Thank you Mr. Armstrong
The loss of a legend
I was not alive when Neil Armstrong successfully landed, walked, and returned from the moon in July, 1969. He embodied the fulfillment of President Kennedy's challenge to land and safely return a man on the moon before the decade was out. Uncounted and unheralded thousands of people worked to achieve this goal, and vast sums of money were allotted and spent by the American taxpayer too. Yet, it all would have been for naught if on the final moments before landing the Eagle on the moon when the lunar module's computer system failed, and the landing site was much rougher than anticipated had Armstrong's cool collective skills not brought the venture to a successful landing. He was the tip of the spear that fateful July, 1969, and he is missed. My only regret as an American, and as a person, is that we have not sufficiently followed in his lunar bootprints in the years that have passed. We ought to have more bootprints on the moon, and bootprints on Mars. While Armstrong succeeded for his nation and all mankind, we have failed him. I saw him speak once in Gettysburg, PA. It was a honor.
The Skeptic Zone has hit a milestone of 200 episodes. The episode had a good portion of well wishes from Brian Dunning, The SGU Rogues, the fellows at SWAK, and others. However, it was not a clip show, but a regular episode with some nice reminiscing and reflection by Richard Saunders over the last four years during the introduction to the episode with Stefan Sokja, and the Think Tank with Eran Segev, Joanne Benhamu, and Dr. Rachael Dunlop.
There was a nice interview by Maynard of JREF President D.J. Grothe which was recorded at T.A.M. 10. Grothe is quite skilled at being a spokesman, and he shared various educational modules the JREF is making available to educators to teach children critical thinking skills. There is one statement that Grothe said that struck me.
No questions off limits, no issues taboo, you can say nonsense and as long as you have the courage of your convictions and the courage of an attack on your convictions you are one of us . . . so we don't have a statement of non-beliefs, we're not doctrinaire really the only thing that coheres all of us that if you say something that everyone thinks is nonsense be prepared to be challenged. (emphasis added)
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One of the great successes of the Australian Skeptical movement was its handling and basic dismantling of the Power Balance energy bracelet. There is a new questionable energy jewelry with alleged medical benefit called Shuzi. Saunders relates how the Australian Skeptics have invited Shuzi to subject their product to a test of its effectiveness for their $100,000 prize, and the dodgy response the Australian Skeptics have received. It just goes to show that skepticism is a lot like whack-a-mole...once one has beat down one dubious claim, another is always certain to pop up to take its place.
I have fallen out of listening to the Zone on a weekly basis. I have found the content of the shows uneven at times, and there is only so much time to listen to podcasts. However, I am glad the Zone is around, and for all the hard work they do in not just promoting but also doing skepticism as shown by the Power Balance travail. I am glad it has continued, and I do plan to continue to listen as best I can. Happy 200th episode to Saunders, Dr. Dunlop, Segev, Maynard, et al.
Doubtful News is one year old. I cannot boast that I followed Doubtful News since its inception in August, 2011. However, once I started to follow the site, it quickly turned into a must view site at least once a day. DN is one of those ideas that is so obvious once it was created it is hard to believe it was not created earlier by some other skeptics, but I think this just goes to show the genius it took to create it. Sharon Hill and her crew do a masterful job curating and aggregating strange and questionable news claims of the day. If you have never visited the site, please do so, and I would stunned if you are not hooked. If you are a regular visitor to the site, then give a little love in the form of some dollars.
A report from the front lines against the dubious claims
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