin D.J. Grothe puts on the JREF under his tenure, and to see if he keeps hosting Point of Inquiry.”

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