Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Collateral Damage (I'm going to get an earful on this one)

I have often wondered about our ability to so readily accept collateral damage in a conventional war, yet we are so unwilling to accept it in the war against crime.
In war news from Afghanistan, we hear of wedding parties decimated by unmanned drones, and women and children recklessly killed by Blackwater in a street fight. This is news for a couple of days, and then we forget and accept it as the cost of war. These people are true innocents. But, for a person who is on death row for a murder he or she most likely did commit, we agonize for 20 years and spend millions of dollars before we are willing to carry out the sentence.
I don't know if there are reliable statistics about wrongful convictions, but my guess is that a very small percentage are innocent of the crime they were convicted for, and an even smaller percentage are true innocents.
At what point do we say society can't afford this process anymore, and we have to accept it as collateral damage?

A Glorious Dawn

This video has been making the rounds around the skeptical blogosphere. It has a catchy tune and a nice message from Carl Sagan.

If you don't know what Autotune is check out this video from Nova Science Now.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

What if the only way to send astronauts to Mars is to leave them there for good?

I heard a segment on NPR a couple of weeks ago, and today found the transcript.
The gist of it was:

"What if the only way to send astronauts to Mars is to leave them there for good? Lawrence Krauss, a physicist at Arizona State University and director of the Origins Initiative, argues that a one-way trip is worth considering, and that it wouldn't be hard to find passengers."

An interesting concept.
The argument is that a round trip would be exponentially more expensive.
According to the guest, he has been able to find quite a few people who would be willing to volunteer.

The Transcript

The Audio

Monday, September 21, 2009

Betty Bowers, America's Best Christian

I don't know how many of you know about Betty Bowers, "America's Best Christian". The quote on her latest missive is, "I will NOT let Mr. Obama brainwash children! That is MY job."

Just for grins, check out her site at:

Here are some graphics that are worth a chuckle (I shudder to think how many people believe this sort of stuff).

-- Jill

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Seasonal and 'Swine' flu

The blog Science-Based Medicine has a great article on the flu. Check it out and be the most informed person in your class this year.

Richard Wiseman

Richard Wiseman has an interesting website where he delves into the workings of the human mind. He loves to exploit some of the trickier parts.

It took me a few minutes to see anything, but once I did it became difficult to 'unsee' it.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Nice online talk on medicine

There is a very nice talk on medicine, the scientific method, and skepticism on the Skeptics Toolbox by Harriet Hall, MD.
Here are a couple of slides:

Friday, September 11, 2009

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Latest Doonesbury - So True

I'm reminded of a founding member of the Cincinnati Skeptics who long ago observed that:
"Skeptics are just another fringe group."

Friday, September 4, 2009

Creationist Blog

Check out this Creationist blog if you get a chance. I had an interesting exchange with the author towards the end of the comments.