Saturday, June 7, 2014

Cydonia, Dyatlov Pass,Thylacines, pre-TAM jitters & more!

Over the weekend Dr. Stuart Robbins released a YouTube video  (and a companion podcast) "The Cydonia Region of Mars Explored."  In a tightly edited 15 minute exposition, Robbins explains why Mars Anomalists are probably incorrect in their notions that the Cydonia region on the Red planet is laid out in such a way to defy natural explanation and must be the work of some intelligent actors. Robbins makes his case through the effective use of live graphics describing the math.  Robbins demonstrates how more modern higher resolution images with the earlier image artifacts removed also removes many of the assumptions of the Mars Anomalist ideas.  (Wait.  That's not a pyramid. That's just a mound.)

Ben Radford on Doubtful News did a proper review of the evidence of what happened at the Dyatlov Pass incident when a group of Soviet hikers disappeared on a skiing holiday in 1959.  Radford's insights and research was service contra Discovery Channel's “documentary,” Russian Yeti: The Killer Lives.  It is a excellent review of the evidence at hand, and why it is highly unlikely the Soviet cousin of the Capitalist Bigfoot properly did not kill the hiking party.

Both of the above were heart warming good old fashioned skeptical gumshoe work to bring a more rational light to some woo woo topics currently making the rounds.  I recommend both Robbins' Youtube video and Radford's piece.



Mongolian beef could be the
death of me.
-wikipedia 
Richard Freeman, the zoological director of the Centre for Fortean Zoology, was interviewed by both the folks at Be Reasonable and Monster Talk.  The Be Reasonable interview by Hayley Stevens and Michael ‘Marsh’ Marshall was a general discussion on crypto zoology and Freeman’s thoughts on the current status of the field and his experiences in doing hands-on research.  The Monster Talk interview touched upon many of the same topics, and Freeman’s answers were nearly word for word similar in both interviews, but the Monster Talk interviewed went into more depth on the Mongolian Death worm. 

Thylacine.  Beautiful creature.  Hope Freeman's correct
on this one. -wikipedia
Freeman comes across as a very personable fellow and does reject some of the extreme positions of other cryptozoology researchers by rejecting the very farfetched ideas that Big Foot is a UFO phenomenon or that there is a large monster in Loch Ness.  His main focus is on the thylacine still being in existence and a form of undiscovered orangutan, the Orang Pandek, being in existence that walks with a more upright posture. 

It was an interesting interview as Freeman has a fairly scientific basis for his thoughts, although he just seems a bit more optimistic that these creatures exist and he puts more stock in anecdotal witness testimony that they exist.  Although I would love for him to be correct and me just be a bit more pessimistic than I should be.  Either interview is a good listen and if one has time I suggest listening to both.  Although either one gives a good overview on Freeman and his cryptid experiences. 

In my local neck of the woods, Sharon Hill was interviewed on a local TV news program on the latest uproar regarding the slenderman, and the tragic murder related to this modern myth.  This is a news station that was pitching the virtues of homeopathy treating seasonal allergies but the week before.  So I saw them reaching out to and giving a skeptic (who they referred to as a paranormal researcher) some airtime as a real win.
Vegas: Where skeptics get
married. -author



As a side note:  The Skeptical Review will be attending T.A.M. this year.  We were watching videos of the South Point to get an idea of what the place looks to be and it looks very Vegas-y.  If you run into me (Howard) or the Editor, and you are a reader, please feel free to introduce yourself.  We’d be honored to meet our readers.

I am also very much looking forward to (and a bit nervous) about meeting folks whose work and efforts I have admire for years.  D.J. Grothe as the original host of Point of Inquiry was basically my gateway to skepticism back in 2005.  Derek and Swoopy of Skepticality were right there with P.O.I. to get my mind steered down a skeptical path.  I would just like to thank them as well as spend time with the few skeptics I've actually met in person, and with many I've communicated a lot but will hopefully meet in person.  I owe them all a drink or treat of choice.  Despite the continual rhythm of drama that surrounds The Amazing Meeting in recent years, I just want to hang with my ilk and ignore the allegations and recriminations.  Maybe TAM will be amazing, or maybe it'll be disappointing.  I can't help but think it'll be a worthwhile experience.  

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the favorable review of the movie. I didn't realize that your RSS feed changed, so I'm catching up now on all your posts since late March.

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