NZ atheist bus campaign starts today

The NZ atheist bus campaign was officially launched today. They are relying solely on donations from the public, so please if you feel inclined to spread the idea of rational thought in a secular humanist society, head over there and give them a couple of dollars.

AVN Autisim Webinar Slides

Last night I had the unfortunate experience of attending one of Meryl Dorey's webinars on homeopathy and it's use in treating autism. There were a number of us ( @podblack, @dianne_, @bastardsheep, @fuzztwin and @joel_birch) in a skype back channel taking notes.

British military ends UFO hotline

The truth - and the UFOs - may be out there, but nobody in the British military is listening anymore.

Briskepticon; dinner announcements

Sorry for being so lax on reporting from Briskepticon. Have been listening to the talks, which are excellent by the way, and have been focusing on live reporting via twitter. There is a fairly decent back channel going on.

What I did want to report on sooner rather than later is the announcements from the dinner last night.

Skeptical about Coma man?

I have been following this case for the past couple of days mainly because of a sense of terror at being stuck inside an unresponsive body for 23 years while being fully concious! He is apparently able to type his words on a computer, and is even planning on writing a book. This sounded so amazing that at first I was willing to just accept the mass media reporting.

However, after the initial shock and horror wore off I started following some of the more skeptical blogs out there to see what was really going on.

How to spot an AIDS denialist

Excellent article from Seth Kalichman, author of "Denying AIDS". In addition to dealing with AIDS denialism, it's an good primer for what to look for in other forms of denialism as well. Denialism

Psychic Fail

This is a good case to use on those people that tell you that psychics solve criminal cases. It's not hard to see that instead of solving this UK case, the psychics introduced costly red herrings. It seems the investigation was done to reassure the family after they were fed bogus information about the death of their loved one.

Detectives launch £20,000 murder inquiry after bogus tip-off from mystics: Police spent £20,000 scouring the country for a lion, a horse and a Mr Fox following a tip off they were told had come from the ghost of murdered man.

Regular blessings

Why is it that any time a new building, road, exhibition is opened there is felt to be a need to hold a blessing? In New Zealand these blessings are normally carried out by a Maori elder, who I presume would be christian. Are other faith leaders invited to perform these blessings? is there a tender process to decide who does the blessing?

The latest in these ridiculous blessings is taking place in wellington, where the police will mark the start of a new road safety initiative tomorrow by blessing a car involved in a local alcohol-related crash.

What is the point???

Surely if the blessing is any good it should have been carried out before the crash!
If blessings can help with alcohol related crashes maybe all cars should be blessed when they are parked outside bars?! This could be a nice little earner for local Kaumatua.

This sort of stupidity seems to me to be more about appeasing certain groups of people than actually having any tangible benefits for the people involved. Though please let me know if you have any proof to the contrary.

New test tells gender of baby at eight weeks

Is it a scam?

This test costs in the range of $127 to $135 or so and is touted as being able to detect gender early in pregnancy. It's available in the US at around $30 so is around triple the cost in NZ.

The blurb from the official site states it's:

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