Category Archives: Media madness

Skeptics' Circle, the 91st

To wit, Dr. Absconsus’ Cabinets of Curiosities…

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Posted in Biology, Carnivalia, Communicating science, Critical thinking, Humanity, Media madness, Nuttiness | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

Heads up!

I’m coming to the conclusion that there must be a law somewhere stating the following (or similar) thought: some form of “the sky is falling” must be in play in the media at all times…

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Googlediving, hybrid vehicles, and energy consumption

A recent thread of discussion (namely, some comments on the hybrid cars podcast episode) brings me to remind you of the wisdom of cross-checking ostensibly “scientific” things you hear in conversation, or see mentioned in print or online somewhere. Fortunately, it’s pretty easy these days to check things using the internet. When I run across something that seems to be questionable, I’ve gotten into the habit of doing a quick bit of checking things out with Google. I call this “googlediving” — it’s essentially the information equivalent of dumpster diving but doesn’t leave you all smelly when you’re done. Best of all, it usually takes just a few minutes to run a quick check.

Let’s look at the recent discussion as a good example….

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Posted in Critical thinking, Media madness, Technology | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Episode 14 — Hybrid Cars

If you’re like many people, you’d like to help do something about climate change through the choices you make and the way you live. Celebrities and the mass media (among others) are presenting hybrid vehicles as a big step forward in this regard.

But left out of this rush to technology is any discussion of the fact that not all hybrids are equal. Some are little different from conventional cars, and consume fuel with equal gusto. Others offer dramatic improvements in fuel economy, but may not appear at your local automotive dealer’s showroom floor for years.

What’s a well-intentioned, but budget-minded potential car buyer to do?

Listen in to this episode, and I’ll give you a quick education in hybrid vehicle technologies. You’ll be able to tell series from parallel, and electric from hydraulic with aplomb — and more importantly, understand some of the challenges that lie ahead for this technology, and how to tell when a hybrid vehicle’s price premium makes it a worthwhile investment.

This episode is the first in a series on ways you and I can help fight climate change.

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Posted in Climate, Media madness, Podcast episodes, Technology | 11 Comments

So Aussie bees are off the hook, then?

You might recall that back in September, I published a podcast episode on Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) — a malady that has been wreaking some serious havoc on honeybee colonies in the U.S. and Europe. Well, there’s some new news on this front, and it just means that things are getting more interesting…

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Episode 13 — A Pigment of his Imagination: James Watson, Race, and Intelligence

If you’ve been following the news at all lately, you’ve probably heard an earful about James Watson — the Nobel laureate stirred up a bit of controversy lately by essentially stating that people of African descent aren’t as intelligent as people of European descent. Predictably, most media outlets focused on the dramatic and controversial aspects of the whole affair, without explaining that Watson’s comments have precisely zero basis in science. Listen to this episode, and I’ll lead you through the messy and emotionally charged terrain of race, intelligence, and genetics…. Continue reading

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Meteorites, the Media, and Mass Hysteria

When I first heard about the recent supposed meteor impact in Peru, and the sickness it allegedly brought to locals, I was just going to let things go by. Something odd happened in a remote area, and it seemed pretty easy to write the mess off as a miscommunication. But this mess seems to be building up quite a head of steam in the media, so I suppose it’s worth a further look… Continue reading

Posted in Astronomy, Critical thinking, Geology, Media madness, Space | Comments Off on Meteorites, the Media, and Mass Hysteria

Don't fear the frame…

Every now and again, some argument will get started in the blogosphere that is so pointless, so utterly self-defeating that it makes you question whether folks are really thinking at all.The tempest in the teapot du jour is about “Framing” science…. Continue reading

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